Guest of the League
ANEZ LEAGUE Est. 2017
NFL Playoffs League - FFL: Week 1 | NFL: Week 3

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
Matthew Stafford Sep 23 3:20pm ET

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford could surprise in fantasy heading into the team's Week 3 matchup against the Cardinals. It has been a brutal start for the Lions combined with mediocre production from the Lions offense. Stafford, through two games, has passed for three touchdowns, two interceptions and is completing only 58.7% of his passes. He will go up against a Cardinals Defense that is allowing the seventh fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. But Arizona has lined up against Jimmy Garoppolo and Dwayne Haskins Jr., two quarterbacks that do not enjoy the talent that Stafford possesses. With star receiver Kenny Golladay returning to practice and on course to play in Week 3, Stafford could finally fulfill the fantasy buzz he garnered in the offseason.

From RotoBaller

Philadelphia Eagles Sep 23 3:10pm ET

The Philadelphia Eagles Defense will look to bounce back after a rough Week 2 performance in their Week 3 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Eagles defense allowed the Rams to score 37 points last week, with Rams quarterback Jared Goff looking comfortable all game. The Eagles only recorded one sack. Going up against the Bengals this week, who have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, the Eagles should theoretically play well, but they've been too inconsistent even through just two weeks to trust as a high-end defense. They're somewhere in the 12-15 range of fantasy defenses in Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Davante Adams Sep 23 3:10pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (hamstring) will be questionable heading into Week 3, but his injury may not be as serious as many thought last Sunday. Adams is the unquestioned No. 1 receiver on the team and was held out of the second half of the Packers 42-21 win over the Lions with the injury. But head coach Matt LaFleur downplayed the severity, telling reporters: "I know he wanted to go back in the game. I just told him, 'Hey, let's see how these next few series go and see if we need you.' ... If we don't need him, we didn't want to put him back in a position to do further harm to his own body." So the fact that the coaching staff was considering clearing him to return to play during the game should give fantasy managers a sigh of relief. Adams' status will need to be monitored all the way through the week, perhaps up to game time against the Saints.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Rodgers Sep 23 3:10pm ET

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is off to a hot start and will have a prime chance to keep it going in Week 3 against the Saints. Through two games, Rodgers already has six touchdowns, zero interceptions and 604 yards. The future Hall of Famer will go up against a Saints Defense that has already allowed five touchdowns and an average of 260.5 passing yards to Tom Brady and Derek Carr. No offense to Brady, but Rodgers is still a different breed of quarterback at the respective stages of their careers. Rodgers' fantasy value could be affected by the availability of star receiver Davante Adams (hamstring) but the veteran passer should be considered a QB1 for Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Jalen Reagor Sep 23 3:00pm ET

The Philadelphia Eagles are saying that rookie wide receiver Jalen Reagor (thumb) is dealing with a UCL tear in his thumb. The first-round pick left the game in the Week 2 loss to the Rams but returned and played through the injury. With Reagor expected to miss a few weeks, the Eagles are expected to place him on the Injured Reserve, which means he'd have to miss at least three games. The talented 21-year-old out of TCU had five catches on eight targets for 96 yards through the first two weeks, and his role was growing before the injury. DeSean Jackson will continue to function as the team's No. 1 wideout, with J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward and John Hightower battling for playing time after that. Reagor has the talent to make it worth stashing him in deeper leagues, and fantasy managers in dynasty/keeper leagues should definitely be holding him.

From RotoBaller

Dallas Goedert Sep 23 3:00pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert remains a TE1 option in fantasy lineups despite a struggling offense and the presence of Zach Ertz. Goedert was excellent in Week 1 before taking a step back in Week 2, but he was actually on the field more in Week 2. In Week 1, Goedert saw 79% of the team's offensive snaps, which went up to 89% in Week 2. The Eagles offense seems like it is going to be run through the running backs and tight ends, so there will be plenty of targets to go around for both tight ends. Ertz is the preferred play by a slight margin, but Goedert is still a solid, high-upside TE1 option.

From RotoBaller

Jake Elliott Sep 23 3:00pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles kicker Jake Elliott is a mid-range kicking option for a Week 3 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals. Elliott has made three of his four field goal tries and all of his extra points so far this year. With the Eagles offense sure (maybe?) to get better this season, Elliott could improve in the rankings, but for now he's somewhere in the middle of the pack.

From RotoBaller

JJ Arcega-Whiteside Sep 23 2:40pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside has been phased out of the offense and doesn't play on special teams at this point either. Despite a decent bit of hype around the second-year wide out before the season, Arcega-Whiteside has yet to catch a football in 2020. He was on the field for 41% of the offensive snaps in Week 1 and only 23% in Week 2. He shouldn't be anywhere near a fantasy roster at this point in his career.

From RotoBaller

Justin Herbert Sep 23 2:40pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert is expected to make his second straight start in Week 3 against the Panthers with Tyrod Taylor (lung) dealing with a punctured lung. Herbert had a costly interception late in Week 2, but he held his own and looked impressive on short notice against the Super Bowl champion Chiefs in an overtime loss. If the first-rounder puts on another solid performance in just his second NFL start, he could supplant Taylor as the Bolts starter under center, even though head coach Anthony Lynn said that Taylor is the starter when he's 100 percent healthy. Herbert has a great matchup this weekend, but he's still more of a low-end QB2 in superflex leagues.

From RotoBaller

Zach Ertz Sep 23 2:40pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz is still a top-tier fantasy tight end option despite the emergence of Dallas Goedert in Week 1. Ertz was on the field for 85% of the offensive snaps in Week 1 and followed that up with a 94% clip in Week 2. The Eagles will run most of their offense through their two tight ends along with running back Miles Sanders. Ertz and Goedert are both TE1 options, with a slight preference going to Ertz if choosing between the two.

From RotoBaller

Greg Ward Sep 23 2:20pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Greg Ward is not a viable starting option in any standard format of fantasy football in Week 3. Ward saw only one target in Week 2, catching it for a five yard gain. He was slightly more involved in Week 1, but still wasn't able to do much, catching five passes for 31 unexciting yards. With the Eagles offense struggling as a whole, the third wide receiver on a team that often plays with two tight ends on the field is not much of a fantasy asset. Ward can be left on the waiver wire in shallower formats.

From RotoBaller

Chase Young Sep 23 2:20pm ET

Cleveland Browns right tackle Jack Conklin (ankle) is over his ankle injury and is "ready to go" according to head coach Kevin Stefanski. Conklin appeared in the team's Week 1 loss to the Baltimore Ravens but sat out last Thursday night in a Week 2 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. When asked, he said, "Ankles feeling great. Ill be back to 100% this week, rolling.'' Conklin's return is a big boost for the Browns as they get ready to contend with a Washington Football Team that employs a nasty defensive line, anchored by No. 2 overall pick Chase Young. Young is tied for the league lead with 2.5 sacks through two games. Conklin's return will also help the Cleveland running game, most specifically Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt as they try to improve to 2-1 on the season.

From RotoBaller

Jalen Reagor Sep 23 1:50pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles rookie wide receiver Jalen Reagor has seen his involvement increase in each of the first two weeks of the season. A good matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals Defense in Week 3 makes for a strong on-paper chance for him to continue moving up in terms of target share. Still, it's hard to trust Reagor as more than a WR4, especially given the fact that the Eagles offense has not looked functional at all through the first two weeks.

From RotoBaller

DeSean Jackson Sep 23 1:40pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson has some nice Week 3 upside despite the mess that has been the Eagles offense over the first two weeks of the season. Jackson hasn't done much so far this season, but the Cincinnati Bengals Defense doesn't really have anyone who can keep up with Jackson's speed. If there were ever a game for Jackson to blow up and get the Eagles passing game back on track, it's this one. All that being said, the Eagles offense was bad enough that the pre-recorded crowd noise booed them at one point in Week 2. Jackson is a solid WR3/FLEX play with upside this week.

From RotoBaller

Chidobe Awuzie Sep 23 1:33pm ET

Dallas Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring) suffered a hamstring injury during the Week 2 game and will be sidelined for multiple weeks.

From TheHuddle

Julio Jones Sep 23 1:30pm ET

Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said that wide receiver Julio Jones (hamstring) further strained his hamstring in Week 2 against the Cowboys, and the team will take his injury "through the week," leading up to the game on Sunday against the Bears. So there's a real chance that the All-Pro receiver won't play this weekend, so you'll need to have a backup plan just in case. Jones had nine catches for 157 yards in the season-opener, but he caught only two passes for 24 yards despite the Falcons putting up 39 points last week. He's a must-start WR1 anytime he's on the field, but things might finally start to catch up with the 31-year-old while he seems to constantly be playing through injuries. If he sits out or is limited at all, Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage would benefit from added targets.

From RotoBaller

Christian McCaffrey Sep 23 1:30pm ET

The Carolina Panthers placed running back Christian McCaffrey (ankle) on Injured Reserve on Wednesday with his high ankle sprain. The move will keep McCaffrey out for at least three weeks. The team placed a four- to six-week timeline on his return on Tuesday. Carolina wants to make sure that their star running back doesn't try to return too soon from his injury and aggravate it. Mike Davis is in line for lead-back duties in McCaffrey's absence, and he has become one of the top waiver-wire pickups heading into Week 3. Wide receiver Curtis Samuel could also see some snaps out of the backfield to help pick up the slack, beginning in Week 3 against the Chargers.

From RotoBaller

Breshad Perriman Sep 23 1:23pm ET

New York Jets WR Breshad Perriman (ankle) may not be able to play in either of the next two games, according to head coach Adam Gase.

Fantasy Spin: The Jets have multiple injuries at the wide receiver position, so Chris Hogan and Braxton Berrios may be the starters for Week 3. The team will be facing a solid Indianapolis Colts defense this week, but Hogan can be a possible flex option in deeper leagues.

From TheHuddle

Jamison Crowder Sep 23 1:23pm ET

New York Jets WR Jamison Crowder (hamstring) has not run since suffering a hamstring injury last week, and his status for Week 3 is uncertain.

Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players should check on Crowder's status later in the week to see if he has a chance to play. Braxton Berrios would be the slot receiver for the Jets if Crowder is unable to play but probably should only be a possible flex option in deeper point-per-reception leagues.

From TheHuddle

Boston Scott Sep 23 1:20pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott has an excellent matchup against a struggling Cincinnati Bengals run defense in Week 3, but is still not a recommended fantasy starter in most formats. Scott ran clearly behind starter Miles Sanders in Week 2, even though Sanders was just coming off a hamstring injury that kept him out of Week 1. Scott is still worth rostering because he'd clearly take over if Sanders went down, but his standalone value is not significant with Sanders on the field.

From RotoBaller