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The OTHER Way to Play Underdog Fantasy Best Ball

By Matt Schauf | Updated on Sat, 13 Apr 2024 . 3:50 PM EDT

Best Ball is More Than Just Tournaments

Underdog Fantasy analysis is all over the place now. But nearly all of it is missing a key point.

You don’t need to draft into some large-field tournament to enjoy playing there.

Underdog Fantasy is best known for its Best Ball Mania tournament – now in its fourth year and carrying a $3 million top prize.

Pretty awesome money. But you’ll need to beat 677,375 other lineups to take that prize. And there are a LOT of experienced drafters hitting the 150-entry max for that tournament.

Intimidating field.

Try Non-Tournament Best Ball

But you don’t need to play that tournament. Or Weekly Winners. Or any other best ball tournament to get in on Underdog Fantasy.

Single leagues are also available at varying league sizes and entry-fee levels. You can even jump into 12-person drafts for free to get used to the format, if you’ve never played before.

Drafting into single-league best ball can even help hone your skills for the rest of your fantasy football drafts.

With a variety of 10- and 12-team options available, think of every draft as practice. You get the same experience as a mock draft – only better because you’re drafting against real drafters. 

And at the end, you have a team that could win you some money – and that you don’t have to bother managing throughout the season.

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If you’re totally new to best ball fantasy football, then you can learn all about it in our Best Ball Basics article.

The short version: You draft a roster – just like other formats – but then the system automatically plays your best lineup each week from the scores of all the players on your roster.

So it’s still basically the same game. But there are some key differences when you don’t have to set your lineup every week – and when you can’t make trades or waiver-wire pickups.

Read over all of our best ball draft strategy before you start. But here are some of those key differences …

Volatile Players Get More Attractive

You know that WR who will definitely deliver high-scoring weeks … but you’re scared to ever start because you can’t predict when he’ll deliver?

That guy gets much easier to draft onto a best ball roster.

Now you don’t need to know when to start Michael Gallup. You just need to know that he’ll mix in some strong weeks at a late-round price.

Does that mean you should reach for all the Michael Gallups and Darius Slaytons in your best ball draft? No.

You’re still trying to build a roster that can succeed weekly throughout the season. There will still be room for higher-floor, lower-ceiling types. But those spike-week players do gain appeal in best ball.

Stacking Teammates Can Supercharge Your Team

In a traditional lineup-setting fantasy format, you shouldn’t spend to much time trying to pair up teammates on your roster – and especially not stacking 3+ players from the same NFL team.

You won’t often want to start, say, a QB, RB, and WR from the same team on your fantasy roster. Sometimes that team will have a big week and score enough points for everyone. But a down game or key injury can sink your entire squad for that week.

Best ball fantasy football, however, makes stacking more important. The better a QB fares in a given week and over a season, the more likely his pass catchers are to deliver good fantasy outings.

When you draft a QB and WR from the same NFL team, you’re making one correlated bet for your best ball roster rather than two separate bets.

Just beware of overloading that correlated bet for your single-league best ball draft. The more legs you put into a parlay, the less likely it is to win.

The Draft War Room is ready to sync with your Underdog Fantasy draft

It’s Not Too Late to Draft

You might be thinking, “Cool. But the season starts in less than a week. This info’s pretty much useless now.”

Not true.

First of all, you can still fire up best ball drafts on Underdog Fantasy right up until kickoff. Jump into the same draft room with family members at your Labor Day cookout. Do another draft or two with your buddies at the end of your home-league draft.

And then keep drafting through the season.

Underdog Fantasy sports weekly fantasy football drafts throughout the year, both in single-league and tournament formats.

So you can leverage not only our rankings and Draft War Room cheat sheet for preseason drafting, but also apply the weekly projections to find sleepers and keep draft season going all year long.

How to Build Your Best Ball Lineup

Underdog Fantasy uses half-PPR scoring and a familiar lineup format:

  • QB
  • Two RBs
  • Three WRs
  • TE
  • Flex

How to build your best ball roster, though, generally differs from how you draft a lineup-setting league.

You obviously need to draft at least two players at each of the one-starter positions. You can even choose three at either position or both in your 18-round draft.

Base that somewhat on who you get at QB and/or TE. If you drafted Travis Kelce or Josh Allen, for example, you might want to stop at two players at that position.

If you were one of the last drafters in your league to address either position, then collecting three players will give you more weekly upside.

Top Underdog Fantasy Values

Every draft site has its own ADP that can help present value options during your draft. For Underdog Fantasy, here are some top options vs. our best ball rankings:

Quarterback

Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers. QB7 in ADP vs. QB5 in our rankings probably doesn’t look like big value. But a round difference in that range of the draft means you’re selecting an extra starer-level player at another position and then still landing a QB with displayed top-3 upside at the position.

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys. Prescott sits 13th among QBs in Underdog ADP but 11th in our rankings. He also sits in a fairly nebulous range at the position where being able to wait an extra round can boost you elsewhere.

Running Back

Raheem Mostert, Miami Dolphins. His ADP is likely still adjusting in the wake of Jeff Wilson Jr. opening the season on IR. But Mostert’s current RB43 ADP on Underdog (vs. our RB36 ranking) should make him a target. You’ll be OK even if the oft-injured vet misses some time as your RB4-5.

Devin Singletary, Houston Texans. There’s nothing exciting about Houston’s No. 2 RB. But the positive buzz for Dameon Pierce’s role has turned Singletary into a draft-day hot potato. Drafting him anywhere near his RB54 ADP – and especially after – gives you at least the contingent upside of a backup to a RB with zero full NFL seasons behind him.

Wide Receiver

Treylon Burks, Tennessee Titans. Burks has already returned to the field following his August knee injury. But his ADP has yet to rebound. He sits 48th among wideouts in Underdog Fantasy ADP. He’s 39th in our half-PPR WR rankings. And, of course, drafting him in best ball means you don’t have to guess at when to start him. Enjoy the peaks and avoid the valleys.

Nico Collins, Houston Texans. Does putting two Texans on this list mean we’re excited about the offense? No. It points to the upside potential in an offense that no one’s excited about. Collins looks like the lead WR in Houston, is leading the corps in ADP, and yet doesn’t come off the board until WR54 on Underdog. Lots of upside from there. And at that price, you could even pair him with rookie teammate Tank Dell to chase Dell’s preseason buzz.

Tight End

Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams. Higbee sits one spot ahead of Dalton Kincaid in our half-PPR TE rankings. He’s going nearly two full rounds behind Kincaid in Underdog Fantasy ADP. That makes Higbee an easy target for single leagues, where ultimate weekly upside isn’t as important as it is in tournaments. Higbee gains target-share upside with Cooper Kupp’s nagging hamstring issue.

Hayden Hurst, Carolina Panthers. Hurst has gotten absolutely no ADP bump through a quiet preseason. From a TE27 start, though, he could have a meh-to-poor season and still pay off for you. Carolina clearly paid him ($7 million average on a three-year deal) to play a key offensive role.

Want More Best Ball Strategy?

We ran through some basics for your best ball drafting above. But this video dives deeper, no matter what format you’re looking to play …

Other rankings are stale  before the 2nd round.

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