There is no denying that Best Ball leagues are soaring in popularity across all fantasy sports, especially fantasy football. Given the league format and deep rosters, there is certainly a different strategy when it comes to drafting in Best Ball than in your typical season-long fantasy leagues.
For those of you not familiar with Best Ball, however, let take a look at the league type before we dive into tips for when your draft rolls around.
What is Best Ball Fantasy Football?
Best Ball is a fantasy format in which all you do is draft your roster. There are no in-season moves or trades, and you do not “set a lineup” every week. For scoring, your top players at each position will have their scores count for that week, so you no longer will be kicking yourself for leaving a guy on your bench who had a big week or struggle with start ’em-sit ’em questions. Best Ball leagues are typically PPR scoring format, and depending on the site, you play from can range from 10-to-12-man leagues with 20-plus man rosters.
Fantasy Football Best Ball Draft Tips, Strategy
Generally speaking, you want to draft depth at all positions. That gives you the best chance to outscore your opponent at any given position each week. As is the case in standard leagues, you definitely want to draft two quarterbacks that do not share a bye week. However, unlike standard leagues, it is not unwise to consider drafting at least three players at this position to safe guard against potential injuries or, in the rare case, a sudden retirement like we saw with Andrew Luck last preseason.
Again, we are looking at deep rosters here with some sites allowing up to 20-to-22 players per team, which leaves upwards of 11-to-13 bench spots. Now, you can certainly go ahead and snag the likes of Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes to give you the edge at QB1, but ultimately waiting on a quarterback is a strong recommendation given the depth at the position later in rounds compared to the depth at the other skill positions. Especially in Best Ball formats with deep benches, running backs and wide receivers will fly off the board, so make sure you are comfortably set before diving into the QB pool.
Ah yes, running back — the position that causes the most ire among fantasy football owners and the one with the most varying strategies on how to draft. Should you go running back early? Should you go zero running back? Should you make sure you draft your handcuffs? Or, should you draft a bunch of starting RB depth as a failsafe for potential injury?
There are so many ways to approach the position; however, given that Best Ball drafts are certainly a different animal because of the scoring system and deep benches, you will want to make sure you address this position within the first few rounds. You can certainly stack your depth late, but seeing as running backs are typically among the top scorers in fantasy each season, you do not want to be left in the cold with a bunch of running backs in timeshares while the teams you are up against are rocking a roster of bell cows.
With Best Ball being a PPR scoring, you should definitely look for those pass-catching backs, such as James White and Tarik Cohen, in the middle rounds who can put up 70-plus catches and average 10-plus PPR points per week. Their relatively safe weekly floors will help in Best Ball formats during bye weeks or when other players have down games.
Ultimately, you can never really draft enough depth at the position regardless of strategy because having that depth could give you a big advantage over the field seeing as you can’t make any roster moves during the season.
Much like running back, you need to draft depth at wide receiver — and a lot of it. Fortunately, this season the wide receiver pool is incredibly deep. If you are drafting toward the end of the first round you will have your options of DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones, Tyreek Hill, and Davante Adams, all of whom could be the top receiver in fantasy. It is likely a wise strategy to even double-up at the position if you find yourself drafting toward the end of the first round.
With the majority of the focus typically being on the running back position in Best Ball drafts you can often get top end receivers falling a few slots in ADP, and that should be used to your advantage. Right now, we are seeing receivers such as Keenan Allen, Calvin Ridley, Allen Robinson, and Odell Beckham Jr. going in the middle rounds of drafts. All can offer up top-20 upside at the position. It also helps that Best Ball leagues are PPR format, which brings added value to those receivers who may struggle to find the end zone. Guys such as Jarvis Landry, Julian Edelman, and Deebo Samuel figure to see plenty of targets and can rack up the points on the catches.
Again, depth is the name of the game here, so putting yourself in position to grab enough quality players will give you the edge in a Best Ball league.
You should approach the tight end position in Best Ball as you do your standard league draft, which is to say you should wait. Sure, you can use an early pick on a Travis Kelce or George Kittle, but at their respective ADPs, you should really be looking to draft running backs and wide receivers. I would even consider waiting until I have taken my QB1 before addressing the tight end position. Often, there is not much difference in value between the second tier of tight ends, those ranked between TE6 and TE10, and for that reason I will typically wait until about the seventh or eighth round to address the position. This way I have three-to-four RBs and WRs and maybe a QB.
The position itself is pretty solid in these middle rounds as well as you find the likes of Rob Gronkwoski, Hunter Henry, Darren Waller, and Austin Hooper going somewhere between the sixth and ninth rounds in most drafts. There are also some late-round tight ends with appealing upside, such as Mike Gesicki, Hayden Hurst, Dallas Goedert, Eric Ebron, and T.J. Hockenson, to name a few, that may be poised for solid years at the position.
I lump these positions into the same category. Take no more than two kickers, and take them last in my opinion.
For defense, you can certainly take three, but the position itself is very random. I’ll gladly leave it until my final few picks and fill only when I have my kicker position left. Nobody expected the Patriots defense to do what it did last year, just like you cannot predict the Jaguars defense from a few years back to turn into Sacksonville. Grab a few solid defenses or defenses that have a good schedule and rock it. Drafting one early just means you are missing a chance to take a depth play at receiver or running back, which could end up being far more valuable to your long-term success.
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