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NFL DFS Picks


Occupy Fantasy NFL writer Chris Rooney is providing our NFL Best Ball content. Give him a follow if you haven't already. 

Don't like reading? Download our rankings, upload them to the website, and get drafting immediately.

Download Player Rankings (CSV)

What is NFL Best Ball?

NFL Best Ball has really taken off over the last couple of years as a way to play season long fantasy football without having to worry about managing a roster every week.

There are no add/drops. There’s no waiver wire, no free agency, nothing. You simply draft your roster, and that’s it. The format is designed to emphasize enjoying the single best part of season long fantasy - the snake draft itself.

There are a few places to play NFL Best Ball out there right now; we prefer Underdog Fantasy, as they have an extremely user-friendly app and website, plus - they offer the highest prize in the industry.

It’s important to do research before you click on that deposit button and decide to enter a few contests. Underdog’s Hayden Winks has done the hard work of studying ideal roster constructions, and this blog on “the golden rule” of Best Ball might be the single most important piece of best ball content of the 2021 offseason.

Beyond "the golden rule", the ideal build is 2 QB, 6 RB, 8 WR and 2 TE based on 2020’s Best Ball Mania (PFF), but it’s not a hard and fast rule. This roster type had the best round 1 advance rate in 2020. 

How Does NFL Best Ball Work?

Underdog leagues utilize 0.5 PPR scoring, or half-point per reception. Here is how the points are awarded:

Scoring Play

Points

Reception

0.5

Receiving TD

6

Receiving Yard

0.1

Rushing TD

6

Rushing Yard

0.1

Passing Yard

0.04

Passing TD

4

INT Thrown

-1

2-Pt Conversion

2

Fumble Lost

-2

Pretty normal stuff, honestly. Your starting roster breakdown each week is as follows:

Quarterback

1 - Highest Scoring

Running Back

2 - Highest Scoring

Wide Receiver

3 - Highest Scoring

Tight End

1 - Highest Scoring

FLEX (RB/WR/TE)

1 - Highest Scoring remaining non-QB

Since you have no ability to modify your roster after your draft is complete, it is critical that you plan ahead for bye week conflicts. You need to make sure you have enough depth to survive any potential injuries, as well as those pesky bye weeks. 

In many of the contests on Underdog, you can play for as little as $1. You can compete in low-risk contests, where the top 3 scoring teams walk away with a prize (third place prizes typically equal what you’d expect to win in a DFS head-to-head or 50/50 contest). 

On the other end of the spectrum, the Best Ball Mania II and the $500K Puppy Tournaments (they fill fast) are high-risk contests, where you must finish in 1st place or 2nd place in your 12 team league after 14 regular season weeks in order to survive and advance. 

Weeks 15 through 17 represent the playoff rounds - in the first two rounds, surviving teams will be grouped into 18 team leagues. In Round 2, the top 2 advance. In Round 3, only the best lineup advances.  The Championship culminates in a 160 team final (58 in Puppy I and 115 in The Puppy II) in Week 17, where someone (hopefully one of us) will walk away $1,000,001 richer (or with $100,000 in the case of the Puppy tournaments).

If you want to take a shot at winning these prizes, and you’ve never played on Underdog before, you can sign up through this link. First time depositers on Underdog receive a $25 credit - aka a free Best Ball Mania II entry.

Getting Started

The very first thing you should do is pre-rank your preferred players. The default rankings on Underdog will only show you players in order of their current average draft position, or ADP. 

There’s many ways to decide how to rank players, and they range from building your own team-by-team projections, to using consensus rankings lists from fantasy football experts.

Personally, I build my own projections for each team, and rank accordingly from those.

Since you probably have a life and don’t want to do that, we have our own:

Download Player Rankings (CSV)

To use our rankings, you will want to use the CSV Upload tool on the rankings page shown below:

You'll want to click on "Rankings" on the website's top level menu to access this page.

 

Once you’ve done this, you’ll be one step closer to drafting a successful NFL best ball team. Be on the lookout for more strategy articles throughout the rest of the month.