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12-team DraftKings best ball draft breakdown

We break down a best ball draft. This new format is a season-long alternative to traditional fantasy football. Best ball removes the worries about accidentally benching a high scorer.

Dalvin Cook #33 of the Minnesota Vikings runs with the ball during the 2020 NFL Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium on January 26, 2020 in Orlando, Florida. Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

DraftKings has unveiled their best ball games and I’m in heaven. Before best ball became a thing, I was a mock drafting fool. I still mock draft, but best ball is kind of like mock drafting, but with skin in the game. You can check out how to play and some best ball draft strategy to see in more detail what best ball is about, but on the surface, it feels like doing a mock draft because you draft and then you get to forget about that draft and go take a long nap.

Best ball can get addictive, because there’s always another draft around the corner and drafting fantasy football teams is one the most enjoyable parts of this whole endeavor. So, there are dollar games which on DK that will help you get used to the process before you invest more funds. That is what I’ve been up to so far. It also allows you to refine your rankings, which is a must. Before you draft, be sure to get your rankings in order, because if you are in a fast draft, you will need them straight.

Of course, much depends on your draft position and your competition, but so far my strategy has been similar to my redraft strategy to start each best ball draft. I usually don’t leave the first round without a running back. If I pick near the end of the first round, I might grab a wide receiver and then a running back on the turn, but a top-tier back is tough to find late in the second round this season.

Below, I’ll take you through my latest 12-team best ball draft from the No. 6 draft slot.

Round 1

Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings

I went with Cook here, as the holdout talk was overblown and he’s one of the few every down backs in the league. Last season he missed two games and played through injuries toward the end and still was the sixth best fantasy running back in the league.

The field’s picks

The first round went as you would expect for the most part. It was running back heavy and started with your usual suspects of Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliott. The only two wide receivers to go were Michael Thomas seventh and Tyreek Hill ninth. Hill is a popular best ball pick, as his upside is probably the highest in the league in a game by game basis.

Round 2

Davante Adams, WR, Packers

The best ball format doesn’t favor Adams as much as Hill, but getting him with the 19th pick is too good to pass on. His upside will remain high due to the fact the Packers have no other established receivers on the team. Even if they are a run heavy offense, Adams is getting 30 percent of the targets.

The field’s picks

The second round was all over the place. Julio Jones lasted until the 23rd pick. Kenyan Drake went earlier than I would have picked him at 13th. Patrick Mahomes went 17th, which is just too early for a quarterback when you have just one starting slot. But still, none of the picks were out of the realm of normalcy, which these drafts can sometimes produce. There are just so many unknowns when dealing with a group of people you have no background with, so be ready for anything.

Round 3

Jonathan Taylor, RB, Colts

I usually don’t jump too far ahead of ADP when I pick, but I have been with Taylor this season. If I can’t get two top-tier running backs in the first two rounds, I’ll often reach for Taylor, as I believe he will surpass Marlon Mack early and with ease. If Mack wasn’t there, Taylor would be going late in the first or early in the second round. The Colts offense will be suited for Taylor to thrive this season.

The field’s picks

The third round had eight wide receivers and four running backs off the board. The most surprising was James Conner, if you don’t include my pick of Taylor. Conner can be had in the fourth round usually, but if healthy, he’s very much like Taylor in that he could be a first or second round value. His injury history scares me more than Marlon Mack though.

Round 4

DK Metcalf, WR, Seahawks

Metcalf is the real deal and he’s only going to get better this season. There is a small chance the team finally lets Russell Wilson do more early in games, but even if they don’t, the efficiency numbers for the Seahawks passing game are going to continue to be better than most of the league.

The field’s picks

My least favorite pick in Round 4 was Leonard Fournette at 38th overall. He probably could have been taken 60th overall and I’d still say it was a bad pick. Fournette had his numbers inflated as they gave him the ball a ton last season, and he still couldn’t get into the end zone. You may think touchdown regression to the mean is coming, but touch regression is also coming. He won’t see nearly the number of targets and he’s likely on his way out, so the Jaguars will want to see what they have in Ryquell Armstead and Devine Ozigbo while Fournette just isn’t the same player he was in college.

Round 5

Robert Woods, WR, Rams

Getting Woods here felt great, even though I was having an existential crisis on whether to draft him or Marquise Brown. Thankfully, Brown went the pick before me and made up my mind for me. Woods isn’t the big play receiver you like in best ball, but his upside is much higher this season with Brandin Cooks out of the picture. Woods is safe with a dash of big game upside in the fifth.

The field’s picks

Devante Parker went with the 49th pick, which is good value, especially with so few starting caliber receivers in Miami at the moment. David Johnson went with the 60th pick, which is too high for me. A comeback year is always a possibility, but I rather not risk Johnson after injuries and poor production. The same thing is true for Todd Gurley, who went back in the fourth round.

Round 6

Evan Engram, TE, Giants

Engram has an injury history which I don’t love, but he’s also shown that he’s still an elite tight end when healthy. He also has a shot at being the No. 1 target on a team that will throw the ball a lot with a bad defense keeping the team behind.

The field’s picks

This round felt like no-man’s land. It was still too early to grab a quarterback, especially with all still available except Mahomes and Jackson. The high upside receivers and running backs had also mostly dried up. This was a spot where you could go after a quarterback you like, as two teams did with Kyler Murray and Dak Prescott. Or you could go with a rookie like D’Andre Swift, which was who I would have taken if not for someone sniping him away from me. Or take a risk on Will Fuller, which is a risk to be sure, but one with tremendous upside.

Round 7

Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle

With five quarterbacks off the board and nobody I was focused on grabbing, I went with Wilson. He’s safe, of course, but also has the upside of Mahomes and Jackson if allowed to work. I also liked pairing him with Metcalf, which is something I try to do with my quarterbacks and receivers if possible.

The field’s picks

If I hadn’t have grabbed Wilson, I likely would have went with Brandin Cooks. His concussion history is concerning, but otherwise he’s been healthy and now only has an often injured Will Fuller to compete for targets. DeShaun Watson to Cooks is really enticing. J.K. Dobbins was the other player I had my eye on, but he went before my pick. He’s not assured work like Swift is, but his upside is great if he can overcome Mark Ingram this season. And I believe he is a better runner than Ingram at this point.

Round 8

Jared Cook, TE, Saints

Cook got off to a slow start with his new team last season and then missed two games with injuries. But from Week 10 on he was a beast and led all tight ends in average depth of target, yards per reception and yards per target, which makes for a prime tight end play in best ball.

The field’s picks

I wanted Jamison Crowder, as I’ve been grabbing him in redraft leagues whenever I can, but Cook was more suited for best ball. But, if I had to do it over again, I would change my pick to James White. I’m happy I have Cook, but White is at a tougher position to find backs you like and I’m a big fan of White this season, which I go into more detail about here.

Round 9

Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants

My second Giants receiving option, Shepard, is just too low in his ADP for me not to target. He’s not a high upside option, but he was the Giants No. 1 target last season and it’s crazy he is going so late on a team that should throw a ton.

The field’s picks

My two targets in this round were Antonio Gibson and Mercole Hardman and of course both went before me. That was a gut kick. Both are great options in best ball. The worst pick this round was accidental, as someone hadn’t moved Derrius Guice far enough down their rankings and he was auto-picked. Just a reminder to edit your rankings and drop any player who is out to the very bottom.

Round 10

Matt Breida, RB, Dolphins

Getting Breida here felt good, as I needed another high-upside running back and Breida is exactly that. He will split time with Jordan Howard, but Breida has home run hitting speed and his touches will be more conducive to big plays.

The field’s picks

I was a little upset that Daniel Jones went in this round. I expected him to last a little longer. I would have likely chosen Breida anyway, but I like Jones’ big game upside and pairing him with my Giants receivers. Latavius Murray is one of the top fantasy backups in the league, as seen by his two huge games after Alvin Kamara went down last season. He went earlier than usual here in the tenth, but I like him better than others like Aaron Rodgers, Kerryon Johnson, Sammy Watkins, and Marlon Mack that also went in this round.

Rounds 11-13

Cam Newton, QB, Patriots
Curtis Samuel, WR, Panthers
Chris Herndon, TE, Jets

At this point in a best ball draft, you need to start paying attention to your numbers at each position. Unlike in redraft, you can’t pick up replacement players, so you are stuck with who you drafted. That means you need to have a sufficient number at each position to cover possible losses. I ended up with 3 QBs, 6 RBs, 8 WRs, and 3 TEs. You don’t have to stick to those numbers, but you’ll likely need to be close to them.

Newton’s ADP is going to continue to rise as people see that he is a full go. Curtis Samuel was used incredibly poorly last season and should have a much better chance to breakout under Joe Brady’s offense. Herndon is finally healthy and the Jets are going to need to throw the ball a lot this season. I was happy to grab these three here.

The field’s picks

Another casualty of an auto-pick, Damian Williams will be a black hole on somebody’s team. Another friendly reminder to edit your rankings well. Some of the picks I liked in these rounds were Tarik Cohen, Duke Johnson, Chase Edmonds, Allen Lazard and Preston Williams. All have big game upside and are in good positions to see a lot of work if their teammates are injured.

Rounds 14-16

Tyrell Williams, WR, Raiders
Jerick McKinnon, RB, 49ers
Justin Jackson, RB, Chargers

Tyrell Williams isn’t someone I’m super high on, but I also don’t quite get his late ADP. The Raiders rookie receivers are top-notch, but Williams was a touchdown machine before injuries caught up to him last season. He should be the Raiders WR1 this year. Landing McKinnon in Round 15 felt fortuitous, much like Breida earlier. McKinnon is down the depth chart, but should be the 49ers main receiving back and all indications are that he’s still the same back that he was pre-injury. Justin Jackson has been a favorite of mine for a while and in his limited time on the field, he’s shown well.

The field’s picks

The pickings are getting slimmer, but I think there was good value in Irv Smith Jr., Parris Campbell, Jace Sternberger and DeAndre Washington.

Rounds 17-20

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Dolphins
Anthony McFarland, RB, Steelers
Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Football Team
Josh Reynolds, WR, Rams

I probably should have grabbed my third quarterback a round or two back, as I was left to choose between quarterbacks who might not be starters for 16 games. But, with Tagovailoa there, I don’t feel too bad. The Dolphins want to get him going as soon as they can no matter how well Ryan Fitzpatrick plays.

The Steelers backup running back job is probably Benny Snell’s, but I like McFarland’s upside more. The Washington Football Team probably won’t be very good, but Golden-Gandy has a shot to be the No. 2 receiver on a team without a tight end. Josh Reynolds will be the Rams third wide receiver. It’s a good spot to be in to start the season.

The field’s picks

At this point in the draft you’re just looking for some upside and depth at positions you are lacking. Some of the fliers I liked in these late rounds were Carlos Hyde, Nyheim Hines, Benny Snell, and Josh Kelley.