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Ideal Best Ball Roster Construction (2022 Fantasy Football)

Ideal Best Ball Roster Construction (2022 Fantasy Football)

If you have never participated in a Best Ball league, you have no idea what you’re missing. The fantasy football itch doesn’t go away because it’s March. In fact, it’s more annoying than ever. Best Ball is a great way to enjoy fantasy football all year long without having 100 leagues to manage during the regular season. Yet, without a complete understanding of how to play Best Ball fantasy will result in you setting your money on fire and wasting your time.

This article will break down how I construct most of my Best Ball teams. However, before we dive into that, let’s look at a couple of general notes you need to know before you start your draft.

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Understand How to Play

When drafting, you have to know the differences between a redraft league and a Best Ball league. Unlike season-long leagues, you don’t make waiver wire claims or lineup adjustments during the year. Instead, the platform will create the highest-scoring possible lineup for you each week based on what your players did on the field. However, it’s more than just not having to make roster moves.

You need to know how many teams are in your league. Is it three, six, 10, or 12 teams? The number of teams will impact your draft decisions. You also need to know if it is a slow draft or a quick draft. Don’t sign up for a quick draft if you aren’t prepared to sit down and focus on it and nothing else.

Plan for Bye Weeks

Currently, we don’t have the schedule for the upcoming season, meaning we don’t know when teams will have their byes. So you have to keep that in mind when drafting. While bye weeks shouldn’t be an issue for your running backs and wide receivers, it could become a problem for your quarterbacks and tight ends.

If you only draft two quarterbacks or two tight ends, you could end up scoring zero fantasy points from that position one week with both players on a bye. Furthermore, you should have at least three players at every position to avoid bye week and injury problems. Taking a zero at any position is a sure-fire way to lose the matchup for the week and possibly the league.

How Many Players by Position

There are several platforms available to play Best Ball on. My personal favorite is Underdog Fantasy. They have a simple and easy-to-understand website and a user-friendly app. On Underdog Fantasy, your drafts are 18 rounds. You draft a combination of quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends. Depending on where you play, you might also draft team defenses, kickers, or even individual defensive players (IDP).

Quarterbacks (3)

While Underdog Fantasy is a one quarterback lineup platform, you want to draft multiple guys. Not only because of bye weeks and injuries but also because having an elite quarterback performance could be the difference between winning and losing. Only four quarterbacks played all 17 games last season and averaged over 20 fantasy points per game. Those four were Josh Allen (23.7), Justin Herbert (22.4), Tom Brady (22), and Patrick Mahomes (21.3). However, that doesn’t mean you need to spend an early pick on the quarterback position. Though, you shouldn’t be against it either.

If you focus on other positions early, you want to target quarterbacks with rushing upside later in the draft. Jalen Hurts is one of my favorite targets in the middle rounds. He scored at least 20.5 fantasy points in 60 percent of his games last season. Hurts also finished first among quarterbacks in rushing yards with 784. The only other two quarterbacks with over 450 rushing yards last season were Allen and Lamar Jackson. However, their ADP is much higher than Hurts’. Allen both have a top 50 ADP. By comparison, Hurts has an ADP outside the top 80.

Running Backs (5-6)

Most Best Ball leagues have two starting running back spots and one flex slot. Depending on which stud running backs and how many I grab, I will leave my draft with five or six players at this position. If I start my draft with two stud running backs, I feel comfortable walking away with only five. Last year I had several teams with Jonathan Taylor in the first round and D’Andre Swift in the second round. In those leagues, I only drafted five running backs.

However, I went wide receiver heavy to start some of my drafts. In those leagues, I selected six running backs. You want to have a blend of reliable running backs and upside. However, that doesn’t mean safe floor players. I loaded up on upside running backs in the mid to late rounds in the leagues where I started the draft wide receiver heavy. I always try to fill out the back third of my roster with at least one, if not two, handcuffs to other teams’ star running backs. Last year I had several shares of Alexander Mattison and Darrell Henderson.

While Mattison was only valuable for the few games Dalvin Cook missed, Henderson was a league winner. Before Cam Akers suffered the Achilles injury, Henderson was a late-round pick. However, after Akers got hurt, Henderson’s ADP skyrocketed. Right now, handcuffs in running back friendly offenses are excellent later-round targets. Running backs like Henderson, Kenyan Drake, and Jamaal Williams are worth late-round picks.

Wide Receivers (6-7)

On Underdog Fantasy, you start three wide receivers every week with the possibility of a fourth in your flex spot. Therefore, you want to leave your draft with at least six wide receivers, if not seven. In addition, you want to target the players with high target shares and consistent touchdown production early in the draft. For example, Davante Adams has been an elite wide receiver for years thanks to his high target share and consistent touchdown production in Green Bay. However, with the trade to the Las Vegas Raiders, some will have concerns drafting him in the first round.

You will want to target wide receivers with high target shares despite playing on a run-heavy offense in the middle rounds. Two prime examples are Robert Woods and Jakobi Meyers. While the Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots are run-heavy teams, these two wide receivers will have critical roles in the passing game. Last year, Meyers led the Patriots with a 24.4 percent target share. Meanwhile, Woods will replace Julio Jones in Tennessee this season. For reference, Jones had a 15.9 percent target share last season. He finished second on the team, only behind A.J. Brown.

Later in the draft, you want to target big-play wide receivers with speed. These wide receivers tend to be hot and cold fantasy players. However, that is fine in Best Ball. The weeks they go off are huge, and the weeks they are awful, they will be on the bench. The other style of wide receivers you want to target in the later rounds are red zone heavy players. Wide receivers who mostly play when their team is in the red zone are hit or miss. However, the weeks they go off for two touchdowns on three receptions are massive for your team. A couple of late-round wide receivers I like are Nico Collins, Tim Patrick, and Jalen Guyton.

Tight Ends (3)

Tight end is arguably the most valuable position in Best Ball due to the lack of elite talent at the position. Unlike quarterbacks, you need to spend one of your first few picks on an elite tight end. Having Travis Kelce or Mark Andrews every week gives you a leg up on the competition. Remember, the top-scoring tight ends score on par with WR1s most weeks. However, even if you snag one of the elite tight ends, you still want to add another two during the draft.

You want to draft three tight ends to avoid issues with injuries and bye weeks. However, you also want to take shots on the high upside tight ends. Every year a late-round or undrafted tight end turns into a top 10 guy. Sometimes those tight ends end up scoring in the top five some weeks and will make it into your lineup at the flex spot. However, if you land a stud tight end, you want to wait until the last few rounds and target the players with the most upside. Three tight ends with an ADP outside the top 180 who I like are Brevin Jordan, Gerald Everett, and Albert Okwuegbunam.

Final Thoughts

While everyone loves the unknown when it comes to fantasy football, the truth is that it’s not your friend. Current free agents, players who could get traded, and rookies are hard to trust. They could end up in a great situation and see their fantasy value skyrocket. However, they could just as easily end up in a horrible situation and have their fantasy value plummet.

Unlike in redraft leagues, you want to avoid injury-prone players in Best Ball. Since you can’t drop players in Week 2 after they tear an ACL, you waste a roster spot for the rest of the year. Instead, let your opponents draft the injury-prone players and see a third of their roster worthless by Week 8. Rather than picking injury-prone players, focus on consistent healthy players. Then, wait until the later rounds and grab their handcuffs. The way to win in Best Ball is simple: shoot for upside and avoid risky players.

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If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup, based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

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