Best ball drafts are a great way to pass the time while you’re waiting for your other friends to start being interested in fantasy football in August. You can play in as many as your bank account can handle because you don’t have to touch the roster after you draft. In fact, you can’t!
If you aren’t familiar with best ball, it is a fantasy sports format where you draft snake style (I guess you could auction if you want) just like you normally do, but there aren’t any trades or pick ups. That’s not all. In best ball, you don’t set a line up. So how do you score points? You have the normal active roster positions and the highest scoring players on your roster that are eligible per position earn you the points for the given active roster spot. If you are reading a fantasy football post in June, you probably knew this but maybe you have just heard the name and never looked into it. Well, now you know what best ball is and you can’t un-know it now!
If you’re new to the format and thinking about getting your feet wet you may be wondering if there is a strategy that is different from your run-0f-the-mill drafts. Yes! But they are fairly obvious if you think about it. Since you can’t make plays on a non-existent waiver wire, you want to make sure that you are covered at every position in case of bad injury luck. It’s football injuries are going to mess with your roster no matter how lucky you are. It’s also important to be conscious of bye weeks while you are drafting. Don’t put yourself in a bind that you can’t get out of without a waiver wire available. Best ball also affords you to make some risky draft picks that you wouldn’t otherwise think of because certain players historically have “spike weeks”. DeSean Jackson is the perfect example of this. For the most part, you have to guess when DeSean Jackson is going to have an explosive week. Let’s face it, sometimes he can be a dud. If you draft DeSean Jackson, you aren’t hurt if he doesn’t perform on a weekly basis as long as you have enough wide receivers that pick up the slack that week. Let’s take a look at some players that I’m targeting in best ball drafts this summer and let’s do it by position.
Back in March, I wrote about my high expectations for Baker Mayfield. He’s the perfect style of quarterback to succeed with Odell Beckham Jr.’s strengths as a wide receiver. Plus, there are plenty of other weapons in Cleveland to keep him afloat if Beckham flops for some reason.
Nic just covered Jackson this week and it looks like Rudy Gamble likes Lamar Jackson a lot too. Lamar only started the final seven regular season games last year and in three of those game, he was able to manage more than 20 fantasy points. Those obviously aren’t Patrick Mahomes numbers, but Lamar Jackson is coming off of the board in the late teens of quarterbacks drafted. I expect Jackson to make improvements in the passing game to go along with his dynamic knack for running the ball.
Kyler Murray is going to be a target for me in ALL formats and I think best ball is a pretty good place to start getting some shares. I find the lack of experience to be an advantage from an ADP standpoint. Kyler has the potential skill set of Michael Vick in a fast paced Kliff Kingsbury offense. He will make plenty of mistakes, but with his legs, he will also score a lot of fantasy points. I think it would be wise to hedge the Murray pick with somebody reliable like Philip Rivers just in case the Cardinals’ offense ends up being a disaster. I’ll have more on Murray later in the preseason.
Take a Running Back In The First Round
Spike weeks at the running back position are harder to come by at the running back position than at the wide receiver position. Taking an elite running back with your first pick is what makes the most sense to me. Depending on your draft position and scoring format: Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliott, Christian McCaffrey, and David Johnson make a lot of sense to me.
Kansas City Chiefs Backfield
I would grab Damien Williams in the 3rd round and I would follow him up with Carlos Hyde by the 10th round where he is currently going. Handcuffing isn’t really a heavily used best ball strategy to my knowledge, but I think the way that the Chief’s offense operates, whatever running back is starting will be a valuable asset. Damien Williams is the starter in Kansas City and I believe in him performing at a high level all season. Just in case he doesn’t perform or gets hurt, you won’t regret taking Hyde because he is a very capable running back and a good fit in Kansas City.
Take some shots on talent in running back situations that you believe to be unstable. You can take a look at Seattle, Buffalo, Miami, and Philadelphia just to name a few and see that there is talent at the RB position that might not be the starter in week 1.
Take A Wide Receiver In The Second Round
I want to grab a wide receiver that I know is going to be a good play almost every week. I like Mike Evans, Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster, Odell Beckham Jr., or maybe even Julio Jones (not my favorite) right here.
Take Shots on High Upside Players
Conveniently, I wrote about these guys last week that would be perfect for you. There are a couple of others. I think Christian Kirk could have a big year and showed a lot of potential last season even if the numbers weren’t always there. Michael Gallup is another guy that is full of talent that is going outside of the top 100.
Skip The Elite Guys
This goes against what a lot of best ball writers will advise. Believe it or not, I have original thoughts from time to time! I’d rather spend my 3rd round pick on Damien Williams or another wide receiver or running back in the third round while there is still elite talent available.
I want one of these three as my TE1. They have a pretty high floor and may even have the ceiling that someone like George Kittle or Zach Ertz has. These tight ends are all young, athletic, and a central part of their respective offenses.
Take Two More Tight Ends
I previously mentioned the probability of injuries so be prepared with two more tight ends that you view as players that have upside. Mike Gesicki comes to mind as someone who stunk last year but has the ability to turn a corner and be useful. Darren Waller is somebody else that has every opportunity to make an impact but not a lot of people are paying attention to.
You can follow me on twitter and we can also talk it out in the comment section any time!