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Underdog Fantasy Best Ball Draft Advice: How to Win The Gauntlet | NFL Playoffs Fantasy Football Picks

James Brimacombe

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2022 has been a glorious year for the growth of NFL Fantasy Football Best Ball, and we have Underdog Fantasy to thank for that. They offered numerous Best Ball tournaments during the regular season, such as the Mitten, The Big Dog and Best Ball Mania II, where we saw our first $1 million payout in the format, as Liam Murphy took down BBMII. Now, after all the excitement of regular-season Best Ball, we are drawn back in with NFL Playoff Best Ball. Underdog Fantasy has already released three different tournaments for the playoffs — The Wild Card, the Mitten and the Mitten 2 that have all filled in record-setting time. They currently have The Big Mitten in the lobby, which is a $250 buy-in with 450 total entrants and a top prize of $20,000. The contest that will be the primary focus is the Gauntlet. the Gauntlet is a Best Ball tournament that has a $25 buy-in and 45,120 total entries available. We will explore the intricacies of this Best Ball tournament, pinpoint some of the best Underdog fantasy football picks and go over the nine ways to draft the best team and how to win the Gauntlet.

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Underdog Fantasy Best Ball: How to Win the Gauntlet

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What is the Gauntlet on Underdog Fantasy?

  • $1 Million Prize Pool with $200,000 to 1st place
  • Max Entrants = 45,120
  • Currently 43% Full (19,500)
  • Game Type = NFL Playoff Best Ball
  • Max Entries = 150
  • Entry Fee = $25
  • Draft Size = 6-Man Drafts
  • Rounds = 10 Rounds (10 Player Rosters = 1 QB, 1 RB, 2 WR/TE, 1 Flex, 5 Bench)
  • Must Start 5 Players = 1 QB, 1 RB, 2 WR/TE, 1 Flex (RB/WR/TE)
  • Scoring = 0.5 Rec, 0.1 Rec/Rushing Yd, 6.0 Rec/Rush TD, 4.0 Passing TD, 0.04 Pass Yd, 2.0 2PT conv, -1.0 INT, -2.0 Fumble
  • Pick Clock = Fast Draft – 30 Second Clock
  • Rake = 11.3%

The basic layout for the Gauntlet is listed above. At first glance playing in a Best Ball league might seem confusing and taking it a step further with a Playoff Best Ball contest can take it to another level. Once you learn the Best Ball basics you are on your way to drafting a team in under 15 minutes. After you draft one team, if you are like me or the thousands of others on Underdog you are going to catch the itch and want to draft another. Hopefully this article can be somewhat of a guide on how to draft the best possible team to help advance out of Round 1 and create a roster build for the next rounds and ultimately end up in the Super Bowl/Finals round.

The wrinkle on these Underdog Playoff drafts is that if you are taking shots on Green Bay and Tennessee players who have a bye week in Round 1, they will score zero points for you. So with only 10 roster spots and having to start 5 players it makes it harder to justify drafting a bunch of those players. Right now Green Bay is the favorite to win the Super Bowl but with no game in the first round of this contest makes you really have to think about what kind of strategy you want to use.

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The Gauntlet Tournament Structure

  • Round 1 = 6 Person Groups (Top 1 Team (16.7%) advances to Round 2) 45,120 Total entries
  • Round 2 = 16 Person Groups (Top 3 Teams (18.8%) advance to Round 3) 7,520 entries remaining = Guaranteed $50
  • Round 3 = 15 Person Groups (Top 1 Team (6.7%) advances to Round 4 FINALS) 1,410 entries remaining = Guaranteed $100
  • Round 4 = 94 Person Group (Prizes range from $200,000 to 1st – $500 for 94th) = Guaranteed $500

Looking at these numbers above I feel like you can approach this tournament two different ways. You can play it safe much like a “Cash” game in DFS and try to get out of Round 1 and double up your money, or you can have more of a “GPP” approach and take on some more risk in Round 1 with the Conference Finals (Round 3) in mind. Sure maybe I should have said Super Bowl/Finals or bust but the fact is if you can land a team in the Conference Finals Weekend and have five or more players still live, you are setting yourself up for success. The goal for me is to crack that 1,410/45,120 number which equals 3.125% chance of the team you draft to make it to Round 3 but to not only make it to that point but to also have five or more players still available to score points for you.

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Round 1 Game Matchups and Odds

  • LV vs CIN -6.0/48.5
  • NE vs BUF -4.5/43.5
  • PIT vs KC -12.5/47.0
  • PHI vs TB -8.5/49.0
  • SF vs DAL -3.0/49.5
  • ARI vs LAR -4.0/50.5

AFC Conference Odds

  • Kansas City +175
  • Tennessee +310
  • Buffalo +350
  • Cincinnati +800
  • New England +1000
  • Las Vegas +2200
  • Pittsburgh +3400

NFC Conference Odds

  • Green Bay +170
  • Tampa Bay +330
  • Los Angeles +470
  • Dallas +550
  • Arizona +1200
  • San Francisco +1200
  • Philadelphia +2800

AFC Super Bowl Odds

  • Kansas City +460
  • Tennessee +850
  • Buffalo +750
  • Cincinnati +1900
  • New England +2100
  • Las Vegas +4100
  • Pittsburgh +7000

NFC Super Bowl Odds

  • Green Bay +380
  • Tampa Bay +750
  • Los Angeles +950
  • Dallas +1100
  • Arizona +1700
  • San Francisco +2400
  • Philadelphia +5500

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Underdog Fantasy Best Ball Strategy: 9 Ways to Have the Perfect Draft Team in the Gauntlet

1. Have an end goal and a draft plan

I personally have drafted 300 playoff Mitten drafts along with 90 Wild Card drafts. It was not until the Mitten 2 that I really felt like I had a grasp on how to draft correctly. Now that the playoff picture is clearer, we can attack the Gauntlet in a way that gives us the most chances to succeed and advance to Round 3. My end goal is to crack into Round 3 and the 3.125% with a team that has 5-7 players that are still playing in the Conference Finals to help give me the best shot at advancing to the Finals.

2. Be Bold and do not draft scared

the Gauntlet is going to be a battle and it start with the $25 entry fee. Maybe to some the $25 entry fee is modest but to me it makes me think twice when I enter the tournament. You can obviously play it safe and just try to advance out of Round 1 and double up your money but where is the fun in that? Just drafting the highest projected players for Round 1 is not the point of this contest. It is called the Gauntlet for a reason and ending a draft without a potential combo of 5-7 players out of your 10 for the Conference Finals weekend just feels wrong.

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3. Look at the playoff seedings and odds and tell yourself a story

You can easily run simulations of how the Conference Finals will shake out before the playoffs even begin on Saturday and this contest goes live. I have done this several times already and it is as easy as just jotting it down on paper. In the AFC I prefer teams like Buffalo, Cincinnati, and Kansas City and in the NFC teams like Dallas, Tampa Bay and the Rams. Those are the six teams I am finding myself trying to pair together while drafting my teams, trying to give myself the best shot not only in Round 1, but also in Round 2, and potentially setting myself up for five or more players for Round 3.

4. Bet on a team and the entire offense vs individual players

You do not want to just take players from all the teams you want to zero in on a few teams in each draft that you are high on and try to build a roster with two or three different offenses. Think of it as stacking in season long where you take a QB/WR but for Playoff Best Ball you want to take it even further and go with QB/RB/WR as a base and even add another running back or receiver or two.

5. You only have 10 roster spots so use them wisely

You have 10 shots to construct your Playoff Best Ball team. You want to be wise in how you draft in each round and each player you select. There is no exact science to what type of build you should do in this contest but a simple 1 QB/3 RB/6 WRTE, blueprint might not be a bad starting point. You obviously modify your builds as the drafts happen as so much can change round to round in the draft room.

6. Do you draft one quarterback or two quarterbacks?

This question seems to be one that comes up quite a bit when talking strategy in this format. You are so limited with only having 10 roster spots and having to start five players each round. If you go with two quarterbacks, you can only ever start one of them and now you are taking away one of your player spots that could be used at RB/WR/TE. You would take two quarterbacks every time you were to draft Aaron Rodgers or Ryan Tannehill though as both will score 0 points for you in Round 1 and you would be basically throwing away your entry fee.

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7. How many running backs should you draft?

Much like the quarterback position, with running back you only have to start one at the position. You also have the option to start a running back at the flex position so that opens things up some. Remember Underdog is also a 0.5 PPR site so touchdowns are more important in this format. I also like to look at stacking my quarterback with his running back. I prefer this a lot more in Playoff Best Ball as you are almost betting on the entire team and not just a single player. I tend to lean with three running backs but also draft only two sometimes and am also not afraid to go with four.

8. ADP and rankings don’t really matter

The goal is to try to stack offenses together, so ADP and rankings are not going to be your friend as much in this playoff format. I do not mind customizing my own rankings for the top 20 players but after that I like to do my rankings by teams/offenses. For example I will lump Prescott/Elliott/Cooper/Schultz/Pollard all next to each other so when I am drafting, I can make quicker decisions with my team stacks. You can also use the search function and just type in Cowboys, and it would do the same thing and just pull up all the players from that team. The only downfall I have with that is that you have a 30 second timer so if you are not quick enough you might miss your player.

9. Try to understand if the draft room is a sharp room or not

If you see the other drafters have badges, they are probably going to be your sharp drafters. If this is the case, you are going to be able to wait on stacks more as you often see these sharp drafters only drafting a single quarterback and stick closely to most of the lessons above. Sometimes you can wait on quarterback an extra couple of rounds because of what type of drafters you are drafting against, and this helps you to be able to take more risks throughout the draft.

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