Fantasy Football – What is Best Ball?

Odell Beckham Jr

Best Ball leagues are gaining in popularity amongst the hungry masses, and DRAFT is a new player in this world. Best Ball leagues are fantasy leagues that don’t require starting lineups to be submitted. Teams draft their players and week to week the system will pick your highest scoring players after the games are over. It is a wonderful relief if you hate picking between your fourth wide receiver or second tight end on a weekly basis.

playdraftMy home football league is a best ball league, and I love the format. We have weekly waivers though, and the format I am discussing here does not. I will be talking about DRAFT and draft and forget it teams. Basically this just means there are no waivers. I believe my fantasy football mind is wired a best ball way by default. I only started other best ball leagues this year so I can’t show you a win rate. I learned over the years that the more successful drafters embraced volatility and high upside players.

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It is easy to say draft high upside guys, that is what everyone is trying to do. You have to map out a positional strategy for each draft you are in. You can see how the draft unfolds and zig and zag if you need to. Yet, I prefer going into a best ball draft knowing exactly what positional breakdown my final team will have. Bye weeks definitely need to be monitored especially for QB / TE spots. You don’t want to only two QBs with both of them having the same bye weeks. For the critical RB/WR the bye weeks are a lot less critical and I have seen some people overemphasize them.

There are tons of articles out there on optimal roster construction and draft strategy. Read some before jumping in. That being said practice is definitely the best educator. Here is an example of a very good article on the subject of roster construction (part 1 of 3) by @14TeamMocker .

Here are the best ball rules at DRAFT, which is a great place to play. Some of the main points are that you start a total of eight players. This includes a QB, TE, two RB, three WR and one Flex (RB / WR / TE.) It is 0.5 points per reception, so factor that in your DRAFT choices. You draft 18 players, so ten will be on your bench each week. The system will choose your highest scoring combination after each week. The leagues run from week  1 through week 16.

DRAFT offers two draft formats. One is the speed format with a timer of 30 seconds, and the other is an 8 hour clock, email draft. It is critical to pre-rank your players, especially with the fasts drafts. I jumped into my first without pre-ranking in the system and that definitely slowed me down. 30 seconds doesn’t give you time to go search on a player before taking him.  You have to have the work done before you signup for a draft 

Aaron Rodgers

(Doug Pensinger – Getty Images)

I am a very big fan of the fast clock drafts. If you think you make better decisions faster than most fantasy footballers than you should be a fan too. That being said you obviously can’t start a speed draft when you know you will be busy in real life. These drafts start the second the league fills, so sometimes it is difficult to predict exactly when the draft will start. If the 30 second clock doesn’t seem your style or you just prefer the eight hour clock, the email draft is the way to go. It is still best to have the players ranked in the system, in case you time out and miss your picks.

A few weeks ago I joined a DRAFT that @Pat_Thorman started up. The other players in the league were unknown to me. The timer was 30 seconds and the madness ensued from the jump. Keep in mind this draft was weeks ago and a lof the information on players was different. I drafted a few players I won’t be drafting at those spots this week. Here is my squad:


My DRAFT strategy before the first pick was made was to go with two QB/ six RB/ eight WR / two TE. I switched from this after staring at my first two quarterbacks and realizing that they both have taken a lot of punishment. After taking Luck, I just kept thinking I needed a third. Another factor is that I am bullish on DeShone Kizer’s future. It will be a challenge both as a rookie and as a Brown, but I think it will click for him, as much as it can for a rookie QB. I also was really happy with my WR grouping so I felt I could add to a different position.

However looking back on it I think I should have stuck with the two QB’s and drafted a third TE. The recent buzz on David Njoku has all been negative. So maybe that is clouding my thinking. With these best ball drafts it is definitely better to join a decent number of them to gain more experience, try different strategies, and take different players. I have a gut feel that I can’t back up with any evidence, that diversifying which players you roster is overrated. I wouldn’t take the same players in every draft but I don’t recommend drafting players at ADPs you don’t like just for the sake of doing it. These are your teams, you have to really like the players and rosters you build.

I strongly recommend building a simple spreadsheet to track your teams and see which players you roster the most. This easy to do in Excel or Google Sheets, or whatever darn thing you iphone people use. I track my best ball teams separately from my standard format leagues, but  that is obviously up to you.  Thanks for reading and get out there and on @Playdraft !



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