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

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
Travis Fulgham Aug 11 3:20am ET

The Green Bay Packers have claimed wide receiver Travis Fulgham off waivers from the Detroit Lions. A sixth-round pick out of Old Dominion last season, Fulgham appeared in three games for Detroit, playing 42 offensive snaps against Green Bay in December but not recording a target. With Devin Funchess opting out and a top-heavy receiving corps, it makes sense for Green Bay to add someone at the position, but Fulgham's a longshot to make any kind of impact on this team in 2020.

From RotoBaller

Alex Smith Aug 10 10:40pm ET

At one point, it looked like Washington quarterback Alex Smith would never step onto a football field again after a devastating leg injury in 2018, but head coach Ron Rivera says that if Smith is healthy, he'll have a chance to compete for the starting job. That's bad news for second-year passer Dwayne Haskins, who struggled as a rookie. Haskins not winning the starting job this year would signal bad news for his future in Washington and could suggest that the team will be looking for a new quarterback in 2021, as Smith's not the long term answer at this point in his career. This is a quarterback room to avoid in re-draft leagues this season.

From RotoBaller

Lamar Miller Aug 10 10:30pm ET

The New England Patriots have signed former Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller to a one-year deal. Miller missed all of 2019 after tearing his ACL and MCL in preseason, but the veteran back has shown some explosiveness in the past and adds important insurance to this backfield, especially with Sony Michel (foot) not a lock to be healthy Week 1. Miller's been good before, but he's likely just keeping the seat warm for Michel and even if Michel does miss time, Miller's likely to be part of a committee approach in New England. There's not a ton of reason to be excited about this signing for fantasy purposes, but Miller could be worth a late-round dart throw in deeper formats.

From RotoBaller

Sony Michel Aug 10 10:30pm ET

New England Patriots running back Sony Michel (foot) isn't a lock to be recovered by Week 1, putting a major question mark beside the back who most expected to lead this New England backfield in rushing attempts. The team signed veteran Lamar Miller as insurance on Monday, further complicating things and suggesting that Michel's injury issues will bleed over to the regular season. You almost have to be more wary of drafting Michel than you already were with this news, and you already should have been fairly low on him. He's not undraftable, but he's become a huge risk without a lot of upside.

From RotoBaller

Alvin Kamara Aug 10 5:30pm ET

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara spoke to the media earlier Monday and offered more details about his injury-plagued 2019 season. Kamara said he "tore his knee' in Week 5 against Jacksonville last year and that he had to deal with it the rest of the season. The 25-year-old didn't require surgery, though he spent the entire offseason rehabbing the knee and said he feels healthy now. Kamara finished as the RB16 in PPR formats despite dealing with the knee and ankle injuries. Coming into 2020 a bit leaner after adopting a plant-based diet, Kamara is poised to have the best season of his career in a contract year. He should be a top-five pick in both formats and could be taken as early as the third pick in PPR leagues.

From RotoBaller

A.J. Green Aug 10 2:30pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green reportedly has been impressing teammates in practices this week as he works back from injuries that robbed him of his entire 2019 season. Tight end C.J. Uzomah told reporters, "We're just running routes and haven't gone full speed against the defense. Drew (Sample) only saw him last year for, what, that first practice? He said, 'I forgot how explosive he is.' I told him, 'You haven't seen the half of it yet.'" Green has serious bounce-back potential as the No. 1 WR in a Bengals offense that should be one of the most-improved in the league. He can be treated as an upside WR3 in fantasy drafts.

From RotoBaller

Carl Davis Aug 9 8:33pm ET

Free-agent CB Tramaine Brock and DT Carl Davis were signed to undisclosed contracts by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Aug. 9.

From TheHuddle

Derrius Guice Aug 9 7:33pm ET

Free-agent RB Derrius Guice (Football Team) passed through waivers unclaimed Sunday, Aug. 9.

From TheHuddle

Kenjon Barner Aug 9 6:13pm ET

Free-agent RB Kenjon Barner (Falcons) is expected to sign with the Baltimore Ravens in the near future, according to a source.

From TheHuddle

Caraun Reid Aug 9 5:33pm ET

Free-agent DT Caraun Reid (Cardinals) signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, Aug. 9. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

From TheHuddle

Marqui Christian Aug 9 5:23pm ET

Free-agent S Marqui Christian (Jets) recently met with the Chicago Bears.

From TheHuddle

Jordan Reed Aug 9 4:53pm ET

Free-agent TE Jordan Reed (Football Team) officially signed a one-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Aug. 9. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Fantasy Spin: Reed has dealt with injuries during his career but has posted solid numbers when healthy. He will be the No. 2 tight end for the 49ers behind George Kittle but should have a decent role in the passing game. Reed probably should be considered a No. 2 fantasy tight end in most leagues.

From TheHuddle

Tramaine Brock Aug 9 4:53pm ET

Free-agent CB Tramaine Brock (Titans) is meeting with the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, Aug. 9, and likely will sign with the team if the meeting goes well, according to a source.

From TheHuddle

Jatavis Brown Aug 9 4:23pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles LB Jatavis Brown was placed on the Reserve/Retired list Sunday, Aug. 9.

From TheHuddle

Mike Daniels Aug 9 3:33pm ET

Free-agent DT Mike Daniels (Lions) is meeting with the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, Aug. 9, and is expected to sign with the team, according to a source.

From TheHuddle

A'Shawn Robinson Aug 9 3:03pm ET

Los Angeles Rams DT A'Shawn Robinson (undisclosed) is expected to play at some point during the 2020 season, but the team will take things slow with him since he was diagnosed with a medical issue during the medical on-boarding process.

From TheHuddle

Aug 9 2:53pm ET

Buffalo Bills WR Duke Williams was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday, Aug. 9. The team also released CB Akeem King.

From TheHuddle

Logan Thomas Aug 9 2:33pm ET

Washington Football Team TE Logan Thomas was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday, Aug. 9.

From TheHuddle

J.J. Wilcox Aug 9 1:13pm ET

Free-agent S J.J. Wilcox (Falcons) officially re-signed with the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Aug. 9. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

From TheHuddle