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In-Season Articles

In-Season Articles

WR Early and Often Has Dominated Best Ball Mania But Is That a Historical Fluke? Simulating Thousands of Seasons and Millions of Teams to Find the Answer

Over the last three months I’ve been working in collaboration with the RotoViz team to develop a tool to simulate Best Ball Mania (BBM) tournaments. This includes generating an original player pool for each “season,” simulating drafts, pulling fantasy scores from a weighted distribution, and finally adding up each team’s score using Underdog’s BBM roster settings. The simulation methodology includes injuries, bye weeks, quarterback changes,…...

The Best Drafters of 2023: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 14

Week 14 of the 2023 NFL season is in the books and that means most best ball tournaments, including Underdog’s Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4), are heading into the playoff rounds. It also means that many analysts and fantasy football personalities are sharing their BBM4 advance rates and favorite advancing teams on social media. I’ve written about advance rates in various contexts throughout this season,…...

Exploring Roster Construction Leverage: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 13

With only one week left in the Best Ball Mania IV regular season, we can start to analyze what the playoff field will look like. The playoff field is valuable to understand because it’s a weighted selection of the players, player combinations, and roster constructions that had the most success this season. However, when the playoffs start, we’ll see the dynamic flip. Zero running back…...

Pricing Upside in 2023: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 12

As the 2023 Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4) regular season winds down I’m beginning to think about the lessons that we’ll learn from this season. It’s easy enough to look at the performance of various roster constructions and assume that 2024’s average draft position (ADP) will be influenced by those. We’ll likely see even more emphasis on “zero RB” and “hero RB” structures. Elite quarterbacks…...

The Final Rookie Breakouts: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 11

In the Week 7 edition of my Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4) Advance Rate Review we pushed the NFL veterans aside to focus exclusively on the 2023 rookie class. This week we will do the same.  I wrote in Week 7 about how many rookies see their usage change at some point during the season. This year we’ve seen Dalton Kincaid, Demario Douglas, and Jahmyr…...

Hope for Robust RB: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 10

This week in my Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4) advance rate review we’ll be revisiting our format from Week 6, looking at advance rates by roster construction. Back in Week 6, the story centered on the dominance of the zero running back construction. Raheem Mostert, De’Von Achane, Zach Moss, and Kyren Williams had defined the season to that point. Each of these players were producing…...

Texans Stacks Surge: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 9

Over the last few weeks we’ve taken some detours in the Underdog Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4) advance rate review series. We’ve looked at advance rates by roster construction, rookies, and leverage points for the best ball playoffs. Today we’ll grab our wide lens and return to reviewing the entire landscape at the individual player level. Week 5 was the last time we had a…...

Where’s the Leverage?: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 8

One of the broadcasts this past Sunday mentioned that we are halfway through the NFL season. While that isn’t technically true (the end of Week 9 will mark the halfway point of the NFL regular season), it’s quite close. It struck me that we’ve been analyzing the season up to this point almost exclusively through the lens of preseason expectations. Preseason expectations inform the cost…...

Rookie Check In: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 7

One of the most popular talking points each NFL offseason is the disproportionate production of rookies. Many rookies start the season slow and finish strong as they get acclimated to the NFL game. The disproportionate production is easy to show in terms of raw points per game scored, but it’s more difficult to quantify their true value to a team. When you include price and…...

Zero RB is Defining the Season: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 6

This week in my Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4) advance rate review we’ll be veering off the path we’ve carved thus far to take a look at roster constructions. Underdog released the entire field of teams in their flagship contest two weeks ago and it’s time to put that data to work. We’ll be looking at roster construction by position. Sorting by position helps us…...

Actual Advance Rates Have Arrived: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 5

One of my econometrics professors in university used to repeat the same phrase in nearly every lecture: “All models are wrong but some are useful.” It’s a popular aphorism for a reason. I’ve published my Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4) advance rate model each week this season, but as of recently that model has reached the end of its usefulness. Last week Underdog released the…...

The RB Dead Zone Lives On: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Model Review — Week 4

Let’s start with a thought experiment:  You go back in time and draft a Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4) team with all the knowledge you have now. Who do you select in each round? As someone who has been keeping up with my expected advance rate model, you may be tempted to simply select the player with the highest expected advance rate in each round…....

The Value of a Spike Week: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Model Review — Week 3

One of the more underappreciated ways that Underdog best ball is different from a normal redraft league is the “points chase” scoring. There are no weekly matchups and no W/L records, only points. Total points scored matters to an extent in redraft, but it’s typically relevant on the margins as a tie breaker or similar. This makes spike weeks less impactful in redraft. All of…...

Late-Round Stars Emerging: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Model Review — Week 2

Two weeks into the 2023 NFL season and we already have a few clear candidates for the best ball MVP. They show up in redraft leagues as waiver wire headliners and late-round dart throws, but how do these studs leave their mark in Underdog’s Best Ball Mania IV? (BBM4) In this week’s BBM4 advance rate model review, we’ll identify a few late round stars and…...

Tyreek Hill Steals the Show: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Model Review – Week 1

If you’re anything like me, you opened up the Underdog app to check out your best ball portfolio less than a quarter into the early window of Week 1. I’ll admit it’s premature; the Underdog app often hasn’t even updated the scores, but I just have to know. We spend all summer drafting best ball teams and when the season arrives it can feel anticlimactic…....

How to Prioritize Scooping Value in Your Best Ball Drafts: Adjusted ADP Value Reveals Some Surprising Positional Strategies

As the 2023 home league draft season kicks into gear, I’m reminded of the frustratingly sharp Underdog average draft position (ADP) landscape. I’m cruising through home league drafts, snagging fifth-round Christian Watson, sixth-round Brandon Aiyuk, and seventh-round Jahan Dotson with ease. In Underdog best ball drafts? I’m praying for a wide receiver with some semblance of upside at the end of the sixth round. It’s…...

Can You Go Too Far In Scooping ADP Value?

The frenzied search for quantifiable edges in best ball tournaments is heating up this offseason with average draft position (ADP) value emerging as one of the most promising. ADP value is a metric that quantifies the extent to which a drafter is reaching or scooping falling players throughout the draft. Preliminary findings have shown correlation between higher ADP value (less reaching, more scooping) and higher…...

WR Early and Often Has Dominated Best Ball Mania But Is That a Historical Fluke? Simulating Thousands of Seasons and Millions of Teams to Find the Answer

Over the last three months I’ve been working in collaboration with the RotoViz team to develop a tool to simulate Best Ball Mania (BBM) tournaments. This includes generating an original player pool for each “season,” simulating drafts, pulling fantasy scores from a weighted distribution, and finally adding up each team’s score using Underdog’s BBM roster settings. The simulation methodology includes injuries, bye weeks, quarterback changes,…...

The Best Drafters of 2023: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 14

Week 14 of the 2023 NFL season is in the books and that means most best ball tournaments, including Underdog’s Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4), are heading into the playoff rounds. It also means that many analysts and fantasy football personalities are sharing their BBM4 advance rates and favorite advancing teams on social media. I’ve written about advance rates in various contexts throughout this season,…...

Exploring Roster Construction Leverage: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 13

With only one week left in the Best Ball Mania IV regular season, we can start to analyze what the playoff field will look like. The playoff field is valuable to understand because it’s a weighted selection of the players, player combinations, and roster constructions that had the most success this season. However, when the playoffs start, we’ll see the dynamic flip. Zero running back…...

Pricing Upside in 2023: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 12

As the 2023 Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4) regular season winds down I’m beginning to think about the lessons that we’ll learn from this season. It’s easy enough to look at the performance of various roster constructions and assume that 2024’s average draft position (ADP) will be influenced by those. We’ll likely see even more emphasis on “zero RB” and “hero RB” structures. Elite quarterbacks…...

The Final Rookie Breakouts: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 11

In the Week 7 edition of my Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4) Advance Rate Review we pushed the NFL veterans aside to focus exclusively on the 2023 rookie class. This week we will do the same.  I wrote in Week 7 about how many rookies see their usage change at some point during the season. This year we’ve seen Dalton Kincaid, Demario Douglas, and Jahmyr…...

Hope for Robust RB: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 10

This week in my Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4) advance rate review we’ll be revisiting our format from Week 6, looking at advance rates by roster construction. Back in Week 6, the story centered on the dominance of the zero running back construction. Raheem Mostert, De’Von Achane, Zach Moss, and Kyren Williams had defined the season to that point. Each of these players were producing…...

Texans Stacks Surge: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 9

Over the last few weeks we’ve taken some detours in the Underdog Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4) advance rate review series. We’ve looked at advance rates by roster construction, rookies, and leverage points for the best ball playoffs. Today we’ll grab our wide lens and return to reviewing the entire landscape at the individual player level. Week 5 was the last time we had a…...

Where’s the Leverage?: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 8

One of the broadcasts this past Sunday mentioned that we are halfway through the NFL season. While that isn’t technically true (the end of Week 9 will mark the halfway point of the NFL regular season), it’s quite close. It struck me that we’ve been analyzing the season up to this point almost exclusively through the lens of preseason expectations. Preseason expectations inform the cost…...

Rookie Check In: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 7

One of the most popular talking points each NFL offseason is the disproportionate production of rookies. Many rookies start the season slow and finish strong as they get acclimated to the NFL game. The disproportionate production is easy to show in terms of raw points per game scored, but it’s more difficult to quantify their true value to a team. When you include price and…...

Zero RB is Defining the Season: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 6

This week in my Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4) advance rate review we’ll be veering off the path we’ve carved thus far to take a look at roster constructions. Underdog released the entire field of teams in their flagship contest two weeks ago and it’s time to put that data to work. We’ll be looking at roster construction by position. Sorting by position helps us…...

Actual Advance Rates Have Arrived: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 5

One of my econometrics professors in university used to repeat the same phrase in nearly every lecture: “All models are wrong but some are useful.” It’s a popular aphorism for a reason. I’ve published my Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4) advance rate model each week this season, but as of recently that model has reached the end of its usefulness. Last week Underdog released the…...

The RB Dead Zone Lives On: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Model Review — Week 4

Let’s start with a thought experiment:  You go back in time and draft a Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4) team with all the knowledge you have now. Who do you select in each round? As someone who has been keeping up with my expected advance rate model, you may be tempted to simply select the player with the highest expected advance rate in each round…....

The Value of a Spike Week: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Model Review — Week 3

One of the more underappreciated ways that Underdog best ball is different from a normal redraft league is the “points chase” scoring. There are no weekly matchups and no W/L records, only points. Total points scored matters to an extent in redraft, but it’s typically relevant on the margins as a tie breaker or similar. This makes spike weeks less impactful in redraft. All of…...

Late-Round Stars Emerging: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Model Review — Week 2

Two weeks into the 2023 NFL season and we already have a few clear candidates for the best ball MVP. They show up in redraft leagues as waiver wire headliners and late-round dart throws, but how do these studs leave their mark in Underdog’s Best Ball Mania IV? (BBM4) In this week’s BBM4 advance rate model review, we’ll identify a few late round stars and…...

Tyreek Hill Steals the Show: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Model Review – Week 1

If you’re anything like me, you opened up the Underdog app to check out your best ball portfolio less than a quarter into the early window of Week 1. I’ll admit it’s premature; the Underdog app often hasn’t even updated the scores, but I just have to know. We spend all summer drafting best ball teams and when the season arrives it can feel anticlimactic…....

How to Prioritize Scooping Value in Your Best Ball Drafts: Adjusted ADP Value Reveals Some Surprising Positional Strategies

As the 2023 home league draft season kicks into gear, I’m reminded of the frustratingly sharp Underdog average draft position (ADP) landscape. I’m cruising through home league drafts, snagging fifth-round Christian Watson, sixth-round Brandon Aiyuk, and seventh-round Jahan Dotson with ease. In Underdog best ball drafts? I’m praying for a wide receiver with some semblance of upside at the end of the sixth round. It’s…...

Can You Go Too Far In Scooping ADP Value?

The frenzied search for quantifiable edges in best ball tournaments is heating up this offseason with average draft position (ADP) value emerging as one of the most promising. ADP value is a metric that quantifies the extent to which a drafter is reaching or scooping falling players throughout the draft. Preliminary findings have shown correlation between higher ADP value (less reaching, more scooping) and higher…...

WR Early and Often Has Dominated Best Ball Mania But Is That a Historical Fluke? Simulating Thousands of Seasons and Millions of Teams to Find the Answer

Over the last three months I’ve been working in collaboration with the RotoViz team to develop a tool to simulate Best Ball Mania (BBM) tournaments. This includes generating an original player pool for each “season,” simulating drafts, pulling fantasy scores from a weighted distribution, and finally adding up each team’s score using Underdog’s BBM roster settings. The simulation methodology includes injuries, bye weeks, quarterback changes,…...

The Best Drafters of 2023: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 14

Week 14 of the 2023 NFL season is in the books and that means most best ball tournaments, including Underdog’s Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4), are heading into the playoff rounds. It also means that many analysts and fantasy football personalities are sharing their BBM4 advance rates and favorite advancing teams on social media. I’ve written about advance rates in various contexts throughout this season,…...

Exploring Roster Construction Leverage: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 13

With only one week left in the Best Ball Mania IV regular season, we can start to analyze what the playoff field will look like. The playoff field is valuable to understand because it’s a weighted selection of the players, player combinations, and roster constructions that had the most success this season. However, when the playoffs start, we’ll see the dynamic flip. Zero running back…...

Pricing Upside in 2023: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 12

As the 2023 Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4) regular season winds down I’m beginning to think about the lessons that we’ll learn from this season. It’s easy enough to look at the performance of various roster constructions and assume that 2024’s average draft position (ADP) will be influenced by those. We’ll likely see even more emphasis on “zero RB” and “hero RB” structures. Elite quarterbacks…...

The Final Rookie Breakouts: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 11

In the Week 7 edition of my Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4) Advance Rate Review we pushed the NFL veterans aside to focus exclusively on the 2023 rookie class. This week we will do the same.  I wrote in Week 7 about how many rookies see their usage change at some point during the season. This year we’ve seen Dalton Kincaid, Demario Douglas, and Jahmyr…...

Hope for Robust RB: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 10

This week in my Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4) advance rate review we’ll be revisiting our format from Week 6, looking at advance rates by roster construction. Back in Week 6, the story centered on the dominance of the zero running back construction. Raheem Mostert, De’Von Achane, Zach Moss, and Kyren Williams had defined the season to that point. Each of these players were producing…...

Texans Stacks Surge: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 9

Over the last few weeks we’ve taken some detours in the Underdog Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4) advance rate review series. We’ve looked at advance rates by roster construction, rookies, and leverage points for the best ball playoffs. Today we’ll grab our wide lens and return to reviewing the entire landscape at the individual player level. Week 5 was the last time we had a…...

Where’s the Leverage?: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 8

One of the broadcasts this past Sunday mentioned that we are halfway through the NFL season. While that isn’t technically true (the end of Week 9 will mark the halfway point of the NFL regular season), it’s quite close. It struck me that we’ve been analyzing the season up to this point almost exclusively through the lens of preseason expectations. Preseason expectations inform the cost…...

Rookie Check In: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 7

One of the most popular talking points each NFL offseason is the disproportionate production of rookies. Many rookies start the season slow and finish strong as they get acclimated to the NFL game. The disproportionate production is easy to show in terms of raw points per game scored, but it’s more difficult to quantify their true value to a team. When you include price and…...

Zero RB is Defining the Season: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 6

This week in my Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4) advance rate review we’ll be veering off the path we’ve carved thus far to take a look at roster constructions. Underdog released the entire field of teams in their flagship contest two weeks ago and it’s time to put that data to work. We’ll be looking at roster construction by position. Sorting by position helps us…...

Actual Advance Rates Have Arrived: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Review – Week 5

One of my econometrics professors in university used to repeat the same phrase in nearly every lecture: “All models are wrong but some are useful.” It’s a popular aphorism for a reason. I’ve published my Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4) advance rate model each week this season, but as of recently that model has reached the end of its usefulness. Last week Underdog released the…...

The RB Dead Zone Lives On: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Model Review — Week 4

Let’s start with a thought experiment:  You go back in time and draft a Best Ball Mania IV (BBM4) team with all the knowledge you have now. Who do you select in each round? As someone who has been keeping up with my expected advance rate model, you may be tempted to simply select the player with the highest expected advance rate in each round…....

The Value of a Spike Week: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Model Review — Week 3

One of the more underappreciated ways that Underdog best ball is different from a normal redraft league is the “points chase” scoring. There are no weekly matchups and no W/L records, only points. Total points scored matters to an extent in redraft, but it’s typically relevant on the margins as a tie breaker or similar. This makes spike weeks less impactful in redraft. All of…...

Late-Round Stars Emerging: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Model Review — Week 2

Two weeks into the 2023 NFL season and we already have a few clear candidates for the best ball MVP. They show up in redraft leagues as waiver wire headliners and late-round dart throws, but how do these studs leave their mark in Underdog’s Best Ball Mania IV? (BBM4) In this week’s BBM4 advance rate model review, we’ll identify a few late round stars and…...

Tyreek Hill Steals the Show: Best Ball Mania IV Advance Rate Model Review – Week 1

If you’re anything like me, you opened up the Underdog app to check out your best ball portfolio less than a quarter into the early window of Week 1. I’ll admit it’s premature; the Underdog app often hasn’t even updated the scores, but I just have to know. We spend all summer drafting best ball teams and when the season arrives it can feel anticlimactic…....

How to Prioritize Scooping Value in Your Best Ball Drafts: Adjusted ADP Value Reveals Some Surprising Positional Strategies

As the 2023 home league draft season kicks into gear, I’m reminded of the frustratingly sharp Underdog average draft position (ADP) landscape. I’m cruising through home league drafts, snagging fifth-round Christian Watson, sixth-round Brandon Aiyuk, and seventh-round Jahan Dotson with ease. In Underdog best ball drafts? I’m praying for a wide receiver with some semblance of upside at the end of the sixth round. It’s…...

Can You Go Too Far In Scooping ADP Value?

The frenzied search for quantifiable edges in best ball tournaments is heating up this offseason with average draft position (ADP) value emerging as one of the most promising. ADP value is a metric that quantifies the extent to which a drafter is reaching or scooping falling players throughout the draft. Preliminary findings have shown correlation between higher ADP value (less reaching, more scooping) and higher…...

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