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Best Ball Strategy 

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 jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

Player Notes
Donte Moncrief Sep 22 12:43pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Donte Moncrief will be inactive for the team's Week 3 game.

Fantasy Spin: It appears like the Steelers will be going with the youthful trio of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and James Washington as their main receivers. Smith-Schuster is a must-start option, while Washington could be a flex option because of previous work with Mason Rudolph. Fantasy players may want to see Johnson play in a game or two before considering him for their lineups.

From TheHuddle

Jordan Reed Sep 22 12:23pm ET

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (concussion) has suffered multiple concussions during his career, and some in the Redskins organization as well as around the NFL are worried that Reed may not be able to play again, according to sources.

Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to monitor the situation to see if Reed will be cleared to play again at some point. Vernon Davis will continue to serve as the starting tight end for the Redskins but probably should be considered a No. 2 fantasy tight end.

From TheHuddle

Kyle Rudolph Sep 22 12:10pm ET

Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph has caught 3-of-6 targets for nine receiving yards through two weeks. He has fallen into the touchdown-dependent desperation-play territory as he just isn't seeing enough usage to be fantasy-relevant. The Vikings are big favorites (-9) at home, so it seems likely that Rudolph will be run-blocking much more often than running routes. He is still playing every offensive snap so the chance at a random red zone touchdown is there, but there are higher-upside TE2 options than the unexciting Rudolph.

From RotoBaller

Dallas Goedert Sep 22 12:03pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert (calf) is active for Week 3's game against the Detroit Lions.

From TheHuddle

LeSean McCoy Sep 22 12:03pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs RB LeSean McCoy (ankle) is officially active for the team's Week 3 game.

Fantasy Spin: It is not known if McCoy will be in the starting lineup, but he should receive a decent amount of touches against the Baltimore Ravens. He can be considered at least a flex option in most leagues.

From TheHuddle

Marlon Mack Sep 22 12:03pm ET

Indianapolis Colts RB Marlon Mack (calf) is officially active for the team's Week 3 game.

Fantasy Spin: Mack will receive most of the carries in the running game despite the injury and has played well in the first two games of the season. He can be a No. 2 running back in all fantasy leagues this week.

From TheHuddle

Jarrad Davis Sep 22 12:03pm ET

Detroit Lions LB Jarrad Davis (ankle) is active for Week 3's game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

From TheHuddle

T Y Hilton Sep 22 12:03pm ET

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (quadriceps) is officially active for the team's Week 3 game.

Fantasy Spin: Hilton has shown solid chemistry with Jacoby Brissett over the first two weeks and will continue to be the focal point in the passing game. He is a must-start option in all fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Damien Harris Sep 22 12:00pm ET

After being a healthy scratch through the first two weeks of the season, New England Patriots rookie running back Damien Harris will make his NFL debut on Sunday with James White (personal) out. Harris isn't likely to see enough snaps to be fantasy relevant this week, but if he looks good in his limited role it could bode well for his chances of cracking the rotation moving forward.

From RotoBaller

Demaryius Thomas Sep 22 11:53am ET

The New York Jets have declared QB Sam Darnold, WR Demaryius Thomas, DE John Franklin-Myers, LB Jordan Jenkins, DT Quinnen Williams, DE Jordan Willis and LB C.J. Mosley inactive for Week 3.

From TheHuddle

A.J. Green Sep 22 11:53am ET

The Cincinnati Bengals have declared WR A.J. Green, QB Jacob Dolegala, OT Mike Jordan, OT Cordy Glenn, CB B.W. Webb, DT Ryan Glasgow and DL Kerry Wynn inactive for Week 3.

From TheHuddle

Jake Kumerow Sep 22 11:53am ET

The Green Bay Packers have declared OT Cole Madison, OL Adam Pankey, WR Jake Kumerow, RB Dexter Williams, CB Ka'dar Hollman, DT Montravius Adams and LB Oren Burks inactive for Week 3.

From TheHuddle

Dwayne Harris Sep 22 11:53am ET

The Oakland Raiders have declared OT David Sharpe, QB DeShone Kizer, WR Dwayne Harris, WR Trevor Davis, DL Corey Liuget, OG Gabe Jackson and WR Ryan Grant inactive for Week 3.

From TheHuddle

Jimmy Graham Sep 22 11:53am ET

Green Bay Packers TE Jimmy Graham (groin) is active for Week 3's game against the Denver Broncos.

From TheHuddle

Alshon Jeffery Sep 22 11:53am ET

Philadelphia Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery (calf) is not active for Week 3's game against the Detroit Lions.

From TheHuddle

Mark Andrews Sep 22 11:53am ET

Baltimore Ravens TE Mark Andrews (foot) is officially active for the team's Week 3 game.

Fantasy Spin: Andrews has been a big part of the passing game over the first two games and will continue to receive plenty of targets. He should be a starting option in all fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

LeSean McCoy Sep 22 11:50am ET

Kansas City Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy is active for the team's Week 3 meeting with the Baltimore Ravens. With Damien Williams out and rain in the forecast, Shady should see a fairly sizable workload. He should be a low-end RB2 for this matchup, but with the upside to outperform that in this Andy Reid offense. Darwin Thompson will get some snaps at running back but isn't a huge threat to McCoy.

From RotoBaller

Marlon Mack Sep 22 11:50am ET

The Indianapolis Colts will have running back Marlon Mack (calf) and wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (quad) will both play against Atlanta in Week 3. Both players were game-time decisions but will be good to go. Fantasy owners should feel comfortable playing Mack, though he's likely to see fewer snaps than he does most weeks. Hilton, meanwhile, is in an offense that isn't nearly as prolific without quarterback Andrew Luck and should be considered a WR3 most weeks, with the quad injury adding in a good amount of uncertainty this time around.

From RotoBaller

Jonathan Williams Sep 22 11:43am ET

The Indianapolis Colts have declared LB Jabaal Sheard, LB Darius Leonard, OT Le'Raven Clark, DL Jihad Ward, S Marvell Tell, RB Jonathan Williams and TE Hale Hentges inactive for Week 3.

From TheHuddle

Reshad Jones Sep 22 11:43am ET

The Miami Dolphins have declared WR Albert Wilson, SS Reshad Jones, S Doug Middleton, RB Myles Gaskin, DL Tank Carradine, OG Chris Reed and OT Isaiah Prince inactive for Week 3.

From TheHuddle