2021 Fantasy Football Best Ball Strategy Guide | Fantasy Football 101 Series
This article is for the ever popular 2021 Fantasy Football Best Ball League format. Rise or Fall will have tools, rankings, and tons of premium content covering Best Ball for the plethora of different companies offering Fantasy Football Best Ball in 2021!
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2021 Fantasy Football Best Ball Strategy
This article is written by 2019 5th place FFPC finisher,
These are in full swing and when it comes to fantasy football draft strategies best-ball has a unique style all to itself. Fantasy Football Best ball drafts are done early in the off-season, so fantasy owners are drafting from loose projections and a hunch.
Many things will change between your best-ball draft and opening day, but I will try to cover a few topics here that will help you win your league.
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Types of Players to Target
I want high upside players when building my best-ball lineup. That does not mean I want volatile players it just means I want players with higher ceilings. Now in best-ball drafts, I can get away with drafting players that are more volatile, because I don’t have to select a starting lineup. But that doesn’t mean I am necessarily targeting them.
Drafting high ceiling players allows me to capitalize on those high-scoring weeks to put up monster scores. I would rather draft a player that has fewer fantasy points but more spike weeks than a player that’s consistent but rarely puts up monster games.
For example, Leonard Fournette was the 7th ranked RB in 2019 with 261 fantasy points and had 8 games of at least 15 PPR points. Mark Ingram was the 10th ranked RB with 246 fantasy points but had 10 games of at least 15 PPR points. Give me Ingram because he was able to help me for more weeks.
Fantasy Football Best Ball Roster Construction
One of the most important elements to being successful in best-ball leagues is roster construction. Since there are typically no in-season moves allowed, the make-up of your roster must have the right number of players at each position to withstand bye weeks, injuries, and poor play from the “studs” on your team.
My most successful roster construction over the last few seasons has been to load up on 15’sh RB + WR’s while using 3-4 spots each at the remaining positions.
This is based on a standard 28 round best ball draft. Obviously, there are other roster constructs you can win with, but this has been my favorite and has had the highest win rate.
RB Early and Often
Roster construction is important, but you still must draft the right players to be successful. The early part of the draft is where you will build the foundation for your juggernaut.
In the first few rounds of Fantasy Football Best Ball drafts, I attack RB’s hard. I do this for a few reasons and the first reason is position scarcity. There just aren’t as many bell-cow running backs as there use to be. NFL teams are getting away from hammering one running back all season, or even one game for that matter.
Finding a few early #1 RB’s is crucial when building your best-ball lineup. The second reason I attack the RB position early is that you can get WR’s in the late rounds that will pop off for 80 plus yards and a TD a few times a year and they will slide into your starting lineup.
Golden Tate, John Brown, Jamison Crowder, Tyrell Williams, DK Metcalf, Deebo Samuel, Cole Beasley, Davante Parker, and Marquise Brown had an ADP between rounds 10 and 18 in 2019. Some of them had stand-alone value (Parker, J. Brown, Crowder, Metcalf) while the others had those spike weeks we are looking for on our best-ball rosters. Samuel 6, Williams 3, Tate 5, M. Brown 5, Beasley 4 all had multiple games over 15 PPR points.
The only RB’s with ADP between rounds 10-18 to have double-digit 15-point games were LeSean McCoy 3, Devin Singletary 4, Ronald Jones 5, Kareem Hunt 2, Adrian Peterson 3, Jamaal Williams 4. There are just more usable WR’s later in drafts than RB’s.
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Stack those Receivers
The third reason I like to wait on a wide receiver is that I love to stack team receiving corps…Like, I love it!! Deandre Hopkins (1st round) was the first WR drafted in 2019 according to ADP. He had 11 weeks with 15 plus fantasy points.
John Brown (11th round) and Cole Beasley (17th round) combined for 7 weeks of at least 15 PPR points, Robby Anderson (7th round) and Jamison Crowder (11th round) combined for 11 such weeks. Even Davante Parker (17th round) and Albert Wilson (16th round) combined for 10 weeks of 15 PPR points.
Those are just a few examples of later round receiver stacks that provided almost the same amount of WR 1/2 weeks as the first WR drafted in round 1. Would you trade 2 mid to late-round picks for a first-round pick? Of course, you would! Wait on the receiver…
Now you still need to know what players and teams to target to be able to wait on the receiver. We will dive into this deeper in a future article about what offenses to stack. Don’t forget to check the Rise or Fall projections to help fill in the blanks.
Wait on Quarterback
Waiting on a QB should be second nature at this point. Last year’s top 3 fantasy QB’s Lamar Jackson, Jameis Winston, and Dak Prescott were all drafted in the double-digit rounds and after at least 9 QB’s were taken. In best ball drafts you should wait even longer to draft your first signal-caller.
I like to target the position around round 10 and grab 2 that I feel good about. Try to grab one with rushing upside if you can. In 2019 that was Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott, and Josh Allen.
You want a few high ceiling options here so that one will pop for a high-end QB1 week and perform as well as the first few QB’s drafted in rounds 2-5. Again, would you trade your 10th and 12th round picks for a pick in the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th? Obviously.
Remember, I am looking to grab 3 QBs to try and be true to my optimal roster construction. The 3rd QB on your roster does not necessarily need to be a starter. If you drafted a QB with a high-end backup feel free to draft him in case of injury. In 2019 that was Teddy Bridgewater, Daniel Jones, and Ryan Tannehill. It’s not ideal to handcuff your QB but it’s not the end of the world either.
What about TE?
I thought you would never ask! I am looking to draft 4 TE’s in best-ball formats. In premium TE scoring leagues like the FFPC I will look to take a TE before my WR’s. There are far fewer elite tight ends than wide receivers and at 1.5 points per catch grabbing one of the elite ones is huge.
In standard scoring leagues, I treat tight end like quarterback…. Sort of. I do try to target one of the elite ones because there are so few, but if I can’t get one of them, I will wait until the mid-rounds (8-13) and draft a few of them. Again, because it’s Best Ball format, you can draft 2-3 TE’s in the mid-rounds banking on one hitting for a top 12 week.
I usually avoid rookie TEs completely. A great year for a rookie TE is 500 yards and that’s no good for your best-ball team. 2020 is no different, in fact, it’s one of the weakest rookie TE classes in recent memory.
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Defenses and Kickers
I am drafting 3 of each and I am not too concerned about who they are. I try to take 1 defense in the top 12-15 and then wait until the end of the draft to fill in the other 2 defensive slots paying attention to bye weeks.
With kickers, I am a little more aggressive because I do want 3 of them and I want 3 Week 1 starters. Some kickers get hurt and/or cut before week 1. If I am drafting in May or June, I want 3 unquestioned starters because there is no free agency and I don’t want to lose one or two. Kickers aren’t very important in the grand scheme of things but if you must go a few weeks without one it can ruin your season.
Fantasy Football Best Ball is fun, so let’s have some fun with it!! Build with the proper roster construction, grab running backs early and wait on quarterbacks. It’s your team so draft your guys, sit back and relax. Good luck this season and see you in the draft rooms!!
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