What is Underdog Fantasy's Best Ball Mania III?
Best Ball and Underdog Fantasy combined to change the Fantasy Football landscape in 2021 with the launch of their Best Ball Mania II contest that saw the first $1 Million to first place Best Ball winner in the history of the format. Popularity continued to rise throughout last offseason and it became normal to share screenshots of your drafted best ball teams before the season and deep into the season as we shared our lineups and hopes and dreams of a big payday when Week 17 came to a close. The popularity also carried into the NFL Playoffs as Underdog launched plenty of playoff-only Best Ball tournaments that were filling in the matter of a couple of days (I love you Mitten 2).
We are now past Free Agency and the NFL Draft and are aaproaching the season that Underdog likes to call "Hot Best Ball Summer". With all the growth in the Best Ball community and with Underdog Fantasy we had the launch of Best Ball Mania III on May 2nd, 2022. Barriers have been broken again as we now have a bigger contest with a $10 million prize pool and with a first-place prize of $2 million, along with $1 million to second place and another $1 million to the overall highest-scoring team. This article will be a crash course on the overall tournament structure and what it will take to be able to crack the code to take it down. I will also have weekly articles all off-season looking at Best Ball industry news, with ADP Risers and Fallers in a report that I like to call "The Best Ball Report". Footballguys will be ramping up our Best Ball coverage in 2022 to have you ready to draft each time you enter a tournament on the Underdog Fantasy platform.
The Basic Tournament Information
- Total Tournament Entries = 451,200
- Draft Size = 12 Teams
- Draft Rounds = 18 Rounds
- Max Entries (Per Individual) = 150
- Price to Enter = $25
- Rake = 11.3%
- Pick Clock = Fast Drafts - 30 Seconds / Slow Drafts - 8 Hours
- Contest Closes on 9/8/2022 4:32PM
- 1st - $2,000,000
- 2nd - $1,000,000
- 3rd - $500,000
- 4th - $200,000
- 5th - $100,000
- 6th - $75,000
- 7th - $50,000
- 8th - $40,000
- 9th - $30,000
- 10th - $20,000
- 11-50th - $10,000
- 51-100th - $5,005
- 101-200th - $3,750
- 201-300th - $2,500
- 301-400th - $1,500
- 401-470th - $1,000
- 471-940th - $505
- 941-2350th - $200
- 2351-3760th - $100
- 3761-5640th - $90
- 5641-7520th - $75
- 7521-37600th - $40
- 37601- 75200th - $35
- ***BONUS $1,000,000 to the Top overall scoring team***
- Round 1 = Weeks 1-14 -- These are 12-person groups with the top two scoring teams from each group advancing to Round 2 and winning $35.
- Round 2 (Quarterfinals) = Week 15 -- These are 10-person groups with only the top-scoring team advancing and winning $75.
- Round 3 (Semifinals) = Week 16 -- These are 16-person groups with only the top-scoring team advancing and winning $1000.
- Round 4 (Final) = Week 17 -- The Final will consist of a 470-person group and prizes will be as stated above.
Roster (18 Players)
- QB = 1
- RB = 2
- WR = 3
- TE = 1
- Flex = 1
- Bench = 10
- Reception = 0.5 point
- Receiving Yard = 0.1 point
- Rushing Yard = 0.1 point
- Passing TD = 4.0 points
- 2-PT Conversion = 2.0 points
- Receiving TD = 6.0 points
- Rushing TD = 6.0 points
- Passing Yard = 0.04 point
- Interception = -1.0 point
- Fumble Lost = -2.0 points
Drafting Tips and Tricks
- Roster Construction - You get 18 total shots to build your Best Ball team so now you need to know how to best use each of those 18 selections. When people first start out playing Best Ball this is often a step that goes overlooked at times. We can only start 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE, and 1 Flex so we want to be able to find every small edge we can find in how we construct our team. The default ideal build for me in these 18-round drafts is a 2QB/6RB/8WR/2TE build with taking a quarterback and tight end earlier in the draft so I can look in more upside points at both the onesie positions. In a tournament like BBM3, the prize structure is very top-heavy so you want to play it for ceiling and risk more with each build. I also like 2/5/8/3 builds if I feel good about my quarterbacks and running backs and punt the tight end position until the end of the draft. 3/5/8/2 build if you go tight end early and wait at quarterback. Those are the three builds I play with in a majority of my drafting.
- Stacking - After roster construction, it will be stacking that you will hear the most about when it comes to playing Best Ball. This is even more important in a tournament such as BBM3 where you will need to score so many points each week in the playoff rounds. What stacking generally means to most is stacking your quarterback with his wide receivers and tight end. It could also mean including the team's running back with the quarterback. Stacking could also include looking more at the better teams and trying to stack only players from those teams. Each draft room is filled with different drafters so getting your stack (or stacks) is a game inside the game as you will have to adjust on the fly as stacking requires lack of sniping and maybe more of taking players ahead of ADP.
- Rankings and ADP - I am a firm believer in setting my player rankings on Underdog regardless if I use them 100 percent or not. I feel like I have an edge versus ADP so I want to be able to have an updated set of my personal rankings that I have set and am ready to use when drafting. While setting your rankings you can also set your position limits which is another must-do on Underdog. You can just set those position limits at 2/6/8/2 or whatever you like. The reason I like to set rankings and limits is that the 30-second draft clocks move fast, you get distracted, the site crashes, and various other reasons. Things happen quickly during the draft so having those set if you auto-draft an entire team or partial team you will still end up with a decent build at the end. You should also get familiar with the queue as I like to always add some names there when I am not on the clock to help me be prepared for when I am on the clock.
- Better in Best Ball - You want to look for players that can give you spike weeks along the way, especially in the playoff weeks. Those are the higher ceiling type of players and maybe even those players that only touch the ball a handful of times but have the potential to score with a single opportunity. Being able to have a player that can score 20+ fantasy points for 2-3 weeks is going to be more valuable than having a player that scores 7-8 fantasy points for you every week. The goal in Best Ball is to maximize your score each week and spike week type of players are ways to help us accomplish that.
- Understand the Tournament Structure - When a tournament is over 450,000 entries you want to know every angle of the format and structure to help you have every advantage possible. BBM3 is built on the fact that you need will need a strong team in Weeks 15, 16, and 17 if you want a chance to take home a big prize. For me, I see Week 16 as the absolute key to this contest as it is the week that you will need to be perfect as you have to finish in first place out of your 16-person group to move on to the finals. Looking ahead to the schedule for Week 16 will be a big deal in this tournament as you will want to try to figure out what game stack to target or what players stand out for their matchups that week. You really want to try to tell yourself a story with every team that you draft and try to set yourself up for success later in the season with teams that are stronger near the end of the NFL season.
- Have Fun and Don't Be Afraid to Try New Strategies - With the growth of Best Ball over the past few seasons we have seen more industry information come in to help us draft. There are more podcasts, articles, data, rankings, strategies, and just more people playing in general so we are going to have more general ideas on how to play Best Ball. It is good to consume some of this information, but at the same time, you have to be the one that makes the end decisions on how you build and construct your team. Last year we saw wide receiver ADP shoot way up and we saw others say we should keep our rosters thin at running back as it was the best strategy for these types of tournaments. The fact is that there is no clear-cut strategy to win at Best Ball as it is a new game that looks to not be solved just yet. Will it ever be solved? I personally don't think it will as situations change every season. Whatever is the flavor of the week type of strategy and approach with these tournament builds I often like to think it through and be different and have fun in my drafts. If people want to only draft wide receivers to start out drafts I want to push back and scoop up the values at the other positions and look to find those better in Best Ball-type wide receivers later. Again, there is no exact science on how to draft a Best Ball team and that is the beauty of why this game is so fun right now.
- Be Bold and Don't Draft Scared - Often times when you spend a hefty $25 entry fee to play in BBM3 you want to be careful with how you draft to make sure you are not just throwing away your money. This is a hard rule to break as you get tied to ADP and specific roster construction that has the best win rates. It is easy to just follow others' rankings or stay close to ADP and just put together a standard 2/6/8/2 build without putting much thought into it. With this type of thinking you probably are going to have teams that are not very unique and don't give you the best shot at finding their way into the final rounds of the tournament. You want to build a team that has everything, you want floor type of players, you want higher ceiling players, you want stacks, you want young breakout type of players, and you want those better in Best Ball type of players. Don't settle for the safe pick in every round of your draft, be bold and be different in your drafting style to help you build a team that can survive in all the rounds of a tournament like BBM3.
- Have a Draft Plan You Can Easily Adapt as You Draft Each Round - With a 30-second timer these drafts move fast and having a set plan will probably never work out for you. You can have a goal on how you want your team to look, what type of players you want, what teams you want players from, general roster construction, and when to target specific positions in each round. You have to be ready to adapt and adjust as you draft, as you will get sniped on your players throughout these. When that happens you act quickly and re-adjust and make a new plan. Each round or two you can look over your team and tell yourself a story about how you want the next couple of rounds to look. The more you draft the better you will become at this and it will almost become a natural process.
- Track Your Player Roster Percentages - One of my favorite parts of Best Ball is tracking how many shares I have of each player. I like to draft a high volume of Best Ball teams each year and the reason I like to do this is that I like to build a portfolio of players that I like and that I can track their roster percentage throughout the drafting season and also have some good data to look at during the season. Last season I drafted over 2000 Best Ball teams and used the roster percentage tool to be less risk adverse. I had Robert Woods ranked over Cooper Kupp but when I saw Woods at 15% and Kupp at 5% I swapped them in my rankings and tried to get them to be more around 10-12% each. Little things like that can really help you create a stronger portfolio for the season and give you more shots at hitting on the breakout players. Injuries are also a huge reason why ownership is so important. Injuries are going to happen and in Best Ball that is a problem because once you draft a player there is no turning back as it doesn't matter if they get drafted and injured before the season even starts they will be on your roster for the season. My general rule is to limit myself to players I really like and keep drafting to about 20-25% ownership. Last year for example I made a mistake here where I was high on J.K. Dobbins and Cam Akers and had them at around 30-35% owned and they were injured before the season even started.
- Try to Understand Your Draft Room - There are a few tips that can help you when you first enter a draft. You can look for red or black shields and that lets you know that those drafters have experience in at least 500 or 1000 total drafts. You will often notice usernames that you know from Twitter in the fantasy community. After a few rounds, you will quickly see how each drafter will approach the draft and you can adjust for yourself on how you want to attack that draft. With sharper drafts, you will likely have to be more aggressive on when you draft certain players but also most will be looking to build out their own stacks so there is a chance the stacks you are working on will fall to you. If you are in a draft that is less sharp, be prepared for an unpredictable draft room and one that you will find values but also one that you might have to work harder for your stacks.
I have been playing Best Ball for five-plus years now and I have learned valuable lessons along the way and I want to share that knowledge with our customers at Footballguys.com. My name is James Brimacombe, and my username on Underdog Fantasy and around the various Best Ball and DFS sites is "Eaglezzz". I am going to be honest with you each week as I try to help guide you on your own personal Best Ball journey in 2022. I have made mistakes over the years and I have done a few things correct and I will always give you my knowledge from both angles. You can always follow me on Twitter as I share my Best Ball thoughts on there daily and am always happy to answer questions on there via replies or DM's, you can follow along here @JamesBrimacombe.
Be sure to check out Underdog Fantasy. You can join their Best Ball Mania III contest here. Being a Footballguys subscriber, you'll get a 100% deposit match up to $100 if you're a first-time depositor. Have fun, and see you in the lobby!