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 email@example.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (calf) is unlikely to play against the Detroit Lions in Week 3, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. Jeffery's status has been up in the air all week, but it looks like the Eagles will be without him and fellow wide receiver DeSean Jackson (abdomen). Nelson Agholor and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside should see most of the wide receiver snaps, with tight end Zach Ertz taking on a bigger workload. Overall, the Eagles offense has a lower ceiling this week, which could hurt quarterback Carson Wentz the most of all.
Patriots running back James White has been ruled out for the Week 3 game against the Jets because his wife is expected to give birth, according to multiple sources.
Updating a previous report, Minnesota Vikings CB Mike Hughes (knee) will play in Week 3's game against the Oakland Raiders, according to a source.
Free agent wide receiver Antonio Brown tweeted on Sunday that he's done playing in the NFL, citing the league's contract structure and the fact that teams can void guarantees. Brown's future in the league was already in question after being released by the Raiders and Patriots already this season while facing multiple claims of sexual misconduct, among other issues. While Brown's talent is obvious, his off-field issues have derailed his career and hurt numerous people in the process, and it would be a shock to see him on an NFL field again in 2019, if ever.
New England Patriots RB James White has been ruled out for Week 3's game against the New York Jets because his wife is expected to give birth, according to multiple sources.
Fantasy Spin: Sony Michel is expected to receive the bulk of the carries in the New England backfield this week, with Rex Burkhead and possibly Damien Harris seeing additional offensive snaps due to White's absence. Only Michel is worthy of consideration as a starting option in fantasy leagues.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will start Sunday's Week 3 contest against the Seattle Seahawks, though the team intends to use Taysom Hill at times during the game. Heading into the weekend, head coach Sean Payton hadn't committed to a starter, though it was looking more and more like it'd be Bridgewater. This isn't an easy matchup and Bridgewater didn't set the world on fire when he came in as an injury replacement for Drew Brees last week, so it's fair to think of him as just a mid-tier QB2 despite the weapons around him.
Philadelphia Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery (calf) is not expected to play in Week 3's game against the Detroit Lions, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Jeffery had been listed as questionable on the injury report after being unable to practice at all during the week. The Eagles' Week 4 game is on Thursday Night Football, so the team may decide to hold him out of action versus Detroit in order to give him a few more days to recover.
Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert (calf) reportedly looked better at practice Saturday, Sept. 21, and is currently considered a pregame decision for Week 3's contest against the Detroit Lions.
Fantasy Spin: Goeder had been listed as questionable on the injury report after participating in one practice session during the week on a limited basis. Fantasy owners should be able to find better options even if he is active for the game.
New England Patriots running back James White (personal) won't play in Week 3 when the Patriots meet the Jets as he awaits the birth of his child. With White out, expect a healthy dose of Sony Michel on early downs and Rex Burkhead on passing downs. Michel in particular should see a ton of work in this game, as the Patriots project to go up big early and run the ball plenty in the second half. Burkhead gets a boost and looks like a high upside starting option in deeper leagues now.
Baltimore Ravens TE Mark Andrews (foot) will participate in pregame warmups prior to Week 3's game against the Kansas City Chiefs before the team will know if he'll be able to play, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Andrews was listed as questionable on the injury report after taking part in two practice sessions during the week on a limited basis. He has been one of the NFL's top-producing players at his position and should be started in fantasy leagues as long as he is active, especially since this afternoon's game versus the Chiefs could be a high-scoring affair.
Indianapolis Colts RB Marlon Mack (calf) is likely to play in Week 3's game against the Atlanta Falcons but the team wants to see how he fares in pre-game warmups before making a final decision on his status.
Fantasy Spin: Mack was listed as questionable on the injury report after participating in one of the team's three practices during the week on a limited basis. He will continue to receive a great deal of action in the Indianapolis backfield, making him worthy of consideration as an RB2 in many fantasy leagues.
Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (quadriceps) is likely to play in Week 3's game against the Atlanta Falcons but the team wants to see how he fares in pre-game warmups before making a final decision on his status.
Fantasy Spin: Despite the quarterback change this season, Hilton has continued to play well, with 12 receptions for 130 yards and three touchdowns through his first two games. View him as a low-end WR1 or high-end WR2 in most fantasy formats.
Seattle Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny (hamstring) is not expected to play in Week 3's game against the New Orleans Saints, according to a source. He strained his hamstring during practice Friday, Sept. 20, and even though the injury is not believed to be serious, the team wants to err on the side of caution with his health.
Fantasy Spin: If Penny is sidelined, Chris Carson should see the bulk of the carries in the Seattle backfield this afternoon, with C.J. Prosise likely to see additional offensive snaps as well. Carson should be viewed as a viable RB2 option this week, while Prosise isn't worth starting in any fantasy format.
Cleveland Browns CB Denzel Ward (hamstring) is not expected to play in Week 3's game against the Los Angeles Rams, according to a source. He tweaked his hamstring during practice Tuesday, Sept. 17.
Updating a previous report, New Orleans Saints QB Teddy Bridgewater is expected to get the starting nod for Week 3's game against the Seattle Seahawks, although QB Taysom Hill is likely to see some action during the game as well.
Fantasy Spin: Bridgewater is the better bet this week as far as streaming fantasy options go, while the bulk of Hill's action is likely to come in short-yardage and goal-line situations.
Cleveland Browns lockdown cornerback Denzel Ward (hamstring) is not expected to play against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night. Ward suffered a hamstring strain during practice this week and he is looking unlikely to take the field. Meanwhile, the team is more optimistic about rookie corner Greedy Williams (hamstring). If Ward is unable to play, that would be a huge boost to the Los Angeles wide receivers, namely Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks. In just over a year, Ward has established himself as one of the better lockdown corners in the NFL. His absence would create a huge void in the Cleveland secondary on Sunday night. You were probably starting them in season-long leagues anyways but both Woods and Cooks become much more interesting for DFS slates that include the Sunday night game.
Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny (hamstring) isn't expected to play against the Saints. Though the injury, which occurred during practice throughout the week, isn't considered severe, the team wants to be careful with its No. 2 back. In his stead, C.J. Prosise will back up Chris Carsonon Sunday, with the former having relatively no fantasy value, however.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (quad) may play against the Falcons, with the final decision coming before opening kick. The veteran receiver managed to practice throughout the week, although in a limited capacity, but will still be considered a must-start in virtually all fantasy formats on Sunday.
Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack (calf) is a game-time call against Atlanta. Mack returned to practice in a limited capacity on Friday after not participating the previous two days. Nonetheless, the team remains hopeful that the 23-year-old is in uniform on Sunday and would be considered a must-start despite going up against mediocre Falcons Defense. If he does sit, look for Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines to pick up the slack.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (calf) may still play in Week 3 against Detroit, but chances are slim that he will get a full workload even if he does. With DeSean Jackson (abdomen) already out, Nelson Agholor and tight end Zach Ertz are expected to pick up the slack.