Best Ball Strategy Series: How to Draft Different Lineup Constructions Effectively

Generally speaking on Underdog Fantasy, you want to stay within the ranges below for each position in an 18-round best ball draft.

QB:  2-3

RB:  4-7

WR:  6-9

TE:  2-3

*Note, one more total could be added to RB, WR and TE for DraftKings and Drafters. And I draft mostly 3 QBs on DraftKings with 20 total picks.

What is most important, however, is how you use your draft capital effectively to build a solid lineup that has a chance to be in the top 2 at the end of the regular season to make best ball playoffs. Then of course, you want that lineup to be built to make it through the playoffs to have a chance to make the best ball Finals in week 17.

In my weekly strategy video, I discussed the importance of building with different lineup constructions, but doing so correctly and effectively. The very short summary would be for each position group, you either want quality (high draft picks/capital) or quantity, but not both. You’ll hear a lot of analysts in the best ball space talk about diminishing returns. Basically, that means smaller returns or benefits, despite more capital invested in it.

Simply put, if you are drafting a Zero RB strategy and you draft 5 receivers with your first 6 draft picks, does it make much sense to draft a total of 9 receivers? No, not at all. Because you spent all that high capital on receivers, you are banking on them being your starters and depth at WR. So in this type of build, you should only draft 6 or 7 receivers total. This is because you’ll need to devote more quantity to the other positions that you didn’t draft early.

This can be applied for all positions, but it’s most important for the RB and WR positions where higher quantities are being drafted. I have some galaxy brain ideas about drafting 3 QBs or 3 TEs even with high draft capital at those positions to help push lower-owned players though to playoffs. But that is a whole other strategy article altogether!

So let’s break down the four main lineup constructions you hear people talk about most often and how to draft them effectively. Please note, not all your drafts have to fit exactly into these lineup constructions. There can be a lot of hybrid builds to these.
 

ZERO RB:

-Draft capital:  Waiting until rounds 5 or 6 to draft your first RB, while you spend your first several picks on WR and/or QB and TE.

-Quantity:  Since you are waiting to draft your first RB, you need to rely on quantity. Draft at least 6-7 RBs in these builds. Draft only 6-7 WR in these builds. Hayden Winks discussed this in a 2022 Underdog Network article on how to draft zero RB effectively. He discusses the diminishing returns if you draft too many receivers in a zero RB build.

-Notes:

Because Zero RB was very effective in 2022, Zero RB is a VERY popular strategy in 2023 drafts with wide receivers going off the board early and often. Note, the history of zero RB in best ball has been truly mixed – 2020 was average, 2021 was bad and 2022 was awesome. It all depends on which studs and value picks hit.

I still believe its a viable, strong strategy, though I personally like it better on full PPR sites like DraftKings. But if you draft a true zero RB lineup, make sure to do it correctly and do not overload the receiver position with quantity.
 

HERO RB:

-Draft capital:  Draft a stud RB in Round 1 or 2. Then address the other positions (similar to Zero RB) and come back to fill out the RB position in round 8 forward.

-Quantity:  Since you drafted one stud RB, I think you can draft 5-6 RBs total in this type of build. I still would recommend not overloading the WR if you draft several early after your stud RB. If draft several receivers early, then I would draft a max of 8. I usually prefer 7 WR in this type of build.

-Notes:

Sometimes called Anchor RB, because you are anchoring your team with one hero RB. Then from there it kinda morphs into a Zero RB build.
 

DOUBLE/DUAL/BIMODAL HERO RB:

-Draft capital:  Draft 2 RBs in the first 3 rounds (I think you could push this definition to the top 4 rounds this year with the way RBs are falling).

-Quantity:  Since you drafted 2 stud RBs, then you definitely draft a max of 5 RBs total. Just like zero RB, you will reach diminishing returns if you invest too much quantity at the RB positon after you invested such high draft capital.

One you draft your first RB, then focus on WR, QB and TE starters before you go back to the RB position.

-Notes:

The key to this strategy is after you pick your first 2 RBs, then do not draft another RB most likely until at least Round 10 (unless a great value or stack falls to you). This allows you to fill out your roster with quality still at the other positions. Believe it or not, even in the year of the WR avalanche, I believe you can still draft WRs, QBs and TEs you can count on as long as you follow this rule. See how I implemented this strategy with RBs Nick Chubb (Round 2) and Breece Hall (Round 3) in this RunPureSports Underdog Live Draft.
 

ROBUST RB:

-Draft capital:  Draft 3 RBs in first 5 rounds.

-Quantity:  Since you invested so much capital early on RB, you can take a good compliment RB or two in the later rounds like a Kenneth Gainwell.

This is the type of lineup construction that you would need to draft 8-9 WR to make up in quantity what you lacked in high draft capital.

-Notes:

I rarely use this strategy, but if RBs in the first 4-5 rounds are the nuts this year, this is a unique strategy. You can also build the cousin version of this and draft “Hyperfragile RB strategy”, which means you only draft 3-4 RBs total since you drafted 3 RBs so early.

Again, this is my least favorite strategy, but I’ve hammered the concept of diversifying your strategy portfolio in addition to your player portfolio, so I’ll draft a handful of these.
 

SUMMARY:

Each strategy has had mixed results over the 3 years of best ball. As I mentioned, last year Zero RB was amazing, but it was bad in 2021 and average in 2020. And the winners of the lotto tournaments on Underdog and DraftKings actually had Double Hero RB and Hero RB because of week 17 results.

There is honestly no way to know for sure which strategy or hybrid of these strategies will work best in 2023. So that is why I discuss diversitying your strategy portfolio often.

Personally, I like the Hero RB and Double Hero RB on Underdog and Zero RB and Hero RB on DraftKings (full point PPR). But, whichever strategy you choose, just draft the correct way for that build structure. Always keeping in mind the law of diminishing returns.
 

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