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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
David Fales Sep 18 8:43am ET

Free-agent QB David Fales (Lions) signed an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Wednesday, Sept. 18.

From TheHuddle

Sep 18 2:33am ET

Atlanta Falcons DE Austin Larkin and TE Carson Meier were released from the practice squad on Tuesday, Sept. 17. To fill their spots, free agents P Matt Wile (Vikings) and Nate Wozniak (Vikings) were signed. In a separate move, DT Ra'Shede Hageman (undisclosed) cleared waivers and was placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

From TheHuddle

Darius Jackson Sep 18 2:23am ET

Dallas Cowboys RB Darius X. Jackson was released from the practice squad Monday, Sept. 16; in a corresponding move, RB Jordan Chunn was re-signed.

From TheHuddle

New England Patriots Sep 18 12:20am ET

The New England Patriots Defense have allowed only three points all season and now will go up against third-string quarterback Luke Falk and the Jets in Week 3. The Patriots have been suffocating through the first two games and picked up two defensive pick-6 touchdowns against the Dolphins. With the offense humming and perhaps their most talented defensive secondary in the Bill Belichick era, the Patriots are to a great start. The defense suddenly is a must-own in all fantasy formats and will be a top play against the Jets in Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Antonio Brown Sep 18 12:10am ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown's first game with the Patriots was a rousing success, catching four passes for 56 yards and one touchdown in Week 2. Brown sat out the first offensive play but then immediately got in on the action and his quick chemistry with quarterback Tom Brady was evident. This week the Patriots will take on a banged up Jets team and Brown's snaps should increase. The All-Pro receiver still is learning the offense but has the kind of elite talent that can shine in any system. He may not be fully up to speed but Brown should still deliver solid fantasy numbers in Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Josh Gordon Sep 17 11:20pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon will try and rebound after catching only two passes for 19 yards in Week 2. Gordon has plenty of talent but the acquisition of Antonio Brown certainly is cutting into his chances. He will go up against a Jets Defense that was gashed by Odell Beckham Jr. and the Browns last Monday. The Patriots offense is so explosive that keeping everyone happy will be tough. Gordon may be the one to suffer for now and will be no higher than a WR3/4 heading into Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Minnesota Vikings Sep 17 11:20pm ET

The Minnesota Vikings Defense got off to a rough start, allowing Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers to jump out to a quick 21-0 lead in the first quarter. They righted the ship after that, though, holding the Packers scoreless for the rest of the contest. They also notched two sacks, recovered two fumbles, and allowed just 191 passing yards in what was an impressive bounce-back effort. Though this wasn't a productive day from a fantasy standpoint, it wasn't exactly expected to be - on the road against the Packers is not the greatest spot to be in. Slot the Vikings defense in as a top-10 play at home against the bottom-tier Oakland Raiders offense.

From RotoBaller

Rex Burkhead Sep 17 11:10pm ET

New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead has been a fantastic role player for an explosive offense through the first two games of the season. Burkhead has carried the ball 13 times for 5.0 yards per carry and has added seven catches for 88 yards. He clearly is the backup behind teammate Sony Michel but has outplayed veteran James White in the first month of the season. Burkhead is not worth a start in most fantasy formats but has produced when called upon in the Patriots offense. Barring injury, however, Burkhead carries little fantasy value heading into Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Adam Thielen Sep 17 11:10pm ET

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen had a decent fantasy outing in Week 2, catching five of eight targets for 75 yards in Sunday's 21-16 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Though quarterbackKirk Cousins attempted 32 passes, he only completed 14 of them and had an awful day finding his receivers downfield. The inconsistency from Cousins is impacting Thielen's production, but the team's willingness to completely abandon the pass is of even more concern. Head coach Mike Zimmer will undoubtedly look to again feature the run in Week 3's contest against the Oakland Raiders, though Thielen still has to be started as a low-end WR1/high-end WR2 thanks to the juicy matchup.

From RotoBaller

Julian Edelman Sep 17 11:10pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman will face a Jets Defense in Week 3 that has allowed the 12th most fantasy points to receivers through two games. Edelman has been a rock for a dynamic Patriots offense, picking up first down after first down. The veteran is still looking for his first touchdown of the season but heads into Week 3's action with 10 catches for 134 yards. The Jets come into the contest undermanned on both sides of the football and the Patriots are expected to dominate. Edelman carries WR3 value, perhaps even higher in PPR leagues, heading into this Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Sony Michel Sep 17 11:00pm ET

New England Patriots running back Sony Michel will try and build off of his 85-yard, one-touchdown performance last week when the team takes on the Jets this Sunday. After a disappointing game to start the season, the second-year running back bounced back nicely. Michel ran hard as the Patriots racked up a sizeable lead. The Patriots backfield consists of Rex Burkhead, James White and Damien Harris but Michel led the way last week with 21 carries. The Jets are down to their third-string quarterback and the Patriots could lean heavily on the running game in Week 3. Michel has RB2 value with a high ceiling this week.

From RotoBaller

James White Sep 17 11:00pm ET

New England Patriots running back James White is off to a slow start through the first two games of the season. With so many weapons on offense, there are a lot of mouths to feed for quarterback Tom Brady. White has seen only seven carries through the first two weeks and has eight catches for 75 yards. The veteran will face a Jets Defense that has allowed 12 receptions to running backs but the Patriots game plan could lean towards relying on the running game. White is better suited in the passing game and his production could continue to suffer.

From RotoBaller

Eddy Pineiro Sep 17 10:40pm ET

Chicago Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro played the hero in Week 2 and will now travel to Washington take on the Redskins in Week 3. Pineiro hit all three of his field goals last week, including a dramatic 53-yard boot to win the game with a second left. Pineiro is a perfect 4-for-4 on the season but is still largely unproven. He'll carry some value with a Bears offense that has scored only one touchdown through the first two games, but he doesn't come with much upside.

From RotoBaller

Tom Brady Sep 17 10:30pm ET

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is off to a sparkling start, passing for 605 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions through his first two games. The Patriots offense is loaded with weapons all over the field and Brady has made it look easy. Now in Week 3 he'll go up against a Jets team that is down to their third-string quarterback. On the defensive side, the Jets have allowed 579 passing yards to the first two quarterbacks they have faced. The Patriots are, once again, all lined up to dominate the competition. Brady should be considered an elite QB1 option for Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Adam Vinatieri Sep 17 10:20pm ET

The Indianapolis Colts worked out free-agent kickers Elliott Fry, Cody Parkey, Younghoe Koo, Greg Joseph, Cole Hedlund and Chase McLaughlin on Tuesday in the wake of Adam Vinatieri's struggles through two weeks. The 46-year-old veteran has made just one of his three field-goal attempts and two of his five extra points in 2019, and there were reports speculating that he might retire after Week 2. The Colts may have talked him out of it at least for another week, but he'll need to pick it up unless the team might go in another direction. Fantasy owners should stay away for now.

From RotoBaller

Pittsburgh Steelers Sep 17 10:20pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick will play the free safety spot with his new team to help replace Sean Davis (shoulder), who was placed on Injured Reserve on Tuesday. The Steelers traded a first-round pick to Miami for Fitzpatrick on Monday night, and he'll make his debut in Week 3 on the road against the 49ers. The 2018 first-rounder was being used all over the place in Miami, so he should be more comfortable at safety with his new club. Pittsburgh hasn't been able to stop much of anything on defense through two weeks, so hopefully Fitzpatrick's addition can help shore up their secondary. The Steelers Defense/special teams should be avoided against San Francisco this weekend.

From RotoBaller

Adam Humphries Sep 17 10:10pm ET

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Adam Humphries said his chemistry with quarterback Marcus Mariota is a work in progress. Humphries is working on being a better option for Mariota, especially on third down. The first-year Titan has just three catches for four yards after two weeks and is sixth on the team in targets with four, tied with Tajae Sharpe. There's obviously room to improve from here on out, but Humphries shouldn't be owned anywhere except the deepest of leagues. Tennessee just doesn't throw the ball nearly enough to support more than one or two pass-catchers in fantasy.

From RotoBaller

Chicago Bears Sep 17 10:10pm ET

The Chicago Bears Defense will travel to Washington to take on the Redskins in Week 3 for Monday night football. The elite unit played well last week against Denver but tired down the stretch in the high altitude. They did, however, pick up their first turnover of the season and the unit appears to be among the fastest in the league. They will face a Redskins offense that has allowed only two sacks all season but have not played against anyone the likes of Khalil Mack. Expect a low scoring affair on MNF, making the Bears defense a top choice in fantasy for Week 3.

From RotoBaller

DeAndre Hopkins Sep 17 10:10pm ET

The Los Angeles Chargers signed free-agent tight end Lance Kendricks on Tuesday and placed safety Adrian Phillips (arm) on Injured Reserve in a corresponding move. Kendricks has caught 241 passes for 2,505 yards and 19 touchdowns in 125 career games. He caught 19 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown last year with Green Bay, but he's merely tight end depth until Hunter Henry (knee) can return. Los Angeles is unlikely to utilize the position much with Henry out. Phillips' injury, coupled with Derwin James being out, leaves the Bolts secondary pretty vulnerable. Texans receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller could go off this Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Keith Kirkwood Sep 17 10:10pm ET

The New Orleans Saints placed wide receiver Keith Kirkwood (hamstring) on Injured Reserve on Tuesday after he injured his hamstring in pregame warmups on Sunday. He caught 13 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns in eight games (one start) in 2018. Kirkwood was buried on the team's receiver depth chart and didn't put up any numbers in Week 1. Rookie Deonte Harris and Austin Carr will battle for the No. 4 job behind Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn and Tre'Quan Smith.

From RotoBaller