2019 NFL Draft Guide: Intro to Best Ball Leagues
Best-ball leagues are all the rage in fantasy football today. If you're not familiar with the format, the Fantasy Alarm team gives you a quick rundown of what you need to know and where to play.
“This ain’t pool. This is for bangers. Straight pool is pool. This is like hand-ball, or cribbage, or something. Straight pool, you gotta be a real surgeon to get ‘em, you know? Now, everything is nine-ball, ‘cause it’s fast, good for T.V., good for a lot of break shots…Oh, well. What the hell. Checkers sells more than chess.” – Fast Eddie Felson
The reference to the 1986 Tom Cruise/Paul Newman movie classic The Color of Money may be lost on those who haven’t seen it, but the concept behind the quote has never been more relevant to fantasy football than it is today.
Welcome to Best-Ball Fantasy Football.
How Best-Ball Works
The tag-line for this style of league is “set it and forget it,” but in reality, you’re not setting anything. You draft your team – typically 20-30 players – and every week, after the games are played, the computer places your highest-scoring players into each of your starting roster positions. If your starting roster has three wide receiver slots and you have nine wide receivers on your roster, the three highest-scoring receivers go into your lineup while the other six are relegated to your bench. The computer repeats the process for each of your starting positions. Once your starting lineup is populated with your highest-scoring players, you are then matched up with your weekly opponent and the highest score wins.
Why Play Best-Ball?
People love to draft. It’s easy to do and there is literally no point during the season where everyone in the league is filled with as much hope and excitement as they are during their draft.
People hate in-season management. It takes work. Every week, you need to research players, teams and match-ups to stay ahead of the game. You have to make continuous roster adjustments, play the waiver wire, study the weather and track every injury. For many, the added work to your daily life can be cumbersome. Best-Ball eliminates all of that.
How many times have you lost a weekly match-up because you started the wrong wide receiver? Probably more than you care to count. Playing in a best-ball format eliminates those tough lineup decisions you find yourself sweating over each and every week.
What Are the Negatives?
Injuries are more of a dream-crusher in best-ball than they are in seasonal formats. With no waiver claims to be made throughout the season, a rash of injuries, especially season-ending ones, can decimate your team and leave you with almost no hope of winning. All of your research is up-front. You need to know each and every team’s depth chart through and through and you need to have the foresight to project potential changes in starting personnel for the entire season. If a player gets hurt, who’s the next man up? If you draft Case Keenum , are you also drafting Dwayne Haskins because you believe the Redskins will want to eventually make the change further into the season? Your draft prep must be first-rate, you need to formulate a proper strategy and flying by the seat of your pants is often a first-class ticket to Loserville.
Weekly smack-talk is eliminated. If being able to talk trash to your league-mates is an important facet of your fantasy football experience, then best-ball may not be right for you. You have no idea who they will be starting against you and you can’t get inside their head throughout the week in an attempt to get them to make a bonehead lineup choice. What are you going to do…? Tell them your 30 guys are probably better than their 30 guys? Yawn.
Where to Play Best-Ball Leagues
As you will soon see on our Best-Ball Cheat Sheet, there are a number of web sites who are offering this format for its users. Roster sizes and number of rounds per draft will vary among the sites. You will also have some which are regular drafts and some which are slow drafts. How long of a draft process you want is entirely up to you.
If you’re new to the format and are interested in taking it for a test spin, then you can play for free. When you’re ready to roll and want to play for money, there are a number of leagues at a variety of pricing tiers. Pick what suits your budget and level of play best.
Play for Money:
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