What’s up, beautiful people. This isn’t crypto/NFT related, but at MVHQ we look to take advantage of any possible opportunity to make a little cash.
As a huge NFL fan and fantasy football player, Best Ball is my favorite way to scratch that itch throughout the summer. I have been playing Best Ball for 7+ years now and have consistently had a positive ROI, including a smaller tournament win a few years ago. I don’t say this to brag, but to give some credibility to my strategy advice and lessons that I have learned.
Despite Best Ball being around for several years, I strongly believe there is still an edge to be had. The two biggest providers, Draftkings & Underdog, have massively increased their prize pools ($10 million & $15 million flagship contests) and marketing for Best Ball this year. This means that there are a lot of new people coming in to participate that don’t understand proper drafting strategy. A lot take what they know from normal fantasy football and think the same thing applies to Best Ball, but there are some major differences.
If we can master the fundamentals, stay up-to-date on the player research, & implement some advanced strategies, then we can set ourselves up for +EV entries and a shot at the huge top prizes. Let’s dive in.
The following are some basic strategy pieces that will increase the EV of your entries. While I say they are “basic”, you would be surprised at how many of your competitors don't follow these guidelines. (That’s great for us).
I draft the following number of players per position (using Draftkings 20-man team):
I determine the number of players I draft per position based on draft capital. For example, If I draft 2 RBs in the first 3 rounds, then I will only draft 3-5 RBs total since I used two premium picks on that position already. Or say if I draft a QB in the first 6-7 rounds, I will only draft 2 QBs total, because I already have an elite on the my roster.
Balance your positions. The more draft capital you spend, the less players you need for the position (and vice-versa).
Average Draft Position (ADP)
This is relatively simple, but important. Be mindful of what your player rankings are vs ADP. If you want a guy ranked 20 spots below ADP, you likely can afford to wait a round to take him and use your current round pick on another guy with a lower ADP. Try to get your guys at a discount. The one exception to this is reaching for a player that is part of a stack you are building.
If you have ever tried your hand at DFS, I am sure you understand the importance of stacking. Well, it is just as important in Best Ball. You need to pair your QB up with pass-catchers. Ideally, I shoot for 2-3 pass catchers per QB. It is even +EV to stack a team’s RB with QB.
The thesis is simple, you are betting on a team’s offense. Stacking an offense increases correlation as a great QB is going to elevate the skill positions around him.
Week 17 Game Stacking
This one only applies to the large tournaments where there are 100 or more remaining in the Week 17 championship. It might sound silly at first to focus on a single week of the season. However, these large tournaments have incredibly top-heavy prize pools. The $10 million Draftkings tourney allocates 50% of the prize pool to the top 0.01% finishers.
You need to get everything right in the championship week, and the more correlated your team is, the better chance you have. I always try to draft at least one player from an opposing team that my stack is playing in Week 17. (edited)
My Strategy Tips
- Be like water. Let the draft come to you. It’s important to have certain targets and stacks that you may want to build, however, every room is different, you never know what guys will end up falling to you. Be ready to adapt if your guy gets sniped right before you pick or if a stud falls in your lap when you weren't planning on taking that position.
- Do not skimp out on WR. There are 3 WR roster spots + a flex. That’s 4 total spots each week that you can start a WR in. The NFL is also transitioning to more and more of a passing league. So many points go to that position. It’s important to get some studs early and make sure you have plenty of backup options.
- Draft like all your picks are perfect. They basically need to be to win these huge tournaments. This means don’t be afraid to go thin at QB, TE, RB if needed. If you draft a couple stud RBs early, make the assumption that they are going to play great and be healthy all year. If they don’t, then it’s very likely that your lineup won't win anything anyway.
- Set custom rankings. There are some great sites out there like Establish The Run that have player rankings you can upload. I usually do this and then tweak the rankings to my preference from there. This will make it easier to get your guys when you are on the clock. Also if you accidentally autopick, you’ll likely get someone that you like, so not a huge deal.
- Go off the board with your last few picks. The margins are negligible with the players at the end of the draft. Don’t be afraid to scroll down a bit and take some crazy shots with your final picks. The guys that are rarely getting drafted give you an even bigger edge if they hit because their ownership is much less than the standard 8.33% (1/12). I like to use at least one of these to pair with my QB stacks. Usually, a talented WR/TE buried on the depth chart that has a path to more playing time with an injury.
The 4 biggest Best Ball sites are:
- Underdog - $15 million headline tournament, 18-player teams, week 17 championship, best UI https://underdogfantasy.com/
- Draftkings - $10 million headline tournament, 20-player teams, week 17 championship, softer fields https://www.draftkings.com/lobby#/NFL/86125,86124/All
- Drafters - $2 million headline tournament, 20 player teams, no tournament, most points format https://drafters.com/
- FFPC - $1.25 million headline tournament, 20 player teams, week 17 championship, 1.5 PPR for TEs https://myffpc.com/cms/public/
- Tools: Establish The Run is my personal favorite website and podcast for Best Ball content. The site is paid, but their podcast is free. https://establishtherun.com/
- Underdog has some great youtube content as well. There is also a browser extension tool called Spike Week that Poopaloop recommends. It overlays additional info into your drafts. https://spikeweek.com/