First I’ll explain what I mean by the word “stack” and how I’ll use it in this article. Stack is a term used when you have two or more fantasy players on your team who are both on the same real NFL team (Drew Brees & Michael Thomas or Patrick Mahomes & Tyreek Hill, etc.). If you are a believer in a specific NFL offense and you are thinking they will be scoring points often, stacking players from that offense can be very beneficial. Honestly there is no better feeling that watching your “stack” come together for a TD. Imagine this with me…you have Patrick Mahomes & Tyreek Hill on your fantasy team, you are down 20 points in your matchup so you’re watching the Chiefs (stage set). Mahomes throws a long pass downfield…and on the receiving end, its Tyreek Hill (you’re standing up pumping your fists). Tyreek hauls in the long pass, running it into the end zone! Just like that, in that one play, you got points for the TD pass, TD catch, yards thrown, yards receiving, and if you’re in PPR the catch (cherry on top).
In this short article I’ll be ranking my Top-5 Favorite Fantasy Stacks for 2020. Although many of these teams have multiple players that are capable of contributing to a successful stack, I’ll just be talking about the QB & Pass Catcher (WR/TE) connection.
1. Baltimore Ravens
- Draft Capital: Lamar Jackson (2nd-3rd Round) + Mark Andrews (4th-5th Round)
- Last season this duo broke onto the fantasy scene as the nucleus of the NFL’s #1 scoring offensive unit. Jackson finished as the QB1, while Andrews finished as the TE5 all while flashing their impressive chemistry right out the gate. Andrews should be in line for an increase in targets this upcoming season after his stellar showing last season and the departure of TE Hayden Hurst (ATL). Mark Andrews made his huge fantasy splash last season while only playing 41% of the snaps (Pro-Football Reference), so his true potential could still be waiting to be unlocked. Lamar Jackson on the other hand is thought of mostly as a runner, after his 1,200+ rushing yards (2019), but in doing that he also led the NFL with 36 passing TDs. Its possible we saw these two just scratching the surface of what their true ceiling can be, if so 2020 will be another exciting ride. Considering the manageable draft capital, and sky high upside this is my favorite stack. Below is a compilation of the Jackson & Andrews connecting, which typically ends in the end zone. You can just feel how strong this connection is.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
- Draft Capital: Patrick Mahomes (2nd-3rd Round) + Tyreek Hill (1st-2nd Round)
- Now I’m sure many of you would’ve expected this to be the number one stack, I mean it’s the Chiefs right? This pair has about as high of a ceiling as any QB-WR connection in the league. The only reason it isn’t my number one, is due to the draft capital needed to obtain both players. If you are comfortable spending 2 of your first 3 picks on Mahomes and Hill you should see plenty of return on your investment. The past two seasons Kansas City finished as the #1 (2018) and #2 (2019) offense in points per game. Mahomes and Hill are vital pieces, and drive the success of this offensive unit. In 2018, Mahomes first full NFL season, he finished as the QB1, while Hill finished as the WR3 (PPR)/WR1 (Standard). If they both stay healthy in this high scoring offense, they have the potential to once again be some of the best players at their respective positions. They come in as my number two instead of number one, purely based on the high draft capital it takes to draft this stack. In the video below Barstool Sports, says it better than anyone, Mahomes connection with Hill truly is a weapon of war.
3. New Orleans Saints
- Draft Capital: Drew Brees (7th-8th Round) + Michael Thomas (1st Round)
- Michael Thomas goes early in drafts, and deservingly so after his record breaking 149 catch 2019 season. Only time will tell if he is worth the high draft capital, but if this season is anything like the last he will be worth the investment. Thomas is entering his 5th season with QB Drew Brees, and it seems like their chemistry continues to improve season after season. Unfortunately due to injury, we only saw 11 games from the Brees-Thomas duo last season. But one has to think they will get right back on track once the season gets underway. This is one of my favorite stacks because it’s generally reliable and safe while still providing week-winning upside every week. Since Thomas entered the NFL in 2016 pairing up with Brees, the Saints offense has finished 2nd, 4th, 3rd, and 5th, in points per game. New Orleans has been an efficient, high scoring offense year in and year out. So having these two driving forces on your team makes the Saints a lot more fun to watch. Although you have to spend a 1st round draft pick on Thomas, you can wait it out and still scoop up Brees in the 7th-8th. Creating this stable stack is possible without spending too many high picks. In the video below, you can just feel the connection and chemistry between these two superstars.
4. Green Bay Packers
- Draft Capital: Aaron Rodgers (8th-9th Round) + Davante Adams (1st Round)
- Leading up to the NFL Draft, everyones favorite talking point about the Packers was their need to add another WR to play opposite Adams. Surprise…they didn’t add any pass catching weapons until the 3rd Round (a hybrid FB/TE). So here we go another season of the Rodgers-Adams connection is on the way. Over the past 4 seasons, Adams has established himself as the number one weapon, touchdown machine, and all out target hog in this Green Bay offense. Davante entered the NFL in 2014 but really took off starting in 2016. Since 2016 he is averaging 10 TDs, 1,066 yards, and 85 receptions each season, all while missing 7 games over that span. Rodgers has taken a step back in terms of his fantasy relevance and ability to stay healthy and active throughout the season, but I’m confident in a bounce back 2020. This connection is one of the strongest in the NFL, with far more potential upside than downside (excluding health). Adams is clearly Rodgers first target, most talented weapon, and biggest redzone threat. I’m in on Rodgers & Adams this season. They have a similar price tag to Brees & Thomas but both tend to be available with slightly later picks. I believe Adams has the ability to finish as the WR1 in fantasy this upcoming season. He has all the tools, the situation, and the quarterback. Listen to his teammate Allen Lazard talk about Davante in the video below.
5. Atlanta Falcons
- Draft Capital: Matt Ryan (7th-8th Round) + Julio Jones (1st-2nd Round)
- Chemistry, Chemistry, Chemistry! Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are now heading into their 10th season playing together in Atlanta. In the past 9 seasons, Julio is averaging 88 receptions, 1,347 yards, and 6 TDs per season, including 18 missed games over that 9 year span. Julio has had an amazing career, and although he’ll be turning 32 this upcoming year, he hasn’t shown any real signs of slowing down. Calvin Ridley’s emergence in the Atlanta offense is real, and he will continue to grow. But until Julio shows that he is taking any step back I won’t be one to sleep on him. The emergence of Ridley can even aid Julio in terms of finally having another viable option in the offense that opposing defenses have to account for. Only twice since 2012 has Matt Ryan thrown for under 4,500+ passing yards, it’s no coincidence Julio joined the Falcons in 2011. Ryan is consistent, and Atlanta has proven to be a very much pass-happy offense over the past few seasons. They’ve finished as the 5th (2018) & 1st (2019) offenses in pass attempts per game over the past 2 seasons. Matt Ryan finished as the QB2 in fantasy in 2018, while finishing as the QB11 in 2019. If Ryan can regain his 2018 form, which should be possible considering the passing volume in this offense and his receiving weapons, this should be a safe stack to draft. The draft capital needed to get Julio & Ryan also isn’t damaging to the rest of your draft. If they hit, it will be well worth the investment. Julio Jones is still one of the best WRs in the league and one of the best of all-time. I don’t typically love Matt Ryan, but at this current value in drafts as long he is throwing the ball to Julio, I’m in. They’ve been doing it for 9 years, as you’ll see in the video below, production is nothing new to this duo.
Cover Photo: Evan Siegle, Packers.com