Best Ball is a fast-growing fantasy football style that is one of the most exciting ways to play. In our staff’s opinion, Underdog Fantasy is the best place to play Best Ball, and I’ve done several best ball drafts ahead of the start of the NFL season. When you draft, you will be part of a 12-team pool, and the season on Underdog Best Ball is broken into four different rounds that have the following format:
Round 1 (Weeks 1-14): top two teams from each 12-person division advance
Round 2 (Week 15): advancing teams randomly put into 18-person pods, top two advance
Round 3 (Week 16): same structure as Round 2, but one team from each pod advances
Round 4 (Week 17): final 160 people compete head-to-head to determine the winner
Stacking is the best approach to playing Best Ball. It reduces the variability of your lineup and increases the correlation between high-scoring weeks from your quarterback and wide receiver/tight end. There are several approaches to stacking, but I have found that the best lineups feature double stacks between one quarterback and one or more wide receiver or tight ends. A recent example from my drafts included Dak Prescott with CeeDee Lamb and Russell Wilson with Tyler Lockett. I contemplated adding in Trevor Lawrence with Marvin Jones, and a triple stack is also a viable approach.
It’s important to note that Best Ball leagues have to be treated differently than normal leagues. In normal leagues, I never advise drafting quarterbacks early as there are so many viable late options which can be relied upon, particularly if you are streaming the position. However, Best Ball leagues have no waiver wire, and instead, your top-scoring players from each position are automatically inserted into your lineup each week. For this reason, securing the top quarterbacks is very important as you won’t have the opportunity to add/drop players during the year. Additionally, the upside is king in Best Ball, and you can often cast aside the low-ceiling, high-floor players (depending on draft value).
The following are a few of my favorite stacks for this season based on Underdog ADP:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady (ADP 101, QB) with Mike Evans (ADP 35, WR16) or Chris Godwin (ADP 40, WR18)
This season, Tom Brady is also featured in perhaps my favorite Best Ball stack as one of my favorite draft values. Brady finished as the QB7 in his first year in Tampa Bay, and I see that as a baseline as his play improved considerably towards the end of the year as he gained more confidence and chemistry with his new teammates. Mike Evans has over 1,000 yards in all of his seven career seasons, and his red-zone dominance gives him weekly touchdown upside that we love in fantasy football. Chris Godwin was the WR2 overall in 2019 and, despite a disappointing 2020 mired by injuries, is still one of the most exciting young receivers in the NFL. Both wideouts have top-ten upside at the position, and with Brady at quarterback, both are values as they are currently being drafted outside of the top 15 wide receivers where I have them finishing. Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski are viable later-round targets, as well, if you want to load up on Buccaneers. The Super Bowl Champions are a high-upside team stack that you don’t have to invest serious draft capital in – that’s a winning formula.
Ryan Tannehill (ADP 111, QB12) with A.J. Brown (ADP 21, WR7) or Julio Jones (ADP 41, WR19)
This season, Ryan Tannehill is another one of my favorite quarterback values in drafts as he finished as the QB7 last season and is being drafted as the QB12. The departure of former offensive coordinator Arthur Smith could be significant, but Todd Downing was promoted in-house, and he should deliver consistency. It’s not like the offensive advantage of having Derrick Henry demanding opponents to stack the box is going anywhere. Henry will once again help create one-on-one opportunities for A.J. Brown to dominate on the outside, and Julio Jones should also benefit from playing alongside the most offensive talent he ever has. Jones may have missed six games last year, but he was still excellent when on the field, and the duo of Brown and Jones is going to secure a vast majority of the target share in the offense. If you draft these three players, you’re basically locking down the entire passing offense on a team that finished as the fourth-highest-scoring in the NFL last season.
Los Angeles Rams
Matthew Stafford (ADP 116, QB 13), with Robert Woods (ADP 32, WR14) or Cooper Kupp (ADP 37, WR17)
The arrival of Matthew Stafford in Los Angeles should mean big things for Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp after both players had disappointing 2020 seasons. Jared Goff was a serviceable passer in the Sean McVay offense, but he never had the upside to lead a truly elite passing attack – Stafford does. We’ve seen several receivers finish as elite fantasy weapons in Detroit with Stafford delivering them the ball (think Calvin Johnson, Marvin Jones, Kenny Golladay). Stafford was seemingly playing under a different offensive coordinator every year. I had some concerns about the Rams’ passing offense before Cam Akers’s season-ending Achilles injury, as I expected them to be able to salt away leads late on the ground. Still, their hesitation to sign another running back to compete with Darrell Henderson suggests to me that this team will be quite pass-heavy. These players are all serious values at their current ADP as they all have the upside to be among the better players at their respective positions.
Washington Football Team
Ryan Fitzpatrick (ADP 159, QB21) with Terry McLaurin (ADP 28, WR11) or Curtis Samuel (ADP 97, WR49) or Dyami Brown (ADP 178, WR81)
The arrival of Ryan Fitzpatrick in Washington has primed Terry McLaurin for a breakthrough third season that sees him finish as a top-ten fantasy wide receiver for the first time. His talent has been obvious so far in the NFL, and now he has a quarterback who can consistently deliver him the ball downfield where he’s adept at separating from his opponents. Curtis Samuel is in line to be peppered with targets as the WR2 in this offense, and his offseason injury issues have caused his ADP to drop to a point where he’s now a screaming value. Fitzpatrick has a long history of overloading his top two wide receivers with targets, and Samuel finished as the WR25 last year in an offense with more target competition. So far, Dyami Brown has looked great in training camp and has quickly become one of my favorite late-round wide receiver targets, particularly with Samuel’s availability in question. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a stout fantasy option whenever he’s played over the past few years, and as the starter on this team, a top-12 finish is well within the range of outcomes for the veteran passer.
Ben Roethlisberger (ADP 176, QB22) with Diontae Johnson (ADP 46, WR23) or Chase Claypool (ADP 52, WR26)
If you’re investing in the Chiefs, Bills, or Cardinals stack with your early picks, it may seem daunting to find a way to work in a double stack. However, the Steelers allow you not to force a second stack into your lineup and naturally pick up high-upside players with great respective ADPs. The fantasy football community seems to have completely given up on Ben Roethlisberger after working his way back from a serious AC joint sprain and torn ligaments in his throwing shoulder and finished as the QB14 last season. Now, he’s further removed from that injury and will benefit from the presence of Najee Harris, the rookie running back who will make the offense much less one-dimensional. I’m high on Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool this season for different reasons. Johnson was peppered with targets last year when he was on the field, and while he did suffer from some drops, that’s not a very sticky stat year-to-year, and he is the #1 target on this team. Claypool, meanwhile, had a superb rookie season, and the 6’4”, 238-lb beast showed the speed and route-running chops that will allow him to earn a more consistent role in the offense this season. You can get both receivers in the fifth round or later, and Big Ben will be available in the last few rounds of your draft.
San Francisco 49ers
Trey Lance (ADP 105, QB10) with Brandon Aiyuk (ADP 44, WR21) or Deebo Samuel (ADP 64, WR30) or George Kittle (ADP 27, TE3)
Trey Lance’s ADP has skyrocketed to an almost uncomfortable point, but I’d still happily draft him in the 10th or 11th round. It sounds like Lance will become the 49ers’ starter sooner rather than later, and when he does, his rushing ability and cannon for an arm will make him a tremendous asset in fantasy football. Lance has a lot working for him between the high draft capital invested in him, playing for Kyle Shanahan in a loaded Niners offense, and his obvious talent and unique skill set. After a stellar rookie season, Brandon Aiyuk is one of my favorite breakout second-year wide receivers showed why Shanahan and the 49ers thought so highly of him in the draft. Aiyuk finished as the WR33 in just 12 games as a rookie. Deebo Samuel is being left for dead in many drafts, and he represents a high-upside value in the middle rounds. George Kittle is one of the few reliable, high-upside weekly plug-and-play tight ends. Pair any of the three with Lance for some explosive fantasy goodness in your Best Ball lineups.
Carson Wentz (ADP 196, QB27) with Michael Pittman Jr. (ADP 104, WR53) or T.Y. Hilton (ADP 158, WR73) or Parris Campbell (ADP 160, WR74)
This is my favorite bargain-bin stack combination this season, particularly as they have all seen their respective ADPs dip in recent weeks. Carson Wentz is back at practice and is well on track for Week 1, and while he’s coming off an ugly year with the Eagles, he’s reunited with Frank Reich, who previously helped make him a fringe MVP candidate. The Colts also feature perhaps the best offensive line Wentz has ever played with. Michael Pittman Jr. is an obvious breakout candidate who is currently being drafted almost 20 spots after I have him ranked among wide receivers. T.Y. Hilton might be 31 years old, but Wentz has the ability to get the ball to him downfield in a way Philip Rivers never could. Parris Campbell has struggled to stay healthy but is clearly talented and possesses a diverse skillset. Both Hilton and Campbell are worth fliers in the last few rounds. This offense has the ability to produce some terrific weeks for fantasy, and they are the best stack value in Best Ball.