Best-Ball Strategy (Fantasy Football)

The Zero RB strategy worked well for those who selected Kareem Hunt in 2017

Best-ball drafts are prevalent areas in fantasy football. With more and more people changing into best-ball leagues it is important to understand different draft strategies. Much like re-draft and dynasty leagues, there are different approaches as to how your team will shape up.

There is not one strategy that is better than the other. It is all personal preference. Each strategy possesses both pros and cons, so when going into a best-ball draft try different strategies and figure out which style suits you best. Here are three approaches you can try to implement in your next best ball draft.

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Balanced Approach
When attacking a best ball league, a strategy is to have a balanced team. The ability to pull from different pools of players and flexibility to rely on multiple positions can be helpful. This strategy helps mitigate a lot of risks and provides the safest floor.

This does come with downsides, as you may not always get those weekly standout numbers that would be possible if you were to focus in on a specific position. You still want to make sure that your team carries upside still. The way you win best-ball is by getting those players who have massive scoring weeks.

This draft strategy is designed to ensure that you can have an even amount of talent across your team. In total, this is around the most basic approach for drafting. Look to use this strategy when trying to get potential even point spread between each position.

Position Heavy
This strategy is the opposite of the balanced approach. This is where you load up on draft picks to get a positional advantage. The most common is probably the RB-Heavy strategy wherein the first few rounds you take strictly RBs.

That is because RBs carry the higher floor of both rushing and receiving advantages. This way, you are able to take advantage of top-tier RBs and their potential monster games. The same could be said for both QB and WR, as well.

WR may not carry as high of a floor as some RBs, but they can put up very high-scoring games, especially if you have players like Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., and DeAndre Hopkins who demand such a large target share. Focusing in on a specific position definitely increases the upside for that area of your team but could leave the rest of your team vulnerable. That is the biggest caution because it can be seen as potentially putting “all of your eggs in one basket.”

If you draft heavy in a specific position and the guys either busted or got injured, you are suddenly at a major disadvantage. Lack of diversification is the main vulnerability of this strategy

Zero RB
This has been a heated debate over the past few years. The Zero RB strategy is where the drafter focuses on every other non-RB position in the early rounds. The theory is that you are able to get value from RBs later in the draft while stockpiling assets at WR, TE, and QB.

This strategy paid off beautifully for the people who followed this strategy last year, where you had the likes of Alvin Kamara and Kareem Hunt come out as top-10 options that were drafted in the later rounds. The same could be said for the people who took Chris Thompson last year, as well. The downside of this strategy occurs when the late round RBs don’t pan out.

For everyone who had a share of Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara, there were people who swung and missed at their late round RBs. That leads to a massive hole in your lineup and limits the potential upside for your overall team points. This is a very high risk/high reward strategy. Be very wary of going all-in with this approach right out of the gate.

These are just three of the top strategies used for best-ball. Each approach has its own strengths and weaknesses. There are no strict guidelines when using these strategies, so you could always apply your own twist to a method. My recommendation is if you aren’t sure which strategy to utilize, try a few different mock drafts and with each mock draft try a different strategy. That way you can head into your best-ball draft with confidence.

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Matthew Fleisher is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Matthew, check out his archive and follow him @FFMattFleisher.

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1Todd Gurley (LAR)RB
2Saquon Barkley (NYG)RB
3Kareem Hunt (KC)RB
4James Conner (PIT)RB
5Joe Mixon (CIN)RB
6Alvin Kamara (NO)RB
7David Johnson (ARI)RB
8Adam Thielen (MIN)WR
9Antonio Brown (PIT)WR
10James White (NE)RB
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11A.J. Green (CIN)WR
12Tyreek Hill (KC)WR
13Christian McCaffrey (CAR)RB
14DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)WR
15Davante Adams (GB)WR
16Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG)WR
17Michael Thomas (NO)WR
18Marlon Mack (IND)RB
19Nick Chubb (CLE)RB
20Kerryon Johnson (DET)RB
21Robert Woods (LAR)WR
22Travis Kelce (KC)TE
23JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT)WR
24Mark Ingram (NO)RB
25Brandin Cooks (LAR)WR
26Mike Evans (TB)WR
27Adrian Peterson (WAS)RB
28Phillip Lindsay (DEN)RB
29Stefon Diggs (MIN)WR
30Zach Ertz (PHI)TE
1Mike Trout (LAA)CF,DH
2Mookie Betts (BOS)CF,RF
3Nolan Arenado (COL)3B
4Max Scherzer (WSH)SP
5Jose Altuve (HOU)2B
6Bryce Harper (WSH)CF,RF
7Manny Machado (LAD)3B,SS
8J.D. Martinez (BOS)LF,RF
9Freddie Freeman (ATL)1B,3B
10Charlie Blackmon (COL)CF
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11Corey Kluber (CLE)SP
12Jose Ramirez (CLE)2B,3B
13Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)1B
14Francisco Lindor (CLE)SS
15Trea Turner (WSH)SS
16Giancarlo Stanton (NYY)LF,RF
17Carlos Correa (HOU)SS
18Justin Verlander (HOU)SP
19Joey Votto (CIN)1B
20Anthony Rizzo (CHC)1B,2B
21Jacob deGrom (NYM)SP
22Chris Sale (BOS)SP
23Clayton Kershaw (LAD)SP
24George Springer (HOU)CF,RF
25Kris Bryant (CHC)3B,RF
26Luis Severino (NYY)SP
27Andrew Benintendi (BOS)LF,CF
28Aaron Judge (NYY)RF,DH
29Starling Marte (PIT)LF,CF
30Christian Yelich (MIL)LF,CF
1Anthony Davis (NOR)PF,C
2James Harden (HOU)PG,SG
3Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)SF,PF
4Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)C
5Kevin Durant (GSW)SF,PF
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7Stephen Curry (GSW)PG,SG
8Nikola Jokic (DEN)PF,C
9Damian Lillard (POR)PG
10Russell Westbrook (OKC)PG
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11Victor Oladipo (IND)PG,SG
12Paul George (OKC)SG,SF
13Joel Embiid (PHI)PF,C
14Kawhi Leonard (TOR)SG,SF
15Chris Paul (HOU)PG
16Jimmy Butler (MIN)SG,SF
17Kemba Walker (CHA)PG
18Kyrie Irving (BOS)PG,SG
19Ben Simmons (PHI)PG,SF
20Jrue Holiday (NOR)PG,SG
21Rudy Gobert (UTH)C
22Andre Drummond (DET)PF,C
23John Wall (WAS)PG
24Kyle Lowry (TOR)PG
25Khris Middleton (MIL)SG,SF
26Donovan Mitchell (UTH)PG,SG
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30LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS)PF,C
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