The best ball format has been growing in popularity in recent years. It is easy to see why. You get all of the fun of a draft without having to spend time managing your team in-season. It is an easy way to add a league (or many leagues) without adding any extra work during the NFL season.
In this introduction to best-ball leagues, we will cover the basics of the format, why you might want to try it, and where you can play if interested.
THE BASICS OF BEST BALL
The draft in a best-ball league is exactly like the draft in your typical season-long league. The most popular best ball league size is 12 teams, as it is in redraft, but 10-team and 6-team formats are also popular. The draft is in the snake format with whoever picks last in the 1st round (1.12) getting the first pick in the 2nd round (2.01).
After drafting your team, your work is done. There are no waivers and no lineups to submit. The team you drafted competes over the course of the season with the teams your opponents drafted.
With no lineup submissions throughout the season, the best-ball league software automatically figures out your best lineup at the conclusion of the games every week. That lineup scores points exactly as in a typical redraft format. For example, let’s say you draft Cam Newton and Kirk Cousins as your quarterbacks and Newton scores 21 fantasy points in Week 1 while Cousins scores 17, Newton is automatically listed as your starter at the conclusion of the week and you get his 21 points. It is the same every week and for every position. Your highest-scoring players each week are automatically entered into your starting lineup.
In the vast majority of these leagues, there are no head-to-head matchups and no wins and losses. Standings are determined by the total points scored by your weekly starting lineup. The winner is decided by who has the most total points at the end of the season (Week 16).
REASONS TO TRY A BEST BALL LEAGUE
Next Level Mock Drafting
If you are a hardcore season-long fantasy player, there is nothing more helpful than doing some mock drafts to prepare yourself for the real thing. Our Draft Dominator is a great tool for this. However, even the best artificial intelligence cannot fully capture the whims of actual drafters and how much impact the day’s news events have on ADP. There is real value in drafting against other real people before your season-long draft.
A low-stakes ($1 entry) best-ball draft is perfect for this. You don’t have to worry about someone making one pick and then leaving like you do if you hop into a mock draft. The fast drafts on DRAFT are especially useful. With 30 seconds to make your pick and some real money on the line (even if it’s just $5 for a first-place finish), you can really experience the process of making the tough choices on the clock you will face in your real draft.
You just enjoy fantasy drafts
Is there anything more fun in fantasy football than doing a draft? If you think so, best-ball leagues might be just the thing for you. These things are a blast. You get to do experience the fun part of fantasy football in the offseason without sacrificing any time in the fall that you would devote to your other obligations and other fantasy teams. If you are already in one or more real fantasy leagues and tempted to join another, doing some best ball drafts can help scratch the itch without committing yourself long term to running another team.
WHERE TO PLAY?
One of the newest best ball platforms, Underdog has a slick app and wide variety of draft sizes and buy-ins. Underdog was started by the former owner of DRAFT. The format and general setup is incredibly similar and will make for a smooth transition for anyone who misses DRAFT.
A brand new entrant into the best ball space as of August, 2020, DraftKings could quickly become a market leader. The massive DFS company is offering huge season-long tournaments with prizes of up to $1,000,000. The scoring will be familiar to anyone who has ever played on DraftKings. It is full PPR and there are 3-point bonuses for 300-yard passing games, 100-yard rushing games, and 100-yard receiving games.
Yahoo best ball has 10-team best ball leagues at a wide range of price points, starting at $1 and going all the way up to $100. It also offers free leagues, which are great for beginners. Yahoo’s “How to Play” section offers a nice tutorial for those just getting started.
Yahoo’s leagues feature 20-man rosters and the weekly starting lineup includes one QB, two RBs, three WRs, one TE, one FLEX, and one DEF. Scoring is 0.5 PPR. Their policy page has a more detailed breakdown of scoring.
Drafting can be done online or via their mobile app (for both Android and Apple).
Bestball10s, once known as MFL10s, typically cost $10 to enter and are all 12 teams. There are three options for drafts: live drafts, slow drafts with a 2-hour clock, and slow drafts with a 4-hour clock. For the slow drafts, the timer pauses for six hours overnight.
There are also three separate payout structures to choose from. Classic $10 leagues pay out $100 going to the winner and a $5 credit going to the runner-up. Top 3 leagues have a more equitable payout structure, paying out the top three finishers. There are also 2x leagues in which each of the top-five finishers double-up their entry fee.
The rosters and starting lineups are exactly the same as Yahoo’s. The main difference is that scoring is full PPR (1.0 instead of 0.5). Detailed scoring can be found here.
The FFPC also offers best-ball leagues. Entry fees range from $35 (the most popular) all the way up to $1,250. All drafts feature 12 teams. There are three different draft types: Live drafts with a 60-second clock, slow drafts with a 2-hour clock, and slow drafts with a 6-hour clock.
The FFPC format features the deepest rosters with 28 roster spots. The starting lineup has 1-QB, 2-RB, 2-WR, 1-TE, 2-Flex, 1-K, 1-D (Flex can be RB, WR or TE). Scoring is 1.0 PPR for RBs and WRs and 1.5 PPR for TEs.
There are a number of different contests with details available here. The most popular are the $35 Footballguys Players Championship Satellites. Second place gets a $35 FFPC league credit while first place gets their choice from the following options (1) a 2021 Footballguys Players Championship league credit ($350 value), (2) $200 cash plus four $35 FFCPC league credits ($340 value), or (3) $300 cash.
The newest option for best ball is Drafters. It features online drafting as well as an app available through Apple’s App Store or Google Play. Drafters has the most different options in terms of buy-in level and league size. The most common buy-in levels are $1.10, $5.50, $11, $27.50, and $109. Featured league sizes are 3-team, 6-team, 10-team, and 12-team.
There are 18-man rosters and scoring is 1.0 PPR. Detailed scoring rules and roster requirements can be found here.
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