Hockey, Learn

2 years ago

Types of Stacks in Daily Hockey Tournaments

Good time of day, ladies and gents! In this article, we will explain the cornerstone of DFS hockey — stacking. We will also touch upon which stacking combos are the best ones to use when playing on FanTeam.


Understanding the Basics

They say that all good things come in threes, and DFS hockey is no exception. The strategy I am going to talk about is regarded as the most profitable one in daily fantasy sports – stacking, specifically stacking at FanTeam.

First off, let us cover the basics. Unlike football, where it is defenders who are stacked more often, the greatest value in DFS hockey comes from stacking forwards as they are the ones who score the lion share of goals in most games.

Moreover, skaters from the same line rack up assists and + rating, which adds to the total of fantasy points.

Sure, there are rare instances when it does make sense to stack defensemen (and I am going to take a look at these instances throughout the article), but bear in mind that stacking forwards is the way to go in daily fantasy hockey.

(Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)

Now let us turn our attention to typical DFS hockey team structure on FanTeam.

A standard team includes a goaltender, 3 defensemen and 4 forwards. There is a caveat, however – one cannot pick more than 3 players from one team (see item 4 in the image below).

Therefore, there is a limited amount of variations when it comes to stacks, like 3 forwards, 2+1 (2 forwards, 1 D-man), and 1+2 (1 forward, 2 D-men; used pretty sporadically). So, let us look at each particular stack composition.

3-forward stack

This is the most popular type of stack. 3-forward stack often includes players from the team’s top two lines. It makes sense to stack three forwards from the same line due to the increased +\- rating and the assists that the linemates rack up when scoring goals.

There is no doubt that a litany of factors should be taken into consideration when stacking forwards, including the opposing team and its strength, defensive skills of the line which is going be on the ice against our stack, overall stack’s performance throughout the season etc. This is a topic for a future article though.

Below is a picture illustrating the stack of Colorado Avalanches’ top line. For the sake of pithiness, from now on I am going to designate stacks using the team’s abbreviated name (in this very case, COL for Colorado Avalanche) and the line’s ordinal number (in our case, 1).

So there you have it, the stack of COL-1.

An additional advantage of stacking forwards is that they often appear on the ice in power play situations. However, this is not always the case, which is why another type of stack may be employed.

2+1 stack

This type of stack is frequently used in relation to teams which have one or two productive defensemen on their roster; these blueliners often hit the ice when their team has a man advantage.

You may ask me ‘but how do I know which D-man to pick, dude?’ The answer is puck movers, that is, those defensemen who control the puck in power play situations.

They are ‘quarterbacks’ of the power play, if you will. Some of the examples of puck movers are Brent Burns of San Jose Sharks, Drew Doughty of LA Kings or Shayne Gostisbehere of Philadelphia Flyers.

Those three are monsters when it comes to power play as they fire plenty of shots on goal and act as playmakers.

Below is the image representing the 2+1 stack of the Anaheim Ducks.

1+2 stack

As previously mentioned, this type of stack is used rather sporadically, since there are only so many teams with more than one productive defenseman. Furthermore, D-men like these are often worth a fortune at FanTeam.

Nonetheless, there are a handful of situations which are favorable for using this sort of stack. I am talking about the short slates.

When there are only 2 or 3 games scheduled for a day, team’s structure at FanTeam changes as you no longer need 8 players, but only 6 (1 goalie, 2 D-men, 3 forwards; the stipulation of no more than 3 players from one team is still in effect).

This is where you can pick your spots and select two strong D-men from one hockey club.

A good example of this is San Jose Sharks and two stalwarts of their blue line in Erik Karlsson and Brent Burn. Both are frequent shooters and appear on the ice when the Sharks have an extra skater.

Below is the example of a 1+2 stack.

Mini stack

There is also a unique way of structuring your team at FanTeam – mini-stacking.

As the name suggests, this is a stack of two forwards from one team. What is the purpose of using mini stacks?

There are two main reasons for resorting to this kind of stacking strategy. One is that oftentimes there is a ‘black sheep’ in a line of three forwards, that is, a player who has not garnered as many points as their linemates.

The other is that full stacks of top teams may cost you a pretty penny, so it makes sense from time to time to ‘dilute’ a mini-stack from a top team with a mini-stack from an underdog team.


Finally, there is an aberration which actually has nothing to do with stacking. Why? Well, because no one is stacked!

This is the type of team that I like to call potpourri team. DFS rookies love to use this strategy, but I do not recommend using it on a regular basis as it is very tough to predict who is going to have a great game and who is not.

How do we know which players to stack?

Remember that the lineups are subject to change, so make sure you check them a couple of times before the games start. This will ensure you won’t have stale lines as your picks.


To sum it up, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of each type of stack.

Stack type Advantages Disadvantages
3-forward stack a) Additional fantasy points for +\- rating and assists
b) PP correlation
May be costly on some slates
2+1 stack a) Additional fantasy points for +\- rating and assists
b) PP correlation
c) D-men get more points for goals and assists
May be costly on some slates

1+2 stack

a) Additional fantasy points for +\- rating and assists
b) PP correlation
c) D-men get more points for goals and assists

May be costly on some slates


a) Additional fantasy points for +\- rating and assists
b) Allows you to save money

Risky to pick skaters from underdog teams

Risky as it is difficult to predict the performance of specific skaters

Until next time, I bid you adieu. May your life be full of puck luck!
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DFS enthusiast and rather frequent player. Spreading DFS word within the sound of my voice. Love all things hockey.