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
Dalvin Cook Aug 3 6:50pm ET

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook arrived at camp last Tuesday despite previously stating that he would not report unless he received a new deal. However, under the new collective bargaining agreement, the 24-year-old ran the risk of becoming a restricted free agent beyond 2020 by not showing up, something he ultimately did not want to do. Cook had a breakout season in 2019, finishing with 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. He also added 53 catches for 519 yards and was also one of the most prolific runners after contact. He is slated to make $1.3 million if an agreement isn't reached. Nonetheless, with the team vowing to work to get a new deal done, fantasy managers can feel a bit more confident by selecting Cook in the first round of fantasy drafts for the upcoming campaign.

From RotoBaller

Odell Beckham Jr. Aug 3 1:40pm ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has no plans to opt out of the 2020 NFL season, despite negative comments he made in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. In the interview, Beckham criticized the NFL, stating, I just feel like the season shouldnt happen and Im prepared for it to not happen and I wouldnt mind not having it. Were not ready for the season, so why are we trying to push forward?" It turns out that the interview took place two weeks ago and Beckham has since backed off on those comments after he saw how safe and sanitary everything inside the Cleveland facility has been. Beckham should be treated as an upside WR2 in fantasy drafts this season.

From RotoBaller

P.J. Hall Aug 3 9:33am ET

Las Vegas Raiders DT P.J. Hall will be released Monday, Aug. 3, two years after selecting him in the second round of the NFL draft.

From TheHuddle

Doug Pederson Aug 2 9:23pm ET

Updating a previous report, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson (illness) recently tested positive for coronavirus but is reportedly asymptomatic. Pederson will continue to lead the Eagles virtually 'as much as he can' while assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley will serve as the interim head coach in his absence.

From TheHuddle

Doug Pederson Aug 2 8:53pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson (illness) recently tested positive for coronavirus but is reportedly asymptomatic, according to sources.

From TheHuddle

Taquan Mizzell Aug 2 6:13pm ET

New Orleans Saints DB Chris Q. Johnson, OG Adrian Magee and RB Taquan Mizzell were waived Sunday, Aug. 2.

From TheHuddle

Romeo Okwara Aug 2 5:33pm ET

Detroit Lions DE Romeo Okwara was placed on the Active/Non-Football Injury list Sunday, Aug. 2.

From TheHuddle

Dontrelle Inman Aug 2 5:23pm ET

Free-agent WR Dontrelle Inman (Colts) visited the Washington Football Team on Sunday, Aug. 2.

From TheHuddle

Tommylee Lewis Aug 2 5:13pm ET

New Orleans Saints WRs Maurice Harris and Tommylee Lewis were released Sunday, Aug. 2.

From TheHuddle

Sony Michel Aug 2 5:03pm ET

New England Patriots RB Sony Michel (foot) was placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list Sunday, Aug. 2, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Michel probably will miss some practice time during camp because of his injury but appears to be on track for the start of the regular season. He can be considered a No. 2 or No. 3 fantasy running back if he is healhy.

From TheHuddle

Mohamed Sanu Aug 2 5:03pm ET

New England Patriots WR Mohamed Sanu (undisclosed) was placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list Sunday, Aug. 2, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Sanu struggled after his trade to the Patriots and posted only 207 yards in eight games. He probably will be a top three receiver for the Patriots if he can remain healthy and should be rostered in most fantasy leagues in 2020.

From TheHuddle

Da'Mari Scott Aug 2 3:50pm ET

New York Giants wide receiver/kick returner Da'Mari Scott has elected to opt out of the 2020 NFL season. Scott has mostly been a special teams contributor when active. He was active for five games last season and three in 2018 for the Bills. Scott has caught two passes in his career, for a total of 22 yards.

From RotoBaller

Jamize Olawale Aug 2 3:40pm ET

Dallas Cowboys full back Jamize Olawale has chose to opt out of the 2020 season. In two seasons with Dallas, Olawale has yet to attempt a rush and has caught just two passes. He has primarily worked on special teams, logging 539 special teams snaps as compared to just 232 offensive snaps (almost all for blocking). He's under contract for $1.3 million in 2021.

From RotoBaller

Leonard Williams Aug 2 3:13pm ET

New York Giants DT Leonard Williams (hamstring) was placed on the Active/Non-Football Injury list Sunday, Aug. 2.

From TheHuddle

Jeremy Hill Aug 2 2:43pm ET

Free-agent RB Jeremy Hill (Patriots) signed with the Las Vegas Raiders Sunday, Aug. 2. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

From TheHuddle

Aug 2 2:33pm ET

Free-agent DT Niles Scott (Bengals) and CB Akeem King (Seahawks) signed with the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Aug. 2. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

From TheHuddle

James Washington Aug 2 2:03pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers WR James Washington was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday, Aug. 2.

Fantasy Spin: Washington will be sidelined for an undisclosed amount of time, so fantasy players can keep an eye on the situation. He had a solid 2019 season with 73 receiving yards and should be a top-three receiver for the Steelers again this season. He can be a No. 4 or No. 5 receiver in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Foyesade Oluokun Aug 2 1:13pm ET

Atlanta Falcons LB Foyesade Oluokun was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday, Aug. 2.

From TheHuddle

Jarvis Landry Aug 2 1:10pm ET

The Cleveland Browns placed wide receiver Jarvis Landry (hip) on the active/PUP list on Sunday. The team said that Landry has not had a setback and is still on schedule in his recovery. Landry is healing up from February hip surgery. Initially given a 6-8 month timetable to return, Landry will be cutting it close if he wants to be active for Week 1. If Landry is unable to start the season on time, Kareem Hunt could see added snaps as a wide receiver. When healthy, Landry is a solid WR2 in PPR leagues.

From RotoBaller

Jarvis Landry Aug 2 1:03pm ET

Cleveland Browns WR Jarvis Landry (hip) was placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list Sunday, Aug. 2.

Fantasy Spin: Landry will be limited during training camp but is on track for the start of the regular season. He will continue to see plenty of targets in the passing game and can be a No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle