Unless you have been living under a rock, you’re behind on your fantasy football reading, or you don’t have a Twitter account – you are probably somewhat familiar with “best-ball” drafts. Popularized by MyFantasyLeague.com (MFL), draft-only leagues have become overwhelmingly popular over the last few years.
Best-ball means exactly what the name implies: Instead of weekly in-season management with trades and a waiver wire, in MyFantasyLeague.com’s draft-only format, 12 teams have 20 selections and play out their rosters until Week 16 as-is.
The team with the most total points at the end of the year is crowned champion.
We’ve all been in way too many leagues that require the up-most attention on a weekly basis in order to stay competitive. Best-ball leagues are simple. Based on total points every week, the system optimizes the best lineup combination of one quarterback, two running backs, three receivers, one tight end, one FLEX spot (RB, WR, or TE), and one defense for you. All scoring is points-per-reception.
The appeal goes beyond zero weekly management, however. Let’s take a deep look into how to approach MFL best-ball leagues, understand what leagues are best for you, and how to build rosters.
How Best-ball Differs From Typical Re-draft Leagues
One of the gifts (and curses) of MFL’s best-ball leagues is that you’re locked in to the same team for an entire year. If David Johnson is your first pick and he goes down with a season-ending injury in Week 3, there is zero shot at attempting to make up for his loss via trades or the waiver wire.
There is certainly an added element of luck added to best-ball formats, but the added variance is partially offset by taking a long-view of every player and every strategy on the board.
Best-ball drafters have to know average draft position, what roster construction combinations work, and positional scarcity. Draft skill and theory, obviously, matters significantly more in draft-only formats.
Chasing Upside: Just Score Points
Draft-only leagues focus more so on player’s individual weekly ceiling, unlike typical re-draft leagues. Since you’re essentially given an optimized weekly lineup with the highest scoring players at each position, it makes sense to fill your roster out with complimentary pieces – floor plays along with ceiling crashers – especially at wide receiver.
Let’s look at an example.
Last year, Marqise Lee finished as the WR51 in PPR Points/Game (10.6) while Ted Ginn Jr. was right behind him at WR58 (10.2). However, their weekly PPR output in 2016 look drastically different.
Here’s Ted Ginn Jr.’s 2016 weekly PPR output, in line graph f...