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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
Chad Beebe Sep 23 12:50am ET

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Chad Beebe (ankle) was carted to the locker room in the third quarter of Sunday's 34-14 win over the Oakland Raiders. Beebe didn't have a target in the contest. Olabisi Johnson stepped in as the third receiver in his absence - we should get an update on the severity of Beebe's ankle injury on Monday.

From RotoBaller

Philip Rivers Sep 23 12:40am ET

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers completed 31 passes for 318 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday as the Chargers fell to the Houston Texans. LA continued to struggle in the second half of ballgames, and Rivers was sacked five times on the day. The 46 passing attempts were the most Rivers has had in a regular season game since Week 1 of 2018, and Rivers hasn't won a single game in the last five years when he's thrown the ball 45 or more times. Whether LA wins or loses, Rivers has the ability to put up gaudy numbers, so he'll be valuable no matter how the season goes for the underperforming Chargers.

From RotoBaller

Minnesota Vikings Sep 23 12:40am ET

The Minnesota Vikings Defense shut down the Oakland Raiders en route to a 34-14 win at home in Week 3. They picked up four sacks and an interception, though they also gave up a garbage-time touchdown with two minutes left and fantasy managers probably wanted a few more turnovers in this favorable matchup. Start the Vikings Defense as a top-12 play on the road against the Chicago Bears.

From RotoBaller

Peyton Barber Sep 23 12:30am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber touched the ball as many times as backfield mate Ronald Jones II but was unable to take the reigns, running the ball 13 times for 48 yards while adding just seven yards through the air in a Week 3 loss against the Giants. This type of performance was for from unexpected, and with the Bucs backfield currently the guessing game that it is, Barber will remain nothing more than a low-end bye week streaming option. He is not a recommended start in Week 4 when the Bucs take on the Rams in Los Angeles.

From RotoBaller

Alexander Mattison Sep 23 12:20am ET

Minnesota Vikings rookie running back Alexander Mattison rushed 12 times for 58 yards (4.8 YPC) and a touchdown in Sunday's 34-14 win over the Oakland Raiders. His first NFL touchdown came on an impressive 10-yard run in the third quarter, and Mattison has proven to be a rock-solid backup to starter Dalvin Cook through three weeks. He remains a high-priority handcuff to Cook (and is starting to garner deep-league flex consideration), but keep him on the bench for Week 4's road matchup against the Chicago Bears.

From RotoBaller

Austin Seibert Sep 23 12:20am ET

Cleveland Browns kicker Austin Seibert hit both of his field goals in a 20-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. He also tacked on an extra point. The rookie kicker had a shaky preseason but he has settled down now that the games count. Seibert has hit all five of his field-goal tries this season while making four of his five extra points. His main problem has not been accuracy but instead that the Browns offense has not been as high-scoring as many expected through the first three games of the season. Seibert will not be a top-12 kicker option in fantasy in Week 4 against the Baltimore Ravens.

From RotoBaller

Ronald Jones II Sep 23 12:10am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II totaled 80 yards on 14 carries while adding an additional 41 yards on one reception to lead the Bucs backfield in Week 3. His usage was a total turnaround from Week 2, where Jones saw just four carries, but it continues the trend of a seesaw Bucs backfield. Jones didn't face the stiffest test this week, facing a Giants squad that had allowed 240 yards on the ground through two games, so this outing should be taken with a grain of salt. Jones is not a trustworthy fantasy option as long as the Bucs backfield remains a guessing game. He faces a stiff test in Week 4 with the Los Angeles Rams on deck and is not a recommended play.

From RotoBaller

Demetrius Harris Sep 23 12:10am ET

Cleveland Browns tight end Demetrius Harris caught a two-yard touchdown in a 20-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. It was his only catch in a game where he drew just two targets. Harris saw an increased role with David Njoku on injured reserve with a broken wrist but was not a major part of the game plan. His only other target came in the end zone in the fourth quarter on what looked like a catchable ball but Harris was unable to pull down the high pass. He will be a low-end TE2 for Week 4's matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.

From RotoBaller

Cleveland Browns Sep 23 12:10am ET

The Cleveland Browns Defense played well in a 20-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. Cleveland racked up two sacks while forcing three turnovers in the loss. The performance was all the more impressive considering that the team was without both of their starting cornerbacks in Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams and starting inside linebacker Christian Kirksey. Cleveland's defense has played well this season but they will have their work cut out for them in Week 4 against a white-hot Baltimore Ravens offense. The Browns will not be a recommended fantasy defense for that contest.

From RotoBaller

Jameis Winston Sep 23 12:00am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard has been searching for a spark this season. He hadn't provided anything useful to fantasy owners through two games. This week was supposed to be a real chance to get back on track against the friendly Giants Defense. It wasn't, he barely escaped with three receptions for 66 yards during their difficult home loss. It was a slightly better outing but Jameis Winston clearly made a point of force-feeding Mike Evans early and often. Evans then responded with a monster day. Maybe one of these weeks it will be Howard's turn for greatness. Unfortunately, It'll be difficult to keep him around while we wait for that day to arrive. He's looking like a TE2 as the Bucs travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams.

From RotoBaller

Jarvis Landry Sep 23 12:00am ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry caught three of his nine targets for 62 yards in a 20-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. Landry's 62 yards led the team, his first time leading the team in receiving this season. The veteran slot receiver now has 10 catches for 161 yards and no touchdowns through three games this season. He has taken a backseat to Odell Beckham Jr in the passing game, which has cut into his production. The fact that the offensive line has struggled to protect Baker Mayfield hasn't helped matters much, either. That being said, Landry could be in line for a big game in Week 4 against a Baltimore Ravens Defense that usually struggles to contain opposing slot receivers. He can be used as a low-end WR3 for that contest.

From RotoBaller

Denver Broncos Sep 22 11:50pm ET

Denver Broncos Defense has had a disappointing start to the season that continued in Week 3 against the Green Bay Packers offense. The Defense failed to log a sack or interception, continuing the streak of not having a sack all season. This is extremely disappointing, as the Broncos host a talented pair of pass rushers. The Defense faces off against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 4, who have struggled to run the ball in previous weeks and have had an improving passing attack.

From RotoBaller

Nick Chubb Sep 22 11:50pm ET

Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb carried the ball 23 times for 96 yards and added four catches for 35 yards in a 20-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. Earlier in the week, the Cleveland coaching staff talking about getting Chubb more looks and they did just that as he was the only running back on the team to see a touch. It could have been a bigger game as he appeared to have a short touchdown in the third quarter but it was called back thanks to a Cleveland penalty. Chubb now has 233 rushing yards and a score through three games. He will be a low-end RB1 in Week 4 against the Baltimore Ravens.

From RotoBaller

Odell Beckham Jr. Sep 22 11:50pm ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr caught six of his 10 targets for 56 yards in a 20-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. His longest reception went for 19 yards on a quiet night for the star wideout. The Cleveland offense struggled to protect Baker Mayfield against a tough Rams pass rush, which limited Beckham's ability to make plays down the field in the loss. Los Angeles cornerback Aqib Talib also deserves credit for playing solid defense against Beckham. Beckham has been busy through his first three games with the Browns, catching 19 passes for 288 yards and a touchdown. He will be a mid-range WR1 in Week 4 in a road game against the Baltimore Ravens.

From RotoBaller

Brandon McManus Sep 22 11:40pm ET

Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus connected on his one field goal attempt in Week 3, while also going one for two on extra points. McManus connected from 30 yards out on his lone attempt of the afternoon. The missed extra point was his first one missed this season, as he has attempted three over the last three weeks. McManus looks to improve on his game in Week 4 as the team returns to Denver to face off the Jacksonville Jaguars.

From RotoBaller

Baker Mayfield Sep 22 11:40pm ET

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield struggled in a 20-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. Mayfield completed 18 of his 36 passes for 195 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. His touchdown came on a two-yard pass to Demetrius Harris while his fourth-down interception in the fourth quarter essentially ended the game for the Browns. The Cleveland offensive line continues to be an issue as they rarely afforded Mayfield much time to throw against a fearsome Los Angeles defensive line. He also didn't help matters much by bailing early on some clean pockets and trying to make throws on the run. Things won't get much easier for Mayfield or the Browns in Week 4 in a road matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. Treat Mayfield as a QB2 for that contest.

From RotoBaller

San Francisco 49ers Sep 22 11:40pm ET

The San Francisco 49ers Defense showed up in Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, helping the team remain undefeated. The Niners offense committed five turnovers but the defense played exceptionally well, recording two sacks and forcing two turnovers (one interception, one fumble recovery). Aside from a 76-yard touchdown catch-and-run by Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, the defense harassed unproven quarterback Mason Rudolph all day and kept the scuffling offense in the game. Through three contests, the 49ers defense has improved noticeably and could be a deep streamer in Week 5 against a leaky Cleveland Browns offensive line after emerging from their bye week.

From RotoBaller

Kenyan Drake Sep 22 11:30pm ET

Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake saw his highest usage of the year in a 31-6 loss to the Cowboys but it meant little for his fantasy line, as he ended with just 38 yards on 12 carries. Drake also added three catches for 34 yards for a total of 15 touches in comparison to fellow back Kalen Ballage's nine, making him seemingly still the leader of the Miami backfield. But facing another difficult test in a Week 4 matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers, Drake is a low-end flex option only for the most optimistic or desperate of owners.

From RotoBaller

Raheem Mostert Sep 22 11:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert rushed 12 times for 79 yards in Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mostert committed a costly fumble in the red zone but continued his strong running, leading the team in rushing on Sunday. After cradling three catches in Week 2, Mostert did not record a reception. The fourth-year back has been a tremendous offensive spark plug, but his role is uncertain as Tevin Coleman (ankle) nears a return. With the Niners ground game rolling, Coleman may be eased back into the mix, making Mostert a likely RB3/flex once the team returns from its bye in Week 4.

From RotoBaller

Noah Fant Sep 22 11:30pm ET

Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant continued his narrative of sub-par stat lines to start the 2019 season against the Green Bay Packers. Fant hauled in three catches for 37 yards in Week 3, once again being the top tight end on the team. The rookie also coughed up the football once on Sunday afternoon. Fant continues to search for a breakout game where he tallies more than four catches as he lines up against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 4.

From RotoBaller