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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
Chidobe Awuzie Sep 26 6:13pm ET

Dallas Cowboys DB Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Sept. 26.

From TheHuddle

C.J. Prosise Sep 26 5:53pm ET

Houston Texans RB C.J. Prosise was elevated from the practice squad to the active roster Saturday, Sept. 26.

From TheHuddle

Edmond Robinson Sep 26 5:33pm ET

Atlanta Falcons LB Edmond Robinson was activated from the practice squad as a COVID-19 replacement Saturday, Sept. 26.

From TheHuddle

Ty Montgomery Sep 26 5:13pm ET

New Orleans Saints RB Ty Montgomery (hamstring) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Sept. 26. WR Bennie Fowler and DL Margus Hunt were signed to the active roster from the practice squad. C/G Will Clapp was waived.

From TheHuddle

Josh Allen Sep 26 5:00pm ET

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen has been fantastic through the first two weeks of the regular season. In Week 2, Allen threw for 415 passing yards with four touchdowns in the victory over the Miami Dolphins. However, he'll face a tougher battle against the Los Angeles Rams this week. The tough Rams secondary held quarterback Carson Wentz to zero touchdowns. Allen has looked good this season, so we'll give him the benefit of the doubt. He should be treated as a low-end QB1 for this matchup.

From RotoBaller

Devin Singletary Sep 26 5:00pm ET

Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary has been fairly average through the first two games of the regular season. He rushed 10 times for 56 yards in the victory over the Miami Dolphins in Week 2. He continues to split up the carries with rookie Zack Moss, which hurts his value. However, he'll get a favorable matchup against the Los Angeles Rams this week. The same Rams Defense that allowed Miles Sanders to nearly rush for 100 yards last game. Although, Singletary is likely only going to see around 10 carries, so he should be treated as a high-end RB3.

From RotoBaller

Stefon Diggs Sep 26 5:00pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs gets a tough test in Week 3 against the Rams. Diggs will be going up against star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who has traditionally limited most top receivers in his career. Diggs ranks in the top-five in targets and is tied for first in the league with 239 receiving yards, so he's certainly talented enough to win this matchup. However, the Rams have been a classic funnel defense in the first two games of the season, so expect Buffalo to have more success with the run than the pass. It's possible Diggs connects on a long shot with Josh Allen, though it's best to view him as more of a WR2 than the WR1 he's been through the first two weeks.

From RotoBaller

Steven Hauschka Sep 26 4:53pm ET

Free-agent PKs Stephen Hauschka (Bills) and Aldrick Rosas (Giants) are among those expected to try out for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

From TheHuddle

Kyle Emanuel Sep 26 4:43pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders LB Kyle Emanuel and CB Madre Harper were activated from the practice squad Saturday, Sept. 26.

From TheHuddle

Tevin Coleman Sep 26 4:43pm ET

San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Sept. 26. OL Hroniss Grasu was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster. RB JaMycal Hasty and LB Joseph Walker were activated from the practice squad.

From TheHuddle

Devin Singletary Sep 26 4:40pm ET

Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary will operate as the team's lead back in Week 3 with rookie Zack Moss (toe) declared out for the contest against the Rams. That should open up at least 15 touches for Singletary against a Rams Defense that ranks 27th in rush DVOA. It's a great opportunity for the second-year pro and it vaults him from flex-status up to the RB2 conversation. Singletary is a must-start at this point in redraft leagues and should also be considered a good option in DFS formats.

From RotoBaller

Johnny Holton Sep 26 4:33pm ET

New York Giants WR Johnny Holton was activated from the practice squad Saturday, Sept. 26.

From TheHuddle

Kenjon Barner Sep 26 4:33pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Kenjon Barner was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster Saturday, Sept. 26.

From TheHuddle

Melvin Ingram Sep 26 4:30pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers edge rusher Melvin Ingram (knee) was placed on the injured reserve on Saturday. The team will be without the services of Ingram- who has recorded at least seven sacks in each of the last five seasons- for the next three contests. It's certainly a downgrade for the Chargers' defensive unit as a whole, considering Ingram is one of their best pass-rushers. They could still be started in Week 3 against Carolina, though matchups against the Buccaneers and Saints, already shaky with Ingram, become matchups to avoid without him.

From RotoBaller

Frank Clark Sep 26 4:23pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs DE Alex Okafor didn't participate in practice Saturday, Sept. 26, and was ruled out for the Week 3 game against the Baltimore Ravens Monday, Sept. 28. CB Charvarius Ward (hand) was limited at practice and is questionable. FB Dorian O'Daniel (knee/ankle) and WR Sammy Watkins (concussion/neck) practiced in full but are questionable for Monday. RB Darrel Williams (ankle), DE Frank Clark (illness), CB Antonio Hamilton (groin), DT Derrick Nnadi (ankle), C Austin Reiter (knee) and S Juan Thornhill (knee) all practiced in full.

From TheHuddle

Melvin Ingram Sep 26 4:13pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers G Ryan Groy, LB Malik Jefferson and DE Jessie Lemonier were promoted from the practice squad to the active roster Saturday, Sept. 26. In corresponding moves, LB Asmar Bilal (calf), DE Melvin Ingram III (knee) and DT Justin Jones (shoulder) were placed on the Reserve/Injured list. S Jahleel Addae and RB Darius Bradwell were activated from the practice squad.

From TheHuddle

Sep 26 4:03pm ET

Baltimore Ravens CB Tavon Young (knee) did not participate in practice Saturday, Sept. 26, and was ruled out for the team's Week 3 game Monday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Ravens OG D.J. Fluker (shoulder), LB/DB Anthony Levine (abdomen), DT Justin Madubuike (knee) and WR Chris Moore (finger) were limited practice participants Saturday and are listed as questionable for Monday.

From TheHuddle

George Iloka Sep 26 4:03pm ET

Minnesota Vikings CB Mark Fields and S George Iloka on Saturday, Sept. 26, were elevated to the active roster from the practice squad for Week 3.

From TheHuddle

Josh Jacobs Sep 26 4:00pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (hip) is listed as questionable for Week 3 against the Patriots. Tight end Darren Waller (knee) is also questionable. Both players were able to get limited practice sessions in on Friday after not being available earlier in the week and should be able to suit up Sunday. At first glance, it seems like a tough matchup for Jacobs, though New England ranks just 20th in rush DVOA. It's always a nerve-wracking experience starting a player against a Bill Belichick-defense, though Jacobs is currently seeing a ton of volume in this offense. If he's playing, you're starting him.

From RotoBaller

Alex Okafor Sep 26 3:53pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs DE Alex Okafor (hamstring) on Saturday, Sept. 26, was ruled out for the team's Week 3 game Monday against the Baltimore Ravens.

From TheHuddle