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Mistakes to Avoid in DRAFT Best Ball (2018 Fantasy Football)

by Nick Johnson | @bigplaycoachj | Featured Writer
Aug 1, 2018

If you ranked Aaron Rodgers very low, don’t feel forced to select him just because he fell a few spots past his ADP

Often, a successful draft isn’t determined by your sleepers, your value picks, or your positional strategy, but instead by avoiding pitfalls. I had made picks before that I knew would be hard to come back from. If you can stay poised and avoid some major blunders, your strategy will have a chance to win out.

Before joining a contest, determine the size of the contest and the pace of the pick clock first. This is an entirely personal preference, but I did detail in my second best ball installment how you can adjust your strategy to fit each contest type. If you select a fast draft, make sure that you will have 90 minutes of uninterrupted time.

You can win your drafts in the final rounds, so don’t lose focus. I did it repeatedly last year with Alvin Kamara, Devin Funchess, and Robby Anderson. I also advise focusing only on the draft so that you can get a feel for what positions are being drafted most heavily and which value players might be slipping down the board. Multi-tasking could cause you to miss a player who has been passed over.

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The Breaking Point
Going with the flow is essential during best ball, but don’t let the flow take you. Head into the draft with a strategy in mind and adjust it as you see fit. Quick decisions lead to bad decisions, and a bad decision usually requires another bad decision to make up for it.

If you read my best ball strategy guide, you know that I don’t believe in drafting quarterbacks high in best ball drafts. As we prepare for the draft, I know in my heart that I want to wait for my quarterbacks, but that doesn’t mean I won’t take Aaron Rodgers; it just means I’m not prepared to take him where he’s been getting drafted. Rodgers’ current ADP is 39, and I have him personally ranked at 75 on my big board. If Rodgers fell to even the 48th pick, he would become tempting.

Drafting discipline will help you to refrain from taking him just because he fell a few spots. It’s all about assessing value. There’s a line drawn in the sand where Rodgers becomes valuable to me, and the same is true for every player. You must be disciplined with that line. If you move it up, you’ll find yourself stumbling to catch up at other positions.

That line in the sand will be different for each player, and you need to know where it is before you begin drafting. This is also true for players who you are favorable towards when compared to ADP. I have Amari Cooper ranked 29th, and his ADP is 39. I like Cooper a lot this season.

The love for Cooper still has to stay in perspective though. I’m not going to take Cooper in the second round when I know I can get him later than that. Pre-draft, set your line for each player, and stick to it. Assessing value on the fly is a difficult task.

Roster Holes
With each adjustment that you make to your plan, your late round targets will change. It’s easy to lose sight of what roster spots you don’t have filled. Let’s take a look at an example of this (albeit an extreme one) from an opponent in one of my fast drafts:

This user has drafted a lot of outstanding players, but he has such a negligible chance of winning his league because he only has three running backs, two of which share the same bye week. This means that in Week 8, no matter what Sony Michel and Carlos Hyde do, he’s getting their scores and in Week 11, he’s guaranteed to have Devonta Freeman’s score and an empty slot. Chances are that this user didn’t know the premise of best ball, but let his team serve as a warning for what happens when you let your drafting get away from you.

This particular drafter used his final seven picks on pass catchers. To prevent this from happening, I’m always checking my roster to see what I need. DRAFT also offers a queue where you can store players that you’re interested in selecting in the upcoming rounds. Below is a snapshot of a slow draft I’m in the process of completing:

I would like to add another running back to the mix not just because I only have two of them, but also because the two I do have are both on Week 7 byes. Because I know this, I’ve queued up my wayward son, Kerryon Johnson, as well as Marlon Mack. It’s easier to use the queue in slow drafts, no doubt, but you should be using it for both styles. It’s a valuable tool to ensure you are filling roster holes.

You can also see that I’ve queued up Jarvis Landry. This is because I have drawn a line in the sand for the next running back after Mack. I don’t want to reach that far for Isaiah Crowell.

Bye Weeks
A lot of drafters tend to overreact to bye weeks. If you were to take Ezekiel Elliott with the third pick and DeAndre Hopkins fell to you at pick 22, ask yourself if you would think about their off weeks. If you would, then you’re an overreactor. With the first five or six picks, bye weeks are mostly irrelevant. Pick the best available players and follow your positional strategy.

That being said, if you are only drafting from one bye week, that could be an issue. I recently started a draft with Le’Veon Bell, Davante Adams, Doug Baldwin, and Amari Cooper. I LOVE that core of players.

I did not love it when I looked up and saw that all four of them have a Week 7 bye. It didn’t implode my team on the spot, but it did force me to make some changes down the road. I knew I probably couldn’t draft a Week 7 QB or TE.

There are a lot of late-round wide receivers that I’m targeting this season. Jaron Brown is one of those receivers. A potential number two wide receiver for Russell Wilson is enticing. In my draft that was loaded with Week 7 byes, I would have to rule out taking Brown at the end of drafts.

As long as you don’t make a blunder that big, bye weeks are a late-round concern. Simply put, be cognizant of your bye weeks, but don’t let them dictate your whole lineup. At QB and TE, where we would like to only have two players, be extra careful to avoid double byes.

Reaction to News
When a story breaks that a player is facing suspension, or came down with an injury, you will see an immediate overreaction to the news in best ball drafts. The player will plummet down boards and sometimes last two or three rounds later than his ADP. When it was announced that Doug Baldwin was experiencing knee soreness, I got him in the late-third or early-fourth round of drafts that day. Is knee soreness concerning? Sure, it is. But we can’t overcorrect ADPs to news.

Similarly, if a beat reporter says that a player has “looked dominant” in training camp and he’s “getting all the snaps with the starters,” you will see drafters taking those players even earlier than they should be. Along those lines, beat reporters have been concerned with Chris Thompson’s ability to return at full health, so Derrius Guice’s ADP has climbed from the fifth round to the third round since June. All things considered, Guice and Thompson are not even similar backs. Guice is a between-the-tackles grinder, and Thompson is a scat back. Thompson’s health shouldn’t have a two-round effect on Guice’s ADP. Stay level and respond to news with reason and you can take advantage of situations like this.

I hope you’ve picked up on a few things you can implement in your drafts that will help you win from our three installments outlining the basics of DRAFT best ball. Head out there and join some drafts. Maybe we’ll cross paths in a lobby.

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Nick Johnson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Nick, check out his archive and follow him @bigplaycoachj.

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