Underdog Best Ball NFL Fantasy Playoff Strategy (Updated 2024)

    Fantasy football doesn't have to end with the regular season. What is the optimal strategy for best ball NFL fantasy playoff leagues, such as Underdog?

    The NFL regular season may be over, but that doesn’t mean fantasy football has to stop. We still have four weeks of postseason action consisting of 13 games. Playoff fantasy football certainly pales in comparison to the popularity of the regular season, but it can be a ton of fun nonetheless and with far lower stakes.

    There are several formats you can use. Today, we will discuss Underdog’s best ball NFL playoff fantasy football and what strategy to use to succeed. And if you sign up for Underdog using the promo code PFN, you will receive a deposit match of up to $100!

    What Is Underdog’s Playoff Best Ball?

    Regular season best ball leagues involve drafting a full roster of players before the season and then letting the season play out. Regardless of what platform you play on, the basic premise of the best ball is that you never have to make lineup decisions. Your top-scoring players are automatically inserted into your lineup! There are thousands of these leagues on Underdog Fantasy every season.

    Playoff best ball is still relatively new on Underdog, but as the leading best ball platform, they are the best place to play. The format is largely the same, but the shorter timeframe and smaller player pool require some changes. Let’s get into those.

    Much like regular season best ball, there’s no weekly roster management. You draft your entire roster before the first round of the playoffs, and your top-scoring players automatically go into your lineup.

    Underdog’s playoff best ball roster is 10 players with 1 QB, 1 RB, 2 WR/TE, and 1 Flex. So, you’re starting five players with five on the bench.

    One of the key differences between Underdog’s best ball format and others you may have played in the weekly eliminations.

    Most playoff fantasy pools are an accumulation of total points scored across the entire NFL playoffs. So, for example, you could theoretically have a bad Divisional Round and overcome it by smashing in the other three rounds.

    On Underdog, you need to win your way into the next round. If you don’t score enough points, you’re out.

    That means there could be a scenario where you score the most total points across all four weeks but end up winning nothing because one week happened to be below the threshold to advance to the next round.

    What Is the Optimal Strategy for Underdog’s Playoff Best Ball Contest?

    The primary focus here is on the Gauntlet. It’s a $25 entry with six-person drafts. You need to come in first place in your group each round to advance. If you make it to the Super Bowl, prizes are awarded based on the most points scored in that game.

    I can’t stress enough how different this is from other pools. The amount of points you score in the reach round doesn’t matter. It doesn’t have to be a lot; it just has to be the most.

    MORE: PFN’s FREE NFL Playoff Predictor

    In the NFL playoffs, teams are eliminated every week. That means a large swath of players will stop accumulating points for those that drafted them, leading us to the most important strategic decision of playoff best ball — draft players that are likely to play multiple games. More specifically, draft players on the teams you think will meet in the Super Bowl.

    In more traditional best-ball formats where points carry over from round to round, it’s possible to accumulate enough points in the early rounds that having minimal exposure in the Super Bowl is OK.

    On Underdog, with scores resetting every week, you cannot win without Super Bowl players. I would be willing to say you need to be able to field a full lineup of five players in the Super Bowl if you want any shot at winning a large field tournament like the Gauntlet.

    With so many entrants, you know there will be others out there who can fill every position in the Super Bowl. If that’s not you, you’re not going to win.

    Of course, that’s easier said than done. There are also large-scale playoff pools where you can choose whatever players you want. In that format, you have complete control over which teams to push your chips in on that you think are likely to make the Super Bowl. On Underdog, you’re participating in six-person drafts with a random draft position.

    You may think the Super Bowl in 2024 will be the Baltimore Ravens vs. the San Francisco 49ers, but if you don’t pick the right spot, Lamar Jackson and Brock Purdy will be gone. If you can’t get either of them, you’ll have no choice but to pivot to other teams.

    Additionally, stacking is essential. And I don’t just mean quarterback and wide receiver. You need to stack full teams. In this case, you’re not looking purely for the upside that comes with having a quarterback and his pass-catchers; you are looking for the potential to score points from as many players as possible in the Super Bowl.

    You may have no faith in the Los Angeles Rams or Cleveland Browns to make a serious Super Bowl run. But you are better off stacking Matthew Stafford, Puka Nacua, and Kyren Williams than taking Zay Flowers, Deebo Samuel, and a quarterback that isn’t Jackson or Purdy.

    If you can’t get the quarterback, you’re better off fading the team entirely and hoping a lower probability outcome occurs. There are also benefits to doing that on purpose.

    The NFL playoffs are one-and-done. If the 49ers play the Detroit Lions seven times, they probably win that series 90% of the time. But one game? They certainly don’t win one game 90% of the time. It’s probably closer to 60/40 than 90/10.

    The point is that the best team does not always win. And the two best teams rarely end up meeting in the Super Bowl. While it did happen last year, that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen again. If anything, it’s more likely that it won’t, especially with this year’s field feeling as wide open as ever.

    If you had numerous Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles on your playoff best ball roster last season, you were able to rack up the points in the Super Bowl…but so did a bunch of other teams, making winning much more random.

    This season, the Ravens and 49ers have been the class of the NFL. They are the two favorites. Given all the elite fantasy assets on the 49ers, they will be the most popular stack by far. But they’re not unbeatable.

    If the 49ers make it to the Super Bowl and you don’t have any 49ers, yeah, you lose. But even if you do, so will everyone else. In that case, winning will come down to the players on the other team — the 49ers won’t matter.

    By pivoting to targeting another NFC team, you put yourself in a position where, if you get it right, your odds of winning will be higher than if you go with the chalk.

    MORE: Fantasy News Tracker

    While you must work from the top down, focusing on having Super Bowl players above all else, you also need to get there. That requires scoring the most points in each of the first three rounds.

    This leads to some interesting decisions during your draft. For example, if you’re stacking Ravens, do you grab Odell Beckham Jr. or Gus Edwards in the middle rounds? Or do you take someone like Kyren Williams, who will easily be the No. 1 ranked running back for the Wild Card Round but will also be projected to probably play only one game?

    Building a Roster To Win

    Ultimately, if you can’t field a full lineup in the Super Bowl, you will lose. So, when you draft, it is paramount to construct a roster that can do just that. There must be a team from which you draft three players and another from which you draft at least two.

    Those teams must be in opposite conferences. There needs to be a potential Super Bowl matchup where you would have a full lineup, even if that matchup is not particularly likely.

    You can start a maximum of two running backs or three wide receivers weekly. You do not need to draft a tight end, but every starting tight end will be drafted anyway.

    Based on this setup, your roster should skew towards more wide receivers and tight ends. While you only need one running back, I would advise drafting at least two, if not three, but never more than four.

    At quarterback, you can try to get away with drafting one. That might end up being the optimal strategy. Just hope you guess right. However, doing so would remove the top seeds’ quarterbacks from consideration.

    Given that you need to beat out five other competitors to advance, that’s simply not happening if you don’t have a quarterback. Therefore, if you take a quarterback on the 49ers or Ravens, you absolutely must take a second one.

    MORE: Dynasty Consensus Rankings

    If you don’t have Jackson or Purdy, you are better off banking on a non-bye team reaching the Super Bowl. This may be possible, but it would severely restrict your ability to adjust during your draft.

    My suggestion is to draft two quarterbacks (never three) from the same conference. There’s no benefit to having both quarterbacks in the Super Bowl — you only need one. By taking two from the same conference, you hope they meet in the conference title game, guaranteeing one makes it.

    Finally, do your best to predict how the playoffs will go. You want your players to remain active for as long as possible. That means, ideally, picking players that will not face each other.

    This is easier said than done, especially in a draft with five other people trying to do the same thing.

    The advantage of Underdog’s best ball playoff tournament is you can enter up to 150 times. If you have the time and the capital to do so, with enough attempts, you should be able to get rosters you believe in.

    Looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Setting DFS lineups? Check out PFN’s Free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer, Start/Sit Optimizer, and DFS Lineup Optimizer to help you make the right decision!

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