Intro to Underdog’s Best Ball Mania III (2022 Fantasy Football)
The Underdog days of summer have arrived. Underdog Fantasy has officially launched its flagship best ball tournament that is giving out $10M in prizes, with $2M awarded to the grand prize first-place winner and $1M paid out to the top scorer during the regular season (Weeks 1-14).
And FantasyPros has you covered to ensure that you find success drafting with the all-new 2022 Best Ball Draft Kit that includes best ball rankings, ECR, ADP risers/fallers, and roster construction strategies.
It’s the ultimate go-to guide that you can reference throughout the best ball season, to guarantee that you are constantly drafting with an edge.
To further sharpen your edge, I’ve laid out an introduction/overview for BBM III so you can get a grasp on the rules of the tournament, best practices, and optimal approach. Pair this piece with the all-encompassing Best Ball Draft Kit and you’ll be drafting with confidence in no time.
The BBM III tournament consists of 451,200 total entries divided up into 37,600 12-person groups. At the end of Round 1 (Weeks 1-14), the top two teams from each of the groups advance to the playoff rounds, which take place in Weeks 15, 16, and 17. At the end of Round 2 (Week 15), the top team from each group advances, and this pattern follows until the final round where the remaining 470 teams will be placed based on the final results from Week 17.
Rosters consist of 1 QB, 3 WRs, 2 RBs, 1 TE, 1 FLEX, and 10 bench spots to form 18-player teams in a half-point-per-reception scoring format.
Stack offenses when possible, but don’t overreach – Throwing ADP out the window to draft a guy a few rounds ahead for stacking purposes won’t help you in the long run. Because there are other teams in the same tournament that have the same exact stack but have a more well-rounded roster because they didn’t reach.
Bye weeks – Don’t nuke a week for your team because your TEs and QBs have the same bye week.
Playoff weeks – If your goal is winning during the playoff weeks, be sure to know the matchups that take place. Drafting a player that faces your team stack during the postseason is a reason to favor one closely-ranked player versus another.
Do not punt QB – They score the most points, so you will want to make sure you have at least one elite option and one that has a high chance of being a backend QB1 or top-15 option. Relying too heavily on late-round QBs that turned into duds hurt me a ton last season. Remember best ball isn’t the same as redraft, and therefore no waiver wire makes the late-round QB approach a different animal. Get those two QBs drafted as early as Rounds 4-6 and no later than Rounds 11 or 12.
Get that elite RB, then wait – The Highest Underdog BBM II advance rates included a running back drafted in the first two rounds. Don’t be afraid to get two either. Once you have those established bellcows to fill your two scoring RB spots, focus your attention on the other positions. Not until much later should you take shots on upside running backs that have paths to a three-down workload and could take off because of an injury atop the depth chart.
Middle rounds are for WRs – Not every RB in the RB Dead Zone is a landmine, but the WRs here are the ones that tend to take massive leaps and vastly outperform their ADP. And when in doubt, just keep drafting WRs. You’ll want at least eight or nine with at least three and up to four cracking your starting weekly lineup. Gravitate towards the WR in a high-powered offense with some target ambiguity versus the guy who has a more obvious high-end target floor in a bad offense.
Strength in tight end numbers – Draft a top-five tight end or just keep waiting to take multiple shots. All things being equal, I prefer the latter with too many great RBs/WRs to pass on for the hope you land the difference-making tight end inside the top 50. We’re much better off fading the middle-range tight ends in favor of running backs and wide receivers. Drafting three tight ends is also acceptable if you wait long enough at the position — quantity over quality.
Don’t be scared of injuries – If a player’s injury is accurately priced into their ADP, then don’t shy away. Only if the red flags are being ignored should managers remove certain players from their draft board. Once Will Fuller puts the pen to paper, his ADP is going to skyrocket.
There isn’t one be-all strategy to winning this massive best ball tournament, but following the best practices should increase your chances. It’s important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t enter a draft with only a single approach in mind — hero RB, robust RB, zero RB, value-based drafting, etc. — but instead, let the flow of the draft dictate/influence your plan of attack.
This is such a mammoth-sized contest that you should be open to different strategies to create the best odds of getting a truly unique roster that separates from the field in the playoff rounds. Thinking outside the box by varying your exposure with 18th-round dart throws and targeting players that will see their values grow over the summer are just a few game theory elements that best ball drafters should always try to implement.
And remember that the summer training camp months for the NFL are a war of attrition. Rosters are as healthy as they will ever be, but we know that’s not going to last. So embrace the inevitable chaos by not overweighting current depth charts and target players who would benefit the most if/when an offseason injury/surprise release occurs.
Because running backs tend to be the colossal ADP risers in the wake of an injury, be okay loading up on them towards the backend of the draft. This early in the offseason, I think there’s a semblance to going with more RBs — before the injuries have occurred — than closer to the start of the season. Six RBs would be my preferred number.
Also, invest high-end draft capital on quarterbacks at their respective ADPs. The QB position is the one that is least likely to sustain an offseason injury and therefore their value should stay static leading up to the season. They are a safe investment that won’t bottom out.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Trade Analyzer – which allows you to instantly find out if a trade offer benefits you or your opponent – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.