Thursday, Sep 8th
Monday, Sep 12th

Underowned. Underdog. 2.21.

Lex Miraglia is a podcaster and lead researcher at OWS. In Underowned|Underdog, Lex breaks down one of the most exciting opportunities available to us at the moment from a “hunting for first-place finishes” perspective: the ultra-soft drafts taking place weekly in the Underdog Battle Royale: a top-heavy “draft” tournament that provides us with clear, easy paths to first place. (Note: this is JM writing this. I actually started attacking the Battle Royale this week, and was almost laughing at the lack of understanding my fellow drafters had of what it would take to win. Two days later, Lex passed along this article. Get drafting!!!)


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?

Tournament Information:
  • Underdog’s NFL main slate weekly tournament
  • Week 1 Size & Entry Fee: 22.6K // $5
  • Week 2 Size & Entry Fee: 5.7K // $20
  • Week 1 Prize Breakdown (1st-5th): $20K – $10K – $5K – $2.25K – $1K
  • Week 2 Prize Breakdown (1st-5th): $20K – $10K – $6K – $3K – $2k
  • BONUS! — Mini Royale:
    • Size & Entry Fee: 5.6K // $5
    • Prize Breakdown (1st-5th): $5K – $3.75K – $2.5K – $1.875K – $1.25K
Roster/Draft Information:
  • 6-man drafts
    • Only the overall leaderboard matters for prize money
  • Rosters:
    • QB // RB // WR // WR // FLEX // TE
    • 36 NFL Players rostered in each draft (30 FLEX players)
  • Scoring:
    • Half-PPR // No bonuses for yardage benchmarks

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 1

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.

Five Highest scoring lineups:
  • Only duplicate happened to be the lineup tied for 1st
  • Range of 152.68 to 150.18 (2.5 pts difference from 1st to 6th)
  • Notable Player Exposure:
    • 4/5 with Mahomes + Tyreek
      • 2 brought Chubb back
      • 1 included Kelce double-stack
    • 2/5 Kelce (on the one non-Mahomes/Hill team)
      • Chubb brought back
    • 5/5 with Mixon
      • Drafted 3rd, 4th, 5th, 5th, 6th
      • 2 included Thielen; 1 included Dalvin double-stack
    • 3/5 Hockenson (all non-Kelce)
      • 3rd highest projected TE
      • Drafted 6th, 6th, 4th
    • Deebo only true super low-owned player
Information to Note:
  • The range of “correlated” players was 3 to 5, with all including QB-WR stack and 4 of 5 including a 3-man stack of some kind
    • Limit the amount of things you need to go right through stacking
  • 80% of the top 5 scores either grabbed Kelce first or drafted TE last
    • Kelce provides massive edge at weakest position
  • Value in workhorse RBs, especially those sliding in drafts
    • Ex: Mixon projected high among RBs, but slid due to concerns about matchup/game script vs MIN despite a wide-held belief he will barely leave field
  • Remember scoring: Half-ppr with no bonuses means TDs have more importance
    • Big-play ability & TD-equity more valuable than racking up short catches
  • Players came from just 5 games (8 teams)
    • Ex: KC-CLE, MIN-CIN, SF-DET, ARI, SEA
    • Take strong positions on game environments!
      • Try to bet on game environments with different players from those games
      • Ex: Kelce or Hill // Dalvin or Thielen // Lockett or Metcalf
  • Ownership not as concerning in avoiding dupes compared to single-game tournaments
    • Way more combinations in this setting (36 players drafted vs 12), making it less necessary to go way off board to win with unique roster
    • Ex: Using someone like Deebo in W1 can help you win, but draft him because it makes sense within your team/portfolio rather than just due to ownership
Story Each Draft Tells:
33.3831.62321.62419.7
152.68MahomesHillMixonChubbLockettHock
  • Highest projected QB, stacks his WR1 next pick
    • The more points Hill gets, the less Kelce gets
  • RB projected for workhorse usage in uncertain matchup
  • Opp RB to add to QB-WR stack
    • If Chubb is having ground success, likely means KC needs to throw more
  • WR on team with high total, narrow distribution b/w top guys, history of blow-ups
  • 3rd highest projected TE who likely fell due to matchup concerns
  • FINAL STORY:
    • QB-WR-Opp RB stack in high total game // workhorse RB // WR on high-total team with history of blow-up scores // 3rd highest projected TE
33.3831.623.32321.619.7
151.98MahomesHillHopMixonChubbHock
  • Highest projected QB, stacks his WR1 next pick
    • The more points Hill gets, the less Kelce gets
  • WR1 in expected high-scoring game
    • Hopkins ceiling likely means less rushing ceiling for Kyler
  • RB projected for workhorse usage in uncertain matchup
  • Opp RB to add to stack
    • If Chubb having ground success, likely means KC needs to throw more
  • 3rd highest projected TE who likely fell due to matchup concerns
  • FINAL STORY:
    • QB-WR-Opp RB stack in high total game // WR1 in expected high-scoring affair (likely negatively affects Kyler’s ceiling, helping Mahomes) // workhorse RB // 3rd highest projected TE
22.634.5623.321.62327.4
151.96KelceKylerHopChubbMixonDeebo
  • Highest projected player at his position (TE) by wide margin
  • Second highest projected QB in expected high-scoring affair, stacks his WR1 next pick
    • Expecting Kyler-Hop-Kelce to outscore Mahomes-Hill-TE
      • More Kelce points probably means less Hill points
  • Opp RB to stack with TE
    • If Chubb having ground success, likely means KC needs to throw more
  • RB projected for workhorse usage falling due to uncertain matchup/game environment
  • WR on team with high total in soft matchup
    • The more points Deebo scores, the less flow to Kittle & Mostert
  • FINAL STORY:
    • TE-Opp RB stack with massive projection drop-off at weak position // QB-WR1 stack in expected high scoring affair that creates strong leverage point when paired with first pick // workhorse RB // WR on team with high total at extremely low ownership that leverages other popular players on his own team
17.431.633.3819.72325.7
150.68DalvinHillMahomesHockMixonThielen
  • 2nd highest projected RB in expected favorable game-script
  • Highest projected WR, stacks his QB next pick
    • The more points Hill gets, the less Kelce gets
  • 3rd highest projected TE; position falls off quickly
  • Opp RB projected for workhorse usage to stack with first RB
    • Both guys expected to stay on field in all gamescripts
  • Adds WR w/ history of big scores to the RB-RB stack
    • Betting on high scoring affair with two players on a team with extremely narrow touch distribution and an opposing workhorse RB
  • FINAL STORY:
    • RB-WR-Opp RB stack on teams with narrow distributions // QB-WR1 stack in expected high scoring affair that leverages not having Kelce // 3rd-highest projected player at weak position
22.631.633.381425.723
150.18KelceHillMahomesMetcalfThielenMixon
  • Highest projected player at his position (TE) by wide margin
    • Stacks his teammate, the highest projected WR, betting on narrow distribution in NFL’s best offense with high team total
    • Stacks the WR & TE’s QB, the highest projected QB
      • Now has the highest projected players at three positions in a single stack
  • WR on team with high total, narrow distribution b/w top guys, history of blow-ups
  • WR on team with high total, narrow distribution b/w top guys, history of blow-ups
    • Thielen provides leverage on Dalvin & Jefferson rosters (AT lowest owned)
    • Stacks Opp-RB next pick
      • Big Mixon game likely means MIN passing more
  • FINAL STORY:
    • QB-WR-TE stack on team with narrow distribution & week’s highest total // WR with blow-up potential & high team total // WR-Opp RB stack that leverages other popular players in the game

Free $$$!

<< WEEKLY Drafts on Underdog* >>
Get $10 with a $10 deposit!!!
*Underdog is phenomenal

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 (so Davante/Tonyan for example)
  • 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 would 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 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

Looking at Week 2:

Just some quick bits of information I’ve gathered from several drafts between the $20 Battle Royale and the $5 Battle Royale:

Notable players consistently going either undrafted or in the last few picks:

  • QB:
    • Dak // Herbert
    • Hurts // Lamar
    • Stafford // Tannehill
  • RB:
    • Mixon // Elliott // Carson
    • Montgomery // Taylor // Edwards-Helaire // Henderson
    • Sanders // Gaskin // Harris // Hunt
  • WR:
    • LAR WRs // CIN WRs // PIT WRs
    • 1-2 of the 3 TB WRs
    • Robinson // Thielen // Julio // DJ Moore
    • Cooks // Landry // Mike Williams // Waddle
  • TE:
    • Gronk // Higbee // Fant // Cook // Pitts

Thoughts on the aforementioned information:

  • The main four guys from DAL-LAC are all being taken, but the QBs are being passed on
  • Matchups are scaring drafters off some high-usage RBs
  • MIN WRs might be undervalued with Thielen almost never getting drafted, and Jefferson falling to the back half consistently
  • CHI-CIN tributary of the passing games opening up (see NFL Edge) is going to be essentially unowned
  • TB distribution uncertainty generally scaring drafters off; AB almost unowned
  • Due to lack of “juicy” options, almost none of the highest drafted players will have bring-backs from their opponents
    • CMC & AK only ones being drafted in NOR-CAR
      • Moore // Callaway
    • Kelce/Hill/Mahomes only ones drafted in KC-BAL
      • Lamar // Andrews // CEH
    • Chubb only one being drafted in CLE-HOU
      • Hunt // Landry // Cooks
    • Dalvin/Jefferson/Hopkins/Kyler only ones drafted in MIN-ARI
      • Thielen
    • Diggs/Allen only ones drafted in MIA-BUF
      • Sanders // Beasley // Waddle
    • Waller/Najee only ones drafted in PIT-LV
      • Diontae

Keep in mind that, without a salary cap and only 24 WRs/RBs being drafted, you have to draft with elite upside in mind. If you want to put Callaway or Waddle on a roster with CMC or Diggs/Allen, then you are saying that player is one of the top scoring players on the entire slate. There is no “points per dollar” strategy to keep in mind here that you use for certain guys in normal DFS, as you are going to need among the very top scores at every position. 

Certain guys, while still preferable in a stack, can still have upside on their own, but you have to keep in mind who those guys are. For example, Thielen benefits from a strong ARI game, but due to MIN’s narrow distribution, can still have immense value on his own in this format while leveraging the success of Cook & Jefferson. Callaway, on the other hand, would be a bet that the game shoots way past its total, likely meaning that CMC is producing on his side and forcing NOR to pass more, opening up the scenario for Callaway to dominate production amidst a bunch of average pass-catchers in NOR. Callaway being one of the top scorers of the week would leverage against 100% owned Kamara, also helping CMC, and would give you one of the most unique rosters on the slate.

Free $$$!

<< WEEKLY Drafts on Underdog* >>
Get $10 with a $10 deposit!!!
*Underdog is phenomenal