The 2023 fantasy football best ball season is officially underway, with Underdog Fantasy announcing their flagship fantasy football best ball tournament, Best Ball Mania IV. Last year’s Best Ball Mania 3 had a $10,000,000 prize pool and a $2,000,000 overall winner. This year? Well, Underdog Fantasy has upped the ante on numerous fronts.


That’s right. $3,000,000 to first place, $1,000,000 to second place, and life-changing money all over the place just for a fantasy football best ball tournament. Along with the yearly Scott Fish Bowl, Best Ball Mania has become a tentpole event for the fantasy football industry. 

There’s no set strategy to win this tournament, but we can set you on the best possible path to success. Make sure you check out some of our great resources right here on Fantasy Alarm, like:

And if you want to get into some best ball drafts with some of of our Fantasy Alarm staff and the rest of the #FAmily? Well, make sure you join the Fantasy Alarm Discord for one thing because we’re setting up drafts all spring and summer long. 

Let’s get into the nuts and bolts of this Best Ball Mania IV contest to help make you some big-time money in 2023!

Fantasy Football Best Ball Overview

So you’re reading this and want to know what best ball is? Let’s go through some of the key components of one of the fastest-rising formats in fantasy football:

  • No waiver wires
  • No trading
  • No daily or weekly lineups to set
  • Your team is automatically scored each week with the highest-scoring players at each position, which makes up your weekly score (based on roster settings)
  • Your drafted team is your team from the time the draft ends until the season’s end

Best ball takes the fun of drafting teams and removes the in-season management of traditional redraft leagues you’d see on ESPN, NFL Fantasy, Yahoo!, etc.

There are plenty of formats for best ball leagues and providers, like Underdog Fantasy, FFPC, Best Ball 10’s, DraftKings, Yahoo!, Drafters, and many others who are getting leagues going every day up to Week 1 of the NFL season. 

Draft Like You’re Right

There are a ton of things that need to go right on your 18-person Best Ball Mania IV roster to even advance out of your initial 12-team league. Just 1.5% of entrants will cash in the regular season payouts. 99% of entrants who were in the top-1.5% of the regular season total scoring advanced into the playoff weeks in the last three Best Ball Mania tournaments (h/t Sam Hoppen of 4for4), so you’re pretty golden if you score a ton of points.

You must be lucky, avoid major injuries, avoid landmines and busts, and be on the right side of variance. It’s truly a massive confluence of factors that makes up a playoff team, let alone a team that plays in the finals for a seven-figure payout.

You shouldn’t be drafting players to draft players. You want your team to tell a story. Multiple stories, really. That if you draft your team and a certain set of circumstances comes to fruition through the 2023 NFL season, your team will be one of the last 440 teams standing to play for $3,000,000 in Week 17. 

Here is my first Best Ball Mania IV team for this season:

If I’m telling myself a story with this team, it’s going to be

ADP Will Change, Adjust Accordingly

If you’re just drafting one team, this may not matter as much, but if you’re drafting multiple best ball teams throughout the offseason and into the summer, then this will certainly need to be taken into account. ADP (average draft position) will change based on news, training camp, public sentiment, and a host of other factors.

For example, when Best Ball Mania IV was released right after the 2023 NFL Draft concluded, Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback Anthony Richardson’s ADP was around 115, which was just before the 10th round. In just ONE WEEK, Richardson’s ADP is at 89.5, so that’s a rise of two full rounds. Richardson’s rise isn’t likely to stop there, as he’s obviously a very tantalizing pick with a legitimate rushing upside. I wouldn’t be surprised if his ADP rose into the 5th or 6th round by the time training camp starts in July. If we get great reports from Colts’ camp, it could rise even further.

That said, if you want Richardson or other rising players, you can’t just wait until they're listed ADP on Underdog. You have to go get these players and be aggressive. Playing it safe with projectable assets is a good way to finish in sixth place in your 12-team league. 

Being Aggressive Pays Off (ESPECIALLY With Rookies)

We alluded to this in the previous section, but being aggressive with your team and making calculated bets and stands will pay off in the long run. If you’re drafting right now and you’re well-versed in the rookies that were just drafted and want to make sure they’re on your best ball team, you’ll be handsomely rewarded with what is likely the cheapest price for that player than drafting them in July or August.

Players like Jordan Addison, Jonathan Mingo, Kendre Miller, Devon Achane, Rashee Rice, and a host of others landed in advantageous situations on their NFL teams. Best ball drafters in these huge tournaments like Best Ball Mania IV know that. These players (and others) will be drafted incrementally higher and higher as the offseason progresses.

If Alvin Kamara misses time due to an off-the-field incident, Kendre Miller’s current ADP of RB44 (140.7) will rise quickly. If one of Raheem Mostert or Jeff Wilson gets hurt for Miami, expect the same for Devon Achane’s RB36 ADP (113.4).

Hitting on breakout candidates at lower ADP is one of the biggest ways to not only differentiate yourself from a tournament field but also gather as many high-scoring players on your roster so that you can have multiple outs to out scoring your opponents.

Best ball drafts have never been sharper, and ADP has never been as efficient as it is right now. You’re not going to get one over on the field like you can in your redraft league with your high school buddies. Best ball drafters won’t forget about Jordan Addison or Jonathan Mingo in the middle rounds like your league mates in your home league may if they have one too many pops during the draft.

Dive Into Uncertain Waters

It may be tough to have a 30-second clock to make your picks and then see a pocket of the draft you don’t like with players you maybe don’t have a player take about or maybe you’re not able to sort out just who the running back to roster is in a two or three-man backfield. Do you want some advice? Lean into it.

There are a number of backfields where the running backs are separated by just a few spots at their position. Typically, I would suggest taking the cheapest option in terms of ADP. It worked for a number of backfields last season, like:

Going headfirst into uncertain backfields and “playing the ADP game” with cheaper options on relatively ambiguous backfields can make your roster unique compared to the rest of the field if you make the playoffs, and it will give you higher-scoring options from lower-drafted picks.

Stacks, Stacks, Stacks

An easy way to increase the overall upside of your roster is by stacking players. By drafting two or more players from the same offense, you’re making a focused correlated bet on that offense’s production coming from the players you selected. Again, “draft like you’re right.”

Most player stacking is intended to include a quarterback within the stack, but it's not necessary to have the quarterback as you can get pieces of the offense or multiples of a position like these examples:

We talk about wanting to be unique with our rosters, and it can work that way with stacks as well. For instance, it doesn't always have to be the top receiver you stack with. If you feel good about a certain quarterback like, say, Trevor Lawrence, you can grab one of his receiving options in the middle rounds, like Christian Kirk or Zay Jones, instead of using higher draft capital on Calvin Ridley. Or you can draft Evan Engram late.

Another example is if you selected Stefon Diggs, but Josh Allen goes before your pick in the next round. No problem. That’s why we pivot. With such a productive passing offense in Buffalo, you can always draft a Gabe Davis, Dalton Kincaid or even Khalil Shakir late and still get more access to the high-powered Bills’ offense at a significantly reduced cost. 

Building your roster and then engineering a stack late in the draft can work out very well too. Here are some offenses you can employ a late stack with.

Note: All ADP data current as of 5/7/23 from Underdog Fantasy

Green Bay Packers

New Orleans Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers

A lot of stacks have a high price in draft capital to pay for them, like the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, and Philadelphia Eagles. They are super popular teams with some of the highest odds to score the most points. Having some back-pocket stacks that you can pivot to if players get selected before your pick can keep you in the game and make your roster unique at the same time.

With some of these tips in your holster when drafting best ball teams this spring and summer, you’ll be well-prepared to draft the best possible teams and have a shot at winning life-changing money in Best Ball Mania IV. Good luck!