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How to play NFL Best Ball at DraftKings

We break down a season-long alternative to traditional fantasy football. Best ball removes the worries about accidentally benching a high scorer.

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Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes raises his arms in celebration after completing a 20-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tyreek Hill in the second quarter of the AFC Championship game between the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs on January 19, 2020 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

DraftKings announced on Monday it is launching a new “Best Ball” fantasy football product. The long-time daily fantasy sports company is offering this as its first season-long fantasy product, using a snake draft selection format and providing tournaments that will run the entirety of the 2020 NFL season.

What is “Best Ball”?

The best ball fantasy format removes the issue of deciding on your lineup each week. You draft a roster of players and the highest scoring players are your starting lineup for the week. You no longer have to worry about accidentally benching a huge performer.

How many players do I draft?

The DraftKings product will have you draft 20 players. You have to draft at least one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, and one tight end, and then an RB, WR, or TE to fill your flex role. The remaining 12 players can be any combination of QB, RB, WR, and TEs.

Who can I draft?

The player pool will consist of all NFL players expected to be on the active roster for any of the 32 teams scheduled to play this season. There will also potentially be players not on an NFL team at the time the player pool is created.

How does the draft work?

Once you have signed up for a contest, you will wait for it to fill with the required number of entrants (contest sizes will vary). Once it fills, there will be a one-minute countdown period between the time the contest fills and the time the countdown begins for the first pick of the snake draft. The draft order is determined at random once the contest fills. You can withdraw from a Best Ball contest at any time before the contest fills.

What is a snake draft?

After the 12 picks of the first round are made, the last team to pick gets the first pick of the second round while the first team to pick in the first round gets the last pick of the second round. It rotates back and forth each round.

How much time do I have to pick?

You can join slow or fast drafts. A fast draft will allow for a maximum of 30 seconds between each pick. A slow draft will allow for a maximum of 8 hours between each pick. If you are drafting the week of the start of the NFL season, DraftKings will update the draft clock to 30 minutes per pick to ensure the draft can be completed by the kickoff of the season.

Can I auto-draft?

Yes! There will be an option to edit the pre-draft rankings or you can fill players into your queue. If you turn on auto-draft, the system will draft using the following logic.

  1. Will pick the highest available player from your queue
  2. Will pick the highest ranked player from your pre-draft rankings

It is important to note that to be prize eligible, you must either edit the pre-draft rankings, add a player to your queue during the draft, or make a manual draft pick. If you do not take one of those three actions, your entry will be deemed invalid and you will not be refunded your entry fee.

Does the waiver wire operate like traditional season-long fantasy football?

No. Your roster drafted is the roster you’ll play with the entire season. You will not be able to add or drop players during the NFL season.

What happens if a player gets hurt?

He remains on your roster and will collect no points. Since the best ball format utilizes your highest scorers and the starting lineup will only consist of 8 of your 20 players, theoretically you will have enough players behind any injured players to still accrue points for eight starting positions. If not, well, I suppose it’s just not your year.

What best ball contests can I play?

Sit & Go

This is a 16-week contest that ranges from 3 to 12 teams. You draft your roster and the team with the highest cumulative points after all 16 weeks is the winner.

Tournament

This is a contest played out over multiple rounds. You draft a roster in a 12-team Snake Draft and that is your team for the length of the tournament. After each round, the highest scoring team advances with their existing roster. They do not draft a new team for each round. The round length is as follows:

Round 1: Weeks 1-13
Round 2: Week 14
Round 3: Week 15
Round 4: Week 16

When each league winner advances out of round 1, they will be randomly assigned to a new 12-team league in round 2. The top winner in each of those one-week leagues will be randomly assigned to a new 12-team league in round 3. The winner of each of those leagues will be assigned to a single 125-team league in round 4.

How do I sign up?

Go to the DraftKings app and sign up. If you do not have the app, you can get it for Android or iPhone. Drafting is currently only available in the app.

What are the entry fees, max entries, and prize pools?

Sit & Go

Entry fees range from $1 to $530. Prize pools range from $2.70 to $6,000.

Tournaments

There are four types of tournament contests. Entry fees, prize pools, and max entries allowed are as follows:

$3 EF: $555,000 — 20 max entries
$20 EF: $3,025,000 — 150 max entries
$333 EF: $1,000,000 — 97 max entries
$1,000 EF: $455,000 — 14 max entries.

Per-person payouts vary by tournament entry fee. Below is an example for the $3 contests. The prize for advancing out of Round 1, Round 2, and Round 3 is a ticket to the next round. The payouts listed for Rounds 1 through 3 are for teams that finish behind the winner. In round 1 of the $3 contest, 2nd and 3rd place win $5 and $3, respectively. In round 2, 2nd through 12th place win $8 apiece. In round 3, 2nd through 12th place win $40 apiece. In round 4, everybody is guaranteed at least $250 in this pool. Here is a full payout table.

2020 DraftKings Best Ball payouts

Round Min Max Paid Payout Total
Round Min Max Paid Payout Total
4 1 1 1 $50,000 $50,000
4 2 2 1 $25,000 $25,000
4 3 3 1 $20,000 $20,000
4 4 4 1 $15,000 $15,000
4 5 5 1 $10,555 $10,555
4 6 6 1 $8,000 $8,000
4 7 8 2 $6,000 $12,000
4 9 10 2 $5,000 $10,000
4 11 12 2 $4,000 $8,000
4 13 15 3 $3,000 $9,000
4 16 20 5 $2,000 $10,000
4 21 25 5 $1,500 $7,500
4 26 30 5 $1,000 $5,000
4 31 40 10 $750 $7,500
4 41 55 15 $500 $7,500
4 56 75 20 $350 $7,000
4 76 125 50 $250 $12,500
3 126 1,500 1,375 $40 $55,000
2 1,501 18,000 16,500 $8 $132,000
1 18,001 36,000 18,000 $5 $90,000
1 36,001 54,000 18,000 $3 $54,000

How does scoring work?

Passing

Passing TD: +4 points
25 passing yards: +1 Pt (+0.04 Pts/ Yards)
300+ Yard Passing Game: +3 Pts
Interception: -1 Pt

Rushing

Rushing TD: +6 Pts
10 Rushing Yards: +1 Pt (+0.1 Pts/Yard)
100+ Yard Rushing Game: +3 Pts

Receiving

Receiving TD: +6 Pts
10 Receiving Yards: +1 Pt (+0.1 Pts/Yard)
100+ Receiving Yard Game: +3 Pts
Reception: +1 Pt

Miscellaneous

Punt/Kickoff/FG Return for TD: +6 Pts
Fumble Lost: -1 Pt
2 Pt Conversion (Pass, Run, or Catch): +2 Pts
Offensive Fumble Recovery TD: +6 Pts