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The Eliminator contest is a new best ball format introduced in 2023 that was well-received by the community. It provides a weekly sweat where you simply need to avoid finishing near the bottom of your pod. This obviously brings with it a variety of new strategic elements and ways to attack the contest. Specifically, for all weeks outside of the finals, this contest encourages a cash game mindset where high-floor/median outcomes are essential. If you listened to any content or read any articles on the contest last year, those themes were prevalent. However, for this year’s 2024 contest, Underdog added one major wrinkle that requires us to alter our approach from previous thinking – they expanded the final from just 6 teams to 115.

Not to be hyperbolic, but this changes everything. What you optimize for in weeks 1-16 often runs counter to what you will be optimizing for in Week 17. This article will get more into the details but at a high level, what you strategize for to survive elimination most weeks (i.e., avoid major stacking because it lowers your floor) is the opposite of what you’ll want for week 17 (i.e., stacking to increase your ceiling in the final week). This leaves drafters with a key question: Do I draft a team that optimizes for advancing throughout the regular season, or do I draft more traditionally with the hopes of increasing my upside for Week 17? Some might say that is no different than what we saw with the 2023 BBM where there were both regular season prizes and those in Week 17. But the difference is that for the most part, those two strategies did not contradict each other. Here, they very much do.

Because there is already a ton of content and strategy on the ETR site and elsewhere about traditional best ball strategies, and I think most of those apply to this format because of the importance of building teams that can thrive in Week 17, this article is going to focus primarily on the Eliminator aspect of the format and how to survive in these pods where anywhere from 50-83% (and on average 66%) of teams in a pod advance each week. It is best to think about the regular season as 16 different cash games, with strategy focusing more on avoiding disastrous performances than chasing high scores. Let’s start by reviewing the structure and goals of this contest. These are traditional 18-round drafts with the traditional starting positions for best ball. The difference is there is no regular season or playoffs. Each week, you compete against the teams in your pod to advance to the following week vs a new pod. How high you need to finish changes each week, which mostly means don’t finish near the bottom for that week or you’ll get eliminated (see below chart for the weekly breakdown). Our goal is simply to survive each week to make it to the finals in Week 17. Now, how do we do that? That’s what I’ll try to cover in this article, breaking it down into three key themes: 1) Balance, 2) Prioritizing Median Outcomes, and 3) Bye Weeks.

You can also save this chart as a helpful resource as it provides how well you need to do each week and once the schedule is released, we’ll include bye weeks for each team.




While traditional best ball can be won with more extreme strategies, such as hyperfragile RB or only taking one elite QB and/or TE, we need to prioritize an overall more balanced strategy for the Eliminator. Compared to traditional best ball where in the regular season pods, you often need to finish top 2/12 to advance. Finishing third or fourth is no different than 11th or 12th. Thus we take risks in hopes of winning our leagues because it doesn’t matter if we finish middle of the pack. And for large tournaments where we have to beat out hundreds of people in the final

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