Playoff fantasy football starts with the beginning of games this Saturday (1/13/24) and can provide plenty of fun for all those who participate. One of the most popular forms of playoff fantasy football is underdog best ball, which allows individuals to draft a lineup and win cash prizes based on the performance of that lineup. In this article, I’ll break down how to play on Underdog and the best strategy to use to win.
How Does Underdog Playoff Best Ball Work?
Underdog Playoffs Best Ball starts with a draft, as most regular season leagues do. However, unlike traditional fantasy football leagues, you don’t need to set your lineup. With best ball, your optimal lineup is automatically started each week, so you don’t have to make the difficult start/sit decisions. You can simply benefit from the highest-scoring players on your team.
Each league has six players, and you’ll be randomly paired with other players to fill your league. There are ten rounds in each draft, so there will be 60 total players drafted. Each starting lineup consists of 1 QB, 1 RB, 2 WR/TE, and 1 RB/WR/TE flex spot. You will also get 5 bench spots.
Unlike traditional best ball formats, there are weekly eliminations. You must come in first in your six-person pod in the first round in order to advance to the next round. This is true each week as the number of participants is narrowed down until we get to the Super Bowl.
With that in mind, you must maximize your lineup for that first week of games while also looking forward to who might be the highest-scoring players for the entire playoffs. Let’s dive into some strategy for these Playoff Best Ball leagues.
Underdog Best Ball Playoff Strategy
In the NFL playoffs, the pool of remaining teams gets cut in half every week, not including the two teams with bye weeks in the Divisional Round. If you draft a player on the Steelers and they lose to the Bills in the first round, you won’t be able to earn points from that player in later rounds of the postseason.
Of course, it’s key to draft players who you think have a strong chance of ending up in the Super Bowl. If you make it all the way to the final round, it won’t matter much if you don’t have players who are still alive and eligible to earn points. Unlike traditional playoff best ball formats, Underdog does not carry over points from earlier rounds and each round is seen as a new matchup.
Best Ball Roster Construction
In addition to finding the right teams to utilize in this format, fielding a lineup with the proper amount of players at each position is crucial. To this end, I would recommend drafting 1-2 quarterbacks, 3-4 running backs, and 4-6 wide receivers and tight ends.
You can start a maximum of two running backs or three wide receivers weekly, and while you don’t have to start a tight end, all of the fantasy-viable tight ends will be drafted. I would never draft more than four running backs and I would certainly skew more towards wide receivers and tight ends.
At quarterback, you can get away with only drafting one, especially if you pick one who is playing on Wild Card weekend and makes it to the Super Bowl. For example, if the Bills make a run to the Super Bowl and you draft Josh Allen, you won’t need another player at the position. If you do draft two quarterbacks, I’d recommend taking two from the same conference and hoping they both make it to the conference championship.
Stacking in Playoffs Best Ball
Stacking is essential in this format as you need to push your chips in. If you think the 49ers will make the Super Bowl, it’s not enough to just draft Brock Purdy. You must also find a way to land multiple of Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle in order to compete with teams in the final week of the competition.
Even if you have no faith in the Packers making the Super Bowl, the best strategy is to stack Jordan Love with Aaron Jones, Christian Watson, and Jayden Reed rather than pairing Jordan Love with Zay Flowers or Stefon Diggs. Playoffs Best Ball is all about chasing the highest-upside outcomes as that’s how you beat this huge tournament format.
Given all of this information, it may seem smart to chase Ravens and 49ers stacks as they are the two teams with first-round byes. However, most people will be doing exactly that. Differentiating yourself is crucial in a large tournament pool. If you landed a stack of Jalen Hurts, A.J. Brown, and Dallas Goedert last year, you may have gotten your team to the Super Bowl, but so did a ton of other teams in the tournament.
The other issue with stacking Ravens or 49ers players is that you won’t earn any points for the first round of the tournament. Both teams are on bye, so their players won’t accumulate any fantasy points. The best path with these teams is to pair their players with the other players who you expect to be playing in the Conference Championship games, likely the Bills and Cowboys if chalk prevails.
Leveraging Multiple Entries
Ultimately, it’s crucial to field a team full of players who will be active on Conference Championship weekend and preferably in the Super Bowl. Therefore, the best path is likely to target the Ravens, Bills, 49ers, and Cowboys, who have the highest odds of winning their respective conference. The issue is that the other five players in your draft will be trying to do exactly the same thing.
Underdog’s Playoff Best Ball format allows you to enter up to 150 times. While your bankroll may not allow you to max enter the contest, I’d recommend drafting several teams with different approaches. If you think Jordan Love can lead the Packers to an upset in Dallas, draft a team centered around his wide receivers. If you think Joe Flacco can capture some magic in an unlikely run back to the Super Bowl, draft a team with Amari Cooper and David Njoku.
Check Out the Lineups YouTube Page
For more NFL betting content including predictions for spreads, totals, player props, and more, check out the Lineups YouTube page. We’ll have you covered with videos throughout the entire NFL postseason, starting with a loaded Wild Card Weekend slate.