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Tips and strategy for winning at DraftKings Best Ball

With DraftKings launching its Best Ball game variant, we have some drafting strategy tips.

Mike Williams of the Los Angeles Chargers celebrates a catch against the Baltimore Ravens during the second half in the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 06, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

With the exciting news that DraftKings will offer Best Ball leagues inside the app, we should take a look at some basic strategy when attacking drafts. You can check out the basic rules here, but today we will look at how many players at each position, what type of players and when to draft them.

Best ball is different than your standard fantasy leagues in that you can’t make any roster moves after you draft. Right there is the impetus for all strategy, as we need to take into account different factors like the inability to replace your players if they get injured and the fact that only your highest scores at each position count toward your overall score and that there are no weekly matchups, as total points determine your final placement.

Roster construction

There is of course no perfect roster construction, but we do need to protect ourselves from injuries by not skimping too much at each position. In the DraftKings Best Ball product, we don’t need to worry about kickers or defenses unlike some best ball games. Rosters consist of 20 players with 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE and 1 RB/WR/TE flex getting points each week.

A good ratio for picks would look something like 3 QBs, 6 RBs, 8 WRs and 3 TEs. This isn’t gospel by any means, but we can’t predict a 16-game season, so no matter how sure we are about a player or players, spreading risk out is a good idea. We will lose players during the season. As you’ll see in the next section, taking risks is a big part of best ball strategy, but that doesn’t mean you need to take risks in roster construction.

Go high upside or go home

In best ball we want home run hitters and the equivalent to that for the NFL are players that have high upside for the season but might be inconsistent. That also means those players often have more downside, but that’s the sacrifice we make for a chance to win. Jack Doyle may give you a solid floor, but if you draft Mike Gesicki and Jace Sternberger instead, you have higher upside and in two separate players. And since you don’t have to pick which one to start, your chances of one hitting his upside are decent.

Draft running backs and wide receivers early

Much like your normal head-to-head redraft leagues, we should wait on quarterbacks. If these players were actual robots that never break down or have down games, then you draft Lamar Jackson and you’re done. But, since quarterbacks are volatile from game to game and always have a high floor due to their usage, we want to grab three signal callers that make up one super-human fantasy machine at value. But with running backs and wide receivers, there is a bigger drop off between early round talent and mid to late round talent.

I prefer to grab at least one stud running back in the first two rounds, as those every-down backs that average 20 touches a game aren’t easy to come by. But no matter your personal strategy between RBs and WRs through the first four or five rounds, lining up the studs is important.

Prioritize deep threat wide receivers

This idea goes back to upside over consistency. You could have a receiver like Larry Fitzgerald, who you know will get work and put up somewhat useful numbers or a player like Mike Williams, who we know can take the top off a defense with chunk plays. Both had similar fantasy seasons last year, but Williams averaged 20 yards per reception to Fitzgerald’s 10.7 yards per reception. If a receiver is getting targets deeper down field than another receiver, the odds of blow up games go up. We want those blow up games in best ball more than we want low-level consistency.

Don’t worry about bye weeks

We want players who we believe will break out or continue their break outs and if that means loading up on some players with the same bye week, then so be it. For quarterbacks though, you should makes sure you don’t have three on the same bye, which would be pretty tough to do anyway.

Summary

When drafting best ball teams, we are living with a lot of unknowns that we can do nothing about. Embrace those unknowns and take “your” players. Reach for those guys you believe will win more work as the season goes on. Don’t settle for filler. And, as usual, have fun!