Fantasy Football Best Ball: 2020 Underdog Winning Rosters

by Preston White
2022 Fantasy Football Overrated Players

The Best Ball grind never stops, and that's because the Best Ball season never stops.

Alright, so maybe it does stop from the months of September to January. Regardless, it's the best way to spend your time up until the NFL season finally returns.

To prepare, we've got you covered with some hot-off-the-press data courtesy of Underdog Fantasy.

Underdog released their raw data containing every entry from their 2020 Best Ball Mania I tournament. I figured there was no better way to celebrate than by taking a dive into the win rates.

Before we get started, if you're new to Underdog, use our sign-up link to receive a free draft upon deposit. Happy drafting!

Fantasy Football Best Ball: 2020 Underdog Winning Rosters

A Brief Introduction

The raw data released contained plenty of valuable data to explore. For the sake of this article, I'll be covering general roster combinations and their associated success rates.

First of all, I need to establish the constraints I used for these rosters. I only analyzed rosters with the following maximum and minimums for each position:

  • Quarterbacks: 2-to-4
    • Common sense allowed us to eliminate allocating 28% (5 quarterbacks) of our roster to one position. Likewise, by taking only one quarterback, we would sacrifice an entire position's score during our bye week. Both are safe to scratch off the list.
  • Running Backs: 3-to-8
    • These constraints were more so limited based on other positional constraints. The sample sizes for combinations outside of this range were incredibly small too.
  • Wide Receivers: 5-to-11
    • As mentioned with the running backs, these were limited in part due to other positional constraints and sample size.
  • Tight Ends: 2-to-4
    • Similarly to the quarterback position, tight ends had to be kept within a reasonable range.

It's important to note the average rate for advancing to the playoffs for this data set is 18.7%. In other words, this is the expected rate of advancing to the second round.  This is based on the rules and criteria from Best Ball Mania I.

The format for this year's Best Ball Mania II allows the top-2 teams from each league to advance, meaning the expected rate is 16.7%. However, since we are utilizing last year's data, we will be focusing on last year's criteria. Therefore, we are interested in combinations yielding a playoff advancement rate above 21.3%

The Win Rates

One last thing is that the table is sorted by descending playoff advancement percentage. From here on out, I'll be referring to this as the "win rate" So let's check it out:

2020 Underdog Best Ball Mania I Win Rates

QBRBWRTENumber of TeamsPlayoffsPlayoffs %Round 3Round 3 %Round 4Round 4 %
43925480.00%120.00%00.00%
23943266.67%00.00%00.00%
3474381436.84%12.63%00.00%
248426726.92%13.85%00.00%
241022917224.74%93.09%00.00%
448237924.32%00.00%00.00%
2311217423.53%00.00%00.00%
26824435101922.98%771.74%70.16%
3672330173622.30%571.73%40.12%
43839222.22%00.00%00.00%
2673347477022.16%561.61%70.20%
3573385084922.05%721.87%50.13%
45631272822.05%43.15%00.00%
2583316569221.86%531.67%40.13%
249351811321.81%163.09%40.77%
2310337821.62%00.00%00.00%
2592223448121.53%431.92%50.22%
2574982121.43%55.10%00.00%
3582282459421.03%501.77%10.04%
348382117120.83%212.56%10.12%
365434720.59%00.00%00.00%
285339820.51%25.13%00.00%
3663253852020.49%431.69%30.12%
2772212940919.21%291.36%30.14%
3393581118.97%11.72%00.00%
4662911718.68%22.20%11.10%
2664671217.91%11.49%00.00%
276371512717.76%81.12%10.14%
28623666517.76%71.91%00.00%
3852851517.65%33.53%00.00%
34924507817.33%102.22%30.67%
35641222117.21%32.46%00.00%
447347817.02%24.26%00.00%
3310213215.38%00.00%00.00%
45721171815.38%32.56%00.00%
455414214.29%00.00%00.00%
475221314.29%00.00%00.00%
275417211.76%00.00%00.00%
465339410.26%12.56%00.00%
44641000.00%00.00%00.00%
3384300.00%00.00%00.00%

Right away it's evident there were some small sample sizes we were working with. Some roster combinations were used less than 10 times, in a pool of over 40,000 entries.

To take a better look at the data, I've filtered out every combination with a sample size of fewer than 100 entries.

2020 Underdog Best Ball Mania I Win Rates (>99 Entries)

QBRBWRTENumber of TeamsPlayoffsPlayoffs %Round 3Round 3 %Round 4Round 4 %
241022917224.74%93.09%00.00%
26824435101922.98%771.74%70.16%
3672330173622.30%571.73%40.12%
2673347477022.16%561.61%70.20%
3573385084922.05%721.87%50.13%
45631272822.05%43.15%00.00%
2583316569221.86%531.67%40.13%
249351811321.81%163.09%40.77%
2592223448121.53%431.92%50.22%
3582282459421.03%501.77%10.04%
348382117120.83%212.56%10.12%
3663253852020.49%431.69%30.12%
2772212940919.21%291.36%30.14%
276371512717.76%81.12%10.14%
28623666517.76%71.91%00.00%
34924507817.33%102.22%30.67%
35641222117.21%32.46%00.00%
45721171815.38%32.56%00.00%

By filtering those combinations, many of the beloved four running back builds were removed. However, the 2/4/10/2 build stands strong at the top of the list with the highest win rate.

Which isn't a surprise considering last year's winner utilized a four running back build. It's still necessary to note this sample size though. Only 6.7% of all entries utilized some form of a four running back build.

Among these other above-average win rate combinations are variations of both six and seven running backs drafted.

It's important to consider these other builds, especially when the four running back build becomes over-utilized. Being contrarian no longer becomes contrarian when everyone is doing it.

Takeaways

There's only so much information to garner from the standalone roster win rates. Although, it's still good to look at in terms of a big picture approach.

My plan, however, is to break down each individual position, for a more in-depth look. From there, we will be able to see how these combinations and their win rates depended on draft capital spent at the positions.

A big thank you to Hayden Winks and the folks over at Underdog for the data! Hayden was generous enough to get this data cleaned up and published over at Underblog.

If you're looking for some more Best Ball content, check out this piece on identifying late-round wide receiver targets.


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