Looking to improve your best ball strategy on Draft.com? We have one, yes one, simple tip that will help you not only make the playoffs, but give yourself a chance to win the big prize in the $1,000,000 best ball challenge.
So, what is this one tip, and how can focusing on just one thing dramatically improve your best ball strategy?
Forget consistency, focus on guys that can win you weeks.
We know what you are thinking… ok, so pick the best player? Obviously, but it goes deeper than that, you need to tweak your entire draft strategy to lock in as many high upside players as possible. This article will not only walk you through implementing this strategy, but what players you should be targeting at each position.
How to Draft the Most High Ceiling Players Possible
Our favorite way to load up on the largest number of high ceiling players possible is by avoiding QB’s and TE’s until late in the draft. In fact, in one of my favorite drafts from this offseason I didn’t draft a quarterback until rounds 15,17, and 18.
In fact, I didn’t draft a non RB/WR until taking Jordan Reed in round 9. This allowed me to pick David Johnson, Dion Lewis, Jay Ajayi, Rashad Penny, AJ Green, Mike Evans, Emmanuel Sanders, and Davante Parker in rounds 1-8 of a 12 team league.
So, how do you fill in the QB and TE spots that late in the draft? Stick to the plan and load up on the highest ceiling players available. At the right you will see how the tight end position shook out for me in that draft.
Obviously a healthy Jordan Reed is one of the only tight ends in the NFL that can compete with Gronk for his top spot. Even if you only get 10 games out of him this season, he will be a top 3 tight end for at least half of those games.
The same goes for Ebron and Eifert… elite tight end talent that will be in top 10 at the position more often than not. Eifert went for 52/615/13 in just 12 full games in 2015, and Ebron is already filling a joker role for the Colts this offseason. If Ebron gets a healthy Andrew Luck, and a similar role to what Sirianni used with Gates and Henry in San Diego he could actually reach the potential that made him a top 10 pick in 2014 draft.
Quarterback is often the position that owners struggle most with in this strategy, but here is one thing to keep in mind as you go into your best ball draft: the difference between Tom Brady and Blake Bortles was less than 3 fantasy points per week last season. There is depth at the QB position.
Here are just a small sample of the QB’s currently going in the 10th round or later in 12 man PPR leagues:
- Ben Roethlisberger
- Pat Mahomes
- Jared Goff
- Derek Carr
- Alex Smith
- Case Keenum
- Dak Prescott
- Eli Manning
- Jameis Winston
You are telling me that you can’t find 25+ PPG from some combination of three of those guys?
We named Mahomes as our favorite long shot MVP pick in our NFL futures article. Goff is entering his second season under McVay… typically the season where you see the most growth and that offense is loaded. Case Keenum has a cakewalk schedule, great weapons around him, and a system that fits his skill set perfectly.
Even in the last round of the draft you can grab Sam Bradford who could legitimately be a top 12 QB for as long as he is healthy. There is simply no reason to waste a top 100 pick on a QB. Let everyone else do that while you stockpile the positions with the most scarcity.
Find Big Play Guys in the Later Rounds
Those of you that are season-long fantasy players are going to find this piece of advice particularly difficult to put into practice. You know those guys that blow up one week then disappear for two or three? Draft them.
We are using Ted Ginn as an example because he gave his owners 6 weeks of 16-25 points, and then absolutely nothing in the other 12. Guys like Ginn are a nightmare in season long leagues, but in best ball they are gold. You are getting a guy that will crack your lineup and give you 20+ points in the last round of your draft.
We promised to give you players that fit this bill, so here is a shortlist of RB/WR that could prove late round steals in best ball formats:
- Chris Thompson
- Duke Johnson
- Donta Foreman
- Theo Riddick
- Marquise Goodwin
- Nelson Agholor
- Cameron Meredith
- Mike Williams
- Geronimo Allison
- Kenny Golladay
- Josh Doctson
The reason we listed primarily PPR RB’s here is because they tend to be feast or famine. Take Riddick for example, he had back-to-back weeks of 27 and 17 points, then didn’t reach 10 points in the following two weeks.
If you get a RB like Thomspson, Johnson, or Riddick in a game where their team is coming from behind they just chew up the yards on check downs against prevent defenses.
It’s worth noting here that while we value upside a ton in the later rounds, and slightly more in the early rounds of best ball draft, you still need consistency at the top of your draft.
I would still rather have Melvin Gordon over Kareem Hunt, despite the fact that Hunt’s upside may be slightly higher than Gordon’s. You need weekly starters out of your first four rounds, and there were too many weeks in 2017 that Hunt wasn’t a best ball format starter.
Our Favorite Targets from Each Round of the 2018 Best Ball Draft
Now that we have shared an idea of what our overall strategy is for best ball drafts, here is a quick round-by-round strategy breakdown:
In an absolute perfect scenario, we want to draft on the back end of the first round and go RB/RB, but you have to be ready to draft from any position. We will share an early/late target for the first four rounds, then shift to just one pick per round for the rest of the draft.
Round 1 Early: David Johnson
Round 1 Late: Melvin Gordon
Round 2 Early: Dalvin Cook
Round 2 Late: Jerick McKinnon
Round 3 Early: T.Y. Hilton
Round 3 Late: Stefon Diggs
Round 4 Early: Jay Ajayi
Round 4 Late: Brandin Cooks
Round 5: Royce Freeman
Round 6: Chris Hogan
Round 7: Jamison Crowder
Round 8: Isaiah Crowell
Round 9: Jordan Reed
Round 10: Sterling Shepard
Round 11: Pat Mahomes
Round 12: Cameron Meredith
Round 13: Geronimo Allison
Round 14: Tyler Eifert
Round 15: Jordan Wilkins
Round 16: Eric Ebron
Round 17: Case Keenum
Round 18: Sam Bradford
Tear up those Draft Best Ball drafts!