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Underowned Underdog (Battle Royale: Week 3)

The goal of this article is to present you with information & strategy about a different-style DFS tournament that is currently filled with an inexperienced field of entrants. Due to Underdog’s main customer base of Best Ball players, there are many people approaching this tournament in a suboptimal way. So let’s take advantage!

What is Battle Royale?

Battle Royale is Underdog’s main slate tournament offered each week. You and five others participate in a six round draft, selecting a QB, RB, 2 WR, FLEX, & TE from all of Sunday’s games (including SNF). Your final roster then competes with every entry in the tournament, not just your fellow drafters, for the highest score of the week.

Thus far, Underdog has offered a $5 tournament each week, along with a $20 tournament in Week 2. The 22K entry tournament from Week 1 moved to two 5.5K entry tournaments in Week 2. The prize money is pretty evenly distributed at the top, with first place rewards thus far of $20K, $20K, and $5K.

Week 3’s Battle Royale is a $6 entry, 18.9K entrant tournament with $20K to first place.

This is a daily fantasy tournament! Right now the edge is that too many entrants are still treating drafts like season-long teams instead of one-week teams. This article will explore how to think correctly about drafting in this format.

Reviewing Underdog’s Battle Royale: Week 2

Here we take a look at the five highest scoring lineups from Week 1, how they were constructed, what we can learn from them, and the most important concepts to keep in mind when drafting a team.

Brief Summary of Five Highest Scoring Lineups:

  • 5/5 with all of Derrick Henry, Tyler Lockett, Cooper Kupp
  • QBs: Lamar Jackson (x2), Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Kyler Murray
  • TEs: Travis Kelce (x2), Rob Gronkowski (x2), Darren Waller
  • All 5 used different second RB

Information to Note:

The range of “correlated” players was 2 to 4, with zero teams including a 3-man stack of some kind. In Week 1, the range of “correlated” players was 3 to 5, and 80% of the top-5 included a 3-man stack. Whereas in Week 1 every roster included a QB-WR stack, only one of the top-5 in Week 2 included a QB with his own pass-catcher (Brady-Gronk).

  • Some of the highest scoring plays this week just happened to come as strong naked QBs (Kyler, Brady, Lamar) or one-offs (Kupp, CMC)
  • Still, every top team so far has included at least one stack of some kind. Limit the number of things you need to go right through stacking.

For the second straight week, 80% of the top 5 scores either grabbed Kelce first or drafted TE last (so 8/10 top-5 scores on season). Kelce, Hockenson & Gronk have been on 9/10 of the top-5 rosters.

Two RBs have been drafted on 9/10 top-5 teams thus far. Whereas all five in Week 1 drafted a slipping Mixon, all five in Week 2 drafted a slipping Henry.

At least 7 TDs were scored by non-QBs on 9/10 top-5 teams thus far. One had 6, and three others had 8 or 9. In Half-PPR with no bonuses, TD equity is an extremely valuable commodity.

Low-owned or under-valued players have made their ways onto top-5 rosters in each week. In Week 1, Thielen & Deebo made the top-5 with huge scores despite going essentially undrafted. In Week 2, Kupp & Lamar made every top-5 with huge scores despite going frequently undrafted or last pick. I wrote last week after doing several drafts that many interesting players were left out of most drafts (as is the nature of small rosters), and that finding the upside in those overlooked guys would help someone win. Fading the more popular Carson & Metcalf or adding Lamar to KC stacks (Kelce in this case) allowed high-upside access to the same exact game environments! All of the ownership on Carson & Metcalf let Lockett go overlooked, but he obviously has offered immense blow-up upside in his career and was on the same high-total team as them. Lamar’s scary history with the KC defense let him go overlooked, but we know he offers as much fantasy upside as any QB in NFL history.

Story Each Draft Tells

Here we take a look at the “story” that is being told by each top roster. When we draft a player, we are assuming on that roster that the player has success, and therefore each successive pick must further align with the “story” we are telling on that roster.

177.46KelceHenryLamarKuppLockettEkeler

Lamar-Kelce: QB-Opp TE stack in high-total game in which this QB’s ceiling is usually maximized naked

Henry-Lockett: RB-Opp WR stack in high-total game in which the RB having success is likely to mean increased pass volume for the WR

Austin Ekeler: Home-Favorite RB on week’s highest total game in which the game’s top 3 WRs are 100% owned & often stacked

Kupp: QB’s #1 target on high-total team going mostly overlooked by drafters

169.92CMCHenryMahomesKuppLockettGronk

Christian McCaffrey: #1 projected RB who can find success in any game-script on team with narrow distribution

Henry-Lockett: RB-Opp WR stack in high-total game in which the RB having success is likely to mean increased pass volume for the WR

Patrick Mahomes: #2 projected QB in matchup he’s historically dominated naked and his top pass-catchers are extremely popular

Kupp: QB’s #1 target on high-total team going mostly overlooked by drafters // Dominant RZ target on week’s highest total team with recent struggles vs TEs

168.64ChubbHenryBradyKuppLockettGronk

Nick Chubb: A top projected RB as large Home-Favorite with high implied team total

Henry-Lockett: RB-Opp WR stack in a high-total game in which the RB having success is likely to mean increased pass volume for the WR

Brady-Gronk: QB-TE stack on week’s highest total team with a long history of RZ connection

Kupp: QB’s #1 target on a high-total team going mostly overlooked by drafters

165.6WallerHenryKylerKuppLockettZeke

Waller: Only TE with same ceiling as Kelce

Henry-Lockett: RB-Opp WR stack in high-total game in which the RB having success is likely to mean increased pass volume for the WR

Murray: #1 projected QB in high total game whose ceiling is maximized naked

Kupp: QB’s #1 target on high-total team going mostly overlooked by drafters

Ezekiel Elliott: Overlooked high-usage RB in week’s highest total game in which four other players are more popular 

163.26KelceHenryLamarKuppLockettDalvin

Kelce-Lamar: Unrivaled consistency/ceiling at weak position stacked with opposing QB whose success means more passing volume for the TE, and whose own ceiling is maximized naked

Henry-Lockett: RB-Opp WR stack in high-total game in which the RB having success is likely to mean increased pass volume for the WR

Kupp: QB’s #1 target on high-total team going mostly overlooked by drafters

Dalvin Cook: A top projected RB in high total game with history of blow-up scores on team with extremely narrow scoring distribution

The Most Important Concepts to Remember

Every single team you draft tells its own unique story!

For example, when you choose Kamara, you are saying he outscores the others in that range (so Dalvin & Henry for instance) and you then need to build the rest of the roster with that in mind.

Which players later in draft enhance chances of AK scoring higher than others, and/or decrease the chances of the others outscoring him?

  • AK’s ceiling may correlate with success from opponent, as his highest scores come with high target volume
  • Cook & Henry’s ceilings may negatively correlate with success from their teammates (so Thielen/Jefferson or Brown/Julio)

You also need to keep in mind with those early picks who you are missing out on even before you are forced to choose between guys available

  • Ex: McCaffrey & Kelce are always going to be high picks for good reason, so if you don’t get one of them, you need to tell the story on your roster why your players will outscore them
  • This is the same thought process as before, but in this case, you aren’t choosing AK over Henry but rather “choosing” AK because CMC is already gone
  • I.e. If you miss out on Kelce, Hill is the most direct leverage, but you can also go even further by taking Hill AND Waller, as Waller is the most likely to lead the position in scoring if not Kelce
    • CEH (well maybe not after W2 fumble) could be another pivot off the top KC guys, as his success leverages the chances your players outscore Kelce/Hill
  • I.e. If you miss out on CMC, draft your team based on whether your own guy outscores him (maybe a heavy bet on that game environment) or a CMC teammate like DJ Moore has a big day that limits CMC’s ceiling

Manage exposure through a portfolio of drafts that ideally work in concert with each other.

For example, imagine you have rosters 1 & 3 from Week 1:

  • Mahomes – Hill – Mixon – Chubb – Lockett – Hock
  • Kelce – Kyler – Hop – Chubb – Mixon – Deebo

What you are betting on in this example:

  • One:
    • Take Mahomes, miss out on Kelce, so take his other top pass-catcher and bet on that being the highest scoring stack
    • Take Kelce, miss out on Mahomes, so take QB you think outscores him, and then his WR1 to bet even further on that game environment
  • Two
    • Take Chubb on both, correlating with your two bets on KC passing game (this helps both rosters, just through different players)
  • Three:
    • Strong position on Mixon due to him being undervalued in drafts with a good chance to outscore guys above him
  • Four:
    • Miss on Kelce, wait on TE by taking highest projected TE left w/ last pick
    • Take Kelce as TE, grab Deebo as a bet on that game environment (Deebo succeeding positively correlates with Hock, which helps roster 1, but you also know it’s still unlikely he outscores Kelce on roster 2)

You are left with teams that:

  • Leverage Nick Chubb success into positives for the KC passing game, which you have differentiated between the two teams
  • Bet on the two highest projected QBs in their own stacks
  • Bet on a high-upside RB you took a stand on later in drafts
  • Bet on a game environment through Deebo & Hock that can ultimately benefit both rosters

In a perfect world, Lockett & Hopkins would be on opposite rosters here

  • A Hopkins ceiling game is likely negatively correlated to Kyler’s ceiling (given how much of it can come from rushing success), so having Hopkins with Mahomes would be a further bet on Mahomes outscoring Kyler
  • Lockett with naked Kyler here means you are betting on him being QB1, likely in large part due to rushing points, and therefore Hopkins’s ceiling is lowered, making way for someone like Lockett to outscore him

Free $$$!

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