This ongoing series will cover NFL “Best Ball” draft formats, particularly for DRAFT / PlayDraft.com
DRAFT aka PlayDraft.com is dipping their toe in the world of NFL Best Ball draft leagues. This is an exciting development for gamers who are not eligible to participate in some of the other traditional NFL Best Ball contests because those companies have not chosen to pay the gaming fees created by several states recently enacted legislative policies.
What is DRAFT aka PlayDraft.com? – They are a site that is taking a different approach to daily fantasy sports and focusing on live drafts leagues instead of the traditional salary cap format.
Are there any incentives or referral bonuses that I can take advantage of? – Of course! If you are signing up on your mobile device, you can use the promotion code FanVice, click through the “badge” links at the bottom of any page on FanVice.com or click here. Once you have created your account and made your deposit, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will give you 30 free days of FanVice premium content in addition DRAFT will also provide an initial deposit bonus award in the form of a contest ticket.
How does a Best Ball draft work? – click here to check out Part 1 of the series
Okay, so you are ready to draft, let’s talk about the different fantasy football drafting “strategies” that you may or may not have heard about over the years:
Value Based Drafting aka VBD
While the concept of getting a players with the most value over the “baseline player” in your fantasy league (i.e. QB10, RB20, WR30, TE10) was not invented by FootballGuys.com, Joe Bryant and David Dodds certainly were the standard bearers who brought the strategy to The Masses.
The general theory is to pick the player (keeping an eye on your league’s roster requirements and bye weeks) that has the highest projected points above the “replacement” level player, regardless of position.
Again, this is really nothing new, but it is a tidy way to “value” your available options across different positions when it is your turn to draft. This is particularly helpful beginning in rounds 3-4 when your “foolproof plan” gets tossed out the window courtesy of some fool in your draft.
Stud Running Back Theory
This strategy held its heyday from around 1997 through 2011, prior to the NFL becoming incredibly pass heavy. The scheme was relatively straightforward, draft as many viable running backs through the first 4-5 rounds as possible. This was even the case in leagues where you may only be able to start two of them, prior to the utility or flex position gaining popularity. If successfully applied, it would allow one to “corner the market” and provide trade chips that could be leveraged after the draft or through the first two months of the season as other teams suffered injuries or were short-handed as the result of bye weeks.
On reason that PPR (point per reception) leagues gained popularity was because they helped increase the value of receivers, tight-ends and “3rd down backs” which introduced more options in the draft and on waiver wires.
As coaches and front offices have learned, today’s running backs take such a beating and because even late-round draft picks or even undrafted free agents can be successful at the position, things have turned into more of a committee/specialty approach and there really are only a handful of true “bell cow” backs who will consistently top 20-22 total touches per game, making this a strategy of a bygone era.
Late Round Quarterback
While it has been around for some time, it seems to be more and more a way of life across the board and it isn’t really much of an “advantage” with seemingly everyone willing to wait and sooooooo many signal-callers topping 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns each season.
Most 10-12 team leagues will not see the first quarterback drafted until the 3rd round and they are a strong likelihood that only three will be off the board through the first 50 picks. In Best Ball, you want to handle this more like a game of chicken because as tempting as it is to grab Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady in the 3rd round, you will be a little salty when Derek Carr and/or Kirk Cousins is still on the board when it is your turn in the 8th round.
It is a little tricky to work this in, with so many of your fellow drafters all too aware of the merits for waiting on their field general. Just know, even if you are the impatient and antsy type, getting one of the fifth through eighth quarterback in the draft is “mathematically” the better play.
Zero Running Back Theory
Essentially for the first four or five rounds you skip on running backs in the hopes of landing some diamonds in the rough from the passel that you are collecting in rounds 7-12, with a focus on top wide receivers, perhaps Rob Gronkowski at tight end and maybe Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady.
You: Wait, so basically you are describing the Stud Wide Receiver Theory.
Me: Yes, but this allows someone else to come up with a cool sounding strategy.
In summary, you essentially are looking to get some “pass catching” backs who are on the field in deeper down and distance scenarios or someone who is more of a touchdown scorer, but may only get 500-600 total yards on the season even though they have reached pay dirt a dozen times. You are hoping for a two touchdown performance or a team playing from behind and running 80% of their plays from the shot gun with a pass catching back lining up next to the quarterback as a potential protector/dump off receiver. In other words, look to some of Bill Belichick’s running backs.
Modified Zero Running Back Theory
The same as above, but you grab a top five running back in the first round or potentially a top ten running back in round three.
You: This sounds a lot like value based drafting.
Best Player Available Strategy
As it sounds, for the first half dozen rounds, you only focus on whomever the best player is when you are on the clock. With DRAFT allowing 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE and 1 FLEX it is hard to screw this up, but do keep an eye on bye weeks.
Drafts are incredibly fluid and can change at a moment’s notice. The best recommendation, particularly with the Best Ball format is to do several. If you are planning on playing $25 worth of drafts, do five $5 drafts or if you are looking to do $50 perhaps you would be better served to do three $10 drafts and four $5 drafts.
This will provide you with some “inherent diversity” since you will likely be drafting from different positions based on the random draw which will help protect you from catastrophic injuries (unless of course you draft the same players on every team). Also, if you do a couple of the lower dollar drafts early, you are less likely to make mistakes if you are panicking while the clock is winding down in the fast drafts.
As for myself, I have found I enjoy being in half a dozen of the “slow” drafts at once (8 hour pick limit) and armed with my draft list and a spreadsheet I have been having a lot of fun constructing different types of rosters using the various strategies detailed above.
One final word to the wise, eight hours can go by quickly if you are out and about, so remember to load some options in your draft queue so worst case you end up grabbing someone a round or two early, rather than being stuck with a player you don’t want or even worse, one that doesn’t fit that particular team’s construction strategy.
Good Luck Gamers! ~ EMac