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Tournament Selection Update

WRITTEN BY :: alex pendergrass

Published – 8/21/23

Welcome to the second installment of the tournament selection series, designed to help inform your contest selection. With about two weeks remaining to draft, training camps are winding down and the final preseason games kick off this week.

Here’s a look at the contests still available to enter across the industry:

OVERLAY notes

Drafters

Our look at overlay absolutely must begin with Drafters. Last season, their $5.55 Early Bestball Championship (closed prior to the NFL Draft) finished with 18.99% overlay on just a 9.98% rake, after which their flagship contest ($20 THE DRAFTERS MILLION Championship) debuted with a field size of 55k entries and 9.1% rake. It closed with just over 44k entries, overlaying at 19.81%.

This year, Drafters chose to double the field size of their flagship tournament to over 110k. With the tournament closing in less than 18 days, there are still less than 40k entries. Xandamere has been tracking the fill rate daily on Discord, and his projections agree with mine. I would be frankly shocked if this contest gets to 70% full. 

If you’re able to play on Drafters, and you can do so effectively using Mike’s strategies to attack the cumulative scoring format, there is simply no better use of your best ball dollars.

As a reminder, if you don’t have an account, you can use referral code OWS to get a 100% deposit match up to $100. If you already have an account, you can use OWSRELOAD to get a 20% deposit match up to $100. You can actually use both codes for separate deposits, so if you deposit $600, you get $200 free.

I’m tentatively expecting a small amount of overlay in the $3 Drafters Mini contest for now as newcomers and Drafters vets alike jump at the massive overlay in the flagship contest. That said, I don’t think the overlay in this one will be able to eliminate the rake.

Underdog

Underdog are the experts at pacing their fill rates by staggering smaller contests across the draft window. I would not expect any overlay for Best Ball Mania IV, or certainly nothing that would make a difference toward the expected value. With its novelty and price point, Weekly Winners would be their only contest in danger of moderate overlay. I could see drafters preferring to allocate their budgets to familiar formats down the stretch, and its price point conflicts with BBMIV and the $20 Drafters flagship tournament with its alluring overlay.

DraftKings

Over on DraftKings, the $10 Millionaire tournament has nearly 1.75x the field size as BBMIV, the second largest tournament in terms of field size. With double the entry fee as last year’s flagship contest, DraftKings could see 5-8% overlay here. Savvier drafters recognize the softer competition, but they also chase more substantial overlay, and they know the massive field and final group size (1,364 entries, fully 3x as many as every other contest still open) make it more difficult to realize one’s edge. DK is continuing to offer free ticket promos for entering other contests, so I’m not comfortable with delivering a firm overlay verdict just yet.

Other potential overlay candidates on DraftKings include the $2.6M Millionaire contest (a $555 entry fee contest, with a 1 in 29 chance at a million dollars in the finals) and the $250K Pocket Passer ($250 single entry, with an especially forgiving playoff advancement structure).

FFPC

Right now, only the Best Ball Tournament on FFPC (their flagship) is in danger of overlay. I suspect that’s due to the $125 entry fee. If it does, I would expect to see maybe 3-5% at the most. For most platforms, that’d make no difference to EV calculation. But on FFPC, thanks to their generous alternate payout offerings in next season tickets (valued higher than strict cash payouts), it could be enough to eliminate the rake entirely.

I wouldn’t get too excited about chasing that right now. FFPC streams live coverage of drafts and is constantly promoting its offerings, so I still think they sell out. But the chance is something to keep an eye on for the next installment of this series.

BB10s & NFFC

If you’re still fairly new to best ball, and you don’t feel the need to chase life changing money, there could be some overlay opportunities here. For BB10s, their 2023 Championship ($10 entry fee, cumulative scoring, $10k top prize) fill rate is suggesting some overlay. I expect that to increase as we near kickoff, but right now I wouldn’t be surprised to see around 5% of overlay. If you can stomach drafting defenses, give it a shot.

If you get queasy about defenses, the NFFC contests also require you to draft kickers. Approach with caution. That said, the $400 NFFC Championship is set to overlay significantly. Their reporting of entries and contest details is suspect, but both of their contests opened during the second week of January, and this one is still nowhere near halfway full. With such a high entry fee, an ungodly 34 rounds to draft, and nearly 22% rake, it’s no wonder why.

If you’ve got deep pockets, I think this might top the Drafters flagship in overlay. NFFC has already had to cancel another costly tournament from their season-long, managed contest offerings (even though it had the sponsorship and backing of Footballguys.com) due to a lack of interest, so it’s not impossible they do the same here. Although this late in the drafting season that seems unlikely and would certainly be quite a blemish to their record.

CONTEST COMPARISONS

With the overlay discussion concluded, I wanted to provide a resource for you to easily compare similar tournaments to each other. It should be noted that the projected fill date column you see in the tables below are not sophisticated enough to expect fill rates increasing the closer we get to the start of the season. For now, you can think that the further past kickoff (9/7/2023) the projected date, the more likely there is to be overlay. Any blanks mean that the criteria do not fit the contest (i.e. cumulative scoring contests have no advancement structure) or the platform does not provide the information.

FLAGSHIP CONTESTS
HIGH STAKES CONTESTS
LOW STAKES CONTESTS
SINGLE OR LIMITED ENTRY CONTESTS