If you've drafted in Underdog's in season long best ball tournaments – or ever read any best ball content on this site – you're undoubtedly familiar with Week 17 correlation.
In a tournament like Best Ball Mania, Week 17 correlation is a helpful lever that we can pull to slightly boost our odds of finishing first in a top-heavy tournament.
But while it's beneficial to build teams this way... it is not necessary. A team with a random assortment of playoff week heroes could be what you need to take down Best Ball Mania.
Playoff best ball is different.
You can advance as many teams as you want through the first three rounds of Underdog's The Gauntlet... but if you show up to the 400-team Super Bowl final with only Tua Tagovailoa and Jaylen Waddle... you're not winning the $150,000 first-place prize regardless of which NFL teams make the Super Bowl. Odds are you'll finish well outside the top 200, securing just a $750 payout.
30x-ing a $25 entry is pretty nice... but it's going to take a lot of work even to make the finals. And max-entering the tournament will run you $3,750.
We're not playing for 201st place.
At the very least, we want to draft teams that have greater than a 0% chance of finishing first if we're able to run the playoff gauntlet and make the Super Bowl round.
When drafting playoff best ball teams, it is not optional to draft a team with a path to five live players in the Super Bowl... it is a fundamental requirement of playing the game.
It might feel like drafting a team that can't field a full starting lineup in the Super Bowl is akin to forging Week 17 correlation. But in practice, it's closer to drafting a Best Ball Mania team without a QB. It's that basic.
And yet... with so many variables to keep in mind, it can be hard not to go off the rails and end up with a team that is dead for first place before a single playoff game is played.
But that's about to change.
Introducing LegUp's Dynamic Playoff Best Ball Rankings
If you're a Legendary Upside subscriber... this is now a part of your subscription:
If you're not a subscriber, it's only $10 a month to sign up... and there's less than a month left before the NFL playoffs.
How the Dynamic Rankings Tool Works
The LegUp dynamic rankings are intended to help keep your drafts on the rails and keep track of the playoff bracket scenarios you are implicitly building.
Unlike Spike Week's Draft Hacker, the dynamic rankings are not actually along for the ride with you as you draft. Meaning, they can't actually see the player pool, only your team as you input it. With that in mind, I've found it helpful to layer on the Draft Hacker—which LegUp subscribers can also do at a 40% discount with promo code LEGUP.
When drafting, the dynamic rankings are best used as a second screen draft companion while you draft on a second monitor or on your phone.
But you can also treat the dynamic rankings as a choose-your-own-adventure... utilizing the rankings even when not actually drafting to see what different paths unfold as you vary your decisions.
Overriding the Dynamic Rankings
Fundamentally, the goal of the LegUp dynamic rankings is to help you avoid drafting a bad team.
In pursuit of that goal, the rankings are going to be inherently conservative.
The rankings shuffle with each pick you make to reflect the version of reality that you're constructing. But drafting skill is still crucial.
For example... in a recent draft, I had Lamar Jackson fall to me in the 4th round.
But I'd already stacked Dak Prescott.
Normally, the rankings aren't very interested in Zay Flowers with this start. In a vacuum, the tool prefers more exciting players like Stefon Diggs or Devon Achane, or to continue building out the Cowboys bet with Brandin Cooks or Jake Ferguson.
But in this situation, I became very interested in Flowers, who paired as an AFC Super Bowl opponent with the Cowboys and opened up Lamar Jackson as a pick if he continued to fall.
That's exactly what happened.
The dynamic rankings won't get upset if you deviate from the top suggested players.
In fact, the rankings are quite cooperative and will readily pivot to new paths as you identify them. In the example above, I had to get off the beaten path for Flowers and to select Lamar as a second QB on a Dak Prescott team.
But after selecting Flowers and Jackson, the dynamic rankings strongly favored Ravens players with most of my later-round picks.
Like a GPS, the rankings aren't really telling you where to go. Their job is to highlight the most efficient path to a +EV team—with the information at hand. But you have more information than the tool. And when you exercise that knowledge, the rankings will simply recalculate, adjusting to the new terrain.
While the rankings usually illuminate the next step forward quite nicely, they aren't a substitute for thoughtful decision-making. With that in mind, before utilizing the tool, I reccomend brushing up on your playoff best ball process with Sackreligious' must-read article on how to attack the format.
You can also get a better sense of drafting tactics and strategy from our premium podcasts. Our newest episode will be especially helpful... given that it's a training video on the tool and its features.
I've also put together a guide on the tool and its features below:
LegUp Dynamic Rankings Features and Instructions
First, select your pick slot:
Second, click on a player to record each of your draft picks:
Your players will be displayed in the "My Team" section of the tool:
After each selection, the ADP slider will auto-update.
Adjust the ADP cutoff as needed to reveal fallers or hide players already selected.
Currently, the tool defaults to 2QB builds on Brock Purdy and Lamar Jackson teams.
Select the 2nd QB button to display QBs as needed.
You can quickly override the rankings by searching for a player and selecting them.
Even if normally hidden, the player will appear.
This can be particularly helpful if looking to build 4RB teams.
The dynamic rankings default to a max of three RBs.
Use the LegUp score to identify tiers. Not every deviation is made equal.
A.J. Brown is an option in the scenario below, but Patrick Mahomes and Brandon Aiyuk are a cut above.
To view the team-level playoff odds, scroll down to the bottom of the tool.
Once you have a player from a conference, it will display each team's odds of facing the team you've already selected.
These dynamic matchup odds are powered by Spike Week's Playoff odds.
They are a handy way of identifying which same-conference teams pair well with your early picks.
Ready for another draft?
Clear your players with the reset button and hop back in the lobby.
This tool wouldn't exist without the amazing team that worked with me to build it and to create and update the rankings feeding it: Phil Manor, Sackreligious, Daniel Racz, Kyle Dvorchak, and Chris Gee.
I also want to give a huge thanks to Erik Beimfohr and Hackr at Spike Week, whose playoff odds power the dynamic matchup element of the tool.