The Conference Championship games are here, and it’s going to be difficult to match the incredible games we had in the Divisional round. Nonetheless, we have some awesome contests on Underdog Fantasy for this Sunday, including a $100k tournament with $20k to first place, “Championship Sunday”.
If you haven’t yet signed up for Underdog Fantasy, you can use Promo Code ‘SPIKE’ to receive a 100% Deposit Match on any deposit up to $100.
For this contest, you’ll be doing the normal 6 round Battle Royale drafts with 3 other drafters (4 total) while selecting 1 QB, 1 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE and 1 Flex. And obviously your selections will come from the 4 teams playing in the two conference championship games.
There are a few critical aspects to the strategy for this, and most of it is due to the clearly limited player pool with only players from 4 teams available to us. Because of that, you really start to feel the pinch at certain positions, and you may struggle to get some of the correlation that we would ideally have in our teams (I.E. stacking and game stacking).
The QB position is arguably the most fascinating part of these drafts. Patrick Mahomes obviously sits atop the position, but then you have 2 other fairly strong options in Joe Burrow and Matthew Stafford. One might even argue Burrow is extremely strong given what he did to the Chiefs in their last meeting. Regardless, you have 3 QBs that you probably feel totally fine selecting… and then you have Jimmy Garropolo.
You’re going to be sacrificing a ton of upside and projection at QB when you take (or get forced into) Jimmy G, but it’s not ALL bad. Since everyone can only take one QB, if you do intend to take Jimmy G or get forced into him, you can simply wait until the 6th round to take him, and fill your other positions first. That’s actually a pretty nice advantage at these other positions because the end of the draft gets really thin, mainly at RB and TE.
One big thing I have tried to do is be more willing to push the boundaries of QB and be willing to accept I’ll have some Jimmy G teams because of it. It feels uncomfortable, but if Jimmy can get 20-25 points here, you will be live to win the tournament given the big upgrade at other positions. You’re basically playing a 2v2 of Jimmy and an elite RB/WR/TE vs the other 3 QBs and the Byron Pringle, Brandon Aiyuk, Mecole Hardman’s of the world.
The other thing in trying to push the limits (mainly on Burrow or Stafford since Mahomes never gets out of the first pick or two) is it’s the only way to give you the potential for a unique and loaded squad. There are going to be 3,500 drafts in the contest, so that’s 3,500 other teams with that QB. It’s very likely the winner will be duplicated frequently, so one way to avoid that is by trying to push the limits to get something more unique. You can try that at other positions as well, but seeing if your opponents will let you get Travis Kelce and Joe Burrow instead of Joe Burrow and a lesser option can give us a lot more first place equity.
Tight end is somewhat similar to QB, but there isn’t a Jimmy G type option. All 4 tight ends are fairly strong, even though Travis Kelce is clearly a cut above. You will feel fine with Tyler Higbee or CJ Uzomah, but the unique part of TE is that players are allowed to take more than one since they can be used in the flex.
That means two things… One is that you have to pay close attention to tight end in your draft because there are no viable tight ends after Higbee/Uzomah. If someone in your draft takes two, you’ll be forced into taking Noah Gray or Kendall Blanton, and obviously that team is mostly drawing dead. The second is that, on the flipside, it really makes 2 TE teams appealing. There will be very few teams in the draft with 2 TEs, so it’s an instant way to get much more unique, which is a high priority goal in this format where duplicates will be huge. It’s also extremely viable because the later round flex options are very bad, so these tight ends aren’t even sacrificing upside.
By now we pretty much know that stacking is critical in these types of fantasy contests. When Joe Burrow has a huge game, his weapons are doing so too, and you’re definitely going to need that in a contest with just two games. The slight difference here is that there are going to be so many similarly constructed teams with 3,500 teams of each QB and most people prioritizing stacks. So even though the Joe Burrow/Ja’Marr Chase stack feels optimal in the 1st/2nd rounds, we may want to opt for some more lower owned variations of our stacks.
On top of that, using your later round picks with correlation is extremely important. Not all the guys at the end of the draft get selected in every draft, and on top of that, they’re even less likely to be selected in a very correlated manner. If you get to the end of the draft with a Mahomes team that also took Tee Higgins, you should likely opt for Byron Pringle, MeCole Hardman or DeMarcus Robinson. Even taking a shot on Darrell Williams and hoping he gets back to playing is going to be more +EV than selecting an uncorrelated and more frequently selected player. And the correlation doesn’t have to be on the same team either. Brandon Aiyuk or JaJuan Jennings can make a lot of sense on a Stafford team just as one example.