This article is focused on the NBA Playoff Best Ball Tournaments on Underdog Fantasy. The tournament called “The Dance” is the big tournament over on Underdog and it’s a $10 entry/150 max entries. The tournament has a top prize of $30K and is currently only 32% full. The last day you can enter is 4/16, which is right after the play-in tournament, so at that point we will know all the teams in the field (Note: play-in game statistics don’t count for Underdog Best Ball tournaments). The beauty of Best Ball is once you draft your team there is no further work/updates needed, so you can sit back and track the results and hopefully count your winnings. Full disclosure – I’m very new to Best Ball and have entered only a few NBA/NFL contests last year. Sometimes writing on a topic is the best way to learn so that’s part of my goal in writing this. There does seem to be a ton of strategy involved in these Best Ball contests (especially for the NBA Playoffs) and there isn’t much content out there for it. Even though I’m new to the Best Ball format I feel like there’s quite a bit of edge in these contests if we do our homework and really try to understand the game.
This Playoff Best Ball format just oozes tons of strategery (I don’t think that’s a word but it sounds good). We obviously want to correlate the teams we draft so an initial strategy would be picking 2-4 players from one team in the Western Conference and 2-4 players from one team in the Eastern Conference in hopes that they play each other in the finals. The problem with this strategy is the Playoff Best Ball format has 4 rounds. You will need to win your group (I think 2nd place also advances in the first round) in order to advance to the next round.
First Round – Conference Quarterfinals
Second Round – Conference Semifinals
Third Round – Conference Finals
4th Round – NBA Finals
Let’s say we draft all Bucks and Suns since these teams have the highest odds of reaching the NBA Finals. If we employ the full stacking strategy it may be difficult to the come out of the first round since fringe players on the Bucks and Suns probably aren’t accumulating that many fantasy points. In addition, if the Bucks or Suns would sweep their first round opponent we’d be at a disadvantage since we’d only get 4 games played while other series may go 6 or 7 games, and therefore players from those other series would have more games to accrue fantasy points in the first round. I think we need to balance some team stacks with solid plays to make sure we get out of the first round. Keep in mind that each draft will require it’s own strategy. If we get the first pick and get Giannis we can then correlate to get a number of Bucks on that team. Keep an open mind in each draft based on who’s available and what position you are drafting in.
Favorite Teams To Target:
Based on the Vegas odds the Phoenix Suns (+115) have the best chance to make it to NBA Finals, so we are going to want to target players on Phoenix. In the Eastern Conference it’s a little more open as the Bucks have the best odds to represent the East at +235. Brooklyn, Boston, Philly and Miami all have similar odds so there are a lot of paths to take in the East with there not being a prohibitive favorite. I like targeting Boston and Miami as their players seem to be falling in drafts based on the few drafts I completed prior to this article. In the West if we aren’t able to get the Phoenix studs, I like targeting Memphis as they are playing some great ball of late and Ja Morant should be returning shortly.
Teams to Fade:
There are 3 teams I’ll most likely be fully fading. The Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets and the Golden State Warriors. The Lakers will most likely not even make the play-in so I’m not going out on much of a limb there, however I’ve still seen Lebron get drafted in some Best Ball drafts. Brooklyn is interesting, they have +320 odds to make the finals but they also have +195 odds to miss the post season. With Simmons looking like he isn’t going to be ready for meaningful minutes this year I just don’t think this Brooklyn team is very good. They have some elite offensive talent but they play no defense and I don’t think they can play with the top tier teams in the East (at least that’s what I’m banking on). In the West i really don’t like Golden State, which is probably a hot take. They haven’t been playing well of late (3-7 over their last 10 games) and it was just announced that Steph won’t be back until the playoffs. Steph was already having a down year and I just don’t think the Warriors are going to be able to rely on Curry come playoff time. I can see a first or second round exit here so I’ll be playing that angle on the majority of my Best Ball teams.
Favorite Player Targets:
- Giannis Antetokoumpo – He’ll most likely go number 1 overall in drafts as he’s a top 3 fantasy producer in the league and he’s playing on a team with a good chance to make it to the NBA Finals. He is somewhat of a no-brainer first pick in drafts.
- Devin Booker/CP3/Deandre Ayton – I like all these plays from Phoenix and it will depend on when you draft as to which player you can select. I think Deandre Ayton is sneaky in that he fills the Big position on Underdog, which doesn’t have the depth of the Wing or Guard position. Ayton also has a solid chance to play all four rounds and therefore accumulate fantasy points throughout the playoffs. If he drops in drafts I love taking Ayton and would love correlating Booker or Chris Paul with Ayton on some teams.
- Jayson Tatum – Tatum seems to be slipping a bit in drafts and I’m not sure why. The Celtics are battling Miami for the top seed in the East and Tatum is a legit superstar at the ripe age of 24. I’m high on the Celtics this year and have a 60 to 1 bet ticket on Boston to win the title this year (current Vegas odds have the Celtics at +425 to win the East). I’ll make sure to have an allocation of teams with a number of Celtics as I see them having a solid chance to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals.
- Steven Adams – This is more of a late round flier as Steven Adams has produced at around a fantasy point per minute this year in the regular season but the issue has been the minutes. I’m expecting the Grizz to shorten their rotation in the postseason and see the potential for Adams to play 30 minutes nightly. There are also a number of big Centers in the playoffs so if the Grizz draw the right match-up we should see a lot of Steven Adams. There’s a decent chance they face Minnesota and Karl Anthony Towns in the first round which should result in a minutes spike for Adams. He’s a great late round pairing with Ja Morant or Desmond Bane in hopes that the Grizzlies reach the NBA Finals.
- Bam Adebayo – Bam should be going in the middle rounds of drafts but he has crazy upside. The Heat are currently first in the Eastern Conference and have just as good a shot as anyone in the East to reach the Finals. Bam should be needed for heavy minutes in the playoffs as he will be assigned to guard Embiid and Giannis should the Heat make a run in the postseason. BAM BAM GO HAM HAM as they like to say in the DFS Streets.
I’m really excited for this Best Ball format and see a huge edge if we stay up to date on news and correlate rosters. I’ll be entering as many drafts as I can until the playoffs start and should have a fun 2 month long playoffs sweat. Hopefully this article is helpful and feel free to message me on Discord should you want to talk NBA Playoffs Best Ball strategy.
Hope to see everyone in the Best Ball Streets!