If you’re new to best ball or just want some pointers, below are our top tips for drafting a successful team.
1. Stay in school, do your homework.
If you’ve played traditional fantasy football, you probably have a good understanding of good players. However, if you’re a casual football fan, you might not know about all the coaching changes and personnel changes (including the draft) that happened in the offseason. Take some time to see who went where.
Matt Stafford played with a broken back last year? Maybe we shouldn’t completely account for his lack of production from the loss of Golden Tate. He’s still worth taking a late round flier.
The Jets signed Lev Bell and Jamison Crowder? We’d expect that the offense steps up as a whole with Darnold benefiting the most.
How has Cooper Kupp’s rehab been progressing? Great! Looking more explosive than last year!
How has Derrius Guice’s rehab been progressing? It has been a rocky road filled with complications. (As of 9/1, he’s actually looking ok, but Adrian Peterson is going to be the much better value. If the staff is smart, Guice will be eased into his workload)
2. Stay plugged in, don’t jack out.
After research, you’re up to date, but only for a short amount of time. Stay up to date!
The articles on this site are here to give you some general knowledge and advice. Recommendations about players will change on every new piece of news that drops.
For example, Tyreek Hill’s draft position went from the 3rd round (speculation of his involvement in his son’s broken arm) to the 8th round (audio of Hill threatening his fiancee) to the 4th round (positive meeting with commissioner) and has landed in the 2nd round (announcement that he will not be serving any suspension).
We and other experts liked D’Onta Foreman as a standalone value in the Texans backfield until he was shockingly dropped from the team on 8/4. He went from the “clear 2nd back with upside” on Houston to “fighting for a roster spot” on Indianapolis in a matter of days.
Andrew Luck just announced his retirement, essentially knocking down the potential on all Colts offensive players.
Best Ball Badger recommends keeping up with NFL news through an app – Sleeper, Rotowire, or any of the major sites that host fantasy football.
3. Second place is also known as the first loser. Learn about variance.
Many of the articles that we write about talk about increasing variance or staying away from average. For our roster construction, we want to take on some risk to get some high scoring teams at the cost of drafting some low scoring teams. Low scoring teams pay the same amount as average scoring teams: $0. Same goes for players, especially in the later rounds. We want high upside and don’t worry too much about downside.
Check out our article on Variance here:
4. You can never have too much of a good thing. In this case, it’s running backs.
When it comes to running backs, the more the merrier. Running backs have the highest rate of injury. That means teams need a large group of running backs in order to succeed when some of their backs go down. It also means that rookies and backups have a very wide range of outcomes (high variance). With one injury in front of them, backups can step up into a big role and change a middling Best Ball lineup into one that cashes.
Just look at the Lamar Miller injury in the offseason. Certainly, Duke Johnson’s value goes way up, but there will be another player that has value. It’s unclear if that will be a free agency signing (Jay Ajayi), a trade (LeSean McCoy or less likely Melvin Gordon), or one of the guys currently on the roster (Crockett, Ferguson, or other). However, every backup running back is like a lottery ticket and you just need one to hit.
Best Ball on Draft.com allows for 2 RB starts and a flex, so let’s say 2.5 RBs. One might think that doubling that amount (5 RBs) would be a good number to have, but our analysis shows that teams that cash will typically draft 6-8 RBs.
5. Avoid constant bargain hunting (waiting on guys to get a value on ADP)
When drafting at the front or tail ends of the draft (beginning or end of rounds), there can be 20 picks between your pick and the next. If you see a player that you like that is a round or two away, draft him. Otherwise, he might not be there the next time you look.
ADP matters even less in the mid to late rounds. The difference between players is minimal in later rounds. If a player hits, it doesn’t matter if you take them in the 10th or in the 16th.
This tip really applies when breaking news hits. Josh Gordon had been out of the league but was being drafted in the last two rounds. As soon as Josh Gordon was reinstated, you could have drafted him anywhere between the 9th and 16th rounds and he would have been a good value. He’s now being drafted in the middle of the 7th, so don’t be afraid to get your guys when news breaks.
6. Reach for the stars. Don’t reach for QBs.
Just like in traditional fantasy football leagues, there are a lot of viable QBs. Cam Newton, Jameis Winston, Jared Goff, Lamar Jackson, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, and Dak Prescott are all going in the 8th-10th rounds. Getting one of those guys and a very late round QB (Stafford or above) should give your team some good upside. Just remember that in most drafts the 14th round is right around when the last of the viable targets dry up and you want to finish the draft with 2 decent options.
Every year, there are QBs that make a leap into the upper tier. Last year was a banner year for the middle round QB. The top 6 QBs were Mahomes (drafted in the 11th round), Ryan (11th), Big Ben (10th), Luck (10th), Watson (6th), and Goff (11th). Finding that diamond in the rough at the QB position often will propel a Best Ball lineup into cash territory.
7. Practice?! We talkin’ about practice?!
If you’re new to best ball, then you need to practice. The best way to practice is do some mock drafts. Pretty much any site that hosts fantasy football will allow for mock draft. Fantasy Pros has a good one as well:
After you’re up to speed on a regular draft, the best way to practice Best Ball is to do some low stakes fast or slow drafts. A fast draft takes roughly an hour and you will quickly see how the game works and is different from traditional fantasy football.
In a fast draft, make sure to look ahead and queue up a few players so you don’t panic when you’re on the clock. 30 seconds goes by quickly.
8. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong
Try different strategies like super stacking from one team or 1 stud RB + 7 mid-late round RBs. Try out 3 really late round QBs and see how you like your lineup.
Test out the playoff brackets where you can turn $25 into a lot more than $25 (up to a million).
Drafting is one of the best parts of the season and you can do it as many times as you wish with something on the line (unlike mock drafting). We love it and hope you will find it just as fun as we do!
Written on 8/25/19 by Winston Lee (Updated 9/1)