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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
Joe Mixon Sep 15 5:10am ET

Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (ankle) plans to play against the 49ers on Sunday. Mixon injured his ankle during the Week 1 matchup against the Seahawks and finished with just 10 yards on six carries to go along with two receptions for seven yards. The 23-year-old practiced in a limited capacity on Friday, with the final determination regarding his status coming during pregame warmups. If Mixon is in the lineup, Giovani Bernard's stock will decrease significantly in Week 2.

From RotoBaller

Michael Badgley Sep 15 5:00am ET

Los Angeles Chargers kicker Michael Badgley (groin) is not expected to play against the Detroit Lions. Badgley did practice throughout the week, and despite feeling good, he likely won't be available in Week 2, leaving punter Ty Long to handle the kicking duties once again. Long went 1-for-1 with three extra points against the Colts but shouldn't be considered a reliable fantasy option on Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Mike Williams Sep 15 4:50am ET

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams (knee) will likely play against the Lions. Williams returned to practice on Friday after sitting out the previous two days, but even though he is likely to suit up, the plan is to utilize him in red-zone situations only. With tight end Hunter Henry (knee) not available in Week 2, Williams could get some targets but not enough to justify his place in formats outside of 14-team leagues.

From RotoBaller

Nyheim Hines Sep 14 9:10pm ET

In Week 1, Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines caught all four of his targets for just four yards. He also added four carries for 13 yards. In Week 2, he's nothing more than a dart throw in very deep leagues. During his rookie season, Hines' value came from his volume in the passing game with an average of 3.9 receptions per game. Against the Tennessee Titans this week, the outlook is not the brightest for him. The Titans allowed just four receptions to Cleveland Browns running backs for 24 yards. Unless you're playing in an ultra-deep league, you're avoiding Hines until he sees an uptick in his workload.

From RotoBaller

Delano Hill Sep 14 8:53pm ET

Seattle Seahawks S Lano Hill likely will start at safety in Week 2 if S Tedric Thompson (hamstring) is not able to play.

From TheHuddle

Ben Gedeon Sep 14 8:03pm ET

Minnesota Vikings LB Ben Gedeon (groin) is not expected to play in Week 2 because of his groin injury, according to a source.

From TheHuddle

T.J. Yeldon Sep 14 7:50pm ET

Buffalo Bills running back T.J. Yeldon only played two offensive snaps in the Bills' opening game against the Jets in Week 1 and there's little reason to believe that will change much in Week 2. He's the clear third-string running back in a rushing offense that's yet to get going. Veteran Frank Gore is the current starter and rookie Devin Singletary is the second-stringer who could be taking more and more of the load off of Gore in coming weeks. Yeldon is on the outside looking in and should remain on waivers in all fantasy leagues.

From RotoBaller

Zay Jones Sep 14 7:50pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Zay Jones caught two passes for 18 yards in Week 1. He was targeted four times in the game. He's the team's No. 2 receiver on paper, but slot receiver Cole Beasley will be soaking up many of the targets that would be going to a No. 2 receiver in most offenses, relegating Jones to minimal targets for the foreseeable future. Jones could end up scoring half-a-dozen touchdowns on the year, but when they'll occur will be extremely tough to predict and he's unlikely to put up solid catch and yardage totals as long as Beasley and John Brown are healthy and productive. Jones can be left on waiver wires until further notice.

From RotoBaller

Neville Hewitt Sep 14 6:43pm ET

New York Jets LB Neville Hewitt is expected to start at inside linebacker in Week 2 since LB C.J. Mosley (groin) has been ruled out.

From TheHuddle

Demaryius Thomas Sep 14 6:20pm ET

New York Jets wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (hamstring) is questionable to play on Monday night against the Browns in Week 2. Thomas hasn't practiced all week and is probably on the wrong side of questionable for this one. Quincy Enunwa's season-ending injury is good news for Thomas having a role with Gang Green this year, but fantasy owners must wait and see if Thomas develops as a pass-catching threat. He'll have to prove that he's healthy first behind Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder. Even if DT plays on Monday, he's not a fantasy option with Trevor Siemian at quarterback. Josh Bellamy could see more of a role in three-receiver sets if Thomas is inactive, but he's not on the fantasy map.

From RotoBaller

Mark Andrews Sep 14 6:20pm ET

Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews is expected to play in Sunday's matchup against the Arizona Cardinals despite being held out of practice Friday with a foot injury. Andrews caught all eight of his targets in Week 1 against Miami for 108 yards and a touchdown. He also caught three of quarterback Lamar Jackson's five third-down completions, which boosts his potential of becoming Jackson's "security blanket" going forward. The growing chemistry between these two will prove to be a nice bonus for your fantasy lineups as the season progresses. It is safe to start Andrews against a Cardinals Defense that allowed rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson to rack up 131 yards and a touchdown in Week 1.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Eifert Sep 14 6:10pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert was able to make it through Week 1 without injury while registering a modest five-catch, 27-yard performance. Although fellow tight end CJ Uzomah played more snaps (70.67%) than Eifert (49.33%) in Week 1, Eifert participated in a greater percentage of the Bengals passing routes, meaning Uzomah is being asked to block more than Eifert on passing plays. That being said, Eifert has a four-inch height advantage over San Francisco 49ers safety Tarvarius Moore, which bodes well for his chances of catching a touchdown when the Bengals have the ball in the red zone. Eifert should be considered an extremely touchdown-dependent TE2 in 12-team leagues.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Boyd Sep 14 6:00pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd had the second-most targets (11) for the Bengals in Week 1, but he should lead the Bengals in that department this week. In Week 2, wide receiver John Ross should line up against San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman for roughly 50 percent of his routes. If quarterback Andy Dalton chooses to stay away from Sherman, it could mean more passes for Boyd. The Pittsburgh product should be able to exploit his matchup against 49ers cornerback K'Waun Williams, who has been dealing with a knee injury.

From RotoBaller

John Ross Sep 14 6:00pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross had a huge Week 1 performance against the Seattle Seahawks, catching seven passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns. Expectations for Ross have increased, but he has a much tougher matchup in Week 2 against San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman. Although Sherman is getting older (31), he's still a solid cornerback and quarterbackAndy Dalton could simply look to avoid the matchup. It's possible that Ross could run by Sherman for a deep ball, but absent that it's quite possible the Bengals speedster comes back down to Earth in this one. Ross will be difficult to trust as a WR3 in 12-team leagues in Week 2 and should be considered a boom-or-bust commodity.

From RotoBaller

Justice Hill Sep 14 6:00pm ET

Baltimore Ravens running back Justice Hill was limited to 27 rushing yards and no touchdowns on seven carries in Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins. The Ravens gave the ball to all three backfield options in the opening drive against Miami and it's clear they will be looking to utilize all three as the season progresses. There's no question that Hill will get touches, but Baltimore may look to push the ball through the middle of the Cardinals front line with talented outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Chandler Jones helping Arizona's edge. This type of game plan would result in running backs Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards seeing the bulk of touches to start. Hill can be played as an RB3/4 in Week 2 with the most touchdown potential going to Ingram and Edwards.

From RotoBaller

Willie Snead Sep 14 5:40pm ET

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Willie Snead caught 2-of-3 targets for 41 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins. Snead is the third receiver on the depth chart being Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin, but was targeted more than Boykin in Week 1. Expect Brown and tight end Mark Andrews to receive the bulk of targets from quarterback Lamar Jackson, but Snead has sneaky upside against a Cardinals Defense that allowed quarterback Matthew Stafford to throw for 385 yards and three touchdowns in Week 1. Snead can be played as a WR4/5 flyer in most formats for Week 2.

From RotoBaller

Maurice Canady Sep 14 5:33pm ET

Baltimore Ravens practice squad CB Maurice Canady was signed to the 53-man roster Saturday, Sept. 14. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. The team also waived OT Greg Senat.

From TheHuddle

Mark Ingram Sep 14 5:30pm ET

Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram was a full participant in practice Thursday and Friday despite being listed as questionable for Week 2. Expect Ingram to lead the backfield in touches against a Cardinals Defense that allowed the most rushing yards in the league in 2018 (2,479). The Cardinals only gave up 116 rushing yards to the Lions in Week 1 and limited running back Kerryon Johnson to 49 yards with zero touchdowns. Baltimore's run-first offense allows for Ingram to slide in your starting lineups as he will be utilized to wear out the Cardinals front line and keep the defense honest under the looming presence of quarterback Lamar Jackson's seemingly improved passing game.

From RotoBaller

Ryan Fitzpatrick Sep 14 5:20pm ET

Coming off an uninspiring performance in Week 1, the future doesn't look much brighter for Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in a Week 2 home matchup with the New England Patriots. Fitzpatrick completed 14-for-29 passes for 185 yards, one touchdown, and one interception in his first start for the Dolphins but most of the damage came after the game was already out of hand, with the Dolphins ultimately losing 59-10 at home to the Ravens. Surrounded by few offensive weapons and protected by a shaky offensive line, Fitzpatrick is only worth a desperation start in leagues starting more than one quarterback.

From RotoBaller

Lamar Jackson Sep 14 5:20pm ET

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has good potential for another nice outing against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2. The Week 1 star faces a Cardinals Defense that allowed the fourth-most passing yards in the league in 2018 (3,262). The Cardinals defense allowed Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford to throw for 385 yards and three touchdowns in Week 1. Despite the Ravens run-first offense, expect Jackson to connect with wide receiver Marquise Brown and tight end Mark Andrews for good fantasy output again in Week 2. Thrust him into your starting line up in good faith against the porous Cardinals secondary.

From RotoBaller