3-Person Best Ball Draft Strategy

Aug 6th 2021

Hayden Winks

Not only does Underdog Fantasy have a $3.5 million best ball tournament and daily Pick’Em games, but we also have niche games like our 3-man drafts. Today we’ll go over some basic 3-man best ball strategies, the same ones I used last year (as a non-employee) when my ROI was through the roof. Because these drafts are so fast and there isn’t that much content about it, it’s a nice way to build a best ball bankroll over time.

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3-Person Best Ball Drafts

Note this draft happened in late June, so ignore the Cam Akers, Michael Thomas and Packers selections. … QBs: Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert. … RBs: Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliott, Nick Chubb, Joe Mixon, Najee Harris. … WRs: Davante Adams, Justin Jefferson, Keenan Allen, Michael Thomas, Allen Robinson, Julio Jones, Robert Woods. … TEs: Travis Kelce, T.J. Hockenson, Tyler Higbee.

The biggest thing for 3-man drafts is to understand positional depth at the very top of each position. For example, there is a top-5 tier at quarterback before there’s a notable drop to the Justin Herbert tier, and there is a top-3 tier at tight end before there’s a drop to Kyle Pitts.

This year, I’d argue the biggest drop off in positional talent is at running back, where Najee Harris at RB14 appears to be much better than the RB15 in J.K. Dobbins, D’Andre Swift, or Chris Carson. With that said, I like to have at least 4 of the top-14 RBs and oftentimes 5 of them. In this draft, I have Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliott, Nick Chubb, Joe Mixon, and Najee Harris. I’ll fill my FLEX spot with one of these studs most weeks.

At first overall, I think there are 2 options: Christian McCaffrey or Travis Kelce. I’d select McCaffrey if I thought the other 2 drafters wouldn’t snipe me on tight ends, but in this draft against my co-workers I knew that they’d go tight end heavy early. Therefore, I pivoted to Kelce, who gives me a 1–3 points advantage at the position. Since I committed to Kelce early, I then waited until the last two rounds to grab my TE2 (T.J. Hockenson) and TE3 (Tyler Higbee). Because the position is so volatile and because I feel fantastic about the floors of my RBs and WRs in this game, I almost always have 3 tight ends.

My general strategy at quarterback is to have at least 2 of the top-5 guys, but I don’t want to reach for them. I’m totally fine being the last person to draft my QB1, but when that happens I’d like to make sure I’m getting the QB4 and QB5 overall at the very least. Of course, there’s less incentive for the early-round Patrick Mahomes team to draft Josh Allen and Dak Prescott, so it’s not a bad strategy to wait a round or two before diving in. This draft was very different, however. Nobody moved on quarterbacks until I did in Round 8 when I did it at the turn to pair Mahomes with Kelce. At this point, I felt great about my tight end and running back spots, so I opted to dominate the position with Mahomes and Lamar Jackson. Then I didn’t draft my QB3 until Round 16. In general, I want the floor of having 3 quarterbacks, even if the last one is meh for this format.

It’s weird to say, but I think wide receiver is the least important position in 3-man drafts. I’m usually drafting them later than my opponents, something I’m okay with because of the depth of the position. Even if my two opponents draft 8 wide receivers each, I don’t think there’s too big of a drop off from WR14 to WR23. In addition to that, wide receiver is a pretty bankable position from an injury rate and pre-draft projection standpoint, so only walking away with 7 or 8 wide receivers in general is totally fine with stud running backs likely contributing to my FLEX.

Andrew Mackens’ Strategy

“When the pick clock is 30 seconds long and the time in between picks is just as short, you tend to shoot from the hip a little bit more from a construction standpoint. My thesis during draft was that because each of the three teams involved are going to be stacked with studs, I want to draft the players that are known to have the absolute highest spike weeks we’ve seen over recent years. Derrick Henry, Tyreek Hill, Calvin Ridley, Mike Evans, and Tyler Lockett all come to mind, and I’m happy to have each of them on my team.”

“I also went out of my way to secure two double stacks in offenses that are projected to be elite in 2021: Dak Prescott stacked with Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, as well as Tom Brady stacked with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. The idea is these double stacks provide added avenues to the upside necessary to win in this format. It’s difficult to sacrifice value when only 54 players are being drafted, although in hindsight I could have shored up my QB scoring floor with a third QB instead of Courtland Sutton as my last wide receiver.”