Best Ball Tips & Tricks — 2022-23 NFL Season

If you’re reading this article, you’ve dabbled in fantasy sports at its very origin — season-long fantasy football. Whether in leagues with friends, family, or co-workers, fantasy football in its purest form can fill the void of any sports-lover’s fall/winter. But, as the weather gets colder and players get more injured, the fantasy gods can turn even the greatest of drafted teams into shambles within a few weeks time. Not to dismiss the ways of old tradition in any sense…heck, fantasy football will always be cool, but wouldn’t you rather try your luck in a fantasy format that doesn’t require grinding the waiver wire and following beat reporters every waking second of the regular season?

Fantasy Football, meet your long lost brother from the future, Best Ball.

Best ball is essentially a scoring/team management style of fantasy sports where you draft a team in a league of 12, and then the league scoring system determines your highest possible weekly lineup score. You draft a team and that’s it. Simple as that. No roster moves, no sit/start decisions, no grinding the waiver wire. No “accidentally forgetting to set your lineup” on Thursday nights or trying to sneak a “bathroom break” to check your phone while you’re on a date night with the misses (it’s okay, we’ve all been there). It really is as simple as drafting at the beginning of the season, sweating football on the weekends, and checking if you won at the end of the season.

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Best Ball Macro Strategies: Go Big or Go Home

The RotoRadar NFL team sat down and hashed out a series of guidelines when attacking Best Ball drafts. While many season long / traditional strategies still apply to this format, Best Ball is in and of itself its own beautiful creature. Team Credits go to: Chris Hendrickson, Jared Block, Josh Riemer, and Khai Berry.

Guidelines That Still Apply to All Fantasy Drafts
  • Value — This word is a staple regardless of what fantasy format you play. Many times the difference between winning and losing is simply due to understanding the value within the game or sport you’re playing. Each owner will construct their best ball team differently, but they will more than likely still treat the value of players within their positions with poise and precision. The human element will always flash in certain scenarios (team/player biases, being bullish/bearish on certain players due to events in past leagues, etc.), but recognizing value early on will tremendously improve your drafting styles the more leagues you dive into. Playing best ball leagues in late summer before “traditional draft season” will give you the upper hand when it comes to recognizing value and sniping/avoiding players that could come with a certain buzz in local/work/family leagues.
  • Laser Focus Through The Turns – Best Ball drafts are very similar to the first several rounds in traditional style play. When analyzing the snake format to prepare and anticipate back-to-back pick strategy, you need to come prepared if you end up drafting in one of these spots (typically spots 1 and 12).
Best Ball Specific Strategies
  • Pay Attention to Bye Weeks – When drafting your best ball teams, bye weeks can be your best friend, but they can also just as easily be your worst nightmare. Since whatever scoring system you’re using accounts for the top overall score, you’ll more than likely be able to avoid catching a zero if you identify teams/stacks you want to target that have separate weeks off. Don’t be that guy that drafts 70% of their team with a Week 9 Bye.
  • “Top-20” WR Strategy – Wide receiver is the deepest fantasy spot across all sorts of play (Best Ball, DFS, traditional), as quality lasts deepest into the draft. Unlike traditional drafts, you’re not able to dig through the waiver wire on a weekly basis to try to find guys that can absorb volume if their counterparts get hurt. We highly suggest using two out of your first four picks to draft wide receivers that you know can finish WR1 on their specific team (we’ll go one step above this and state that no only should they be WR1 on their team, but they should have top-20 WR upside on the year). The longer you wait at the position, the harder it will be to obtain the volume needed at the end of the year when everything is all said and done. Once you’ve secured your 2 top-20 WR and backs you feel comfortable with, you can then start to take bigger risks on receivers deep in the draft that are more boom/bust options.
  • “Tier 1” Tight Ends – While we don’t mind stacking tight ends with their QBs late in drafts, you’ll know right away at the very start of your draft if you’re able to obtain a Top-5 tight end. Since there is such a discrepancy in tiers at the position after the top 5 (Kelce, Andrews, Waller, Pitts, Kittle), not securing a player in the first tier could certainly be a death sentence. On the other side of this argument is the fact that you can only play one tight end per week, so picking up two tight ends in this first tier is also disastrous — you should be focusing on picking up another WR/RB instead. The average tight end when stacked with his QB can provide some value and redemption, but we highly suggest trying to make TE a priority in your 3rd/4th rounds depending on how many teams are drafting in your league.

Best Ball Tips & Tricks
  1. Maximize Your Ceiling
    • Remember, you need to out score your entire league, not just one person
    • Target built-in upside / high variance
      • Rookies
      • Explosive backups
      • Breakout players after disappointing previous seasons
      • High variance, volatility: big-play threat guys
  2. Don’t Handcuff Running Backs
    • No need for injury insurance, stay away from injury guys
    • Build out your portfolio for more exposure 
    • Maximize every roster spot for maximum upside, aiming for ceiling, not floor
  3. Correlation
    • Stay away from QB/RB combos
    • Stack 1-3 pass catchers with 1-3 QBs
      • Take advantage of huge games, double-dip stats
      • If QB25 finishes as QB17, pass catchers benefit
  4. 16 Full Games of Upside
    • Don’t draft players coming into season injured or suspended
      • Volatility even when they come back, change in offensive role
    • Draft guaranteed starters over controversy
  5. Roster Construction
    • 2 QBs projected to start 16 games – PAY ATTENTION TO BYE WEEKS
      • If you’re drafting a Trubisky/Mariota, you need to ride or die that they start all 16 games Low risk bet, but you waste a roster spot drafting a 3rd QB
    • 3-5 RBs
      • Aiming for 10+ games of production
        • Lowering ceiling with backups who only see production due to injury
    • 7-10 WRs
      • Most volatile position: 0 or 100
        • Hard to hit on lower end receivers towards the end of the draft
        • Invest in guys early and often for top end production (2 Top-20 at position)
        • 3rd or 4th string receiver >>> backup running back only seeing time due to injury
    • 2 TEs
      • Top TE early, search for late round value
        • Banking on touchdowns, get benefits of huge TD weeks
      • Shouldn’t need more than 2 TEs if you’re in position to win league
  6. Save Maximum Roster Flexibility For Late Rounds
    • Build your team in early rounds
      • Solidify positions early, look to round out positions late
      • Don’t depend on your late round picks to score points
      • Late round WR >>> late round RB: stack deep options with QB

Top Roster Construction Formats – High Stakes Drafts

2 QB – 5 RB – 9 WR – 2 TE

2 QB – 6 RB – 8 WR – 2 TE

For more Best Ball articles and rankings —

Top QB Best Ball Rankings
Top RB Best Ball Rankings
Top WR Best Ball Rankings
Top TE Best Ball Rankings
Top Best Ball Overall Rankings