Best ball drafts have taken the fantasy space by storm and for good reason. They are fun and do not require any effort after the actual draft. The best players score each week and no transactions are permitted. This article looks at the FFPC best ball format and outlines a plan to dominate their unique set of rules.
The unique rules of the FFPC:
- Tight ends are awarded 1.5 points per reception. All other positions score 1.0 points per reception. This makes tight ends extremely valuable in this format.
- Your top quarterback, top 2 running backs, top 2 wide receivers, top tight end, top defense, top placekicker, and next two flexes (RB/WR/TE) score each week. This rule is referred to as dual-flex and creates unique build philosophies.
- These leagues draft 28 rounds deep.
It's the uniqueness of these rules above that allow you to craft a team different from most best-ball leagues.
Personal history has shown me the optimal roster allocation is the following:
- 3 Quarterbacks
- 7 Running Backs
- 7 Wide Receivers
- 5 Tight Ends
- 3 Defenses
- 3 Place Kickers
But this is not an ABSOLUTE rule. I have crafted winning teams with just three tight ends, and have used as many as eleven wide receivers. The key is self-assessment to your weaknesses and allocation of the extra resources to those needs.
My Rule of Thumb Minimums:
- 3 Quarterbacks
- 6 Running Backs
- 6 Wide Receivers
- 4 Tight Ends
- 2 Defenses
- 3 Place Kickers
and then use the other four positions at RB/WR/TE/Def as needed.
I have created a Draft List that merges my projections with current FFPC best-ball ADP data. You could likely just draft from this list and have a very competitive team, but we can do better than that by using both the list and build philosophies to take advantage of "sweet-spots" in the positional tiers.
My First Eight Picks (The Core)
I follow my list above. I rarely deviate, but will for these reasons:
- I prefer to pass at taking a quarterback with my first eight selections. This is a personal preference, but I have always fared well waiting on the quarterback position and prefer to lock down as many running backs and tight ends as possible in these early rounds.
- I will avoid a player that I rate similarly to another to avoid bye week issues. In best-ball, bye weeks are not that much of an issue most of the time, but it can hurt you if a lot of your first selections with the same bye week. This is particularly true if these players are at the same position.
- I never want more than three wide receivers in these first eight picks. It is so easy to find value at wide receiver late in these drafts that I prefer sacrificing some early equity at the position to ensure I draft more running backs and tight ends (as these positions will dry up).
The Quarterback Run
Simple math shows us that with twelve drafters and only thirty-two NFL teams, everyone is not going to end up with three starting quarterbacks. No matter what you do in these drafts, don't be one of these owners. It is imperative that you end up with three starting quarterbacks. I don't have an exception here. I always make sure I get three starting quarterbacks. My reasoning is simple. Quarterbacks score the most fantasy points. If you are to dominate this format, you have to score a lot of fantasy points at this position every week. If you roster just two starting quarterbacks, you are already vulnerable on those team's bye weeks not counting any bad performances. It's a setup that nearly ensures your team will have a couple of bad weeks at this position. With 28 roster spots, this isn't a situation you ever need to put yourself in. Grab three quality quarterbacks over three different bye weeks and reap the rewards.
The run on quarterbacks varies slightly from draft to draft, but it universally is strong between rounds nine, ten, and eleven. I always take the best available quarterback in the ninth round and generally follow it up with another quarterback in round ten. Even if I am a tad early on the run, I prefer being on the front end of this as it makes it way simpler to know when to draft the third quarterback starter.
The Place Kicker and Defensive Runs
Somewhere around the 14th to 15th rounds, the kickers and defenses start to come off the board. Of the two positions, kickers are immensely more valuable in this format. This is due to scarcity and the fact that some bad kickers will get benched. The beauty of a late pick defense is that position is in play every week the team has a game. And even horrible defensive units can get a key interception touchdown, etc to make them a viable scorer on any given week. But good kickers nearly universally match up with quality offenses making quality starters without competition valuable anchors in best-ball scoring formats. Having played in 100+ leagues in this format, drafting just two kickers is a recipe for disaster. If one goes down to injury (or is benched), you will watch your chances of winning the league evaporate quickly.
After two kickers have been drafted by the league, I generally draft kickers with my next two picks. I will add my third kicker based on scarcity at the position left. I always select all three kickers with different bye weeks.
I generally wait until seven or eight defenses are off of the board before I put a high priority on the position. I go into the draft with the strategy to end up with three defenses, but I am perfectly OK if I end up with just two.
Filling in the Gaps at Running Back, Wide Receiver, and Tight End
Every draft is slightly different. There will be players who slide drastically that allow you to cheaply strengthen the core you developed with the first eight picks. For purposes of this article, I am going to talk about players with an ADP of greater than 75 that I believe represents exceptional value and the round which they can generally be taken:
- RB Ronald Jones II, TB/13 (Value = 71, ADP = 87) in the 7th round or later
- RB James White, NE/6 (Value = 76, ADP = 93) in the 8th round or later
- RB Kerryon Johnson, DET/5 (Value = 79, ADP = 91) in the 8th round or later
- RB Tarik Cohen, CHI/11 (Value = 84, ADP = 110) in the 9th round or later
- WR Julian Edelman, NE/6 (Value = 89, ADP = 106) in the 9th round or later
- RB Darrell Henderson, LAR/9 (Value = 102, ADP = 114) in the 10th round or later
- WR Marvin Jones Jr, DET/5 (Value = 109, ADP = 122) in the 10th round or later
- RB Latavius Murray, NO/6 (Value = 111, ADP = 125) in the 11th round or later
- RB Duke Johnson Jr, HOU/8 (Value = 118, ADP = 136) in the 12th round or later
- TE Eric Ebron, PIT/8 (Value = 120, ADP = 134) in the 12th round or later
- RB Boston Scott, PHI/9 (Value = 123, ADP = 145) in the 13th round or later
- WR John Brown, BUF/11 (Value = 128, ADP = 143) in the 13th round or later
- WR Sterling Shepard, NYG/11 (Value = 130, ADP = 150) in the 13th round or later
- RB Justin Jackson, LAC/10 (Value = 138, ADP = 161) in the 14th round or later
- WR Golden Tate, NYG/11 (Value = 156, ADP = 168) in the 15th round or later
- TE Gerald Everett, LAR/9 (Value = 160, ADP = 172) in the 15th round or later
- RB Darrynton Evans, TEN/7 (Value = 161, ADP = 174) in the 15th round or later
- WR Dede Westbrook, JAC/7 (Value = 166, ADP = 195) in the 16th round or later
- WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI/8 (Value = 178, ADP = 206) in the 17th round or later
- RB Rashaad Penny, SEA/6 (Value = 180, ADP = 202) in the 17th round or later
- RB Adrian Peterson, WAS/8 (Value = 183, ADP = 221) in the 18th round or later
- RB Giovani Bernard, CIN/9 (Value = 187, ADP = 229) in the 18th round or later
- WR Tyrell Williams, LV/6 (Value = 189, ADP = 218) in the 18th round or later
- WR Randall Cobb, HOU/8 (Value = 192, ADP = 216) in the 18th round or later
- WR Corey Davis, TEN/7 (Value = 194, ADP = 235) in the 19th round or later
- RB Jaylen Samuels, PIT/8 (Value = 198, ADP = 264) in the 20th round or later
- WR James Washington, PIT/8 (Value = 203, ADP = 243) in the 20th round or later
- TE Jimmy Graham, CHI/11 (Value = 207, ADP = 247) in the 21st round or later
- WR Cole Beasley, BUF/11 (Value = 209, ADP = 253) in the 21st round or later
- RB Ito Smith, ATL/10 (Value = 216, ADP = 268) in the 22nd round or later
- TE C.J. Uzomah, CIN/9 (Value = 218, ADP = 265) in the 22nd round or later
- RB Jerrick McKinnon, SF/11 (Value = 232, ADP = 261) in the 23rd round or later
- RB Jalen Richard, LV6 (Value = 236, ADP = 309) in the 24th round or later
- WR Mohamed Sanu, NE/6 (Value = 238, ADP = 297) in the 24th round or later
- RB Rex Burkhead, NE/6 (Value = 241, ADP = 310) in the 25th round or later
- RB Dare Ogunbowale, TB/13 (Value = 244, ADP = 300) in the 25th round or later
- WR Danny Amendola, DET/5 (Value = 249, ADP = 305) in the 25th round or later
- TE Vance McDonald, PIT/8 (Value = 250, ADP = 290) in the 25th round or later
- WR Russell Gage, ATL/10 (Value = 258, ADP = 285) in the 25th round or later
- RB Dion Lewis, NYG/11 (Value = 262, ADP = 320) in the 26th round or later
- TE Nick Boyle, BAL/8 (Value = 272, ADP = 327) in the 26th round or later
- WR Chris Conley, JAC/7 (Value = 277, ADP = 321) in the 26th round or later
- RB Reggie Bonnafon, CAR/13 (Value = 278, ADP = 294) in the 26th round or later
- WR Miles Boykin, BAL/8 (Value = 280, ADP = 302) in the 26th round or later
- TE Jeremy Sprinkle, WA/8 (Value = 282, ADP = 333) in the 26th round or later
My Live Draft
I participated in a $35 best ball on 6/6 and the draft board is located here. I am team 12 (50%_Ds).
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