When drafting fantasy teams, a strategy based simply on "picking the best players" is wrought for failure. Of course, winning requires having the correct players on your roster, but simply hunting for that is a frivolous pursuit that is largely outside your control. Instead, fantasy gamers should be looking towards structural drafting.
Structural drafting is exactly what it sounds like: build your team(s) through a specified framework. Preferably this is a framework with a documented history of success or sound rationale behind it. Structure takes on many forms and can be related to broad-strokes team-building or more micro aspects. For Underdog best ball -- especially tournaments -- it is good to build structurally around your portfolio of players. Here are some tips to keep in mind while drafting.
Unlike standard re-draft leagues, best ball rosters on Underdog do not have access to a waiver wire. The team you draft is the team you keep for the season. As such, it is critical that you allocate the correct amount of draft capital to each position. A team too heavy in one area may not generate enough useful points to keep the team competitive -- even if the individual players are good.
There will be another article to get a little more micro into these ranges by team build, but here is a basic look at how many players you should draft at each position.
You can only start one quarterback weekly on Underdog, so it doesn't make sense to have too many on your roster. Ideally, this number is two, but in builds that are light on running backs, you can afford to splurge on a third. In those cases, it is recommended that no more than one is taken in the first 10 rounds.
Running Back: 3-6
Running back allocation is always a hot topic of debate on social, and how many you draft should be directly correlated with when you are drafting them. If you have two or more backs early, then you should not draft more than four total. Chances are if you need weeks from other backs, something went wrong (likely injury), and your team is drawing dead to win anyway. Conversely, if you aren't taking your first running back until Round 5 or later, it is reasonable to take up to six.
Wide Receiver: 8-11
Receivers score points on a wider distribution than running backs, and you need to start at least three every week, so you will want to have a bunch of them on your rosters. There are some limitations to replacing high-end receiver production in the aggregate, but having volume is far more feasible in best ball than managed leagues to overcome a deficit up top. In extreme builds where you select the minimum at every other position, it is possible to go as high as 11 receivers.
Tight End: 2-3
Similar to quarterback, you can only start one tight end. In addition to the individual preferred allocations, it is recommended that you draft no more than five total "onesie" players. Tight ends could conceivably wind up in your flex, but it is still difficult to get much use out of extra players at the position.
In addition to considering the number of players you take at each position, it would also be beneficial to vary the type of drafted players. This not unilaterally true, of course. It would be very good, for example, to wind up with all quarterbacks who can run. We should be thinking of this specifically in terms of availability and contribution of points. In an obvious example, it would be poor construction to take Trey Lance and Justin Fields as your two quarterbacks because you could end up taking zeroes the first few weeks of the year.
Less obviously, we should consider how the running backs on our roster will contribute points. Are they workhorses, pass-catchers, two-down backs, or pure handcuffs? Understand that these players score points in different ways. Putting workhorses aside, you are looking for spike weeks from receptions (pass-catchers), touchdowns (two-down), or injury (handcuffs). Looking to score all of your points in just one way leaves holes on your roster. This is especially true with handcuffs, who can get pushed up the board due to upside, but can produce nothing but zeroes for most -- or all -- of a season. Do not overload on these types of backs.
Similarly, look to diversify at receiver. Many best-ball players tend to prioritize big-play threats once they get past the first few waves of receivers. This is done under the assumption that long touchdowns are the best way to take advantage of variance. Keep in mind that Underdog -- and most other best-ball formats -- award some points for catches. It may not be as attractive, but you can get there through volume. It is beneficial to draft wideouts with secure roles in the offense, who could benefit from a weekly target spike instead of a couple of long plays. These players are often cheap and can provide some floor to your receiving group.
Bye Week Diversity
This is a bit of an obvious point, but the more players you have available each week, the better chance you have to find a usable score. Because of this, it makes sense to mix up your bye weeks as much as possible. It is recommended that no bye weeks be shared outside of stacks within a single position, and sharing byes between positions should be limited as much as possible. This may be worth only a few points every week, but over the course of a season, those points add up. Best ball is a game of edges, and the more you can stockpile during the year, the better off you'll be.
This also has the unintentional effect of varying your player mix. If you are looking to draft multiple teams -- or even mass multi-entering one of the large tournaments -- maintaining bye-week diversity will help keep you from being over-exposed to any one player.