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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
Miami Dolphins Sep 17 12:50pm ET

After giving up a combined 102 points in their first two games, the Miami Dolphins Defense may now somehow be even worse in Week 3 when they travel to take on the Dallas Cowboys. The Fins achieved this level of pessimism by trading defensive back (and 2018 first-round selection) Minkah Fitzpatrick to Pittsburgh on Tuesday for a package of draft picks highlighted by the Steelers first-round pick in 2020. By trading the only Fitzpatrick on the roster whose talent could possibly get in the way of their tanking, Miami virtually assured that every opponent they play this season will have a chance to light up the scoreboard. While the Miami defense shouldn't have been on anyone's radar in the first place, the trade of Fitzpatrick is still notable from a fantasy perspective as owners will no longer have to worry about their top receivers being shut down by the former Alabama standout. With a matchup against the high-powered offense of Dallas on the horizon, expect any Cowboy with a pulse to have a green light.

From RotoBaller

Dallas Cowboys Sep 17 12:20pm ET

Dallas Cowboys free safety Xavier Woods (ankle) is expected to miss four to six weeks with a high ankle sprain, according to a source. Woods is a key piece of Dallas' secondary, so this is a notable loss moving forward, although it's not likely to matter much in Week 3 with a putrid Dolphins offense coming to town. The Cowboys Defense/special teams is a must-start this Sunday and are an easy top-three fantasy option.

From RotoBaller

Cam Newton Sep 17 12:20pm ET

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton's (foot) Week 3 status against the Cardinals is up in the air after he aggravated a foot injury that he initially suffered in the preseason. Newton is rehabbing during practice on Tuesday. Cam hasn't looked good through two weeks, and perhaps his foot is the main reason why. He's run the ball five times in two games for a total of negative-two yards. His fantasy owners were really hoping he could bounce back this Sunday in a great matchup against the Cardinals, but it's looking like he might be extremely questionable. You better make plans now in case he's inactive. Either Kyle Allen or rookie Will Grier would start if Newton can't play, and the Panthers would likely feed the ball to running back Christian McCaffrey all day.

From RotoBaller

Jakeem Grant Sep 17 12:20pm ET

The good news is that Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jakeem Grant led the team in targets in a 43-0 loss to the Patriots on Sunday, with seven. The bad news is that he only caught three of those targets, finishing with just 22 yards. The worst news is that with the Dolphins down 37-0 in the fourth quarter, Grant missed his only opportunity for fantasy relevance, dropping a long pass from Josh Rosen that likely would've resulted in a 45-yard touchdown. But even if he had caught the pass, it still wouldn't change the fact that there are few reasons to roster Grant in Week 3 as the Dolphins pack it up and go on the road for the first time in 2019, traveling to Dallas to take on the 2-0 Cowboys.

From RotoBaller

Preston Williams Sep 17 12:10pm ET

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Preston Williams caught four of his six targets in Miami's 43-0 blowout loss to the Patriots on Sunday, ending with a total of 63 yards. While 48 of those yards came after the game was already out of hand in the second half, Williams was still Miami's most productive player on offense - even though that isn't exactly a difficult achievement. But even though he was Miami's best player on Sunday, it doesn't mean that he should find a home anywhere but in the deepest of fantasy leagues. With quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and his lack of magic leading a minor-league band of misfits into Dallas for a Week 3 matchup, leave Williams on the wire where he belongs.

From RotoBaller

Tom Brady Sep 17 12:10pm ET

New England Patriots left tackle Isaiah Wynn (toe) is considered week-to-week with turf toe, according to a source. His injury is not season-ending, however. With right tackle Marcus Cannon also injured, New England's offensive line has become a question mark moving forward. It's an upgrade to the Jets defensive line in Week 3, but fantasy owners won't be benching quarterback Tom Brady anytime soon. Marshall Newhouse is expected to take over at left tackle for however long Wynn is out.

From RotoBaller

LeSean McCoy Sep 17 12:00pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy's (ankle) MRI exam showed no significant damage to his ankle and he has a shot to play in Week 3 against the Ravens, according to sources. Damien Williams was also injured in Week 2, so McCoy's fantasy value will depend on if Williams can play as well. As of now in a tough matchup with Baltimore, Shady will be more of an RB3/flex play. If Williams is inactive, undrafted rookie Darwin Thompson should see more work on passing downs, making him flex-worthy in deep PPR formats.

From RotoBaller

Daniel Jones Sep 17 11:50am ET

That inevitable moment has finally arrived. Head coach Pat Shurmur has named Daniel Jones the starting quarterback for the New York Giants. While many Giants fans will rightfully be excited by the move, it's important to temper expectations early on. Jones is going to be throwing to one of the league's worst collection of wide receivers on a team that will still allow running backSaquon Barkley to dominate the offensive game plan. Jones looked good in the preseason and can be fired up as a QB2 in certain matchups, but this doesn't lead to a notable bump for any of the Giants skill position players, as Barkley and tight endEvan Engram were always going to be top-five options at their positions. Assuming Eli Manning has started his last game for the Giants, he will finish with a fitting record of 116-116.

From RotoBaller

Eli Manning Sep 17 10:23am ET

New York Giants QB Eli Manning was benched in favor of rookie QB Daniel Jones for Week 3.

Fantasy Spin: Manning loses all fantasy value for now. It's possible he is traded or released and lands in a spot that could rejuvenate some spot-start potential.

From TheHuddle

Josh Johnson Sep 17 10:23am ET

Detroit Lions QB Josh Johnson was released Tuesday, Sept. 17.

From TheHuddle

Daniel Jones Sep 17 10:21am ET

The Giants have named rookie quarterback Daniel Jones their starting quarterback for the Week 3 game, benching Eli Manning.

Xavier Woods Sep 17 9:53am ET

Dallas Cowboys FS Xavier Woods (ankle) is out four to six weeks with a high ankle sprain.

From TheHuddle

Ben Roethlisberger Sep 17 9:13am ET

Updating previous reports, Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) isn't having Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, and the recovery time isn't as long as the 12-to-15-month window it would take. His season is still over, though.

Fantasy Spin: Mason Rudolph will be a matchup play the rest of the way. If you own Big Ben in a dynasty league, it's hard to see holding on to him considering his age and the severity of the injury to his position.

From TheHuddle

Josh Jones Sep 17 9:03am ET

Free-agent S Josh Jones (Packers) is working out for the Dallas Cowboys Tuesday, Sept. 17.

From TheHuddle

Kayvon Webster Sep 17 9:03am ET

Free-agent CB Kayvon Webster (Saints) is working out for the New York Jets Tuesday, Sept. 17.

From TheHuddle

Josh Ferguson Sep 17 9:03am ET

Free-agent RB Josh Ferguson (Texans) is working out for the Washington Redskins Tuesday, Sept. 17.

From TheHuddle

LeSean McCoy Sep 17 8:33am ET

Updating previous reports, Kansas City Chiefs RB LeSean McCoy's (ankle) MRI didn't show any significant damage, and he could play in Week 3.

Fantasy Spin: McCoy will be in the mix for a flex play against the Baltimore Ravens, but it's hard to start a potentially gimpy McCoy in his limited role.

From TheHuddle

Sean Davis Sep 17 2:03am ET

Pittsburgh Steelers SS Sean Davis (shoulder) sustained a torn labrum in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks, but his injury is not believed to be season ending. Once he returns, he will likely be out of the lineup as a starter following the acquisition of CB Minkah Fitzpatrick.

From TheHuddle

Demaryius Thomas Sep 17 1:53am ET

Updating a previous report, New York Jets WR Demaryius Thomas (hamstring) will have further tests Tuesday, Sept. 17 on his hamstring after aggravating his injury in Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns.

Fantasy Spin: Thomas just joined the Jets, likely rushed to play despite entering with a hamstring injury. He might be fine to play as soon as Week 3 depending on his tests, but fantasy owners will want to see him get a little more comfortable with the playbook and build a little more consistency first. In addition, the Jets appear to be down to their third-string QB, so it might be a while before Thomas bears any fruit for fantasy owners.

From TheHuddle

Trevor Siemian Sep 17 1:53am ET

Updating a previous report, New York Jets QB Trevor Siemian (leg) will have an MRI on his lower left leg injury Tuesday, Sept. 17.

From TheHuddle