2022 Fantasy Football Best Ball: Positional Win Rates

by Preston White
2022 Fantasy Football Best Ball Win Rates

Happy 2022 Fantasy Football Best Ball season everyone! If you missed the news, Underdog Fantasy just released their biggest Best Ball tournament ever with Best Ball Mania III.

In honor of BBM3, I figured it was only best to take a dive into some data from BBM2. So today, we'll be looking at positional win rates.

Before we get started, I wanted to remind everyone to use our sign-up link for a free bonus upon first deposit. Now let's get into it.

2022 Fantasy Football Best Ball: Positional Win Rates

What Are Win Rates?

Win rates are a metric used to show how often a particular factor led a team to advance in a Best Ball tournament. These metrics can be anything from the amount of a position drafted, draft spot, draft time, and so on.

These win rates are also known as advance rates because they're the rate at which the team advanced to the playoffs. For a typical Underdog tournament, where the top 2 of 12 teams advance, we are looking at anything better than the average advance rate of 16.7%.

Today we'll be looking at positional win rates, or what number of picks dedicated to each position worked best in a vacuum. I'll also be comparing this to Utilization Rates to see how often the field was either doing something sub-optimal, or taking advantage of an optimal construction.


2022 Fantasy Football Best Ball: Positional Win Rates

As you can see, I only focused on builds with 2, 3, and 4 quarterbacks. That's because, for all positions, I only include counts that at least 1% of the field utilized in either year. (1-QB builds didn't even do well either).

Continuing on, the trends in utilization remained relatively consistent year over year. A slight bit of the field continued to prefer to draft two quarterbacks total.

The one takeaway seems to be that two quarterbacks performed the best by a decent margin of 17.5%, compared to 16.1% for three quarterbacks. This is certainly interesting, as intuitively, most teams taking two quarterbacks would be taking at least one early.

Last season, we saw quite a few early quarterbacks struggle with production and injury, whether it was Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson or Russell Wilson. This does make the 2-QB success rate something to keep in mind, despite the circumstances.

Otherwise, three quarterback builds performed just below the average. Ultimately, we should primarily focus on two and three quarterback builds, as anything else is just sub-optimal.

Running Backs

2022 Fantasy Football Best Ball: Positional Win Rates

Looking at the utilization rates, it was evident that drafters caught on to the hot win rates of 4RB builds made famous last off-season. Teams that drafted four running backs increased from 6.7% to 20.6%. With the skyrocketing trend, we also saw the hyper fragile build take a dip in win rate this year.

On the other end, drafters stopped drafting as many running backs. It was evident across the board, but specifically, rosters with six running backs were about half as popular. However, these six running back builds remained above average in success rate.

The interesting point here is that with the increased amount of teams utilizing the 4RB builds, wide receivers were flying off the board. The receivers really started getting pushed up around the 5th or 6th round.

I wonder if the win rate for six running back builds has any correlation to zero RB builds. In hindsight, those builds didn't seem as if they would've worked too well due to the overly disappointing seasons from the ZeroRB targets in rounds two and three last year.

Perhaps the overall build of more running backs kept the teams afloat, given the circumstances. Regardless, it may be best to pivot when everyone goes all in on one strategy. Drafts are fluid. Let them come to you.

Wide Receivers

2022 Fantasy Football Best Ball: Positional Win Rates

One thing is for certain, the correlation is there. As more teams took fewer running backs, the number of teams taking nine wide receivers nearly tripled.

Simultaneously, there were fewer teams taking fewer wide receivers. The utilization rate decreased for wide receiver counts of five to eight.

All around, the advance rates were pretty flat among the wide receiver constructions in a vacuum. I will note, that the 10 wide receiver builds seemed to lose their luster, with their win rates dropping from 19.4% to 15.3%.

Again, I think the takeaway comes down to not getting stuck on a particular build. Understand how different builds can be successful, and when to implement various builds based on how the board plays out.

Tight Ends

2022 Fantasy Football Best Ball: Positional Win Rates

Last but not least, with have tight ends. With the major note coming from the amount of teams shifting from two tight end builds, to three tight end builds.

The utilization rate for two tight end builds increased from 51.1% to 60.1%. While the utilization rate for three tight end builds dropped from 46.3% to 36.3%.

The three tight end builds did begin to separate themselves in terms of win rate. So did the four tight end builds, which was still a relatively small sample.

It does seem as if the two tight end builds lacked in performance due to relatively poor, or injury riddled, seasons from the likes of Darren Waller, TJ Hockenson, and George Kittle. At the same time, we saw some darling late round tight ends like Dawson Knox and Dalton Schultz.


One of the major takeaways here is the need to further evaluate complete team roster constructions. We'll need to get a better idea as to how much certain builds were affected by the likes of ZeroRB type constructions.

Overall, we need to be ready to zig when others zag. There's more than one optimal build out there. And there's also a need for contrarianism.

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