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Keys to Winning The DRAFT Mini Best Ball Championship - Footballguys

Strategy Tips for the DRAFT Mini Best Ball Championship

DRAFT had such a huge success with the release of the $25 entry Championship that they went ahead and added both a mega $125 entry and a mini $5 entry tournament. The mini is where we want to look at as the $5 entry is affordable to all and the idea of multi entering this tournament is realistic. You can play a single bullet for as little as $5 or if you want to put 10 entries in for $50 that is okay too. If you want to max enter this tournament at 150 entries it will cost you $750 total.

The Best-Ball world has been on fire this offseason and this is the marquee tournament to play in no matter your skill level. Now let's look at some tips and strategies to be one of the teams that stands out in the 46,080-entry field.

1. Understand the tournament breakdown and payouts

You have to treat this type of tournament style differently to what you would in a typical 12-man on DRAFT where the top four spots are receiving a payout. In this tournament, you have to finish in 1st place after Week 12 in order to receive any type of payout. What that means is that you are going to have to take some chances and not play it safe, and looking for any areas to exploit along the way. If you advance past Week 12 you will have to finish in the top 3 each week to move to the next until you hit the Finals in Week 16 where the top 60 teams will compete for the top prize of $20,000.

Place
Week 1-12
Week 13
Week 14
Week 15
Week 16 FINALS
1
Advance
Advance
Advance
Advance
$20,000
2
Advance
Advance
Advance
$10,000
3
Advance
Advance
Advance
$6,000
4
$20
$45
$130
$4,000
5
$20
$45
$130
$3,000
6
$20
$45
$130
$2,000
7
$20
$45
$130
$2,000
8
$20
$45
$130
$2,000
9
$20
$45
$130
$2,000
10
$20
$45
$130
$2,000
11
$20
$45
$130
$1,400
12
$20
$45
$130
$1,400
13-15
$1,400
16-20
$1,000
21-28
$800
29-40
$600
41-60
$400

2. Set and adjust your personal rankings daily

The best feature about the DRAFT product is its ease of use and availability with its App. You can pull up the App on your phone at any time and switch your player rankings with ease. If you are like most of the players entering these type of tournaments you love football and follow it thoroughly on a daily basis. The news moves quickly during Training Camp and Preseason and in best ball, you only get one chance with every pick you make. If you pick a player that gets injured, suspended, or a depth chart casualty you are already at a major disadvantage.

I like to adjust my rankings on a daily basis as the news comes in. Podcasts, Twitter, Rotoworld, and the Footballguys daily email can quickly give you player updates and help you to draw your own conclusions of where to rank players. You can set your personal rankings here on a desktop or use the convenience of your phone and drag and drop your rankings there.

3. Roster Construction

Roster construction can be different for every player and there is no perfect way to go about it. Looking at last year's 12-team leagues we can find trends in what roster constructions had the higher winning percentages.

Quarterbacks
Number Drafted
1
2
3
4
5
Win Rate
1.8
8.4
8.6
6.1
5.8
Running Backs
Number Drafted
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
Win Rate
4.2
6.4
8.6
8.8
7.8
4.7
2.7
Wide Receivers
Number Drafted
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Win Rate
2.2
5.4
7.8
8.6
9.2
6.8
4.0
Tight Ends
Number Drafted
1
2
3
4
5
Win Rate
4.1
8.5
8.6
5.7
4.4

These numbers come from Mike Beers over at Best Ball Command Center You have 18 players that you have to roster so you want to find that perfect mix at each position. In the chart above it is clear that you want to roster two or three quarterbacks, five or six runnings backs, seven or eight wide receivers, and two or three tight ends. For your typical 12-man league with top-four payouts on DRAFT, my favorite build based on the numbers above is a 3/5/7/3 or a 2/5/8/3. With this type of tournament being different and having to place first after Week 12 to move on you are going to want to take more chances and not play it so safe. The build I prefer most is 2/6/8/2 or a 2/5/8/3 layout.

4. To Stack or Not to Stack

This is the strategy that you will hear people talk about the most often. You are playing this tournament to place 1st after Week 12 but you also are playing to dominate in Weeks 13-16. How do you do that? Maybe it is stacking the quarterback with a top wide receiver or secondary receiver. Maybe it is the tight end or even the running back you want to stack with the quarterback. The idea of stacking is appealing in this format but it doesn't have to be something that you are actively moving players up a tier or two to make it happen while you are drafting. If you have two or three players that you have as equals in your rankings and want to break the tie on who to draft maybe it is the guy that you already drafted his quarterback.

On the flip side, let's say you drafted Doug Baldwin and stacked him with Russell Wilson and in Week 16 Baldwin had a 6/100/1 stat line. You would assume Wilson would also have a big game but in theory, he could end the game with a 225 passing yards and the single touchdown to Baldwin. If you look back at your draft you could have taken Cam Newton instead of Wilson and Newton goes off for a couple of rushing touchdowns in Week 16. In hindsight, it was Doug Baldwin and Cam Newton that would win you the week and not the Seattle quarterback/wide receiver stack.

5. Strength of Schedule

The strength of schedule is always hard to predict before the season even starts but our own Clayton Gray has broken down the quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end positions for the entire year. We want to look at Weeks 13-16 primarily when focusing on SOS but we may also look at it for players at the smaller rostered positions such as quarterback and tight end where you only have a pair of players and can get one that has high spike weeks at the start of the season or throughout and the other to have big numbers in those key weeks of 13-16. Look at a combo of Alex Smith in Washington who has a Week 4 bye week and one of the better SOS during Weeks 1-12 but a tougher schedule in Week's 13-15 but back to a good week in Week 16 which would be the Championship week. You could pair Smith with the likes of Blake Bortles who has a Week 9 bye but also has one of the best Week 13-16 SOS.

Clayton also has a column which is dedicated to "Easy Opponents" which is a good best ball tool to help you find floor players at each position. Same goes for "Tough Opponents" which might help you make decisions on when to break tiebreakers while drafting. Here is a quick breakdown from Clayton's Strength of Schedule charts breaking down the best matchups at each position for Weeks 14-16.

Quarterback
Week 14-16
Running Back
Week 14-16
Wide Receiver
Week 14-16
Tight End
Week 14-16
20.9
26.8
35.4
13.7
20.8
26.4
33.9
13.3
20.7
25.6
33.9
13.2
20.6
25.0
33.7
13.1
20.4
24.9
33.4
13.0
20.3
24.8
33.2
Austin Seferian-Jenkins
13.0
20.2
24.7
Robbie Anderson
33.2
Howard/Brate
12.5
20.1
24.7
33.0
12.5

6. The Queue is Your Best Friend

This is a FAST draft and what that means is that you have 30 seconds to make your pick once you are on the clock. You want to make sure you have the players in your queue that you feel comfortable drafting even if you somehow were to miss your pick. Treat this as you backup plan just in case you have to step away from your computer or phone you will be covered for a few picks. Usually the first few rounds you are okay if you get auto drafted as you will get the top players in your rankings if you didn't have your queued players set. It is later in the draft, let's say Rounds 6-14 where you can make or break your team if you get auto drafted. Even though you have sound personal player rankings set on the site it doesn't take into account how many players at each position you already have on your roster and how many players you want at each position. We have all been in these drafts where you see a team take six quarterbacks because of a situation like this.

Don't let this happen to you. When entering these drafts you will need every edge and angle that you can come by and the queue is one of those. Let's say you are seven rounds into your draft and have had no distractions and have a team with four running backs, two wide receivers, and a tight end. You are in good shape at this point but let's say you have to suddenly step away from your draft and your next 15 players in your rankings are quarterbacks. Well, chances are your next five picks will probably be quarterbacks. If you had players in the queue you could avoid this type of situation and it wouldn't completely destroy your team. These drafts move quickly and you don't want to be caught off guard and the queue will help you avoid those type of situations and buy you a few extra seconds to make the pick you want each round all while having a safety net behind you in case of an error.

7. Practice with $1 DRAFTs

The $1 12-man draft is the new Free Mock draft. For $1 you can play against 11 other owners that have money on the line and even with it being as little as just $1 the competition is real as are the rankings and ADP. You get a perfect sense of how these drafts can go and where you will have to take certain players. It will allow you to practice with roster construction, the queue, rankings, 30-second timer, and the draft format.

8. Be aware of Bye Weeks

As simple as this sounds there are still many best ball drafters that space this concept and might roster two quarterbacks or two tight ends that both have the same bye week. In best ball - particularly in this format where you have to finish in first place to move on, you can't afford to take a zero at any position any week. Another example is if you are drafting five total running backs, try to make it so all five have different bye weeks. This will help you in a couple of ways as it will always give you at least four players in play during bye weeks, and if one or even two were to get injured or demoted on the depth chart you still will have a couple of others that will score you points every single week.

9. Have fun and try your own strategies

If you are multi entering this contest, try different strategies along the way. Maybe you get one of the top running backs so you want to use your second- and third-round picks on a combo of Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce to lock up the position and to block others from having one of the top options at the position. Another strategy could be to try drafting eight or nine wide receivers who all have different bye weeks. Maybe try a few teams with only four running backs, try super stacking your quarterback with the running back and top wide receiver. Try to think outside of the box as you want to try to have that one different team that will be unique and vault you to the top of the pay scale.