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Best Ball Plays & Strategy

Using Best Ball Win Rates to Uncover Gems in Best Ball Mania II

by Dookie Hogue, September 1, 2021

The TE13 drafted by UnderDog ADP, Jonnu Smith finds himself in a good position to help both the Patriots and your Underdog squad in 2021. In a large field tournament such as Best Ball Mania II, spike weeks from lightly owned players are critical difference makers. Positive regression is in store for Smith though after Tennessee’s overcrowded offense was exchanged for one desperate for playmakers. 

Forecasting talent to overtake mediocrity paid dividends for Justin Herbert drafters last season. An intriguing rookie prospect behind an uninspiring incumbent and with whom high draft capital was invested this season is Trey Lance. If he can make eight-plus starts, he’s a strong play given his playmaking ability and could absolutely smash his ADP. It’s only a matter of time before we see the athletic rookie under center and someone who took advantage sees $1,0001 in their Underdog balance. 

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The Ultimate Guide to 2021’s Best Underdog Values

by Theo Gremminger, August 29, 2021

Round 5 represents the lowest ADP for Odell Beckham since his rookie season. Fantasy players should have some trepidation, but the risk is baked in when he is drafted at this part of the draft. The talent and athleticism and ability to absolutely dominate a game are still there. He is the clear cut No. 1 target in Cleveland and could be lethal in their play action passing game. A vintage OBJ season is in play for 2021.

Sony Michel’s ADP has risen steadily since he was traded to the Rams, but there’s no world in which he should still be selected over 80 spots on average after Darrell Henderson. The Rams have never trusted Henderson in a lead back role, and Michel has been better than people think. Even if they split work relatively evenly, you can take advantage of what is shaping up to be one of the year’s biggest value plays if his ADP continues to rest in the double digit rounds. 

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Five Stacks Set to Break Your League

by Jakob Sanderson, August 26, 2021

While many stacks have seen their ADP soar in recent weeks, the premium Eagles pairing is going in the other direction (QB11 and WR36). Fade the noise. There’s no denying Jalen Hurts’ accuracy issues last year, but he flashed the ingredients of a fantasy superstar last year. Devonta Smith is a substantial upgrade to Philadelphia’s barren wide receiver room. He’ll also give Hurts a reliable target he never had last year, and bump the remaining Eagles weapons into more favourable roles.

At QB14 in ADP, Joe Burrow’s injury risk is fully baked in being drafted behind less mobile quarterbacks Tom Brady and Mathew Stafford, who project to throw less often. With no meaningful WR4 or tight end to draw targets from the WRs, Tee Higgins could replicate or improve upon his 20.2-percent (No. 36 among qualified wide receivers) Target Share and parlay this into 120-140 targets. Given the breakout potential of second year WRs, Higgins is the preferred stacking partner in Cincinnati.

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The Anatomy of a League-Breaking Stack

by Jakob Sanderson, August 17, 2021

True ‘upside’ is most effectively captured by making positive assumptions in ambiguous situations. Tournaments are won on the tails of your range of outcomes, and the easiest way to maximize your tail is to increase your variance. When looking for a league-breaking stack, we should search for stacks with as many factors of uncertainty built into their price as possible. These stacks have the most room to crush their ADP because the range between their ceiling and floor outcomes is widest.

Chase Claypool was by far the most efficient Steelers receiver on a per-route and per-target basis. If he is entrusted with a full-time role in 2021, it is quite conceivable he outhits his WR26 ADP by a wide margin, and drags Ben Roethlisberger to a more efficient 2021 season. If Roethlisberger provides round 10-12 value as your QB2 drafted in round 16, you benefit from your stack crushing ADP.

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The 2021 Underworld Best Ball League Draft Recap

by Cody Carpentier, August 14, 2021

Michael took advantage of the Cam Akers injury news, jumping all over Darrell Henderson in Round 6 after starting out with an Anchor-RB approach. Pairing Henderson with Saquon Barkley at pick No. 69 could prove to be the pick that puts O’Connor ahead of the field. Henderson is now going off the board almost two rounds earlier at pick 46.3, ahead of Miles Sanders, Travis Etienne, and Mike Davis.

Currently going off the board at pick 116.0 on Underdog at QB14, Joe Burrow was stacked with Tee Higgins and Joe Mixon at pick No. 75, off the board at QB7. Feeling a surge at QB, Chris Buonagura reached for the Cincinnati stack. One can only wonder if he would have made it back in Round 8.

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Seven Underdog WR3 Values with Double-Digit Round ADPs

by Joshua Kellem, August 10, 2021

Like with Julio Jones, the only “logical” debate against Emmanuel Sanders is age. Sanders totaled a 2.23 (No. 15 among qualified wide receivers) Yards Per Route Run clip last season, one of the most predictive stats for fantasy football purposes. He’s not washed. He now joins the Bills, who targeted receivers at a league-leading 74.9-percent clip. For context, the offense targeted backs at the fourth-lowest rate and TEs at the third-lowest.

A bet on Sterling Shepard this season is a bet on a jump in play from Daniel Jones. The Giants offense has 134 (No. 15) vacated targets, or 26.8-percent. With the arrival of alpha receiver Kenny Golladay, the hope is the newly-signed receiver raises the lid of the offense. With Golden Tate gone, Shephard should play more in the slot.

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Making the Case for Stacking: Is It Better In Best Ball or Redraft?

by Michael O'Connor and Neel Gupta, July 30, 2021

Season-long correlation benefits gamers in both best ball and traditional leagues. Whether you’re setting your lineup or not is entirely irrelevant to wanting your top players’ probabilities of outperforming their expectations to be correlated. You want your team to score the most points in both formats, and by drafting a set of players whose individual outcomes are dependent on as few variables as possible, you are increasing your probability that all of them hit.  

We posit that the strength of stacking in best ball formats stem almost entirely from season-long correlation rather than week-to-week correlation. On the other hand, by stacking in traditional leagues, you benefit from both season-long correlation and week-to-week correlation. By implication, we expect stacking in traditional leagues to have a larger increase in your win probability than in best ball leagues. 

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Lessons to (Un)Learn from DFS in Best Ball

by Jakob Sanderson, July 28, 2021

The clearest difference between best ball and DFS tournaments is the length of the play period. This affects how you analyze variance. In DFS, maximize volatility within a single game to increase your ceiling. Between two players with similar weekly medians you will always opt for a Mecole Hardman over a Hunter Renfrow. This has been accepted as a perfect translation to best ball and I don’t understand why.

Have you ever heard the term “play whoever you want” in DFS? It’s often misinterpreted. Nobody recommends filling out lineups with $1,000 salary left over in the milli-maker because you wanted to ‘get your guys;’ yet this attitude has been adopted by many in best ball. ‘Play whoever you want’ actually means ‘any set of correlated pieces can be viable in a given slate as part of a constructed lineup.’

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The Complete Guide to Stacking in Best Ball

by Josh Larky, July 26, 2021

Football is a grueling sport to predict, and this is where stacking enters the fold. Stacking allows us to limit how many different variables we have to get correct each week. In a sport where so many variables are outside our control, it’s nice to only need to root for one team’s offense to succeed to ensure that two or more players enter our best ball lineup with spike weeks.

Stacking is not the only way to succeed in fantasy football, you can of course just pick the right players. However, player-centric analysis is difficult, comes with large error bars, and is extremely time-consuming. The beauty of stacking is that you don’t even need to do much player research. You can just focus on stacking players from teams you expect to pass a lot.

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Darrell Henderson and the Power of Assumptions in Best Ball

by Jakob Sanderson, July 22, 2021

New Rams RB1 Darrell Henderson will skyrocket up draft boards until likely settling in as an RB2 in the middle rounds barring a major addition by Los Angeles. With over 60,000 entries filled, 5,000 teams in Best Ball Mania II roster Henderson. Your odds of drafting him after today’s news and building a better team than any of those are low. There are only two outcomes for a team drafting Henderson today:

Whether Los Angeles brings in another competent running back, and whether his own passing down role expands, will define Darrell Henderson’s 2021 ceiling. The fact that he’s never reached a 60.0-percent Snap Share tells us it’s unlikely he possesses a ceiling in the range of Akers.’ Nonetheless, this is a capable player on a top offense thrust into immense opportunity.

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