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. Playoff fantasy football certainly doesn’t carry the same pizzazz as the regular season version, but it can be a ton of fun nonetheless.
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. The platform will automatically insert the top-scoring players into your lineup, but you cannot make moves or set a lineup. There are thousands of these leagues on Underdog Fantasy every season.
Recently, they’ve introduced playoff best ball leagues. The format is largely the same, but the shorter timeframe and smaller player pool require some changes. Let’s get into those.
Much like traditional best ball, there’s no weekly 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 is the weekly eliminations. Most playoff fantasy pools go all four weeks and award payouts based on total points. On Underdog, you need to win your way into the next round. If you don’t score enough, you’re out.
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.
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.
That brings us to the most important strategical 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, you can amass enough points earlier in the playoffs to overcome having only a couple of players in the Super Bowl. On Underdog, with scores resetting every week, you cannot win without Super Bowl players.
I would go so far as to say you need to be able to field a full lineup in the Super Bowl. 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.
In large-scale playoff pools where you can choose whatever players you want, you have more control over which teams to bet. On Underdog, you’re participating in six-person drafts with a random draft position.
You may think the Super Bowl will be the Buffalo Bills vs. the Philadelphia Eagles. But if you don’t pick in the right spot, Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts will be gone. If you can’t get either of them, you’ll have no choice but to pivot to other teams.
Stacking is absolutely essential. You may have no faith in the Los Angeles Chargers to make a Super Bowl run. But you are better off stacking Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler, and Joshua Palmer than taking Stefon Diggs, A.J. Brown, and a quarterback that isn’t Allen or Hurts.
If you can’t get the quarterback, you’re better off fading the team entirely and hoping a lower probability outcome occurs. There are benefits to doing that on purpose, as well.
The NFL playoffs are one-and-done. The best team does not always win. And the two best teams rarely end up meeting in the Super Bowl. Just last season, we had the Rams and the Bengals — neither of which was a pre-playoff favorite.
If you had a bunch of Rams and Bengals on your playoff best ball roster last season, you not only were able to accumulate more points in the Super Bowl, but there were fewer opponents you were competing against.
This season, we can reasonably expect more teams stacking the Chiefs, Bills, Eagles, and to a slightly lesser extent, Bengals. By pivoting to targeting another 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.
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 Vikings, do you grab Adam Thielen in the middle rounds? Or do you take someone like Saquon Barkley, who could help you advance past round one but is likely playing 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.
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.
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. In fact, that might end up being the optimal strategy. Just hope you guess right. However, doing so would remove the top seeds’ quarterbacks from consideration. You’re not advancing past round one without a quarterback.
So, you’d be 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 exact 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.