Blair Andrews explores the optimal tight end strategy for Best Ball Mania III and other tournaments. Are elite-TE builds still elite?
Best Ball Mania III has just opened with a $10 million prize pool, including $2 million to first place, with $1 million each going to the regular season champion and the second place finisher. RotoViz has also just released our new Underdog Best Ball tools — the Underdog Roster Construction Explorer and the Underdog Advance Rate Explorer. With some of the best tools in the business and a track record in real contests to prove it, we now embark on the Best Ball Tournament Workshop. Follow along as we apply this data and industry-leading knowledge to best ball tournaments — specifically the Underdog format.
We already know that Zero RB can work in best ball tournaments. It’s not the only approach to the running back position that works, by any means, but it is one of the most successful in the playoffs, while also being one of the most underutilized. It is also one of the most hotly debated, as Twitter wars rage over not only its viability, but also the literal accuracy of its name. RB strategies dominate the conversation around best ball roster construction. But one point of strategy that often doesn’t get enough attention is how to approach the tight end position. This is unfortunate, because your TE strategy is arguably the most important decision point in your draft.
How many TEs do you need to take? When should you draft your first TE? When should you draft your second TE? The Underdog Roster Construction Explorer can help us answer all these questions and more.
The 30,000-Foot View
First, as soon as you open the Underdog RCE, you are met with an image that appears to give an initial answer to the question.
All things equal, 3-TE builds outperform 2-TE builds when it comes to getting into the playoffs. Even 4-TE builds appear preferable to 2-TE builds. However, 2-TE builds have more upside than any other construction — they are the only builds that outperform the baseline rate in reaching the semifinal round. This 30,000-foot view gives us the basic lay of the land, but isn’t that helpful in actually filling out a team. What if you draft an elite TE in the first two rounds? What if you punt TE and don’t draft one until the late rounds? Surely there’s more to TE strategy than the 30,000-foot view.
Best Ball Mania: Does It Matter When You Draft Your First TE?
Indeed, when we look at the advance rates based on how early teams took their first TE, some nuance resurfaces.