The NFL season is slated to kick off on September 10 and DraftKings is offering a unique set of contests to spice things up. For the first time, the Daily Fantasy Sports titan will offer a $3M Best Ball NFL contest with a $1M prize to first place.

Usually a format used in season-long fantasy football formats, Best Ball is a streamlined way to play DFS, with a completely different strategy than the usual process of selecting players under a salary cap.

The contest begins with a “snake draft” where pick order is reversed for each round. Users draft a 20-player team in a contained 12-team league and then their  are set for the entire season.

No more tinkering, adjustments, or resetting to prepare for the next week of the NFL season. The top scorers at each position count towards the users final score, and each week users with the best score advance closer to the big prizes.

DraftKings is also offering “sit-and-go” tournaments that begin immediately upon filling up the preset amount of slots, and will eventually expand the Best Ball format to NBA and NHL contests.

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NFL Best Ball Strategy

Drafting for Upside

The biggest difference between Best Ball and standard fantasy football is the potential for upside. While risky players such as speedy WRs or injury-prone RBs might sit on your bench in season-long fantasy, or go undrafted in DFS Cash game lineups, those type of “boom-bust” players come with far less risk in Best Ball.

No matter if your flakey WR fizzles one week, as long as another wideout on your bench capable of picking up the slack. If you lose an RB for multiple weeks it’s a tough break, but as long as you have enough depth to score competently at that position, your team is unlikely to crumble after the loss of one player.

So, the best strategy in Best Ball is to draft for upside. If you want a chance at big prizes, take players that can have huge seasons, even if the flip side of that upside spells disaster.

Team Stacks

In order to get even more upside out of a player, you can try to draft them with a teammate that will correlate to their success. The standard stacking strategy is a QB and WR or TE, but the strategy is often successful with a QB and RB from the same team.

For example, Alvin Kamara and Drew Brees can both have huge weeks when the Saints are playing at home, so drafting both of those studs would ensure that they lead the charge for your team at least every other week.

Loading Up on Positions

There are a couple of ways to safeguard against the injuries that inevitably pile up during an NFL season. Position depth at RB will ensure that you never wind up with a complete dud at that key slot, but position depth at WR should help you hit big with one or two players each week.

Drafting 7 or more WRs might leave you a little thin at RB, but as long as those backs stay healthy, you should have an advantage with at least one of your “home-run hitting” wideouts posting huge numbers each week.

Create Your Own Rankings

DraftKings provides pre-draft rankings for players that are based on sound algorithms and insider information. Yet these rankings are far from infallible. Perhaps more importantly, the rankings represent the standard or “chalk” plays that will be found in the vast majority of lineups once the Best Ball contest gets rolling.

Creating your own rankings and identifying undervalued studs will not only help you win your small draft, it could differentiate your Best Ball team from the pack and help you move closer to the big money.

Video: Best Ball strategy for 2020