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Best Ball Draft Strategy: Underdog, DraftKings, FFPC & Drafters Comparisons (2024 Fantasy Football)

With best ball dominating the fantasy football scene more and more each year, it’s worth considering where you want to allocate your money and which platforms’ unique spins might be best suited to your approach. While Sleeper and MFL offer fantasy platforms that can be tailored to every possible configuration of leagues, when it comes to best ball, we’re mainly looking at the big four platforms: Underdog, DraftKings, FFPC and Drafters.

Best Ball Site Comparisons

Underdog

Key Differences:

  • 18 Rounds
  • Half-PPR Scoring
  • Short-Window Tournaments

The best ball craze of the last few years is in no small part due to Underdog Fantasy, created by many of the key staff that built DRAFT, a best ball platform that was eventually bought up by FanDuel (and largely ignored). Underdog host drafts from $3 up to the dizzying heights of high-stakes entry fees. Underdog’s drafts are 18 rounds rather than the traditional 20, forcing a different spin on roster construction that often leaves a lot of players on the table when it comes to your final picks. Players who you’d always take on another platform might become a trickier selection on Underdog. If you have strong convictions, scrolling down further at the end of drafts to select a player others might not could reward you with unique combinations.

The half-PPR scoring reduces the value of some wide receivers, particularly those who play in the slot and gain value through volume, in comparison to pure PPR platforms. With Zero RB teams flourishing on the platform in recent years, it tends to be a WR-heavy first few rounds of drafts — ignoring them can leave you in an uncomfortable position. Touchdowns become even more valuable on Underdog.

With Underdog becoming so popular they can launch contests that fill quickly. It’s not unusual for their lower-budget contests (The Puppy – $5, Chihuahua – $4, Pomeranian – $3) to fill within a 48-hour window, depending on how big it is. Because of this, you might want to consider how many entries you’ll have time to draft before the contest closes. Prizes go as high as millions of dollars in the bigger contests with 2023’s Best Ball Mania IV champion winning $3 million.

DraftKings

Key Differences:

  • Full PPR Scoring With Bonuses

The next largest platform is DraftKings, which has slowly but surely improved its best ball offering over the last few years. 2023 finally brought a visual draft board for browser-based drafters. Hopefully, 2024 will finally bring a mobile version. DraftKings have held contests with $1 million up top the last three years, with a large-field Milly Maker and they have also offered smaller versions of the contest, which are higher stakes to enter. In 2023, DraftKings had best ball tournaments available from as little as $1 and as high as thousands of dollars per entry. Rather than post small contests that fill quickly, DraftKings typically offer much larger field contests where entry might be $3. However, with over 200,000 entries available, it takes plenty of time to fill. Instead, you’ll have to consider when you’ll want to enter drafts, in case entering them later presents a bigger advantage through gaining more knowledge than the field about player situations.

The key difference on DraftKings is that scoring is the same as their DFS product, rewarding a full point per reception. They also offer the following bonuses:

  • 3 points for a 300-yard passing game
  • 3 points for a 100-yard rushing game
  • 3 points for a 100-yard receiving game

This increases the value of the top options at the draft but also helps some pocket-passing QBs close the gap slightly on the dual threats of the world.

With 20-man rosters, you’ll find your way into more 3-QB builds than you would on Underdog.

FFPC

Key Differences:

  • Tight End-Premium Scoring
  • Scheduled Drafts
  • Superflex Contests

The FFPC is one of the longest-standing best ball platforms. They also offer high-stakes redraft leagues such as The FantasyPros Championship. As a platform that wants to be known for high-stakes fantasy football, the offering is mainly tailored to that with their main $35 and $125 contests. FFPC does run $5 sit & go contests, which are a nice way to familiarize yourself with the platform before diving into the higher stakes drafts.

The platform is built around the idea of quality rather than quantity, so it’s less common for drafters to rack up hundreds of entries to a single contest, with portfolios instead built across 10-20 drafts more often. Drafts tend not to fill as quickly as on rival platforms during the early parts of the offseason but FFPC redeems themselves by scheduling drafts each day, which you can reserve a spot in at any given time slot. This is something no other site offers and it’s a great feature, allowing you not to have to wait an unknown amount of time to draft. During July and August drafts, the platform is a hive of activity without long waiting periods.

The platform’s biggest difference is the tight end-premium scoring, where in addition to the full point per reception that every player gets for a catch, tight ends receive an extra 0.5 points. This can be huge for top-end tight ends that see 70+ receptions in a season but occasionally makes drafters think there is more value in the position than there is. The difference between Sam LaPorta averaging 9.0 per game and 14.5 is huge but Kyle Pitts‘s 5.0 to 7.5 is much easier replaced through drafting wide receivers and then grabbing tight ends later. The FFPC also consistently offers Superflex drafts, something which Underdog does occasionally, but nobody has so far kept Superflex drafts open all offseason, except FFPC.

 

Drafters

Key Differences:

  • Cumulative Scoring
  • Consistent Offers & Rewards

The last of the big four is Drafters, who stand out from the crowd by using cumulative scoring, rather than the tournament formats that have become commonplace. Instead, once the season starts, every team drafted within the same contest is put into a big pot and the team with the most points overall wins the top prize and so on for second place through all the paying places. This allows users to sweat their teams from start to finish and be able to see every team in the contest at any given point, which allows you to find out whether you have leverage on the field or not.

Drafters have struggled to fill contests for the last couple of seasons, resulting in overlay, a term used for when guaranteed prize pools will be shared among the remaining entries. In 2023, their flagship $20 tournament was set with a maximum of 111,252 entries, but only 82,252 entered the contest, giving those players fewer opponents than expected to compete against. Because of the slower fill rates, Drafters almost constantly incentivize players to draft on their platform, often giving away free entries for every five teams drafted or something similar.

Best Ball Draft Strategy

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