$3.5M Best Ball Championship Mock Draft
If you haven’t jumped into Best Ball yet, there is no better time than the next few weeks as Draft is putting on a whopping $3,500,000 tournament with the winner becoming a millionaire. Don’t go into it blind though, as Best Ball requires strategy unique to what you know from normal redraft fantasy leagues.
In best ball, you draft an 18-player team with no kickers or defense and that’s it. There is no waiver wire. There are no trades. You don’t even have to set your lineup! Your best possible lineup will be your score every single week so you’ll need to mix boom and bust players with durable and reliable ones. With that said, you also need to swing for the fence a bit, as only the best team from the 12 in your draft will advance to the second round. What’s more, is that you’ll need a roster with the upside to beat out every other league winner over a four-week tournament following the 12-week regular season.
As you’ll see below, I took some major gambles in the $3.5M Best Ball Championship draft I did this morning. I landed the 12th pick and gave myself a chance to hit the lottery if both Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon are healthy and active. Of course, my odds of finishing dead last are increased as well, but for me, it’s all about the big prizes. Let me tell you about my team and strategy position by position. The full roster is listed at the bottom of the page.
If you want to try your hand at Best Ball, you can get a free entry here.
Half of you are thinking about closing that window already but let me explain. Going into the draft, each of the 12 teams has about an 8% chance of winning the league and advancing to the playoffs. Our goal in Best Ball is not to increase our shots at a 4 or 6 team playoff, it’s to be the single best team. Let’s say there is a 50% chance Gurley is still a top 5 back (I think that is conservative). Let’s also say Gordon has a 60% chance of holding out a month. I think it’s closer to 6%, but we’ll again be conservative with 60%. If either of those happens, my team is ruined. I’m finishing bottom three, but as Ricky Bobby said, “If you ain’t first, you are last”. That saying is actually true in best ball as there is no difference whatsoever between 2nd and 12th. Now if both are active and healthy, I have by far the best backfield in the league as both are likely top 5 running backs. The odds of that are 30% and while there is still a chance both of my QBs get hurt or some other disaster scenario, my odds of winning the league are much closer to 20% than the original 8% I started with.
Murray is my absolute must-have in fantasy drafts this year and I have over 70% ownership of him on Draft so far. Mark Ingram was drafted 48th overall last year even despite a 4-game suspension and Murray is somehow going 50 picks later even though he is stepping into the same exact role and not expected to miss any time. Hyde is a potential jackpot if Damien Williams continues to lose Andy Reid’s favor or suffers and injury and the rookie, Justice Hill is a bigger, faster, stronger version of Phillip Lindsay. He should have no trouble carving out a Tarik Cohen type role in an offense that might run the ball 35 times a game and has no competition for targets.
Because I selected two running backs first, my receivers aren’t as sexy at the top of the depth chart as many other teams. This is why I drafted nine of them while most everyone else only selected six. I could have just grabbed depth pieces that I knew were going to play most weeks: Willie Snead, Kenny Stills, Jamison Crowder, but I went for upside instead. Essentially, if two or even one of Parker, Gordon, Moore or Kumerow break out and only one of my top five get hurt, I’ve got five strong receivers which will certainly do the trick. Coutee is among my favorite receivers this year as he comes with both a safe floor and a huge ceiling if anything were to happen to DeAndre Hopkins. Davis might not be exciting but let’s not forget he was among the league leaders in target share last year and is entering that magical third year for receivers. Robinson is now two years removed from his torn ACL and should be full steam this season in an up-and-coming bears offense. Then we’ve got Diggs, who has been a top 12 wide receiver in fantasy points per game each of the last two seasons, and Cooks who has been top 12 each of the last four seasons. Neither is consistent week to week, but there will be several huge games built-in which is ideal in best ball.
Many prefer to draft three quarterbacks and that can make sense but when you get two of your top 12 at the position, you are good to reallocate that roster spot to a different position. Cam might not be the MVP he once was, but let’s not forget that he has been QB #4 or better in all five healthy seasons of his career including 2017 when he was QB #2. In fact, going into Week 11 last year before his shoulder acted up, Cam was QB #4 once again. Trubisky, meanwhile, is Cam-lite. He has a better arm but is a downgrade with the legs. Don’t take that to mean he doesn’t run well, though, because he most certainly does. He gives fantasy owners 30.1 yards per game or a better way to think of it is almost an entire passing touchdown worth of fantasy points. Mitch threw 52 fewer passes than Mayfield last year but still finished with 23 more fantasy points.
“Now didn’t you just say you needed two of your top 12 targets at QB if you were only going to select two?” Yep. Tight end is a different animal. The top five tight ends are so reliable to perform above replacement level week to week that if you get one of them, you only need a consistent source of targets behind them. Only Gronk, the greatest tight end ever, and Evan Engram have scored over 100 fantasy points as a rookie tight end in the last 20 years. Henry was just 4 points off and did it as the backup with just 53 targets! Engram outscored him by just 14 points despite an extra 62 targets. Swaim, meanwhile, is on the roster most desolate of wide receiver weapons in the NFL. Not only that, but his QB, Nick Foles, loves tight ends far more than even Drew Brees and Andrew Luck. Swaim isn’t a big name, but you can bank on 90 targets which could sneak him into the top 12 tight ends by the end of the season.
Full Roster (by round selected)
1.12 Todd Gurley (RB)
2.1 Melvin Gordon (RB)
3.12 Brandin Cooks (WR)
4.1 Stefon Diggs (WR)
5.12 Allen Robinson (WR)
6.1 Hunter Henry (TE)
7.12 Latavius Murray (RB)
8.1 Corey Davis (WR)
9.12 Cam Newton (QB)
10.1 Keke Coutee (WR)
11.12 Carlos Hyde (RB)
12.1 Mitch Trubisky (QB)
13.12 Justice Hill (RB)
14.1 Devante Parker (WR)
15.12 Josh Gordon (WR)
16.1 David Moore (WR)
17.12 Geoff Swaim (TE)
18.1 Jake Kumerow (WR)
Thanks for reading and enjoy the Best Ball Championship! Don’t forget to take advantage of your free entry and don’t snipe me if you see me in your draft.
Don’t forget to take advantage of your free entry