If you followed us here in Week 2, you probably stumbled your way onto some decent teams thanks to Amon-Ra St. Brown, our must undervalued player in drafts last week. If you were able to combine ASB and the game stack of the Dolphins – Ravens game, you were in for a big week.
For Week 3, Underdog Fantasy is giving us a plethora of options, with their main contest being $250,000 in total prizes and $50,000 to 1st Place. They have several other additional tournaments, and even a more cash game style contest with a “double up”.
Drafters Fantasy posted nearly $20,000 in total prizes for their Snake Draft tournaments in Week 2, including 2 QB tournaments and “winner moves on” tournaments starting this week through week 5. We should expect similar here in Week 3.
There are also some Sit n Go options on DraftKings.
The goal of this article is to talk through strategy and ways to attack these specific snake draft style tournaments. By now most people are award of Daily Fantasy (DFS), and of course traditional season long snake drafts. But this is the first year we are getting truly huge in-season, weekly and daily snake drafts that are the perfect combination of the two.
If you are looking for rankings for these contests, we’ve got you covered there too. You can check out our Main Slate Draft Rankings or our Showdown/Single Game Draft Rankings to get a sense of some of the top plays and positional priorities. If you combine them with these strategy articles, our goal is that you’ll be able to put together drafts that give you a huge leg up on your competition who is probably not draft completely optimally for these types of tournaments.
Let’s get it.
Week 3 Snake Draft & Battle Royale General Strategy & Top Plays
The first thing to consider, by far, in these drafts is not just “who you like” or “who projects the best”, but how our opponents are handling the week in terms of ADP. There are only 36 players drafted in every draft, and so that means a HUGE percentage of the player pool goes undrafted most of the time. But many of these are still really quality options with upside, so we need to consider what is the best way for us to beat thousands of other teams that drafted VERY similar combinations.
*Note that Underdog also launched a 12 person Battle Royale draft – this week called Goal Line Stand – which is still 6 players for each team, but obviously doubles the amount of players drafted. The exact players will change in that contest, but the strategy remains the same. Additionally, I am working on boost our weekly rankings from a top 40 to top 75 to account for this contest and the slightly larger Drafters tournaments.*
Just last week both Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jaylen Waddle were infrequently drafted to start the week (ASB eventually moved up), and the only high scoring running back, Nick Chubb, was not always drafted at the beginning of the week. We are looking to toe the line between finding the unique players our opponents are not drafting (or drafting as much) and still targeting the players with upside to win us tournaments. ASB, Waddle and Chubb are perfect examples. These are clearly high upside options, and they even all went in the first 4-5 rounds of best ball drafts this summer.
With that in mind, our “top plays” will be a combination of the highest upside options overall and some “sneakier” options that may be drafted late or not at all.
Last week we saw a main slate without many of the top offenses – Chiefs, Chargers, Bills, Eagles, etc. – but that is not the case in Week 3. There is a whole lot of firepower, and we have all the elite QBs, so targeting some of the types of players (especially at QB) who made sense last week are going to hurt our upside in Week 3.
The other huge factor I’ve noticed thus far in drafts is that the field has come around to the superstar WRs early in drafts. If you’ve played fantasy football for years, you know how much the market loves its running backs, and often for good reason historically. But at least through 2 weeks, we are seeing wide receivers take over fantasy football. We have had 9 WRs scores of 30 point PPR performances, but just 3 for RBs.
That does not mean that trend will continue, but it does make logical sense when we consider the NFL becoming more pass heavy, more prone to split backfields and rule changes favoring passing games.
There are still going to be some quality WRs available in your normal 6 team Battle Royale drafts on Underdog, but the biggest “values” in the mid to late rounds definitely seem to be running backs. Even your Jonathan Taylor’s and Christian McCaffrey’s are typically being drafted behind several WRs, and even Josh Allen and Travis Kelce at times.
So, from a strategy sense, my biggest takeaway is that I want to lean into these superstar WRs. I am not a huge Derrick Henry fan, but this is a player that used to be drafted in the first round of these types of drafts. Now that type of RB is available several rounds into the draft. Christian McCaffrey is not a 1st round pick. Leonard Fournette is extremely cheap, and on down the list. And on top of that, if RB really is weaker this season, that means there’s even less opportunity cost in going off the board with your RB at the end of drafts. If you are able to find the Jaylen Waddle or Amon-Ra St. Brown of RBs from last week, it’s even more beneficial if we are seeing lower scores generally at the position.
Travis Kelce – We love the elite WRs as much as anybody, but the advantage Kelce can bring, as we saw in Week 1, at a weak TE position warrants a high selection in drafts. For us, he ranks behind only Cooper Kupp and Justin Jefferson (3rd overall), but he gets drafted much later. This week’s opponent has also given up big games to the likes of OJ Howard and Evan Engram so far, so I shutter to think what Kelce can do to them. TE offers a bit more this week than last, but Kelce’s upside is a huge differentiator, especially given the later round values we can get at other positions.
David Montgomery – Admittedly, this one makes me rather sick, but if you steer into the elite WRs, QBs and TEs earlier in drafts, it’s pretty incredible that we can still get a back like this against the Texans in the last round. Even in a game they were trailing big throughout in Week 2, the Bears stuck to the run, and DMont has now handled 37 touches through 2 games. He was shockingly dominant on the ground against the Packers, and now he gets a matchup with a Texans defense we love to target. For what it’s worth, there are some additional late RBs that make a ton of sense similar to DMont – James Conner and Cordarrelle Patterson to name a couple.
Undervalued & Overvalued Players
AJ Brown – The Eagles offense is HUMMING right now, and I’d expect that to continue this week against a Washington pass defense that just got shredded by Jared Goff and Amon-Ra St. Brown. AJB has 21 targets through 2 weeks, good for the 2nd highest target share in the NFL behind only Cooper Kupp. And yet, he’s treated like a 2nd tier WR and drafted a good clip behind other elite options. Let’s take advantage of that.
Austin Ekeler – I know it’s only been 2 weeks, but the exact concerns we had about Ekeler heading into the season are coming true. He’s sharing a lot of the backfield work with Sony Michel and Josh Kelley, and particularly the goal line work. He needed to be in the perfect game script against a Chiefs teams on Thursday Night to rack up a bunch of catches, but even then Sony Michel handled the GL opportunities. The Jags are just not the matchup that lends itself to the high volume passing work from Ekeler, and he’s being drafted 16th overall on Underdog right now. The opportunity cost on Ekeler at his price is an elite QB/WR/TE, and we can target later RBs with similar upside.
Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs were not *quite* as high powered in Week 2, but they still put up points while facing an incredibly underrated Chargers defense. The Colts should be a far easier nut to crack for Patrick Mahomes and co., particularly after they struggled against the Texans and were then undressed by the Jaguars. Travis Kelce is our 3rd overall player and is far too cheap in drafts, but JuJu is a similarly appealing last round option that no one is drafting thanks to the uncertainty around WR target shares in KC. The Colts also offer very appealing “bring back” options if you want to stack this game, with Jonathan Taylor very affordable near the top of drafts and Michael Pittman available in the last round.
Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles have just dismantled two teams in a row, including a Vikings team that they themselves dismantled the Packers in Week 1. The addition of AJ Brown has elevated this offense to the elite tier, and they square off with a Washington defense that has been very poor through two weeks. Washington does have a reasonably strong front 7, which should allow Philly to continue to lean on the pass, as well as Jalen Hurts’ legs. Hurts to AJB is the preferred stack here, but if multi-entering it is wise to have Hurts/Goedert and Hurts/Devonta stacks as well.
Off the Radar, Low Owned Plays
Gabe Davis – Stefon Diggs has an average ADP inside the top 5 and Josh Allen is right there with him. We love the Bills, but the market ignores the players who missed the week prior. It did not work out with George Kittle, but Gabe seems way more likely to play, and he’s going undrafted right now. Diggs is the alpha in this offense, but we know Gabe’s crazy ceiling with his big play and touchdown scoring ability.
Michael Pittman – Another similar situation to Gabe here with Pittman. An injury popped up for him last week that held him out of Week 2, but early reports from coach Frank Reich are that he has “made good progress”. In a game they’ll likely be chasing points against the Chiefs, we get the dominant target share player in the Colts offense (as we saw Week 1) in the last round of drafts.