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My Bye Stacking Experiment

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Ever since I first read about bye stacking, I had been curious if it could ever be pulled off. Finally I got tired of reading the speculation and decided to experiment with it myself. This thread is intended to document the fortunes of six fantasy football teams, four of which will be bye-stacked, and two will be controls. I will update this thread over the course of the 2014 season with my results in the hopes that they will be enlightening in some way.

First the ground rules. All six teams used the same draft board, all are in different leagues, and all the leagues share the identical format. For simplicity’s sake I chose Yahoo standard scoring, 10-teams, using QB-WR-WR-WR-RB-RB-TE-K-DEF. These would also be snake drafts. (Note about auctions: they would conceivably be easier for this strategy since you'd never be "locked out" of specific players, but it could also be harder if others caught onto your strategy and began bidding you up. Perhaps this is an experiment for another year.)

For my approach, I first totaled the bye week breakdown of the top 100 players on my draft board. The only weeks with more than a dozen were weeks 4 (17), 9 (22), and 10 (21). These would be the only weeks I would consider for stacking.

Next were my criteria for a team to be considered “stacked”:

  1. The #1 pick and the QB (i.e., your highest scorers) both had to be on the stack.
  2. As many of the starting 9 as possible had to share the bye.
  3. No more than a couple bench players would have to share the stack.

For the control teams a concerted effort would have to be made to avoid any bye sharing. In particular, the top 3 scorers would all require different byes, RB1 & RB2 could not share a bye, and the 3 WR could not share a bye.

My next post will cover the draft results.

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Sounds intresting and will follow. I used the same strategy in two of my drafts and i came out happy with my teams

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My approach to this is mostly to ignore bye weeks as a factor.

Some people might knock you for having too many players with the same bye, but I'm of the opinion that this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Acquire the most talent possible and worry about byes later. If anything, having more byes fall on the same week might be advantageous.

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I've always been a fan of bye stacking. My logic was always "more guys sharing the same bye, the less maneuvering other weeks".

Will keep tabs on the thread OP.

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Thanks for the feedback so far, of course I am interested in everyone else's results as well. Also, does anyone have any bye stacking experience from previous years they'd like to share?

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Drafts 1 & 2 – Week 10 Bye Stack & Control Team

The trouble with bye stacking for week 10 was that it was AP or nothing. He was #3 on my board, had an ADP of 2, and he was the only week 10 player in my top 20. So unless you were willing to reach for Morris in the first round, the week 10 approach was useless unless you had one of the top two picks. But if you did have a top two pick, week 10 worked out much better than the more target-rich environment of week 9. Instead of having to settle for (at most) three of the best eight available for the week, you could grab the top 2 easily and still have 19 available for the ensuing rounds. And this is exactly what I did.

Player – Position (bye week, pick #, rank on my board)

A. Peterson – RB (10, 1, 3)

A. Morris – RB (10, 20, 21)

K. Allen – WR (10, 21, 30)

A. Luck – QB (10, 40, 51)

C. Patterson – WR (10, 41, 45)

S. Vereen – RB (10, 60, 53)

TY Hilton – WR (10, 61, 58)

J. Reed – TE (10, 80, 85)

CJ Spiller - RB (9, 81, 34)

B. Tate – RB (4, 100, 52)

E. Decker – WR (11, 101, 70)

Texans – DEF (10, 120, 186)

R. Rice – RB (11, 121, 64)

N. Novak – K (10, 140, 260)

K. Benjamin – WR (12, 141, 102)

You’ll note I reached a bit for QB & TE, something that would become a theme in my bye-stacked drafts. In this case I was forced to pick at 40 knowing Luck would be gone by 60, and possibly Brady as well. Passing on Luck could very well mean a choice between RG3 or Rivers as my QB, then heaven help me if I missed on them. All told, things went incredibly well from a bye stacking standpoint, as my first 8 picks and all 9 starting positions went to week 10 players. I only broke ranks in round 8 because Spiller had fallen 40 picks past his ADP (bye stacking is a strategy, not a suicide pact). Of all my bye stacked drafts, this was my 2nd favorite.

For my next draft I was fortunate to get the 2nd overall pick. Again I took AP, only this time I decided to make this a control team.

A. Peterson – RB (10, 2, 3)

J. Nelson – WR (9, 19, 17)

D. Martin – RB (7, 22, 20)

A. Johnson – WR (10, 39, 40)

R. Jennings – RB (8, 42, 39)

N. Foles – QB (7, 59, 61)

R. Bush – RB (9, 62, 38)

M. Colston – WR (6, 79, 69)

T. Romo – QB (11, 82, 83)

T. Richardson – RB (10, 99, 65)

D. Pitta –TE (11, 102, 97)

C. Shorts – WR (11, 119, 108)

D. Bowe –WR (6, 122, 101)

Chiefs – DEF (6, 139, 193)

M. Bryant – K (9, 142, 259)

I took Romo because I felt non-stacked teams needed a backup QB, though not necessarily a second TE, DEF, or K. There were cases where I passed on the best available to avoid bye overlap. For instance, in round 5 the top RBs available by my rankings were Ryan Mathews, CJ Spiller, & Reggie Bush, but all of them shared a bye with either AP or Nelson. So while it was true that bye stacking forced you to reach at points in the draft, this still held true for non-stacked drafting.

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Dont let byes affect your draft board is my thought.

Yeah, this is my standard policy, and it has served me well. This year it got me RB1 & RB2 on the same bye, so I'm really curious about whether that team can carry that week. If not, I'll be in the same boat as a stacked team, only without the benefit of being full strength the other 8 weeks. For the purposes of this experiment, I wanted the control teams to take a conservative non-stacked approach versus completely ignoring byes.

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Drafts 3 & 4 – Week 9 Bye Stack and a Control Team

For my third draft I drew the 8th pick. The week 10 strategy was thus off the table, and when Manning got taken at 7 so was the week 4 approach (which I will explain later). While week 9 still presented the best total number of options, the limitations from this draft position were quickly exposed, and this became my least favorite of the drafts.

Picking 8th and 13th was too late for either Forte or Lacy, and it was also too early for the next tier of RBs, so I wound up going WR-WR to start. There was faint hope that Rodgers would drop to me at 28, but he did not. With the next tier of QBs too far, I went RB-WR. I was kind of counting on either Stafford (ADP=48) or Matt Ryan (54) to fall to me at 48, but they both vanished by 46. I had now put myself in a solid bind, because unless I got Cutler (95th on my board) my QB would have to be Jake Locker (219). If I had a do-over, I would have reached for Rodgers in the 2nd round to avoid reaching for Cutler in the 7th. So while I didn’t enjoy this draft, at least it was indicative of the perils of bye stack drafting.

Player – Position (bye week, pick #, rank on my board)

B. Marshall – WR (9, 8, 13)

J. Jones – WR (9, 13, 12)

CJ Spiller – RB (9, 28, 34)

R. White – WR (9, 33, 36)

R. Bush – RB (9, 48, 38)

B. Sankey – RB (9, 53, 54)

J. Cutler – QB (9, 68, 78)

K. Wright – WR (9, 73, 68)

J. Reed – TE (10, 93, 85)

R. Wayne – WR (10, 108, 92)

Bears – DEF (9, 113, 212)

S. Ridley – RB (10, 128, 80)

D. Bowe – WR (6, 133, 101)

M. Bryant – K (9, 148, 259)

Though I did manage to fill my roster with 11 week 9 types, I did fail to get the TE on the stack. The primary limitation of the week 9 stack was that Martellus Bennet was really the only draftable option (with all due respect to Delanie Walker), and Bennett was just 13th among TE on my board.

I drew the last pick in my 4th draft, so I set this as a control to the 3rd draft.

Player – Position (bye week, pick #, rank on my board)

M. Ball – RB (4, 10, 10)

J. Graham – TE (6, 11, 9)

R. Cobb – WR (9, 30, 29)

L. Bell – RB (12, 31, 28)

A. Luck – QB (10, 50, 51)

CJ Spiller – RB (9, 51, 34)

M. Wallace – WR (5, 70, 62)

J. Maclin – WR (7, 71, 77)

J. Bell – RB (9, 90, 46)

K. Wright – WR (9, 91, 68)

R. Randle – WR (8, 110, 93)

T. Richardson – RB (10, 111, 65)

R. Tannehill – QB (5, 130, 136)

Bengals – DEF (4, 131, 170)

M. Bryant – K (9, 148, 259)

Looking at these results, it seems crazy that I reached for Spiller three rounds earlier the draft before. But his ADP was 41, I had just taken 2 WRs, and I knew he wouldn’t drop to me where I got Bush. It was a clear example of sacrifices made in drafting for a bye stack. Note I also got Wright two rounds later than before.

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i really like the first team yo posted. spiller, tate and benjamin went super late. the last team looks nice too. leveon bell dropped to the fourth for you which is real nice. what site are you using? are you drafting with random public leagues?

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what site are you using? are you drafting with random public leagues?

All teams are in random, public Yahoo leagues. Judging from the profiles of my leaguemates they aren't very competitive, but the level of competitiveness is at least consistent across all leagues I'm in.

Week 1 results:

LabRat1 - Week 10 Bye Stack - Win

LabRat2 - First Control Team - Loss

LabRat3 - Week 9 Bye Stack - Loss

LabRat4 - Second Control Team - Win

LabRat5 - Week 4 Bye Stack - 2nd

LabRat6 - Week 9 Bye Stack II - 9th

The last two teams (which I will profile later) did not draft in time for week 1 and did not play. However theoretical point totals were available, and I listed where they could have finished in league points.

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Drafts 5 & 6 – Week 4 Bye Stack, Week 9 Bye Stack II

Week 4 bye stacking was problematic in that the only QB in the top 13 of my board was Peyton Manning. And though he was 18th on my board, his ADP was about 7. Since I usually wait on QBs myself, drafting for this stack would require a different mindset. I have to admit I wasn’t quite prepared for it, and this turned out to be the most poorly constructed of my stacked teams.

Player – Position (bye week, pick #, rank on my board)

P. Manning – QB (4, 9, 18)

M. Ball – RB (4, 12, 10)

Z. Stacy – RB (4, 29, 24)

J. Thomas – TE (4, 32, 33)

P. Garcon – WR (10, 49, 44)

B. Tate – RB (4, 52, 52)

T. Smith – WR (11, 69, 50)

W. Welker – WR (4, 72, 73)

J. Bell – RB (9, 89, 46)

K. Wright – WR (9, 92, 68)

R. Randle – WR (8, 109, 93)

S. Watkins – WR (9, 112, 91)

Bengals – DEF (4, 129, 170)

D. Baldwin – WR (4, 132, 130)

G. Zuerlein – K (4, 149, 276)

The combination of draft position and QB necessity caused me to miss on Demaryius Thomas and AJ Green, the only week 4 WRs on my board’s top 40 overall. The next tier of WRs were all snatched up between my 4th and 5th picks, so I was forced to draft WR1 & WR2 off the stack. It was therefore a flawed bye stack attempt, and I wasn’t sure what the team results would show other than the perils of drafting for bye stacked teams.

My favorite bye stacking draft came last. It turned out to be the least stressful of all the drafts as the names kept dropping to where I wanted them.

Player – Position (bye week, pick #, rank on my board)

E. Lacy – RB (9, 7, 6)

J. Jones – WR (9, 14, 12)

R. Cobb – WR (9, 27, 29)

CJ Spiller – RB (9, 34, 34)

M. Ryan – QB (9, 47, 59)

L. Bell – RB (12, 54, 28)

J. Bell – RB (9, 67, 46)

K. Wright – WR (9, 74, 68)

E. Decker – WR (11, 87, 70)

S. Watkins – WR (9, 94, 91)

M. Bennett – TE (9, 107, 120)

Bears – DEF (9, 114, 212)

R. Rice – RB (11, 127, 64)

M. Bryant – K (9, 134, 259)

A. Gates – TE (10, 147, 149)

All told, 11 of the 15 draftees made the stack, including all 9 starters. Though it was a reach, I was pleased to get Ryan where I did, and I even managed to work in a nice steal of LeVeon Bell about 30 spots past his ADP. I was also impressed that (excluding the kicker) I had no more than 2 players from any one NFL team. Contrast this with the previous draft, which would go only so far as the Broncos would take them.

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Week 2 Results: Five of the six teams won this week.

LabRat1 - Week 10 Bye Stack (2-0)

LabRat2 - First Control Team (1-1)

LabRat3 - Week 9 Bye Stack (1-1)

LabRat4 - Second Control Team (2-0)

LabRat5 - Week 4 Bye Stack (1-0)

LabRat6 - Week 9 Bye Stack II (0-2)

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Week 3 Results: Four of the six teams won this week.

LabRat1 - Week 10 Bye Stack (3-0)

LabRat2 - First Control Team (1-2)

LabRat3 - Week 9 Bye Stack (1-2)

LabRat4 - Second Control Team (3-0)

LabRat5 - Week 4 Bye Stack (2-0)

LabRat6 - Week 9 Bye Stack II (1-2)

Bonus team: In my LabRat2 league I noticed another team set for bye stacking, as 8 of his 15 players shared a week 9 bye. Though I am unsure of the manager's intentions, it looked accidental. Only 3 of his first 6 draft picks were week 9 types, and only 4 of his first 10 were. But he did have QB1, RB1, RB2, WR1, TE2, K2, & DEF2 on the stack, so I felt it would be worth monitoring.

Albino Norway - Partial Week 9 Bye Stack (2-1)

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Week 4 Outlook

LabRat1 - Week 10 Bye Stack (3-0)

My opponent had WR3, RB2, TE1, DEF1, and his only K all on bye against my full strength team. While I would hold off on evaluation of the strategy until year’s end, a loss for my team here would be quite a blow.

LabRat2 - First Control Team (1-2)

The absence of AP was no excuse for this team, because LabRat1 had the same handicap. This team had no players on bye in week 4, while its opponent would only be missing WR3 & DEF1.

LabRat3 - Week 9 Bye Stack (1-2)

Another opportunity for bye stacking to shine. My full strength team would be facing someone needing to replace RB1 and their only DEF.

LabRat4 - Second Control Team (3-0)

RB1 on bye, replacement options included Spiller, J. Bell, Taliaferro, & Robinson. Opponent would be without the services of Peyton or Emmanuel Sanders.

LabRat5 - Week 4 Bye Stack (2-0)

Big week for this team with 9 players on bye. I made no acquisitions and simply plugged in the 3 WR & 2 RB on my bench (points is points!). My opponent was dealing with WR1, DEF1, & K on bye. Matchup projection had me losing 49.68-85.01.

LabRat6 - Week 9 Bye Stack II (1-2)

Full strength versus RB2 & WR4 on bye.

Albino Norway - Partial Week 9 Bye Stack (2-1)

WR3 & DEF1 on bye vs. full strength.

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I had drafted CJ Spiller and Kendall Wright as my RB2 & WR3 on the LabRat6 team, but lately I had them benched in favor of LeVeon Bell and Colston. As a result my starting lineup no longer matched my stacked lineup. So I decided to make it more homogeneous and traded Bell & Colston for Megatron & Sankey. It was a WR upgrade coupled with an RB downgrade, but more importantly it realigned my week 9 stack.

Any opinions on trading for bye-stacked teams? Would you even consider trading away a player on your stack for someone who wasn’t? Would you pursue trades you wouldn’t normally look for just to add to your stack? Or would you ignore byes and treat trade offers normally? Also, would you approach free agents or prioritze waiver claims differently?

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Regular Bye Stacked

Stacked Teams 8-3 1-3 0-1

Control Teams 4-2 1-1 n/a

I’ll provide updates in the more condensed form above from now on. The columns represent the type of week, from Regular (everyone full strength), Bye (full strength stack team facing team with byes), and Stack (stacked team’s bye week). The Stack column should finish 0-4, while the Regular records are similar for both Stacked & Control teams so far. The column to watch will be the middle, and so far it’s bad news for the stacked squads.

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Week 5 Update

Regular Bye Stacked

Stacked Teams 8-3 2-5 0-1

Control Teams 4-2 3-1 n/a

Another tough week for the stacked teams. The way I see it, there are three standards for success in this experiment:

  1. Bye+Stacked record for Stacked Teams>.500 (assuming an 0-4 Stacked record leaves requirement of 19-13 or better for Bye record).
  2. Bye+Stacked record for Stacked Teams>that for Control Teams.
  3. Bye+Stacked record for Stacked Teams>Regular record for Stacked Teams.

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Just for fun I went back over my draft and out of 15 players only 5 were originally drafted. I don't think bye stacking is for me.

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Week 6 Update

W-LRecord Regular Bye Stacked

Stacked Teams 8-3 3-8 0-1

Control Teams 4-2 5-1 n/a

Since the stacked teams were getting waxed so far, I took a more in-depth look at the basic assumption behind the bye stacking theory. Does a non-stacked team really suffer a dip in production during the bye weeks, and if so, how much? For this aspect of the experiment there were 6 stacked teams (my 4 plus 2 others I found) and 54 control teams across my 6 leagues. With 3 standard weeks and 3 bye weeks in the books so far, the scoring averages looked like so:

Scoring AVG Regular Bye Stacked

Stacked Teams 96.20 85.87 64.94

Control Teams 88.39 89.48 n/a

The sample size for the Stacked row is too small to be meaningful yet, but the Control data represents over 300 matchups, and so far there is no evidence to suggest a dip in production.

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I think youre better off picking players based on quality and not on bye weeks.

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Week 7 Update

W-LRecord Regular Bye Stacked

Stacked Teams 8-3 5-10 0-1

Control Teams 4-2 7-1 n/a

Scoring AVG Regular Bye Stacked

Stacked Teams 96.20 86.32 64.94

Control Teams 88.39 86.76 n/a

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