Fantasy Football: Best Ball Strategies
Jon Impemba takes a look at some draft strategies when it comes to your Best Ball drafts.
There is no denying that Best Ball leagues are soaring in popularity and given the league format and deep rosters there is certainly a different strategy when it comes to drafting in this league format 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 the strategies to deploy when drafting.
What is Best Ball
Best Ball is a fantasy format in which all you do is draft your roster. There is no in season moves or trades. You do not need to set your lineups either. 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/sit 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+ man rosters.
For the most part with all positions you want to draft depth to give you the best chance to outscore your opponent at the position each week. Like in standard leagues you definitely want to draft two quarterback’s 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 . 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 comfortable set before diving into the QB pool.
Ah yes, the running back position, the position that causes the most ire among fantasy football players and the one with the most debated 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 given the nature of the scoring system and the deep benches you will want to make sure you do address this position within the first few rounds of your draft. 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 passing catching backs in the middle rounds of your draft such as James White and Tarik Cohen who can put up 70+ catches on the year and average 10+ PPR points per week. Their safe floor level of production 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 the strategy you take 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 the running back position, with the wide receivers you need to draft depth and a lot of it. Fortunately, this season the wide receiver pool is incredibly deep. If you are drafting towards 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 towards the end of the draft. 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 taken 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 who 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 so receivers 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 here 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 and that is to wait. Sure, you can use an early pick on a Travis Kelce or George Kittle but at their ADP 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 round seven or eight to address the position. This way I have three-to-four RB’s, WR’s and maybe a QB and then take my tight end. 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 rounds six and nine in most drafts. There are also some late-round tight ends with appealing upside like 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.
For me I lump them 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 and a position that I will leave 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.