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The Draft Best Ball Championship is the biggest best ball tournament ever! It is an incredibly fun way to build a diverse portfolio of players to try and take down a top prize. It is different than other best ball leagues of the past. Your goal is to not only win your league but advance multiple weeks to get your shot at the big money, with one million dollars waiting for the winner. Some may argue this, but I think it is very important to not only try to win your individual league but set your team up to have high correlated weekly success. This means you want to stack teams! Not just quarterbacks and their weapons, but multiple players from the same team. If the Falcons score 35 points in Week 13, it is going to be hard to advance past 15 teams without exposure to them. You want to have key pieces to the best offenses in the league and load up on these teams when possible.
There are multiple strategies people employ in best ball. 0RB, 0WR, TE early, punt QB and all can have success. My personal favorite is attack RB in at least two of the first three rounds and fill my roster out with the remaining top WRs as the draft falls to me. Going complete 0RB in a 0.5 PPR format can be difficult unless injury chaos takes out all of the backs who have far and away from the highest weekly floor and ceilings in this format. I personally will max enter this tournament, so I will build teams involving all strategies.
Note: If you are going to MME this tournament, make sure you are checking your exposures on DRAFT’s tournament exposure tab.
I am not hell-bent on a particular strategy going into the draft. I let my draft position and the way the board is falling impact my strategy. If I want to go 0RB, I need a back half of the first round pick where I can start Adams and Julio Jones, I won’t take Hopkins top 5 and force the strategy. The other thing I do is let the board fall. There are sharp players on Draft, but there are also a lot of fish. You want to be in a position to take advantage of reaches, bad auto picks, and players falling. If I am hell-bent on going 0RB and Joe Mixon falls to 2.06, I am going to adjust my strategy accordingly. Similarly, I am not an advocate of drafting QBs early, my sweet spot is Rounds 10-13 to fill out my quarterback position. However, if I get Odell Beckham in Round 2, I will be happy to take Baker in Round 8 to ensure the stack.
When I am looking at players in best ball, I want multiple things: volume, touchdown equity and big-play ability. Having deep threat wide receivers is fantastic, but chasing spike weeks can get you into trouble. Spike week players have major dips, so mixing them in with some consistent players can be extremely helpful to not drop in the standings at an extreme rate. A combination of something like Sterling Shepherd and Robert Foster can be excellent because Foster will have some shutouts, and when that happens, Shepherd will be able to carry him.
You should have multiple entries into this tournament if you want any chance of winning it. One key thing is being different at the end of drafts. Take a chance on a guy like Benny Snell, where if we get an injury to James Conner, he becomes a guy who can win a league. These kinds of players can be an absolute waste of a draft spot or they can turn into a Phillip Lindsay, who was such a differentiator in last year’s tournament because he was so low owned. After the first round of the playoffs, a lot of teams are similar because the people who had big games to advance teams tend to be on multiple teams. Last year, Juju Smith-Schuster was on six of the 12 semifinal rosters in the league I was in. Finding ways to differentiate yourself and becoming comfortable with risk is the key to success. Don’t be scared to miss on your 16-18th round pick, any big weeks from them should be looked at as a bonus, not a requirement
Another key to success is understanding the ebbs and flows of ADP. Drafts have already kicked off and we are just under 100 days until the season. Players stocks will rise and fall. Understand where you value someone and hold strong. If you create many teams, you should do it throughout the process. You want to be able to take advantage of news and grab players, but make sure to avoid overpaying.
Love a player in Round 17 and 18? Get him as much as you can now, but realize that if he jumps to the 12th a month from now, it is OK to pass. Last year, John Brown was an 18th round pick this time of the year and shot all the way up to the 10th and 11th rounds in August. Getting your exposure at the right time will be key to beating so many people who have the same players as you. Darrell Henderson is a great example. I loved buying him in the eighth, but with the recent news to Todd Gurley, people are being reactionary and grabbing him in the fourth or fifth. I try to avoid buying at peaks at all costs.
Favorite Value Stacks
Seahawks – Tyler Lockett, Russell Wilson, D.K. Metcalf, David Moore
Brian Schottenheimer is the reason this stack is not the nuts. Wilson is arguably the best deep ball passer in the NFL and the Seahawks have complemented him with the perfect weapons to take advantage. While the passing volume isn’t ideal, the big plays are. Lockett had a perfect WR rating in 2018 and is a big play machine. While Metcalf is raw, he is a freak athlete who wins downfield and David Moore is an 18th round target who has very little competition to be a top three receiver on this team. If I miss out on Lockett and can get Wilson in the ninth or 10th, Metcalf and Moore are guys I am looking to add to my arsenal.
Packers – Aaron Rodgers, Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown
This stack may not be easy to spell, but it is easy to get. With Aaron Rodgers ADP seemingly as low as it has ever been, the buying window for Packers has never been better. With Mike McCarthy out and Matt LaFleur in, I look for the Packers offense to regain its form. While no one is excited about LaFluer, people were buying up Titans because of him just last year. With Rodgers in the fold, it is not hard to stack him with his secondary weapons and capture almost every single non-DaVante Adams touchdown. Allison is one of my favorite buys at ADP as he was on a tear last year, going for over 60 yards all four of the games he was healthy. He is locked in as the No. 2 receiver, likely playing in the slot, and attached to one of the league’s top QBs. MVS has the likely head start on ESB for the WR3 job, but I expect both to play, and ESB is a free dart throw at the end of drafts who is an injury away from a major role.
Bills – Josh Allen, John Brown, Robert Foster
I wrote all three of these players up in my last best ball article and this is one of my favorite late round stacks to give an upside jolt in the arm to my teams. Currently, I am targeting Allen in the 10th, Brown in the 12th and Foster in the 15th. Allen has some major holes in his NFL game, but fantasy-wise his rushing ability and desire to take 40-yard bombs are ideal for this stack. Foster and Brown are two of the games biggest deep threats. The weeks Allen has big plays, it will likely be one, if not both Brown and Foster benefiting.
I am going to talk about some of my favorite targets for different strategies along with the best values. I didn’t want to double up on one player, but for example, Benny Snell is a 0RB target and a late round value despite just being listed as a late round value.
0 RB Targets
Montgomery has elite contact balance, is a capable receiver, and steps into a prime role from Day 1. He has RB1 upside taking over Jordan Howard’s role with likely additional receiving upside. Last year in a similar role, Howard was a second/third-round pick who never saw less than 250 carries in a season during his Bears tenure. He is a prime candidate in the fifth round to start building your RBs up after taking four straight receivers.
Reports are they plan for Miller to be a three-down back again this year. His only real competition for touches is D’Onta Foreman, who is now a year removed from an Achilles injury. In his three year career, he has never seen less than 230 total touches despite never playing more than 14 games. He has gone over 1,000 yards in five consecutive years, and while he isn’t flashy, he is productive. He is a great sixth-round target for 0RB teams.
Hill is an elite athlete who was a home run hitter at Oklahoma State, averaging 5.6 yards per carry in his career. Matching him with Lamar Jackson in the zone read game could create open lanes for him to take advantage of his 4.4 speed. He should step into an RB2 role in Baltimore behind veteran Mark Ingram and at his 13-14th round price provides value Day 1 and is one injury away from major upside.
The Patriots surprised many when they went RB in the third round this year after going over with Sony Michel in Round 1 the year before. Early reports from camp are that he is pushing Sony Michel for goal-line work and could see more work than many expect this season. He is someone you can get in the 15th round every time and could have a locked in role from Day 1 with major touchdown upside as part of one of the league’s top offenses.
Personally, I think Carlos Hyde stinks and Damien Williams has league winning upside, but if he hits his floor this season, it could mean massive things for Thompson. The Chiefs offensive coordinator has spoken very highly of Thompson, saying he is “incredible” and a person “you fall in love with.” With the potential to get on the field for one of the league’s highest-scoring offenses, Thompson makes an excellent late 0RB target.
The Cardinals want to run 90 plays a game, while that number is silly and won’t happen, they do have an excellent chance to be the league’s highest paced team. David Johnson can’t play all the snaps, which opens up opportunity for Edmunds, who played 199 snaps his rookie year. He has a chance to contribute in a great schematic offense and if Johnson gets hurt, Edmunds would become a league winner.
0 WR Targets
What Kingsbury brings and what Kirk exceeds at are a match made in heaven. Not only will Kingsbury’s offense take vertical shots from the slot, but he will get playmakers in space. Kirk is one of the league’s most dangerous YAC receivers, and with so many four-wide sets, expect for him to get bubble screens in space and vertical shots down the field. He averaged 10-or-more yards per catch in every game but one since Week 5 and offers major upside in the ninth round.
Samuel came on strong in the second half of the season while being used in both the passing and run game. He is an elite athlete, 4.31 speed, who the Panthers are looking to get the ball to. In the last five games of the season, he saw 40 targets and finished the season 7 total touchdowns. If he sustains his late-season volume with his big-play ability, he will crush his value. He will be one of my highest owned players.
Locked and loaded as Aaron Rodgers’ WR2, Allison is a steal in the 10th round. In the first four games of the season, Allison saw 28% of the air yards, and 18% of the targets, finishing with more yards and just one less touchdown than DaVante Adams while seeing a higher aDot. Fully healthy with less competition for targets than ever before, Allison is severely underrated.
Fuller has appeared in just 17-32 games in the last two seasons, but when he is on the field, he crushes it with Watson. People will scream about touchdown regression, saying his touchdown percentage isn’t sustainable. However, with his ability to get behind a defense and with Hopkins ability to draw double coverage in the red zone, Fuller should still see high touchdown equity in an explosive offense. Fuller comes as a major injury risk, but if he stays healthy with his big-play upside, he will shatter ADP and has a chance to sneak into the top 15 of WRs overall.
Not many times can one say that Nick Foles is a massive upgrade at QB, but Blake Bortles make this a special case. Westbrook is the No. 1 receiver in Jacksonville, competing with Keelan Cole, D.J. Chark, and Marqise Lee. During the second half of the season, Westbrook came on strong, leading the team in both MS of air yards and target share at 35% and 25% respectively. I look for him to lead the Jaguars in targets this year in an improved passing game. I am happy to grab him in Round 10 or 11.
Robinson came on strong to end the year, crushing in his playoff game by catching 10-13 targets for 143 yards and a touchdown. From Week 10 on, he led the team in air yards and target share. While the second half of the season is always important when looking ahead to next year, even more so in Robinson’s case, as he’s coming back from an ACL tear. He is priced at his floor as a sixth-round pick and has major upside at his current price.
Late Round Dart Throws
If you are looking for athleticism, you likely want to skip on to the next player. Snell is a powerful, lower-your-shoulder type of runner who has made an impression on coaches and teammates early in camp. There are rumors that the Steelers are going to go away from a bell cow style and go to an RBBC approach with Snell getting goal line work. If that becomes the case, Snell will smash ADP and is an injury away from having a monumental role. In the 18th round, there are plenty of worse darts to throw.
The former Georgia Tech WR is now set to start at TE for the Oakland Raiders with relatively no competition. At 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, while running a 4.46, he is a matchup problem at the tight end position. That kind of athleticism with little competition for snaps makes Waller and intriguing dart throw.
Since Week 10, Tyler Lockett finished catching 29 of 32 targets. Moore only caught 13 passes in that time span but had only two fewer targets and saw over 100 more air yards. He had a ridiculous 19.8 aDot and has 4.36 speed. His only competition on outside targets is rookie DK Metcalf and is a near lock to be on the field in all three-wide sets. His big-play ability and market share of air yards make him an excellent late-round pick.
This is a contrarian angle. Basically, with everyone worried about Todd Gurley’s knee and Henderson’s ADP shooting up, Brown is still available in the last round of drafts, making him a value. If Gurley’s knee is a real problem and causes him to miss time, Brown is likely the biggest benefactor, as Henderson will have a receiving role with or without Gurley missing time. While everyone zigs, I choose to zag with Brown in the 18th.
Equanimeous St Brown
Every draft you do ESB will be hanging out in the last round. He should be in a camp battle with Marquez Valdes-Scantling for the WR3 spot. In ESB’s last three games played, he out-snapped MVS in two of them. He is a 6-foot-4, has 4.48 speed and is smooth route runner who can make plays in space as well as downfield. He was one of my favorite receivers in the draft a year ago and I am betting he wins the WR3 job. Even if he is WR4, he is still attached to Aaron Rodgers and is an injury away from a major role. He will have very little ownership in the best ball championship and is a potential differentiator in the playoffs.
In every game but one in 2018, Doyle out snapped Eric Ebron. While his target share could drop due to the added weapons in Indianapolis, he is simply going too late in drafts. He is a perfect TE2 who establishes a weekly floor for a position where most players floor is zero. He hasn’t seen less than three targets since Week 11 in 2016 and is the perfect floor tight end. You won’t win TE with Jack Doyle, but if he stays healthy, he should ensure you don’t get crushed.
As I wrote above with my favorite stacks, Fosters big-play ability in the 15th just feels like stealing. He will compete with four receivers for meaningful snaps, but I would be utterly shocked if he doesn’t finish top three. He has a chance for multiple WR1 weeks and in the 15th round, you will struggle to beat that.
Barber is the latest player who has a legit chance to start. He will have a camp battle with Ronald Jones, who was a major disappointment his rookie year – though he does have a lot of camp buzz at the moment. Barber is not a talented player, but he has a legit chance of volume in a powerful offense. Even if Jones wins the battle, Barber will play meaningful snaps and in Round 11 or 12, that is good value.
Unfortunately, two of the best in the industry in Evan Silva and Graham Barfield are starting to fuel the Mark Andrew hype train, so he may not be a value for much longer. Andrews is a great pick for all the reasons in Evan’s below screenshot and I have very little concern about Hayden Hurst. The track record of rookies who struggle when they enter the league at 26 is more than enough for me to not worry about Hurst.
Eliot Crist is the Sports Product Manager for The Quant Edge.He is a fantasy analyst with a background in scouting, analytics, and fantasy research. Formerly he has contributed at PFF, 4for4, Bleacher Report, Powerhour, and NDT Scouting. Eliot combines watching tape with analytics to try and take angles that other analysts aren’t to gain an edge for you.