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BEST-BALL LEAGUES: Draft Structure and Advice

This year more than ever, “Best-Ball” is becoming popular by removing the frustrating components of typical fantasy football. Many podcasts from experts now heavily include fantasy football and some articles are being produced with the increase in popularity. The concept is simple – you have similar lineup construction with usually another flex position added in. Your bench is massive, which can include up to 18-20 spots. There is usually little need for a waiver wire at this point so drafting with foresight is necessary. The best part about these leagues is that you never have to touch your lineups again. The best players will automatically fill your rosters so you do not have to worry about Amari Cooper going for 20 yards instead of 140.

Some general recommendations across the Best-Ball world from experts typically include slamming running back and tight end early as wide receiver can be found in the later rounds. Many platforms have a hidden 1.5 points per reception (PPR) rule for tight ends so prioritization is key if you can fit in a Travis Kelce even in the first round. Wide receiver is typically waited upon until the later rounds as any of the recommended 7-9 wide receivers taken can produce in a week. All you need is a few good weeks from some high upside players at wide receiver. Smaller players can put up stat lines like five catches for 129 yards and two touchdown (Dante Pettis) or middle-round selections can be rewarded with lines of nine catches for 138 yards and a touchdown; 11 catches for 100 yards; and six receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown (Tyler Boyd).

Drafting running back early seems to be the only way to get the high upside players. Kenyan Drake never topped 80 rushing or receiving yards last year as a mid-round pick although there is reason to believe this year he will be much better. A player like Lamar Miller would be the upside if one waits on running back beyond the first three rounds with four games with more than 100 yards. Each year there are obvious golden running back spots on teams which makes drafting their replacements very profitable. The oft injured Leonard Fournette, Aaron Jones and Dalvin Cook provide for amazing openings to draft their back ups again this year (Ryquell Armstead, Jamaal Williams, Alexander Mattison). With 18-20 bench spots you can invest in these backups to injury-prone players or throw one at Adrian Peterson, who will put up amazing games regardless of age. Adrian Peterson sits at an average draft position of 171 again this year despite a starting position staring him in the face.

Quarterback is recommended to have 2-3 players. If you can pick up the elite talents of Andrew Luck, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson or Aaron Rodgers in both spots then two is needed. FantasyPros had a stat where it found only five quarterbacks produced Top-12 finishes more than half of the games played. This shows the inconsistency of the quarterback production and the need to take three. One could go with a safer Matt Ryan or Drew Brees option and mix it in with the players like Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson. Even Mitchell Trubisky put up four amazing games with more than 300-yard passing and multiple touchdowns. Every quarterback who started last year had an opportunity to put up a Top-10 finish in a week (besides Marcus Mariota and Joe Flacco).

Tight end is a heavily weighted position in these leagues as many have 1.5 PPR rules for tight ends only. I have seen Kelce go in the first round of multiple drafts because his production over the next available player is that much higher which I have written about before. George Kittle and Zach Ertz typically go in the early second round because the next drop off is that much higher. Players like Jared Cook or Jordan Reed are prime targets due to their inconsistent but productive nature. This is another position in which three players might be recommended. Talent does fall off fast at this position, however, so it is important not to wait long. Two to three players is again recommended at tight end.

About Justin Weigal

Medical professional turned fantasy football pro... I hope. Love best ball and the Packers.