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FFL: Week 2 | NFL: Week 2

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
DeVante Parker Sep 20 8:30pm ET

Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker was a bit of a question mark heading into this one because of the hamstring issue. Despite that, Parker caught five of eight targets for 53 yards and a touchdown. Sadly, the Dolphins weren't able to pull off the comeback victory over the Buffalo Bills in Week 2. However, Parker will have a much easier matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars next week. Fantasy owners should be able to lean on Parker as a WR2 for that contest.

From RotoBaller

Hunter Henry Sep 20 8:30pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry put together another strong performance in Week 2 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Henry hauled in eight of his six targets for 83 yards. Henry has seemed to be a favorite of both quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor (chest) and Justin Herbert and should continue to put together strong numbers with whoever is behind center. Henrys biggest flaw throughout his career has been his health, so it wouldnt be a bad idea for managers to shop Henry at a high value. Henry should still be treated as a top-10 option at the position and as long as his health pans out, managers should be happy with the results. Henry will face the Panthers in Week 3 and should be started every week in 10-team leagues.

From RotoBaller

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sep 20 8:30pm ET

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense looked very convincing in a Week 2 win over Carolina. The unit recorded five sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries en route to a 31-17 victory. Rising star Devin White led the team in tackles with 15 while Ndamukong Suh recorded two sacks. With a Week 3 date set up against the Broncos and backup quarterback Jeff Driskel, Tampa Bay's defense should once again be among the best units to use for fantasy purposes.

From RotoBaller

Mark Andrews Sep 20 8:30pm ET

Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews had just one catch for 29 yards during the win over the Texans on Sunday. With the team turning toward its rushing attack behind the trio of Mark Ingram II, Gus Edwards, and J.K. Dobbins, the former Sooner saw his production dwindle after a two-touchdown performance against the Browns in Week 1. Nonetheless, this output shouldn't be alarming as Andrews likely has plenty more effective fantasy outings left in the tank over the team's next 14 contests. He will attempt to get back on track in Week 3 for a Monday Night Football showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs.

From RotoBaller

Dan Arnold Sep 20 8:30pm ET

Arizona Cardinals tight end Dan Arnold was the team's top pass-catching tight end for the second-straight game in Week 2. Arnold caught two of his four targets for 26 yards in the game. The Cardinals were without Maxx Williams (ankle) in the game. Williams had two targets in Week 1, but didn't catch either. Darrell Daniels was the only other tight end to receive a target in Week 2. He earned just one look, but failed to reel it in. It's encouraging that Arnold is the clear No. 1 tight end for a highly-productive Cardinals offense, but he's going to need to put some better production together before we consider him a legitimate fantasy option.

From RotoBaller

Preston Williams Sep 20 8:30pm ET

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Preston Williams put together another dud performance in the Week 2 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Williams hauled in one of his five targets for 26 yards in this one. To be fair, All-Pro defensive back Tre'Davious White was on Williams for a good amount of this game. Williams has struggled to start the season, but is expected to bounce back against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3. Williams should be able to be counted on as a low-end WR3 or flex option next week.

From RotoBaller

Mike Williams Sep 20 8:30pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams struggled in Week 2 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Williams was a popular waiver wire add after a strong Week 1, but was only targeted four times by rookie quarterback Justin Herbert. Williams only caught two balls and those went for 14 yards. Despite the rough performance, Williams should see brighter days ahead as Justin Herbert is likely to remain the starter at quarterback. Williams should be treated as a WR4/WR5 in deeper leagues for now, but has strong upside if he reaches his potential.

From RotoBaller

Arizona Cardinals Sep 20 8:30pm ET

The Cardinals Defense held the Washington Football Team to just 15 points in Week 2. Washington only scored three points in the first three quarters, but managed a few touchdowns with failed two-point conventions in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals sacked Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. four times and also recovered a Haskins fumble as well as a Steven Sims Jr.fumble. The Cardinals have now turned in two-straight solid defensive efforts and have a favorable matchup against the Detroit Lions in Week 3. They'll be a potential low-end starting option next week.

From RotoBaller

Jason Sanders Sep 20 8:30pm ET

Miami Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders put together a fairly solid game versus the Buffalo Bills in Week 2. Sanders connected on both of his field goals attempts of the game. He nailed a 52-yard field goal, which is quite impressive. Sanders finished with eight points in the game, but sadly the Dolphins weren't able to pull off the win. Unfortunately, the Dolphins offense isn't very reliable otherwise Sanders could have some fantasy value. He's a decent kicker, but Miami doesn't give him enough chances to warrant adding in most formats.

From RotoBaller

Randall Cobb Sep 20 8:30pm ET

Houston Texans wide receiver Randall Cobb was more involved in Week 2 than he was in Houston's first game of 2020, catching five passes for 59 yards in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Cobb was expected to serve as an underneath option for quarterback Deshaun Watson this year, and on Sunday he looked like he was playing the role as expected. Cobb could be a solid streaming option in full PPR leagues, though we might want to see another game of Cobb at this level of involvement before we fully start to trust the veteran receiver.

From RotoBaller

Ryan Succop Sep 20 8:20pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Ryan Succop made one field-goal and four extra-points in a 31-17 win over the Panthers. Succop had a solid role in Week 2, as the Buccaneers offense made several trips to the red zone. That could be a common occurrence with the number of weapons they possess on offense. After two weeks, Succop has made 2 of 3 field-goals and all six extra-points. He should be a starting option next week against the Broncos, who just allowed 26 points to the Steelers.

From RotoBaller

Larry Fitzgerald Sep 20 8:20pm ET

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was extremely efficient in Week 2 against the Washington Football Team, catching all seven of his targets for 50 yards. He was second on the team in receptions behind DeAndre Hopkins, but he was out-gained in yardage by three others - Hopkins, Andy Isabella and Christian Kirk. Fitzgerald averaged just 7.1 yards per reception, which isn't a huge surprise, but certainly highlights his current place on the team as their short-yardage extraordinaire. Because of this role, he has a rather limited ceiling, but his floor in PPR is nice to have as he should regularly catch around five passes or more on a weekly basis.

From RotoBaller

Marquise Brown Sep 20 8:20pm ET

Baltimore Ravens running back Marquise Brown finished with five catches for 42 yards during the win over the Houston Texans on Sunday. Hollywood equaled his Week 1 total in receptions but took a step backward overall as the team relied heavily on the rushing attack. Fantasy managers shouldn't be alarmed as Brown's seesaw season will likely continue, primarily with Baltimore having so many different options to turn to on its roster. Next up for the former Sooner will be the Kansas City Chiefs at home for a Monday Night Football clash.

From RotoBaller

Joshua Kelley Sep 20 8:20pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers rookie running back Joshua Kelley continues to be a valuable option for fantasy managers. Kelley entrenched himself as the No. 2 running back in Week 1 and continued the momentum against the Chiefs on Sunday. The rookie rushed 23 times compared to Austin Ekelers 16 attempts and put up 64 yards with a pair of catches for 49 yards. Ekeler remains the No. 1 runner in the backfield for the Chargers, but Kelley is getting enough run to warrant being owner across the board. Expect Ekeler to get most of the catches out of the backfield, but Kelley receiving seven more rush attempts was a positive sign. Kelley should be owned and considered as a flex in Week 3 versus the Panthers.

From RotoBaller

Isaiah Ford Sep 20 8:20pm ET

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Isaiah Ford put together a surprisingly solid performance against the Buffalo Bills in Week 2. He finished with seven receptions on nine targets for 76 yards in the loss. Ford only caught two passes during Week 1, but was much more involved here. It's unclear if Ford will continue to be used heavily in the passing attack or if this was a fluke. Standard league owners should keep an eye on what Ford does versus the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3. Deep league owners might want to consider Ford as a low-end flex option next week.

From RotoBaller

Andy Isabella Sep 20 8:20pm ET

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Andy Isabella was the team's second-leading receiver behind DeAndre Hopkins in Week 2. Isabella caught both of his targets and compiled 67 receiving yards on the day. Most of his yardage came on a 54-yard reception. Isabella is no stranger to the big play. Despite a disappointing rookie year last year, he still came up with an 88-yard touchdown reception as well as a 55-yard reception. The Cardinals have a lot of mouths to feed in the passing game. Isabella's only chance at having a regular role would likely be if he's able to unseat Christian Kirk as the team's No. 2. Kirk caught two of his four targets for 57 yards in Week 2. Isabella can remain on waivers in all fantasy leagues right now, but he's worth keeping an eye on going forward.

From RotoBaller

Jordan Howard Sep 20 8:10pm ET

Miami Dolphins running back Jordan Howard has already found the end zone once this season, but was able to do it again in Week 2. Howard rushed fives time for four yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Buffalo Bills. The Dolphins use a three-back committee, which limits their fantasy value. Howard appears to be the back they trust near the goal line, but that doesn't mean a lot. He has become a desperation low-end flex option who is basically touchdown dependent. There is a chance that he rebounds against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3. However, most fantasy owners should leave Howard on the bench until he proves he's reliable.

From RotoBaller

DeAndre Hopkins Sep 20 8:10pm ET

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins continued to groove with quarterback Kyler Murray in Week 2. Hopkins caught eight of his nine targets for 68 yards and a touchdown, his first touchdown as a Cardinal. He has now caught 22 of the 25 passes Murray has thrown his way this year. While Hopkins didn't have quite the obscene target-share that he did in Week 1, he was still the clear target leader on the team. Larry Fitzgerald was next on the team with seven short-distance targets, but no other Cardinals pass-catcher earned over four targets. Keep rolling Hopkins out there as an elite WR1. He should stay hot in Week 2 against the Detroit Lions.

From RotoBaller

Austin Ekeler Sep 20 8:10pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler put together a nice all-around performance in a Week 2 loss against the Kansas City Chiefs. Ekeler was a popular preseason selection and put up 84 yards in Week 1, but the pass-catcher only had one reception. Week 2 yielded better results with 93 yards and four catches for 55 yards. Ekeler was playing with Justin Herbert over Tyrod Taylor (chest) this week and it was a positive sign to him get involved in the pass game. No. 2 running back Joshua Kelley had another good start and isnt going away, so owners would wise to try to own both players. Ekelers value should be on the rise if Herbert continues to start as should his receptions. He is a top-10 running back play versus the Carolina Panthers in Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Brandin Cooks Sep 20 8:10pm ET

Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks led the team with 95 receiving yards in Week 2's loss to the Baltimore. He was targeted a team-high eight times, bringing in five of those for receptions. Cooks played the role that Will Fuller V had played in Week 1. Houston's lack of a clear-cut No. 1 receiver means that no one might emerge as a consistently weekly threat here, complicating things immensely for fantasy football managers who were hoping that either Fuller or Cooks would become a solid WR2 this season.

From RotoBaller