Whether you have NFL best ball experience or not, the NFL playoff best ball format has its own nuances and strategies that are important to know before diving into drafts. The NFL Playoff Best Ball 101 will outline the basic strategies to keep in mind when drafting your playoff best ball teams on Underdog Fantasy.
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Underdog Fantasy Playoff Best Ball 101
There are plenty of differences between season-long best ball and playoff best ball. See below the highlights:
- 6 person drafts
- 10 rounds
- 5 Starters (1 QB, 1 RB, 2 WR/TE, 1 Flex) – Note TE is not a separate position, and Flex is RB/WR/TE
The Tournament Schedule is below (from Underdog Fantasy):
- 1 or 2 teams will advance out of Round 1/Qualfiers (note there are different advancement structures for different tournaments on Underdog Fantasy, so pay attention to that)
With 10 players and five starters, the goal is to ensure you can field a lineup Wildcard Round through the Super Bowl. This is challenging because you obviously cannot fully stack up both bye-week teams (49ers/Ravens), or you would have no players available for the Wildcard Round.
Just like Underdog Fantasy season-long best ball playoffs, the points reset each week. It is NOT cumulative scoring. That is why you need to make sure you are covered in the Wildcard round/Qualifiers to advance to the Quarterfinals.
With 10 roster spots, I generally draft 1-2 QBs (definitely two QBs if you draft Lamar Jackson or Brock Purdy), 3-4 RBs, and 5-6 WR/TE
See more on team stacking below – you need to make stands in each draft of which teams will make it to the Super Bowl to make sure you are covered and could have a “live” Super Bowl team.
Strategy – What NOT To Do:
Before you focus on strategies of what to do, it might be more important to learn what NOT to do. So many playoff-best ball drafters make a ton of mistakes and draft “dead” teams.
That means they would either not have enough players to fill out a Wildcard Round roster or a Super Bowl roster. Now, obviously, each week, it becomes more difficult to field a full five starters, with the Super Bowl being the most difficult. But you draft like you are predicting the Super Bowl or Super Bowl options for that particular draft.
Do NOT draft an all-star team. You’ll see good players fall, and that is because if you are drafting the correct way, you are team-stacking. You may make it out of Round 1, but you won’t advance further and have a chance at the top prizes this way.
Do NOT draft all 49ers/Ravens. You can draft no more than a combination of five 49ers/Ravens. Why? Because if you drafted any more you would not be able to field a Wildcard round roster since both teams have a bye that week.
Do NOT use ADP as a gospel or strict guide. The Average Draft Position (ADP) can help, but in playoff best ball, it is more important to achieve team stacks or Super Bowl stacks than worry about reaching or getting value.
Strategy – What TO Do:
Stacking teams: You ultimately need to be covered for the Super Bowl, so you could do various team stacks from each side (AFC/NFC). For each draft, you need to essentially predict the Super Bowl match-up. Or at least have four or five players from one conference and rotate pieces from the other conference.
Stack 4-5 from one conference and rotate the other conference (Ex: 4-5 Cowboys and 1-2 Dolphins, Ravens, Browns, etc.)
Stack two teams pretty evenly – you would need to nail the Super Bowl prediction, but this potentially gives a stronger Super Bowl team. (Ex: 3+ 49ers and 3+ Bills and fill in the rest to help Wildcard round).
Especially for bye week teams (49ers/Ravens), you could draft 3 from one of those teams and rotate more pieces from the other conference. (Ex: 3 49ers and 2+ Bills, 2+Dolphins, 2+ Browns). This way, you only have three missing pieces in the Wildcard round but still have options to cover the Super Bowl.
You can do variations of both of these. If you are drafting Lamar Jackson or Brock Purdy, you are definitely drafting a 2nd quarterback and team stack.
Players To Target:
Fantasy’s #1 player this year is going 1st in playoff best ball as well. He’s a fantasy stud on the team most likely (Super Bowl odds) to make the Super Bowl. Just make sure you are covered at the running back position for the Wildcard round.
If you get the 2nd overall pick, I like to target Lamb and build out a big Cowboys’ stack with Dak Prescott (4+ Cowboys). The Cowboys are the 2nd most likely to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. And they play in the Wildcard round. So you could have this high-upside Dallas stack all four weeks of the postseason.
If you get the 3rd overall pick, I like to target Jackson and build out a Ravens stack with him. Just make sure you are covered at QB and overall for the Wildcard round.
At the end of round 1, I like to target a 49ers stack that, of course, includes Purdy. I try to get Purdy with one of Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, or George Kittle if I’m at or around the 5/6 turn. Again, make sure you are covered at QB and overall for the Wildcard round.
One of my favorite values is Cooper. I think the Browns will at least get two games in the postseason, and if you told me they made a deep playoff run, I would not be surprised. You can usually get Cooper around the 5th round. He can be a runback to an NFC stack (49ers, Cowboys, etc) or part of a Browns AFC stack.
It is more important to focus on how you stack and draft the right way. Ultimately, the successful teams will be the teams that were built strong for the Wildcard round but also built with at least five good players in the Super Bowl. It is hard to do, but it is very fun to strategize and draft with all this in mind. Good luck!