Wed Aug 7 11:43am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Cooper capable of huge game
If you haven’t heard, best ball fantasy leagues are all the rage these days. These are the fastest growing leagues on our site. Drafts are going off every night (click here). We are here to help you win your best ball league. This column will focus on the strategy of a best ball format, giving you some tips to help you win big.
If you aren’t familiar, here is a quick rundown of the best ball format. The best ball format means you don’t have to set a weekly lineup. Your best possible roster will be automatically selected after the games are completed for the week. There are no free agent moves during the season. All you do is draft. After the draft is complete, you can sit back and watch the rest of the season. It is all the fun of drafting but without the daily management.
The best ball leagues normally start nine players: a quarterback, two running backs, two receivers, a tight end, flex, defense and kicker. Drafts are anywhere between 20 and 25 rounds long, making rosters deeper because of the inability to make free agent moves during the season.
So now that you know the rules, here is a look at some tips for having a successful best ball draft. First off, you are going to take more quarterbacks and tight ends than in a normal draft. Taking three quarterbacks and three tight ends is a smart move in best ball leagues. You just need one player to hit each week, so having more to choose from will help you optimize your chances for that big week. Grabbing three players at each position is the way to go in best ball formats.
In a best ball league, going with boom or best players is a good idea. Getting players with a high weekly ceiling is a smart move. You need those big weekly games to advance in best ball formats. Guys like Amari Cooper and DeSean Jackson are ranked a little higher for me in this format. These are guys that can drive you a little crazy in standard leagues because of their erratic play, but you can live with that in best ball leagues. There are options on your bench that can makeup for the bad games from Cooper and Jackson. You start just two receivers on a weekly basis and likely have three or four options on your bench. There is a good chance one of your bench options hits any given week, which can makeup for the erratic play of a guy like Cooper if he busts.
So taking three quarterbacks is a good idea, but grabbing one in the early rounds isn’t. If you think about it, you just need one quarterback to hit each week with a big number. If you take three in the middle to later rounds of your draft, can one of those guys post an elite fantasy number each week? Your answer is likely a big yes. You are better served in a best ball format loading up on running backs and receivers early in your draft. These positions are a little more uncertain, so getting quality running backs and receivers early in your draft is a good plan come draft day. Don’t waste early picks on the quarterback spot. The quarterback position also is crazy deep this year.
The tight end spot is a little different this year. Normally, approaching the tight end position is similar to the quarterback position. Get three in the middle to later rounds of your draft and hope one hits each week. We still suggest getting three tight ends but going early on one of the three elite options this year might give you an advantage. There are three players that stick out head and shoulders above the rest: Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz and George Kittle. Taking one of those three players in the second or third round of a best ball draft might give you an advantage over the rest of your league-mates. The lesser tight end options aren’t as likely to score big when they have their good games. This is something to keep in mind come draft day. Going early on one of the three elite tight ends could set you apart this year. They are worth an early-round pick.
There is some debate with this next suggestion, but we think getting two kickers and two defenses is the way to go in best ball. The big reason is that if you take just one at each position, you are going to be giving up six or seven points in one game because of bye weeks. Can you afford to lose those points when every game matters so much in fantasy? We just aren’t sure it is worth risking, especially since rosters are so deep anyway. Every game matters so much in fantasy that giving away just one game could be the difference between making or missing the playoffs. So go ahead and grab two kickers and defenses in the last few rounds of your draft to make sure you are maximizing your points each week of the season.
In closing, use your early picks wisely, getting a lot of talent at running back and receiver. These positions are a little more uncertain, so getting plenty of options at those spots is a good move in this format. And don’t be afraid to go deep at any position, especially if you have some questions marks for your projected top point getter at the position. You also have to take some chances late in the draft, trying to find a player that might emerge later in the season or something along those lines. This is the format to take more risks. You have the roster space, so don’t be afraid to take some chances along the way. There are going to be players selected in this format that you would never consider taking in a standard league.
Good luck and happy drafting!
Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at email@example.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (concussion) said he played through a concussion in Week 1 against the Cowboys because he wanted to try and help the team win. Shepard didn't start feeling normal until this week and is off the final injury report for Week 3 against the Buccaneers. Shepard will be the top wideout this Sunday with Cody Latimer (concussion) ruled out. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones could target Shepard heavily in his NFL debut, but it doesn't necessarily mean that Shepard is in line for a big day. It's also important to note that Shepard and Jones didn't play together in the preseason because Shepard broke his thumb on the first day of training camp. In his first game back from the concussion, Shepard will be a shaky WR4 with volume upside.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Ted Ginn accumulated a grand total of zero targets against the Rams in Week 2 after a solid Week 1 performance, and fantasy owners should expect more duds going forward. Ginn, already a boom-or-bust option, finds himself in a tough spot with starting quarterback Drew Brees(thumb) sidelined for the next six weeks. He faces a leaky Seattle secondary in Week 3, but is not worthy of any fantasy consideration in standard-sized leagues with Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill taking the snaps under center.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Danny Amendola came crashing back down to earth in Week 2, seeing only one target compared to 13 in Week 1. Fantasy owners who started Amendola with hopes he would replicate his Week 1 performance were undoubtedly disappointed, but we have now seen what his ceiling and floor are in this Lions offense. This will likely be how the season goes for Amendola, putting him firmly in the WR4/WR5 conversation. He faces off against a porous Eagles secondary on Sunday but is a risky start, at best.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (knee) was a full participant in practice on Friday and is cleared to play in Sunday's game against the Texans. Allen's knee injury was minor and just held him out of practice for a couple days. After racking up 16 catches for 221 yards in the first two games, Allen is set to face a forgiving Texans secondary that has been below-average so far. Allen continues to be the heart and soul of the receiving corps, and owners should expect another big day with lots of targets for him on Sunday.
Green Bay Packers LB Oren Burks (chest) and OG Lane Taylor (biceps) did not practice Friday, Sept. 20, and have been ruled out for Week 3 against the Denver Broncos. DL Montravius Adams (shoulder) did not practice all week and is listed as doubtful. LB Kyler Fackrell (shoulder), TE Jimmy Graham (groin), WR Jake Kumerow (shoulder) and WR Darrius Shepherd (hamstring) were limited in practice Friday and are listed as questionable. WR Davante Adams (personal) did not practice Friday, while LB Blake Martinez (shoulder) remained a limited participant; both players were removed from the injury report. DL Fadol Brown (knee), OT Bryan Bulaga (rest), DL Kenny Clark (calf), CB Ka'dar Hollman (neck), CB Kevin King (chest), S Will Redmond (ankle), S Darnell Savage (shin), LB Za'Darius Smith (ankle), CB Tramon Williams (rest) and RB Jamaal Williams (ankle) fully participated in practice Friday and no longer appear on the injury report.
Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (knee) fully participated in practice Friday, Sept. 20, and is not on the injury report for Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: Kelce did not miss any practice time this week and will be fine for the Week 3 game. He is one of the top tight ends in the NFL and is a must-start option in all fantasy leagues.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Demarcus Robinson (elbow) fully participated in practice Friday, Sept. 20, and is not on the injury report for Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: Robinson has stepped up at receiver while Tyreek Hill is sidelined and will continue to receive a solid amount of targets for the time being. He will be facing a tough matchup this week but can still be a No. 3 receiver or flex option in leagues.
Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny (hamstring) is listed as questionable for Week 3 against the Saints after suffering an injury in practice on Friday. Late-week additions to the injury report are never good, putting Penny in real danger of sitting out this Sunday. He was a risky RB3/flex in PPR leagues to begin with as the clear backup to workhorse Chris Carson. Carson would become a stronger RB1 selection if Penny is inactive, while C.J. Prosise could see his role expand in passing situations in Week 3.
Houston Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills caught a touchdown in Week 1, but in Week 2 he played just 38 percent of Houston's offensive snaps, turning those 24 plays into two catches for 38 yards. The battle between Stills and Keke Coutee for the third receiver role is a bit of a mess at this point, with Coutee getting more snaps in Week 2 but Stills outperforming him. For now, it's best to ignore Stills in season-long leagues, though there will be weeks where he looks like a good DFS option. The Chargers Defense is probably too good for Week 3 to be one of those weeks, though.
Baltimore Ravens CB Jimmy Smith (knee) and DB Brynden Trawick (elbow) did not practice all week and have been ruled out for Week 3 versus the Kansas City Chiefs. TE Mark Andrews (foot) was limited in practice for a second straight day Friday, Sept. 20, while FB Patrick Ricard (back) was upgraded to full practice; both are listed as questionable. S Earl Thomas (non-injury), WR Marquise Brown (non-injury), CB Brandon Carr (non-injury) and LB Pernell McPhee (non-injury) did not practice Friday but were removed from the injury report.
Kansas City Chiefs RB LeSean McCoy (ankle) fully participated in practice Friday, Sept. 20, but is listed as questionable for Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: McCoy appears to be on track to play and probably will join the starting lineup with Damien Williams ruled out. Fantasy players in most leagues should consider McCoy as a flex option or possibly a low-end No. 2 running back.
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (ankle) fully participated in practice Friday, Sept. 20, and is not on the injury report for Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: Mahomes remains one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL even with the minor injury and is a must-start option against the Baltimore Ravens.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Breshad Perriman returned to practice Friday after dealing with a quadriceps injury. He'll start this Sunday at home against the win-hungry New York Giants. Perriman has been an afterthought during his first two starts with the Bucs, logging only two receptions for 10 yards. He's a paper-thin replacement to the departed DeSean Jackson and is leaving a lot to be desired by only being the fourth or fifth best option on this talent-heavy team. This journeyman wide receiver is not on our radar as a viable start this week, even versus aGiants Defensethat is giving up a whopping 13.4 yards per target. He's a WR4 and should remain on your bench for the foreseeable future.
The Cleveland Browns placed tight end David Njoku (wrist) on Injured Reserve on Friday and claimed safety Juston Burris off waivers from the Raiders in a corresponding move. Njoku had four catches for 37 yards and a touchdown in two games before getting injured in the Monday night win over the Jets. We'd recommend keeping Njoku stashed in an IR spot on your roster if you have the space. Demetrius Harris and Ricky Seals-Jones are the next guys up with Njoku out, but it's unlikely that either of them will become streaming options at the weak tight end position. Jarvis Landry could benefit the most in the passing game underneath and down the middle of the field.
Heading into Week 3, the story with Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller is essentially the same as it's been all year: his speed makes him a major weapon down the field for quarterback Deshaun Watson, but his lack of targets gives him a lot of risk. Week 2 was a little different, as Jalen Ramsey shadowed DeAndre Hopkins and led to Fuller getting a bigger share of the offense, but he ended up catching just four passes for 40 yards. He's got upside against the Chargers in Week 3, but he also could have just four or five targets. If you need the upside, he's worth playing, but if you're looking for consistency you might want to look elsewhere.
Buffalo Bills TE Tyler Kroft (ankle, foot) did not participate in practice Friday, Sept. 20, and has been ruled out for Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: Kroft was making progress from his foot injury but is now dealing with an ankle injury. Dawson Knox and Tommy Sweeney will continue to receive playing time at tight end, but neither player has fantasy value.
Updating a previous report, Philadelphia Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery (calf) did not participate in practice Friday, Sept. 20, and is listed as questionable for Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: Jeffery missed most of practice this week and likely will be a game-time decision for Week 3. The Eagles may consider resting him since they play on Thursday Night Football next week, so fantasy players may want to look for more reliable options for their lineups.
Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins spent Week 2 having to go against one of the NFL's top corners, Jalen Ramsey. He caught five passes for 40 yards. He has another tough matchup in Week 3 against a good Chargers secondary, but Hopkins' target share and skill make him a must-start. Maybe he's more like a top-10 receiver than a top-five receiver this week, but there's zero scenarios where you should consider sitting Hopkins. Consider him a solid WR1 who could have a few things go wrong and end up as a WR2.
Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (foot), DE/LB Bruce Irvin (hamstring), S Rashaan Gaulden (groin) and OG Brandon Greene (neck) did not practice all week and have been ruled out for Week 3 versus the Atlanta Falcons. DT Kawann Short (shoulder) also did not practice all week but is listed as questionable. TE Greg Olsen (back) fully participated in practice for a second straight day Friday, Sept. 20, and is also listed as questionable.
Buffalo Bills WR John Brown (non-injury) fully participated in practice Friday, Sept. 20, and is not on the injury report for Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: Brown has caught 14 of his 18 targets this season and has been the main option in the passing game so far. He has become a weekly starting option in fantasy leagues as a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver.