Best Ball Roster Construction

An injury-based look at how to compose a best-ball roster

After you read this article, please check out this month's Best Ball Top 300.

Heading into the 2020 NFL season, we will see one of the strangest starts to an NFL season as COVID-19 has hit the world and the sporting community hard. When it comes to drafting best ball teams this year, you will want to be extra careful when it comes to constructing a roster as it is not only bye weeks, injuries, suspensions, and depth-chart demotions that we have to worry about, it is also an added worry of our players missing time due to COVID-19. We are still unsure how the sports world will respond as leagues start back up, but if an athlete tests positive that could mean one to three weeks missed on the football field.

Be aware of the importance of covering all your positions in case of a couple of your players test positive during the season and try hard to limit any zero scores in any week during the season. I have been playing on Drafters mainly this offseason and they have 20-player roster limits with these positional starting requirements:

  • 1 quarterback
  • 2 running backs
  • 3 wide receivers
  • 1 tight end
  • 1 flex (RB, WR, or TE)

That is a total of 8 starters you will need out of your 20 player roster to start each week. For reasons outlined below, the safest approach when drafting is to construct your roster with the following build:

  • 3 quarterbacks
  • 6 running backs
  • 8 wide receivers
  • 3 tight ends

And here's why.

Back in 2018, I entered 224 total teams in DRAFT's three separate Best Ball Championship tournaments -- they offered the $125 Mega, the $25 Championship, and the $5 Mini. At the end of the season, I looked at the rosters to determine how many players were lost to injuries.

DRAFT 2018 Championships Injury Data

Position
$125 Mega
$25 Champ
$5 Mini
Totals
Notes
QB
2
2
7
11
42% chance of losing a QB
RB
5
8
31
44
100% chance of losing an RB; 70% chance of 2
WR
10
8
34
52
100% chance of losing 2 WRs
TE
3
2
6
11
42% chance of losing a TE
Totals
20
20
78
118

What I found out was that an average 18-player roster would lose 4.5 players per roster by the end of Week 12. There was a 42% chance one quarterback wouldn't make it through the season, a 42% a tight end would also falter, a 100% chance of losing a pair wide receivers, and a 100% one running back wouldn't finish the year (with another 70% of losing another running back). So that 3/6/7/2 build that started the season ended up being a 2.5/4/5/1.5 type of team at the end of the year.

I used this data to my success in 2019 while drafting in over 2000 best leagues while keeping these numbers in mind. I knew I wanted to have a solid roster construction plan in place while knowing that by Week 13, my initial 18-player roster would be down to just 13 or 14 players. My entire goal in best ball is to never take a ZERO at any position during any week. Fast forward to 2020 we now have COVID-19 and players testing positive to worry about so the importance of constructing a balanced lineup is even more important. Again I feel that the 3 QBs/6 RBs/8 WRs/3 TEs build this year on Drafters is your optimal build to help you avoid taking zeroes this season.

For my latest Best Ball information and rankings follow me on Twitter and feel free to ask any Best Ball related question.

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