The fantasy football industry is a billion-dollar industry. That’s hardly news. What might be news is that one of the fastest-growing segments of the industry is Best Ball Leagues. That’s why I give unto you our 2023 Fantasy Football Best Ball Draft Strategy Primer!
First a word about what “Best Ball” is. Advocates of best ball leagues will essentially tell you that it’s the best part of fantasy league, i.e. the draft, without all the headache of having to determine your lineup each week.
Fantrax just finished a month of best ball leagues with Lisa Ann, Hopefully you got in on that, but have no fear. There are plenty of Best Ball Leagues you can jump into every day on Fantrax.
And with that out of the way, I give unto you my 2023 Fantasy Football Best Ball Draft Strategy!
2023 Fantasy Football Best Ball Draft Strategy Primer
The Basics of a Fantrax Best Ball Leagues
— Lisa Ann (@thereallisaann) July 5, 2023
Even if you missed out on a chance to draft with (against?) Lisa Ann, there are still plenty of Fantrax best ball leagues you can play in! And yes, there are other sites where you can play best ball leagues. But unlike some other sites, with a Fantrax best ball league you know exactly when you will be drafting. Sounds like something minor, but I can’t tell you how annoying it is waiting for a league to fill, not knowing when it will start, only to find out it filled 10 minutes ago and has already started!
Furthermore, similar to traditional fantasy football leagues, Fantrax has Team Defenses while most other sites do not. But with some of the reasons to choose Fantrax over others, let’s focus on what is pretty universal to all.
Per Fantrax’s best ball overview:
The purpose of this game is to draft a team of 20 NFL players. Each Period the system will pick your optimum lineup. No in-season moves, just draft and watch! You will compete against the other managers in your 12- team league for league prizes. It’s that simple!
Players are selected through a snake draft. Each week, the site will automatically select the top one QB, top three WRs, top two RBs, the top Team Defense, the top TE, and the top RWT aka Flex. After your top-scoring position players are counted based on the above constraints, the top remaining Running Back, Wide Receiver, or Tight End on your roster will be counted toward the RWT or FLEX position.
Roster Maximums and Scoring
When putting together your 20-selection team, Fantrax roster maximums are as follows:
|Running Back (RB)
|Wide Receiver (WR)
|Tight End (TE)
|Team Defense (TmD)
The scoring as is follows:
Fumbles Lost (FL)
Fumbles Recovered for Touchdowns – Offense (FRTD)
Interceptions Thrown (Int)
Passing Touchdowns (TD)
Passing Yards (Yds)
|Calculate Per Game, NonCumulative:
From 1 to 999, award 0.1 point(s) for every2Yds
Receiving Touchdowns (TD)
Receiving Yards (Yds)
Rushing Touchdowns (TD)
Rushing Yards (Yds)
Two Point Conversion Passes (2Pa)
Two-Point Conversion Receptions (2Rc)
Two-Point Conversion Rushes (2Ru)
Points Allowed by the Defense (PA-Def)
|Calculate Per Game, NonCumulative:
0, award 10 point(s)
1 to 6, award 7 point(s)
7 to 20, award 4 point(s)
21 to 29, award 1 point(s)
30 to 99, award -3 point(s)
Safeties by the Defense (Sft)
Touchdowns – Defense/Special Teams (TDDST)
The scoring is also pretty straightforward, but note that passing TDs are the traditional 4 points. Also, I hope you noticed the 3-WRs as part of your starting lineup. This is not unusual, but noteworthy. I point those two things out because they are important to keep in mind for one of the most important parts of our 2023 Fantasy Football Bestball Strategy Primer: strategy!
2023 Fantasy Football Best Ball Draft Strategy
BestBall Fantasy Managers need to draft depth at every position which is a bit of a deviation from standard redraft leagues. Smart BestBall managers will pick multiple quarterbacks and tight ends, often a combination of five or six of the two. This is often considered downright heretical in regular redraft leagues. Best Ball is about using the highest scores “each week” and slotting them into your starting roles. Sounds easy, but there’s far more that goes into it.
Drafters should be looking to stay in these ranges when drafting their tournament teams:
- Quarterbacks: 2–3
- Running Backs: 5–6
- Wide Receivers: 7–8
- Tight Ends: 2–3
- Team Defenses 2-3
For beginning players, I recommend 3 QBs, 5 RBs, 7 WRs, 3 TEs, and 2 Team Defenses. Why?
The answer is that on Fantrax, you have to ensure you have eight players and one team defense at all times putting up solid to “groundbreaking numbers” every week. A low-scoring position will put you at a disadvantage and will be the main reason your team falls out in the playoffs.
So your depth should always threaten your starter for a role versus playing second fiddle to your starters. Consistency in your depth isn’t always key. Let’s compare this to a popular redraft strategy, “Zero RB Strategy”.
In that well-known strategy, you draft wide receivers early and find RB values later in the draft. But that is an extremely foolish way to spend your draft capital. If you go three-wide receiver with your first three picks you are inherently betting that those players on average will be in your starting lineup nearly every week on your team. By continuously spending all your high-end picks on one position you’re showing less faith in your first set of picks therefore shouldn’t be drafting those players.
Additional Strategy Recommendations
Pay attention to bye weeks!
Your teams should average over 120 points per week. Anything less means you are likely kissing your money goodbye.
And this means that you cannot ignore bye weeks. Unlike our usual redraft formats, one cannot afford to punt positions for an entire week. You cannot take a loss of points and move on. Each week we need to have a full roster playing because the highest scorer at the end of round one is the bracket winner. For every week your team drops points, the more your team needs to score to make up that difference and that’s not an easy thing to do.
Draft Throughout The Offseason
Stacking in Best Ball Leagues
Christian McCaffrey's first TD as a 49er is a … 34-yard PASSING touchdown.pic.twitter.com/tnQYKZU25f
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) October 30, 2022
Stacking has made its way into standard redraft leagues as well. But it makes even more sense in Best Ball leagues. It simply means pairing your QB with one or more of his pass-catchers. This typically means his wide receivers or tight ends, but even in some cases his mates in the backfield. The goal is to maximize the good weeks of your quarterback by having exposure to one or more of his pass-catchers as well, who could also benefit from a big day.
Stacking can be implemented in Best Ball in a variety of creative ways due to the large bench sizes. Most will look to pair their quarterback with one of his top receivers, especially WRs in high-ceiling passing offenses. But even pairing a Christian McCaffrey with say whoever wins the 49er quarterback battle can produce huge dividends as McCaffrey is known for taking a short little swing pass and turning it into a 60-yard house-call!
Consider Injury History
With zero waiver pickups in best ball fantasy football contests, the team you draft is all you get for the season. Thus, those players who seem to get bit by the injury bug need to be examined even more carefully when drafting in a Bestball league. Even if he manages to be healthy most of the season, a player that becomes a little gimpy during the final month of the season could kill your chances of a big payday.
Some players are worth the risk (Love me some Saquon Barkley this year), but you don’t want a roster overflowing with injury risks. Football is a rough game; injuries are inevitable. You just want to ensure you draft guys whom you’re confident will be able to play in most games throughout the long, grueling NFL season. As the saying goes, the best ability is availability.
ADP and baseline player production are obviously the first two tools you should be considering. However, consider the variance of that production as well. Consider the following two example players and their fantasy production over a three-week period:
- Player X: 10 points, 30 points, 50 points
- Player Y: 25 points, 30 points, 35 points
In the above example, both players average 30 points across the 3-week sample. Yet Player X has a higher variance, hitting a whopping 50 points in one week. This is a key point to understand when drafting BestBall rosters. Because the system automatically uses your best players each week (you don’t need to decide who to start week to week), you want players that have more variance and high ceilings for a given week. Yes, Player X might give you a dog week of 10 points, but you’ll likely have other players that can take this spot in tallying up your points for the week. Moreover, Player X is giving you a 50-point week within the sample as well.
Got any more questions my 2023 Fantasy Football Best Ball Draft Strategy Primer didn’t answer? Shoot me a DM on Twitter @MarkStrausberg and I’ll be happy to advise!