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Underdog Fantasy Best Ball Tournaments: Tips, Strategy and How They Work

As an Underdog Fantasy user for the last couple years, I can say without a doubt that the Underdog Fantasy Best Ball tournaments are easily my favorite part of the platform. These contests have gotten a lot of press in recent years because of the large prize pools (most notably the Best Ball Mania contests where the first place winner can take home millions). But as you become familiar with the platform and the available contests, I think you’ll see that the Underdog Best Ball world is much, much more than its headliner Best Ball Mania contest. Be careful, however, once you get into the world of Best Ball, you might find yourself hooked. I know I am.

101: What are Underdog Best Ball Tournaments & How Do They Work

Let’s hit the quick facts…

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What sports are available?

Best ball is a format that can really apply to any sport on the Underdog platform. While the NFL contests garner an incredible amount of attention, Underdog rolls out great best ball format contests for other sports as well year round.

One of my favorites outside of football season was the PGA Majors Best Ball contest that Underdog rolled out. In this contest, you drafted a group of golfers, and then each of the four majors was an elimination round. The top performers from the first major, The Masters, moved on and competed in the second major, and so forth. Very fun way to get some extra enjoyment (and maybe win some prize money) out of the PGA season!

What’s with the multi-entry?

If you’re new, you might be confused at the idea of entering multiple teams or rosters into a single contest. But as you start to learn some basic best ball strategy, you’ll quickly see that multi-entry opens up a lot of options with respect to strategy. We’ll talk more strategy below, but just know that in most of the Underdog Best Ball contests, you can often enter many rosters into the same contest. Some as many as 150 entries. Yes, each entry requires paying the entry fee.

It’s not just Best Ball Mania…

Best Ball Mania gets the most recognition because of the eight-figure prize pool that is available. The fact that first place can take down a $3 million prize doesn’t hurt either. But, the beauty of Underdog is that there are many more variations of these contests available throughout the summer leading up to the start of the NFL season than you might think.

Here are the best ball fantasy football contests that they have rolled out ahead of the 2023-24 NFL season:

Contest Name Entry Fee Number of Players Rake Top Prize
The Pomeranian $3 33,360 0.0% $20,000
Chihuahua $4 70,500 11.3% $25,000
Chihuahua But SuperFlex $4 70,500 11.3% $25,000
Puppy 1 $5 111,780 10.5% $75,000
Puppy 2 $5 225,360 11.3% $150,000
Puppy 3 $5 223,560 10.5% $200,000
Undercat $5 5,000 0.0% $5,000
Fast Puppy $5 111,780 10.5% $75,000
Slow Puppy $5 111,780 10.5% $75,000
The Little Eliminator $6 93,000 10.4% $100,000
The Poodle $7 24,120 11.2% $30,000
The Poodle 2 $7 24,120 11.2% $30,000
The Poodle 3 $7 48,240 11.2% $60,000
The Big Board $10 112,800 11.3% $200,000
The Big Board But SuperFlex $10 56,160 11.0% $50,000
The Golden $10 2,760 9.4% $25,000
Best Ball Mania IV $25 677,376 11.4% $3,000,000
The Chow Chow $50 5,568 10.2% $50,000
The Eliminator $50 5,580 10.4% $50,000
The Dalmatian $101 1,080 8.3% $20,000
The Dalmatian 2 $101 3,264 9.0% $30,000
Big Dogs $250 2,304 8.9% $100,000
The Bulldog $500 216 7.4% $20,000
The Bulldog 2 $500 768 8.9% $100,000
Mastiff $1,000 240 8.3% $20,000
Weekly Winners $15 261,000 10.6% $20,000 (per week)

There are a few things I love about the variety of contests that Underdog rolls out.

First, seemingly every week a new contest rolls out with a slight variation on prize pool, entry fee and more. If you notice on “The Mastiff” in the table above, you’ve got a small field with a $1,000 entry fee. You’ve also got “The Pomeranian” for a $3 entry fee. A huge variety.

The smaller entry fee contests make it easy for testing out a lot of strategy via multiple entries. You might not have the bankroll to draft 25 teams for Best Ball Mania at $25 each, but perhaps you can rock 20 teams at $5 each in one of the Puppy contests. That’s right. Roll the dice, and grab rookie Anthony Richardson, and let’s see if he can take you to championship glory (and a decent prize pool)!

Additionally, if you’re a regular DFS user over the years, you might play similar type contests on other platforms. If so, you likely appreciate the “draft liquidity” on the Underdog platform. What I mean by “draft liquidity” is how quickly a draft fills up once you join it! I just love that I can open up the Underdog app, enter a draft, and I’ve got a full 12 teams ready to roll usually within a minute. The Underdog community is strong!

UNDERDOG FANTASY

Live and legal in most US states.

PLAY NOW

Underdog Fantasy

Up to $250 Deposit Match + Special Pick

PLAY NOW

Register your account today at Underdog and take advantage of the 100% deposit match up to $100

Weekly Winners on Underdog

In 2023, Underdog released a new Best Ball contest entitled “Weekly Winners.” Of all the best ball contests listed above, Weekly Winners is unique. And the reason is that Weekly Winners is exactly what it says, it has weekly winners instead of season long winners. Best ball tournaments typically are longer in duration with elimination or advancement rounds. Weekly winners is different in that there are no season long prizes or eliminations. Every week has a separate prize pool.

How is Weekly Winners the same as typical Underdog Best Ball contests?

How is Weekly Winners different?

Because of how weekly winners is structured, your strategy is going to likely be altered a bit.

First your goal is to win a week, not the season. This has strategy ramifications. You can build a roster that has the potential to maximize a given week through a few ways. Here are some potential ideas to consider:

  1. Stacking, like in normal best ball contests, can make sense. But it’s not just stacking a QB-WR combination. You should consider stacking a particular game, or group of games for a given week. If you know the Cowboys and Seahawks score a ton of points when they play each other, and you know they are playing week 5 of the season, you might consider goig hard on Cowboys and Seahawks players and avoid other players that have a week 5 bye week. Hint: Print out an NFL schedule to have handy during the draft.
  2. Because you’re playing a massive field every single week, rather than having to advance through a few rounds of pools of 12 players or so, you have to consider how you can get to the top of 200,000 entries. This is going to require “leverage.” Leverage in daily fantasy refers to considering selecting players that might have lower ownership levels (check out our DFS glossary). To win a field of 200,000 entries, you will need to have some uniqueness to your roster. If you have the same roster as 15% of the field, you aren’t winning 1st place. Balancing production with unique players is key. Get your anchors of your roster, but as you get deeper in the draft, you should consider some lesser owned players.

Where can you play Underdog Best Ball contests?

Underdog Fantasy is available in all U.S. states except CT, DE, HI, ID, IA, LA MI, MT and NV. If you’re in one of the states where Underdog Fantasy is available, you can participate in the daily fantasy drafts including the Underdog Best Ball contests. There are further restrictions in some states around the pick’em contests that Underdog offers, but these are different types of contests separate from these tournaments.

Kevin Duffey
A graduate of the University of Florida and founder of Saturday Down South, Kevin is a college football enthusiast.

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