Football Garbage Time Best Ball Fantasy Football League Draft & Strategy
By the Football Garbage Time Staff & Friends
Here at Football Garbage Time, we’re always thinking about how we can help you, our readers. And one thing we’ve never done is help all you poor souls who play Best Ball Fantasy Football. Well, that’s gotta’ change, right? Or perhaps you’re asking yourself “What the heck is Best Ball Fantasy Football?”
Best Ball Fantasy Football is essentially a PPR points league where only your best scoring players count each week. There are no lineups to set. If you draft three QBs, only your top scoring QB each week counts toward your score. In MFL10 (My Fantasy League $10), now handled by Fanball, you get a roster of 20 players and have to score 1 x QB, 2 x RB, 3 x WR, 1 x TE and 1 x DS/T each week. On Draft.com, which just started Best Ball leagues, you get a roster of 18 players and have to score the same players, minus DS/T. Typically, the drafts for these leagues are conducted early in the off season and allow each team an 8 hour clock to make picks. So no excuses of having been pressured into taking that 10th TE when you really needed a WR. Once you complete your draft, regardless of site, you’re lock in. No waiver pickups, no trades, just sit back and enjoy the season!
So what we did was gather some of the best minds in fantasy football, put together a 10 team Best Ball league on Draft.com and tweeted out every pick of all 18 rounds with the hashtag #FGTMFL10. You can find the complete draft results under our Twitter account (@FBGarbagetime) or by using the hashtag.
And since we want to make it easy on you, we’ve compiled the results of that draft below for each team and provided you with each team’s strategy, draft approach and post-draft thoughts to help you with your Best Ball drafts this season! Have more questions? Feel free to reach out to us, we’re all happy to help!
- Dan Thury from the Beer Fueled Fantasy Football Podcast (ThuryBFF)
- Matt Hicks from the Top2Pod Fantasy Football Podcast (MattHicks15)
- Ryan Whitfield from Football Garbage Time (rwhitty24)
- Jeff Carrier from NFL Talking Heads Podcast (jdcarr15)
- Kris Hopper from the Beer Fueled Fantasy Football Podcast (hopp134)
- Nick Spartz from the Beer Fueled Fantasy Football Podcast (BeerFueledFF)
- Ha Kung Wong from Football Garbage Time (FBGarbageTime)
- Victor Rogers MFL10 Expert (GateKeeper1906)
- Joanne Kong from Football Garbage Time (JoJo115)
- Scott King from Football Garbage Time (NFLFantasy_more)
Ill be honest, this is my first time playing best ball, and for the first few rounds everything felt kind of the same as if I was in a redraft. Todd Gurley is my number 1 player in redraft leagues this year, so he was my pick at the 1.01. Going forward is where things got interesting, I wanted to pair up boom/bust players with floor guys. This was why I took a lot of pass catching backs and a couple possession WRs. A player like Will Fuller could win me some weeks given what we saw last year. I’m excited to see if my simple strategy actually works.
My plan was to get some big impact players early, and I succeeded by getting Ezekiel Elliott (my RB1 this season), Keenan Allen and Davante Adams. For my quarterbacks I balanced the monster performance threat of Cam Newton with the reliable option of Matt Stafford. I went for good rookie value with Derrius Guice, Calvin Ridley, and Mike Gesicki and got some breakout candidates like Hunter Henry and David Njoku. Towards the end of the draft I went for big game/bust guys because why not, it’s best ball! I got guys like Bilal Powell (17th round), LeGarrette Blount (16th round), Dez Bryant (seriously good value on him in the 12th round), and Keelan Cole (11th round). I loaded up at the running back and wideout positions since they tend to be less stable week to week.
So, full disclosure, this is my first year doing a MFL10 Best Ball league. Which means, I obviously applied a “Fly by the Seat of my Pants” strategy.
The first part to my strategy this year was to take best available. That means that Football Garbage Time’s own anti-runningbackist, went back-to-back RB’s for the first time in my life. I took David Johnson in Round 1, and with pick 8 of the second round, I didn’t love the WR’s there so I had to take LeSean McCoy. At the 2-3 turn where I picked 18 & 23 overall, I still didn’t love the WR’s on the second pick. In a MFL10 Best Ball league, it was scary to go Rob Gronkowski here, but hey, the reward was worth the risk.
From there I really went depth at Wide Receiver. In total I stacked Jarvis Landry, Alshon Jeffrey, Julian Edelman, Cooper Kupp, Martavis Bryant, Ted Ginn and Kenny Golladay. I think there’s enough talent in this group for three guys a week to go off.
I did go early on Tom Brady, but how could I say no to Tommy? Plus, I don’t know if you know this, but he is the reigning MVP. I backed him up adding Derek Carr and took an upside play (banking on a Sam Bradford injury) on Josh Rosen.
Knowing Gronkowski’s long injury history all too well, I backed him with Austin Hooper and Eric Ebron. I acknowledge that 3 TE’s and 3 QB’s may be too conservative, but I wanted to guard against injury as much as possible.
In all, I really tried to go best available, either avoid or protect myself from injury risk, and have a good mix of consistent and upside guys. Projecting out a full season is no easy task, and my season may ride on the health of Gronkowski, Jeffrey and Edelman. I love the big number potential for Ginn and Bryant though, and think I have the depth and talent to have a good season. A lot can happen between now and September but here in mid-May – I feel pretty good.
Draft late QB cuz of depth. I was the last team to do that in 12th round with Andrew Luck. Happy with that. But with late QB and Luck’s health issues I drafted 3 QBs total, the next two not even until rounds 16 and 17.
Draft a TE that should have TE1 upside most weeks. Did that with Evan Engram in 7th round.
Draft WR/RB early and often. I have as many or more WR/RB than anyone but only used 1 pick in first 11 rounds that wasn’t WR/RB.
Observation – rookies were undervalued likely due to the ADP on Draft. This will rise as we get closer to draft.
The cool part about best ball style drafts to me is the value you get in boom/bust guys if you pair them right with guys that have a safe floor. I tend to look for a mix when drafting best ball.
Sure, superstars always play and they should be targeted first. In this draft i made it a point to load up with DeAndre Hopkins (5th pick of the 1st round), Devonta Freeman (6th pick of the 2nd round) and Greg Olsen (5th round) early. From there, its the art of pairing high ceiling guys with safe floor guys to maximize the boom and mitigate the bust, which best ball allows you to do. I put together a good mix of boom picks like Jordan Howard (3rd round), Robert Woods (7th round), Marquise Goodwin (9th round) and Tyler Eifert (13th round) and combined that with safe floor guys like Rishard Matthews (12th round), Jared Goff (11th round) and Jay Ajayi (6th round).
One other thing I noticed in this draft is that rookies with high potential hung around until the late rounds, giving plenty of options as worthy flyers (like Michael Gallup in the 15th round).
A lot of QBs I thought could have explosive weeks were falling in this draft, so I doubled down grabbing Deshaun Watson and Kirk Cousins in the mid rounds of the draft. In the 3rd to last round I tripled down grabbing Eli Manning, who has some amazing weapons that should lead to some good weeks and, since it’s best ball, his bad weeks don’t hurt me.
Grabbed Dalvin Cook in the 2nd round to get a top tier upside back in this format. Kept finding value through the rounds, though I did get bit by the Mark Ingram suspension that was announced the day after I picked him. Still have Kenyan Drake, Dion Lewis, Carlos Hyde and CJ Anderson who are all guys who should get significant touches, and I only need 2 starters each week in this format.
I punted WR more than most teams in this format early, grabbing Antonio Brown in round 1 and then didn’t touch the position again till round 8 where I grabbed Corey Davis. Kept adding guys I thought either were values like Pierre Garcon, Sterling Shepard, and Paul Richardson late and a few who could blow up on a given week like Robby Anderson or as a second year receiver in Mike Williams.
Grabbed Zach Ertz in round 4 to solidify the position and Charles Clay late as a second option. Would have liked grabbing a third, but tight end was desolate by the time I started looking to do so. Might try to grab a second tight end earlier next time and grab a player like Clay as my third tight end.
Ha Kung’s Team
In Best Ball leagues, unlike regular fantasy football leagues, I’m generally willing to take upside players late instead of investing in any of the top players at any position since I don’t need to worry about consistency from week to week.
Will Jimmy Garoppolo consistently give me 2 TDs and 250+ passing yards each and every week? Probably not. But do I have a good chance at getting that production from one of Jimmy G, Matt Ryan and Alex Smith every week? I’d go so far as to say that there’s as good a chance I get that from one of that trio as getting that from a grouping of Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. So I knew I was going to wait until around the 9th and 10th rounds to take my first two QBs (Jimmy G and Matty Ice, respectively), and the 14th round to take my third QB (Alex Smith).
As for RB, since this was a half PPR league, my plan was to spend 2 of my first 4 picks on RBs that had significant involvement in the passing game, so Alvin Kamara and Melvin Gordon made a lot of sense as my 1st and 2nd round picks in high powered offenses that won’t shy away from dumping the ball to the RB.
Alvin Kamara 2017 Rushing & Receiving Game Rush Rush Rush Rush Rush Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Year G Rush Yds TD Y/A Y/G Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD R/G Y/G 2017* 16 120 728 8 6.1 45.5 100 81 826 10.2 5 5.1 51.6 Care 16 120 728 8 6.1 45.5 100 81 826 10.2 5 5.1 51.6
I’ll admit, Kamara got even better when Mark Ingram was suspended for 4 games, but I was happy taking him 7th overall in this format regardless. I then took two veterans late (Alex Collins in the 8th round and Marshawn Lynch at the end of the 11th round – which I think was a steal) to cover my bye weeks and took a last round flyer on rookie Jordan Wilkins to try and catch lightening in a bottle.
The only thing that went “wrong” was at TE, as I was fully expecting to wait until the back half of the draft to take 3 upside TEs, but Travis Kelce was too much of a value in the 4th round, so I felt compelled to take him. I still took 2 more TEs, but not until near the end of the draft with one veteran, Jared Cook (15th round), and one rookie, Hayden Hurst (17th round). We’ll see if I’ll suffer from breaking my own rule and going with a TE so early in the draft.
At WR, I knew I wanted at least 7 total, and that gave me the flexibility to stack (which we discussed in our most recent podcast) Demaryius Thomas (in 7th round) with Emmanuel Sanders (shockingly late in the 12th round), something I like to do when there are two big time WRs in an offense with a new QB so as to make sure I get production no matter who Case Keenum ends up relying on most from week to week. I was also surprised that Josh Doctson fell all the way to the 16th round of the draft, seeing as how he’s likely to be one of Alex Smith’s primary targets in Washington.
My strategy in this draft, since I was picking late, was to hopefully let WR1’s fall to me since it seems RB’s are the new hipster trend again. I got lucky and secured 3 high level WR1’s and 3 decent Boom or bust WR2’s that stacked well with my late round QB’s.
I waited for QB and hopped on the Mahomes hype train. Pairing him with Watkins was a easy stack since Ty Freak goes so early. Mitchell should do better this year, so to ensure I get all of his production I took an unusual gamble with a super cheap mega stack of him Cohen and Anthony Miller in hopes they are this years Rams and i got a decent portion of that offensive production.
Since I went for WR early I had to pick up young RB’s to which I felt I got Mixon as a steal and Freeman, Jones, & Hines are in my eyes projected to have major work in their backfields. Reed is a boom or bust TE and Rudolph The Red Zone Reindeer has a high floor. Jaylen is a wild card that should get work at many positions and help out if I’m having a down TE week.
Overall I think I have a balanced team with my weakness being in QB but I’m overweight in QB’s because I normally don’t pick 3 so I shouldn’t embarrass myself too much in this expert league.
From experience, early picks follow a pattern of best available if you’re selecting late. And with the ninth pick in the draft, it’s no surprise that I would choose the best available for my first two picks. This is where things get a little complicated.
In recent years, we’ve seen success from first round rookie running backs entering the league, including Ezekiel Elliot in the 2016 drafted by the Dallas Cowboys and Leonard Fournette in the 2017 drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars. But we’ve also seen some less successful first round running backs, like Christian McCaffery. Enter Saquon Barkley, selected by the New York Giants in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft. I really wanted to draft him, but I felt drafting a reliable go-to veteran player in the first round was a necessity, so I opted for Julio Jones, which meant missing out on Barkley. With Barkley gone and my third round pick sixteen picks away, I wanting to balance the skill positions and selected a running back, Leonard Fournette.
Overall, I wanted to draft a well-balanced team in all positions, giving the highest priority to wide receivers due to the half PPR format. With running back and wide receivers taken off the board quicker than any other position, it made sense to put off filling the quarterback and tight-end positions until the WR and RB positions were secured.
In the end, I feel that I made generally well-rounded and balanced selections to fill out each of the four positions by prioritizing WR first, followed by RB, while waiting on QB & TE.
Heading into this draft I was planning to use the same strategy I’ve been using for awhile now, take WRs early and often. I ended up at the 10 slot for the draft which allowed me to watch the draft come to me. As I watched the picks unfold and tracked available players, it became clear to me that RB was going to be the best player available. Once my two picks came up, I was faced with RB/RB as my best options. I took Kareem Hunt and Saquon Barkley over any of the WR options. After those picks I chased WR the rest of the draft and took some risks with Jordy Nelson and Josh Gordon. Both are capable of boom or bust seasons. I was able to land Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson at QB, which I am very excited about. I took another risk by stacking Jimmy Graham with Aaron Rodgers. I hope Graham still has something in the tank being paired with the games best QB. I ended up with a different team that I thought I would but it’s very early in the drafting season and this is a best ball league, two things that allowed for me to take more risks.