As fantasy football has exploded into the mainstream, the door has opened to many different variations. Perhaps the simplest is what’s known as “best ball”.
WHAT IS BEST BALL?
A draft-only fantasy format. After the draft takes place, there are no trades, no waiver pickups, no lineup-setting, and no transactions of any kind. There are starting lineups, but the computer will set your lineup at the end of each week. In other words, you’ll automatically get your optimal, results-based starting lineup each week. The winner of the league is whoever accumulates the most points at the end of the season.
HOW MANY PLAYERS SHOULD I DRAFT AT EACH POSITION?
Great question and a somewhat complicated one. The bottom line is, it depends on how much early-round draft capital you spend at a position. For example, if you select Josh Allen, then the likelihood that your No. 3 QB gets a usable score often enough to be worth a draft pick is low. Once you have Allen, you’d only want two total QBs on your roster in most formats. We’ve taken a data-driven look at more than 26,000 simulations in an effort to flesh out the optimal positional allocation strategy.
For Underdog Best Ball (18-round drafts), we recommend the following positional allocations:
HOW SHOULD I ADJUST MY RANKINGS FOR THIS FORMAT?
A common tactic owners employ is to increase volatility across their roster. They target players with low-floor/high-ceiling distributions in their weekly game logs because they don’t need to pinpoint the spike weeks for these players. While there are examples of these players (such as Jalin Hyatt and Rashid Shaheed), our data-driven research has shown that the value gained by these boom/bust players is often overstated in ADP (Average Draft Position). We are more concerned with fragility of role than trying to reach for a player we think has a wide distribution of outcomes.
We have rankings for every best ball format in our Draft Kit Pro.
SHOULD I DRAFT HANDCUFFS?
Intuitively, the thought is no. Because we want as many chances at qualifying scores as possible each week. If we drafted both Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard in 2022, it was overwhelmingly likely just one of them will have a chance to be in our starting lineup on a given week.
However, our Mike Leone did a lot of research on this exact topic and came up with a different conclusion — specifically for large-field tournaments on Underdog. Head here for the details.
WHAT IS A BEST BALL TOURNAMENT?
In a large-field best ball tournament, owners compete to qualify for the playoffs. These playoffs are typically held in Weeks 15-17. The teams with the highest scores in those weeks advance until a winner is crowned. In these tournaments, the optimal strategy includes correlation and stacking. Our research has shown that stacking all of your QBs when possible is optimal.
WHERE SHOULD I PLAY BEST BALL?
Underdog Fantasy, DraftKings, Drafters, Best Ball 10s, and FFPC all host Best Ball contests. These all have different scoring systems and payout structures. We have rankings for every best ball format as part of our Draft Kit Pro.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DEFAULT RANKINGS?
Many of our opponents will be using the “Default Player Rankings” as a core tool of their draft. That’s the order the players will be listed in the applet. Our biggest edge comes from exploiting those rankings. Understanding the default ranks allows us to know which players we can wait on, which are likely to go too high, and who we can steal late. Remember that we have rankings for every best ball format. And on Underdog + DraftKings, you can upload our rankings directly into the draft applet