Updated September 17, 2023

How to win Underdog Fantasy Mania Best Ball

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Best Ball Strategy for Underdog Fantasy Mania

Underdog Best Ball Mania is a yearly fantasy football "best ball" (a form of season-long fantasy that functions much like daily fantasy sports) contest by Underdog Fantasy. Last year's Best Ball Mania III was the most significant best ball contest in the game's history, with a $10 million total prize pool and $2 million to first place. We expect big things for the 2023 version of Underdog Best Ball Mania, and here we will get into everything you need to know to win in the 2023-2024 NFL season.

Underdog Fantasy: Understanding the Game Format

Underdog Fantasy offers a variety of contests, not only best ball. Yet, the famous fantasy sports brand specializes in the best ball format, and Best Ball Mania is the largest of their yearly NFL best ball competitions. Let's look at how the game basically works to get you started in understanding best ball as offered by Underdog Fantasy.

First, you'll want to understand the draft size, tournament schedule and how the rounds work, and roster spots that must be filled for a best ball team.

Best Ball Mania Drafts and Group Size

For starters, when drafting best ball rosters, you will compete against 12 other teams. You will be in a draft with 12 other Underdog Fantasy users who are simultaneously constructing their rosters in the draft. There are 18 draft rounds in each draft as a Best Ball Mania roster consists of 18 players. You can make up to 150 entries in the tournament, and each will start in its own 12-team group.

Best Ball Mania Tournament Rounds

This best ball fantasy football tournament involves a tournament schedule of four rounds. Round one consists of weeks one through 14 of the NFL season. Each week, you will compete against the same initial 12-person group for that roster. At the end of the 14th week, the two top-scoring teams will progress to round two, which is considered the quarterfinals. In 2022 the tournament buy-in was $25, and all such teams to advance won $35.

The quarter-finals (round two) involve week 15 only. Groups are whittled down to ten-person, and only the team with the top score in each group that week advances. This team wins $75 and goes to round three, the semi-finals.

In the semi-finals (round three), which consist of week 16 only, there are 16-person groups. Only the top-scoring team advances and wins $1,000, advancing to the final, round four.

Round four is the final round and is for week 17 only. It consists of a 470-person group, and prizes are gradient depending on finishing position, with $2 million for the user to win first prize.

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Best Ball Mania Roster Construction

Each best ball tournament roster you construct must contain 18 players of varying positions as shown below. As you can see, there is some flexibility to the type of players you roster as you have plenty of roster spots that are not specified by position:

  1. Quarterback: 1
  2. Running Back: 2
  3. Wide Receiver: 3
  4. Tight End: 1
  5. Flex: 1
  6. Bench: 10

Underdog Best Ball Scoring System

You will want to understand how Underdog fantasy football best ball contests are scored. Please see below for a breakdown of the fantasy point scoring system.

  1. Reception: 0.5 point
  2. Receiving Yard: 0.1 point
  3. Rushing Yard: 0.1 point
  4. Passing TD: 4.0 points
  5. 2-PT Conversion: 2.0 points
  6. Receiving TD: 6.0 points
  7. Rushing TD: 6.0 points
  8. Passing Yard: 0.04 point
  9. Interception: -1.0 point
  10. Fumble Lost: -2.0 points

Best Ball Mania III Recap

Best Ball Mania III has come and gone, and the 2023-2024 NFL season contest has yet to be posted. Still, the previous tournament should give us a good idea of what we can expect for our next Best Ball Mania, presumably Best Ball Mania IIII barring a naming convention change.

This last tournament was the largest contest in the history of best ball in terms of the prize pool, with $10 million total and $2 million to first place. All with only a $25 buy-in. The tournament schedule and scoring were equivalent to what we expect for Best Ball Mania in 2023. 

Let's take a look at some basic tournament details and the payout structure to give us some idea of what we might expect for the next contest. It is worth noting that even second place garnered a $1 million prize, while third took home a half-a-million. Also, consider the $1 million bonus to the top overall scoring team, and you can see why this was a groundbreaking tournament in the history of best ball.

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Prize Breakdown

  1. 1st - $2,000,000
  2. 2nd - $1,000,000
  3. 3rd - $500,000
  4. 4th - $200,000
  5. 5th - $100,000
  6. 6th - $75,000
  7. 7th - $50,000
  8. 8th - $40,000
  9. 9th - $30,000
  10. 10th - $20,000
  11. 11-50th - $10,000
  12. 51-100th - $5,005
  13. 101-200th - $3,750
  14. 201-300th - $2,500
  15. 301-400th - $1,500
  16. 401-470th - $1,000
  17. 471-940th - $505
  18. 941-2350th - $200
  19. 2351-3760th - $100
  20. 3761-5640th - $90
  21. 5641-7520th - $75
  22. 7521-37600th - $40
  23. 37601- 75200th - $35
  24. *BONUS: $1,000,000 to the top overall scoring team*

Best Ball Mania III Tournament Details

  1. Total Tournament Entries: 451,200
  2. Draft Size: 12 Teams
  3. Draft Rounds: 18 Rounds
  4. Max Entries (Per Individual): 150
  5. Price to Enter: $25
  6. Rake: 11.3%
  7. Pick Clock: Fast Drafts - 30 Seconds / Slow Drafts - 8 Hours

Drafting Strategy

There are many factors to consider in developing your Best Ball drafting strategy for Underdog Fantasy Best Ball Mania. The format is relatively new, and new information emerges each passing season. Let's look at a broad-level overview of the strategy for this particular best ball tournament.

Why Best Ball Mania Strategy Is Different

First, it is essential to remember that Best Ball Mania does not function like many contests in season-long fantasy football. For one, you must take a more similar approach to what you would in DFS than a home fantasy league.

On top of it, this contest is much different than many other best ball contests offered at Underdog and elsewhere. This gargantuan size of the tournament and the top-heavy payout structure means that you must construct your roster considering what it takes to come in the highest percentile of finishes. Most of the money is in the top 0.1% of teams, so you want to be there.

How To Get to the Top

By the simple law of averages, many of our teams should likely get through the first round, particularly if we draft with a reasonable fraction of ADP awareness and some logical correlation. The game is so random, considering the potential for injuries and other unexpected factors, that getting past the first round mainly involves constructing a solid roster and a bit of luck.

Therefore, we really need to make teams with high upside over the final three rounds, which only involve the last 3 weeks of the regular season. For this reason, it is essential to make significant stands on our teams that will make or break us based on the last few weeks of the season. Namely the final week.

One thing to consider is players we feel are likely to excel in the season's final weeks. They may be young players more likely to have increased roles by the end of the year despite being less coveted during the best ball draft.

We also want to consider overtly drafting for what will happen in week 17. This may involve stacking teams going into the final week needing to play all their starters due to playoff implications.

Sometimes this may be in a particular game that we anticipate being important. We could stack QB and WR pairs or other player combinations from such a game, hoping that all the pieces fall into place for the final week on a best ball team that was fortunate enough to make it there.

In-Game Strategy

Best ball does not work like some forms of season-long fantasy. Much like in a daily fantasy contest with no late swap, your team is set once your draft is over. Yet, this is for the entire season. You will have to withstand injuries, bye weeks, and other less-than-ideal factors with no opportunity to make changes later.

Still, this does factor into draft strategy as you will want to consider what may occur later in a season when making your picks. One way there could be some form of in-game strategy is if you advanced far in the tournament. There may be a scenario where a hedge bet that is anti-correlative to your best ball roster could benefit you.

Still, this would be outside the best ball tournament and can't be considered an actual in-game strategy. The only form of "in-game" strategy is in the game of drafting itself, which we have covered above.

Bankroll Management

Regarding bankroll management, the number one rule is to play what you can afford to lose. Another important consideration is that since best ball is a season-long tournament, anything you invest will see no return until the end. Consider how much of your bankroll you can tie up over months while maintaining the ability to bet daily and withstand downswings.

Once the contest is underway, there is not much you can do other than consider hedge betting opportunities. This would essentially only become a factor very late in a Best Ball Mania tournament where you stand to win a large prize based on particular team outcomes.

Best Practices

There are a few essential tips you will want to consider in Best Ball Mania contests or any form of best ball. These are basic concepts that are fundamental to drafting correctly.

  1. Construct your team wisely in terms of player position allocation. A standard default would be a 2QB/6RB/8WR/2TE roster.
  2. Do some stacking in your construction. You will likely want players who increase each other's ceilings to maximize upside.
  3. Considering players who can have huge weeks rather than slow but steady players is good tournament practice.
  4. Be concerned with player rankings and ADP. You should have these set in Underdog before your drafts to guide you.
  5. Consider your draft plan in advance. Don't get stuck in later rounds due to not considering the implications of earlier decisions.
  6. Play for the contest you are in. If playing Best Ball Mania III, maximize your chance of coming in the top percentile.
  7. Don't be strict in your exact strategies. The game is still new, and there is room for innovation.
  8. Play for ceiling, not floor, in huge contests like Best Ball Mania III.
  9. It is prudent to consider those you are drafting against and use game theory against your opponents during the draft.
  10. If you will enter many teams, it is wise to consider your overall player roster percentages for your portfolio.


The bottom line is that Underdog Best Ball Mania could be considered the granddaddy of them all regarding best ball tournaments. You can stand to win millions for a mere $25 investment (based on the 2022 contest).

By the same token, due to the sheer size of the affair, there are unique strategies one must factor in to give themselves a shot at big prizes. It is essential to aim high in contests like this due to the top-heavy payout structure. Go big or go home is the approach for Underdog Best Ball Mania.

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What Is Underdog Fantasy?

Underdog Fantasy is a fantasy sports platform known for its best ball product, specifically for NFL. Unlike some daily fantasy sites, Underdog focuses on the snake draft format for season-long and daily contests.

What Is Best Ball on Underdog Fantasy?

Best ball is a form of season-long fantasy, popular in football but available for other major sports. It is much like daily fantasy sports, yet occurs over an entire season.

How Does the Underdog Fantasy Best Ball Mania Work?

Best Ball Mania is the most significant NFL best ball tournament Underdog offers. It functions like any other best ball tournament offered by the platform.

How Do You Win Underdog Fantasy?

There are many strategies to win, depending on what type of contest you are playing. It all comes down to making smart picks in your drafts based on your contest.

What Is the Best Strategy for a Fantasy Football Auction Draft?

Fantasy football auction drafts function differently than snake drafts, as in best ball. It is essential to allocate your budget correctly and calculate auction values precisely in auction drafts.

What Is Best Ball in Underdog Fantasy?

Best ball is a form of season-long fantasy football offered by Underdog Fantasy. It is played with and for real money, like daily fantasy sports.

Is Underdog App Legal?

The underdog app is legal in states of operation.

Where Is Underdog Fantasy Legal?

Underdog fantasy is legal in the United States and Canada, except for a few US states.

What States Is Underdog Fantasy Legal?

Underdog Fantasy is legal in all US states except for CT, DE, HI, IA, ID, LA, MT, NV, and WA. It is also legal in Canada.

How Long Does Underdog Fantasy Take to Payout?

PayPal payments generally take 1-2 business days, while Credit Cards can take 1-5. You should expect most payments to come through within 48-72 hours and at most five business days, with select exceptions.

How To Withdraw Money From Underdog Fantasy?

Once you have won withdrawable funds, simply navigate to the withdraw section of Underdog Fantasy via the app or website, select the amount you would like to withdraw, and submit your request.

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