The NFL Draft is over, and the rookies are placed, so it’s time to start firing-up Best-Ball lineups.
Last year, I was creating redraft, best-ball leagues a day or so after the Super Bowl ended. This year, with the FanDuel buyout of Draft.com, the low $, best-ball options have been slim, until just recently. Yahoo.com started up their best-ball leagues, and the draft rooms have been filling pretty consistently since the draft ended.
I’ve made numerous best-ball teams already over the last couple of days, and I want to emphasize some early trends I’m seeing.
Overall Money Strategy:
So far, Yahoo’s Best-Ball leagues break down into leagues of 10 teams. Top 3 teams, in points, after Week 16 win money, with the 3rd place team winning enough to cover their entry fee. The wrinkle in Yahoo’s best ball leagues, though, is the “highest weekly score” prize. For the $1, $20, $50, and $100 leagues, that highest weekly score equals 25% of your entry fee, ex: In the $1 league, you get a $.25 weekly high score prize. In the $5 and $10 leagues, it’s only 20% for the weekly prize, but you get a higher 2nd place, overall payout at 180% of your league fee, ex: 2nd place in the $5 league is $9. Meanwhile, the $1/$20/$50/$100 leagues are paying out 150% of your entry fee for 2nd place.
For me, I’m shooting for a slew of highest weekly scores, regardless of entry fee $, and hoping that I string enough of those weekly peaks, to place 3rd or above, thus giving me the highest amount of ROI. To do that will require several weeks where the scores must “pop,” which brings us to stacking.
Stacking is an important piece of best-ball leagues and will be very important if you want to have a successful weekly high scoring team. You are collecting multiple players from the same team. So, when that NFL team has a high scoring week, those scores “stack,” as players contribute to each others’ success directly. You’re getting points for the same play, with multiple players adding points to your team’s total (EX: Jimmy Garropolo throws a 25 yd TD pass to Kittle you get: passing yards, passing TD, receiving yards and receiving TD points, all in one shot). Collecting players from high scoring teams (BAL, KC, DAL, NO, TB, SF), and/or teams that have easy schedules (BAL, PIT, DAL, CIN, CLE) is the easiest way to do this, as those teams will pinball up the most points, during the season, and weekly, as well.
Some things to think about:
- The higher the league fee $, the harder it is to stack players. Owners who pay $20 for a best ball league are watching the teams; an owner is building in the draft. They are also looking to target the same high powered stacks you’ll be aiming to get. While owners who are playing in $1 leagues, might be playing for fun and will be targeting their favorite players (or most hyped players) and not paying attention to what other teams are doing.
- The better the offense, the higher the draft picks needed for that stack. Ex: If you want to stack Kansas City Chiefs players, you’ll have to take Tyreek Hill in the 1st Rd, Travis Kelce in the 2nd, Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the 3rd, etc
- Missing on stacks happen, all-the-time. Don’t go into a draft just trying to make one stack happen. Have several stacks you’d like to build, and collect the pieces that you don’t have to reach too early. Most players use the ADP that the sites generate, and won’t stray too far from that. You can use that to your advantage and pick players before another owner sees them roll up on the ADP.
Here’s an example of some stacks I made with one of my Yahoo best-ball teams:
You can see the strategy here: Owning part of an offense, like Seattle/Wilson+Lockett. Or owning an entire passing offense like Rodgers+all Green Bay WRs. Or owning multiple pieces of an offense, that can pay off, like 49ers rushing offense w/Coleman+Mostert or 49ers passing pieces in Jimmy G/Deebo.
Back Door Stacking:
One thing I’ve learned from playing some charity, auction best-ball leagues, is the value of a “back door stack.” Back door stacking is where you acquire some of the lesser pieces of an offense, for cheap. Ex: Instead of getting Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper, you’re getting Dak+Michael Gallup+CeeDee Lamb or just Gallup+Lamb. You’re not getting the star power of Cooper, but Gallup and Cobb (who Lamb is replacing) got nearly 200 targets combined in 2019. So, you’re still getting significant pieces of the Cowboys offense. Therefore, when that offense pops, you’re racking up the points, and you’re not spending high draft picks to make these stacks happen.
The month of May strategies:
Draft RBs First:
- Yahoo has 23 RBs ranked in the top 50 players. As I said before, players respect those rankings and adhere to them pretty tightly (auto picks are also taken from their rankings lists, if teams don’t have queued players). In general, you should be aiming to draft RBs with two of your first three picks. You have to start 2 RBs, weekly, and the quality of RBs dries up pretty quickly after Round 4. **Cheat Code: James White is a very good best-ball player to have, and can be gotten after Round 9, consistently, if you need to fill out some RB depth. Even at .5 PPR, he ranks in the top 25 for RBs.
WRs are deep:
- Conversely, Yahoo ranks only 21 WRs out of the top 50 players. You have to start 3 WRs, but each NFL team, in general, has at least 2 WRs that you can draft, and be happy with. At the end of Round 4, there will still be around 10, #1 WRs available to draft. Deebo Samuels is ranked #70, so that shows the value of WR that is still left, after the first handful of rounds. WR depth is an advantage for you, load up on other positions, then pluck away WRs during Rds 5-9. **Cheat Code: Take a look at WRs who scored TDs, last year. Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay ranked in the top 5 in WR TDs. Add in Matthew Stafford, and that’s an easy+cheap stack to build. Darius Slayton and Golden Tate both ranked in the top 20 for WR TDs, add in Daniel Jones and that’s also an easy+cheap stack to build.
- You need to draft 2-3 TEs. I always lean to drafting three, as TEs seem to have season-long injuries, regularly. While it’s nice to have a premium TE (Kelce, Kittle, etc.) at a position of scarcity, getting a TE that is on his way up or in a better situation (Fant, Hurst, Higbee are examples), is a better way to get value and a better overall team. **Cheat Code: Players Jared Cook and Dallas Goedert are both stellar in best-ball formats. Cook had a TD in 5 of the 6 games the Saints scored 34 or more points in, making perfect for Saints stacks. Goedert is a PPR phenom who outscored OBJ in full PPR leagues, last year, and is perfect for getting you points in that FLEX spot (he’s also available post-Round 10, in best ball).
Look for value, based on recent events:
- Depressed perceived value= better draft for you. Example: Aaron Rodgers had his eventual replacement drafted by the Packers, but it’ll be a few years before Jordan Love takes over. Aaron Rodgers ADP and rankings have taken a temporary dip because of this. You’ll see his value pop back up, later in the summer, but cash-in on those players, like Rodgers, who have taken a temporary dip in rankings because of the recent NFL draft. See also: Courtland Sutton, Devin Singletary, Carson Wentz, Aaron Jones, etc.
Practice makes perfect:
- Maybe your not ready to put your cold, hard cash down on best-ball leagues…and that’s ok. Yahoo has free leagues that you can practice drafting. Try doing a few drafts, get your strategy down, get used to the flow of the draft, and how the Yahoo site operates when the draft is live. Every draft completed gives you a better understanding of how best ball leagues work and thus gives you a leg up on your competition.
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