Best Ball NFL Strategy Guide 2019

Over the last few years Best Ball Fantasy Football has become more and more popular, but most people use the same strategy to draft like they are playing in a season long league. Best Ball is NOT Season Long. Best Ball is NOT DFS. It’s an animal of its own! It’s a Draft and hold game where you draft your team and that’s it! Below are my personal strategies for drafting each position for my Best Ball drafts. You can use these tips to help you during your drafts.

What is Best Ball?

Great question! Best Ball is the Ronco Oven of fantasy sports – “Just Set it & Forget It!” All you do is draft your team and that’s it. The league takes care of the rest for you. There is no free agency, no trades, and no worrying about injuries.

At the end of the week, the league will automatically set your roster with the highest scoring players for their positions and that’s it! The highest score wins the week, and at the end of the season the winner typically is the team with the most points. Some sites are set up as head to head, so the best record at the end of the season wins.

For the sake of the strategy below, I will be looking at 12 team leagues.

Best Ball Strategy, Advice, and Tips

Quarterbacks

If you play season long fantasy football, the typical strategy is to wait on QBs. That’s not going to be any different with Best Ball fantasy football. You want to fill your roster with other positions first. Let the other owners draft players like Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson in the earlier rounds. Don’t worry about it. QB is one of the best value spots in fantasy football. Last season the difference between the 3rd (Ben Roethlisberger) and the 13th (Tom Brady) was 70 fantasy points. That’s less than 4 points a week, and nothing to stress about from this position.

Now I’m not telling you to avoid drafting Mahomes. If he were to fall to the 5th round, then I would consider drafting him if I have the right mix of players from the first 4 rounds. I will be sacrificing taking another position by doing so, but the value there could be too great to pass up.

For Best Ball purposes you should probably take 2-3 QBs for your team. The reason for this is you want to make sure your team is covered in case of injury, and to be prepared for bye weeks. If a QB has a bad week on the same week as another has a bye, you may get a good score from your 3rd. If you take one of the top 3 QBs, you may be OK with carrying 2. This will also depend on how many players you can have, so keep it in mind when drafting.

Running Backs

RBs are important in fantasy football, and this season RBs are going to be even more important. you will need to be RB heavy earlier in the draft if you want to be successful. You want to draft RBs who will touch the ball. Your best bet for that will be the first 3 rounds, since about 17 RBs should be off the board by the end of the 3rd round based on ADP. That’s a lot of RBs, and a lot more than the last few seasons.

In Best Ball, I try and have my 2 RBs locked in in those first 3 rounds. After the top 17, you start looking at RBs who are going to be seeing a higher split of carries, or no idea how many they could get every week. Players like Phillip Lindsay and Sony Michel could have varying carries week to week. It’s also hard to tell the RB situation in Seattle, Chicago, Miami and Philadelphia and it gets a lot worse with some of the RBs after them. Having 2 strong RBs in your line for most of the season gives you the best opportunity for consistent fantasy points every week.

What you shouldn’t do is draft Zero RB in Best Ball. WRs are too unreliable week to week, and the league seems to be moving more to the run. Having 2 great WRs is awesome, but when you pair them with Marlon Mack and Kenyan Drake you team doesn’t look so great.

Most of these leagues have 2 spots for RBs, but some have a 3rd spot for a flex. Because of this you should draft a bunch of RBs as the draft continues. Try and get good value, but don’t be afraid to reach on RBs you think may eventually take over a starting role with an injury or if they win the starting role on their teams.

Wide Receivers

There’s more room in Best Ball to play with WRs this season. You can draft one in the first round if they are one of the elites, like DeAndre Hopkins, Davante Adams, Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, etc. But I probably won’t take them over any of the top 5 RBs in the first round. I may not take some of them over the top 8 RBs. If I can get one in the first 2 rounds, I’m all about it.

You have to remember that even the best receivers have bad games. As you get lower in the WR ranks a lot of the WRs have more and more of those games. Look at AJ Green last season. He missed some time and that brought your totals down for the season. Keenan Allen had some bad games last season. You can wait on WRs since the value drops off quite a bit from the top 7 WRs.

I want at least 1 of the top end WRs in the top 3 rounds if I can get them. After that, I’ll take more RBs, and even one of the top QBs if they have fallen to the 5th round. If no one looks good, and a WR is the best available, then you should take them. You will need to draft more WRs than most of your other positions. If you have a couple of WRs go big every week you can get some decent scoring weeks out of your WR corps. I think a minimum of 7 is good to shoot for.

Tight Ends

TE is one of the worst positions for Best Ball fantasy football. We have a couple of top-end TEs that could help your team more than the rest of them. You’re going to have to use a high draft pick on them. I don’t think it’s worth reaching for them, but if Travis Kelce happens to fall to round 3, I’d consider him. If your strategy is to wait on WRs, then you can take him earlier. George Kittle and Zach Ertz could also be in consideration, but maybe in the 4th and 5th rounds.

If you don’t take one of those players, you will want to draft at least 1 TE before the end of the 7th round. If you wait longer than this, you can end up with TEs who are too unreliable. I’ve been taking Evan Engram, OJ Howard, Jared Cook, David Njoku and even Eric Ebron by the end of this round.

You should take 3 TEs in your Best Ball drafts. I frequently do this if I end up with injury prone TEs like Jack Doyle, or a TE that may be on the comeback trail like Tyler Eifert. If I score one of the top TEs, or 2 decent TEs, I may stick with two. This gives me more WR or RB picks to use.

Defense & Special Teams

Some Best Ball leagues stop with the top 4 positions, but some use the team DST. I think 2 of these is the best way to go, but make sure you check your bye weeks. Just like season long fantasy football, you can wait on selecting them, but don’t wait until the end of your draft. In a 20-round draft, maybe the 14th or 15th round is a good spot to take your first DST. Don’t feel the need to reach for the Bears or the Rams earlier in the draft.

Kicker

Yes, some of these Best Ball leagues are still using kickers. Don’t ever reach for a kicker. Take the kickers with your last 2 picks. My only exception to this is if Greg Zuerlein is available in the round before, take him if you want. He won’t give you enough points over the season to make a difference.

General Best Ball Strategy

A few tips and recommendations for Best Ball:

  • Don’t focus on ADP in the later rounds. If you are high on a fringe player, take them. Also, ADP updates slowly, so players like Duke Johnson are still sitting at a 146ADP (RB50) but he’s potentially worth more in Houston. Don’t be afraid to reach for him (or other players like him) if you agree.
  • If you want a player, take him. Just because I’m making recommendations above doesn’t mean it’s the best strategy for how your team is drafting.
  • Don’t be afraid to fade a player either. I am avoiding certain players this season because I can’t see drafting them at their current ADP.
  • Target higher upside players, and players on higher upside teams.
  • If it is late in the draft, use bye weeks to help you decide which player to pick
  • RB should have 3 reserves and WR should have 4 reserves at a minimum.

Where can I play Best Ball NFL?

DRAFT, Yahoo!, & Fanball are some of the more popular sites that you can play best ball. They all have different scoring and position rules. Make sure you check the rules & scoring before drafting. Most of all Have fun! Good luck this NFL season!

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Jeff Talbot

Jeff Talbot is a winner of multiple NFL Season Long Fantasy & NFL Best Ball leagues. He is also an avid player of all Daily Fantasy Sports. He is the author of Talbot's Treasures and many other DFS articles for NFL & NASCAR. Find him on DRAFT, DraftKings, and FanDuel @boottmills. Find him on Twitter @BoottmillsDFS