Campfire Chat: 1 Plus 1 Is 3

Footballguys staff members discuss players whose sum is more than their individual parts

There are some pairs of players who are worth far more when they are both on one fantasy roster than they are as individuals. Name some of these pairs. Why are they more valuable together? Are you specifically targeting these players?

Chad Parsons: My first reaction to this question is thinking of unsettled running back depth charts - or ones where a committee approach is the preseason projection. While both (or more) options has some fantasy appeal, the true value comes from getting the most valuable (or last man standing if there is an injury) correct down the line.

For example, the Patriots backfield has been tough to project weekly, but Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkhead could both be relevant at times in the interior or power role. Collecting both when the depth is adequate can offer starting-lineup clarity when/if one is out of the lineup.

Another committee to highlight is New Orleans. The Saints stand out with three relevant backs on the fantasy radar, but a lack of clarity of each's consistent (if there is one) role. My take is missed time to any of them offers a quality uptick for the other two. For example, if Adrian Peterson is out, Mark Ingram II turns into the power role and Alvin Kamara dominates the pass-catching duties. If Mark Ingram II is out, Adrian Peterson increases his interior work and Kamara is the clear receiving option. If Kamara is out, Mark Ingram II shifts to more of a receiving option.

Clayton Gray: My first thought is the Denver quarterback situation. While I'm generally avoiding Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch in normal redraft leagues, those guys are certainly on my radar in leagues that start two quarterbacks and in best-ball formats.

If I get Mark Ingram II or Adrian Peterson, I get a player who has a role (even though we aren't positive what that role will be) and will get touches. On the other hand, if I get one Denver quarterback, I either have all of the quarterbacking or none of it. In a best-ball league where I must have quarterback depth, all-or-nothing is quite worrisome. Taking Siemian and Lynch gives me the all plus peace of mind.

Another combo is Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis. Reed is fantastic when healthy. He also misses a lot of games. Last season, Davis performed well when Reed was out. If you only have Jordan Reed, you might have a hole at tight end when he's injured. If you only have Davis, you have next to nothing when Reed plays. If you have them both, you'll always have a productive tight end.

Maurile Tremblay: I just want to comment that, technically, under the current laws of mathematics, in Peano arithmetic, 1+1=2.

Adam Harstad: While true, it's also worth noting that under certain circumstances it can be observed that 2+2=5.

Jason Wood: I'm not really sure what's being asked here. In redraft leagues, I can't think of many situations where 1+1=3 necessarily. In best-ball formats, it's an entirely different situation. In those leagues, loading up on QB/WR combinations can be lethal. The Saints tandem of Ginn and Snead would be maddening if you had to choose which to start, but will be mind-blowing in best ball. The same can be said of a Rishard Matthews/Corey Davis/Eric Decker combination. A Brandon Marshall/Sterling Shepard pairing is another to watch.

Clayton Gray: This could be largely a best-ball format question, Jason.

Andy Hicks: Sometimes 1+1+1=4 and a situation that may be worth taking three guys is in Washington with Terrelle Pryor, Jamison Crowder, and Josh Doctson. There is a lot of yards up for grabs with the departure of Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. Pryor has the highest ADP, but only has a one year deal that asks more questions than it answers. Crowder is an up and comer, while Doctson essentially missed his rookie season with an injury. Doctson was a 1st round pick so holds the value. There may even be enough ball to make all 3 viable, but you should see at least 2 of these guys push 1000 yards.

Dan Hindery: In best-ball leagues, one of the main goals is to increase your variance in smart ways. With almost all of the prize money going to first place, the "first or last" mindset makes sense.

One of the easiest ways to do that is to "stack" a quarterback with a boom/bust receiver. For example, after you grab Martavis Bryant it makes sense to target Ben Roethlisberger later in the draft. If Bryant has a big season and outperforms his ADP, then Roethlisberger probably will end up having a big season as well.

Similarly, if I take Rob Gronkowski or Brandin Cooks in the second round, I'm much more likely to target Tom Brady. It's entirely possible that Brady explodes for another 40+ touchdown season and Gronkowski and/or Cooks have huge upside in that scenario. A Patriots stack can be a league winner.

Chris Feery: I’m a fan of stacking situations in best-ball leagues as Dan alluded to, and there are a couple of situations where my interest gets seriously piqued in that regard. For example, if I nab Tyreek Hill as an early round WR, I’ll keep Alex Smith on my radar as a target for the later rounds. While Smith doesn’t bring a ton of value to the table by himself, the prospect of him hooking up with Hill on some monster plays points to a potentially fruitful situation. On weeks that it hits, you’re golden, while the weeks that they don’t connect are not necessarily a killer in that format.

For the later rounds of the draft, there are a couple of stacks that offer up a similar boom/bust appeal that can be targeted fairly easily. Over in San Francisco, speedster Marquise Goodwin is penciled in as WR2 for Brian Hoyer in the Kyle Shanahan offense. He could be in line for some big weeks, especially if you subscribe to the theory that the 49ers will be coming from behind more often than not. In Los Angeles, the same holds true for a stack of Jared Goff and Tavon Austin, but keep a close eye on the Rams depth chart in the wake of the Sammy Watkins trade.

The caveat to all three of those scenarios is that I would like to make sure I have two solid quarterbacks drafted already before committing to those stacks. The prospects of going through the season with one of that trio as QB2 is a little too risky for my blood. In general, I like having three QBs in best ball anyway, so this approach works well with my strategy.

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