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Best Ball Format? (1 Viewer)

JB Breakfast Club

Footballguy
I've dug around but couldn't really find anything...are there any strategy articles for best ball formats? I'm playing in a handful of them this year (there is a national company that offer 12-team/25 round best ball format) since I don't want to have to actively manage the teams.

I use some of the extreme flyer articles for rounds 21+ (generally, kickers and defense eat up 5 roster spots, and they go in rounds 16-22). Just wondering if there are any other tools out there.

 

zamboni

Footballguy
I would think it's the same as regular formats - just make sure you have enough depth at each position.

Not a fan of best ball though - basically throwing crap at the wall and seeing what sticks as opposed to really being a GM.

 

BoltBacker

Footballguy
Not a fan of best ball though - basically throwing crap at the wall and seeing what sticks as opposed to really being a GM.
I think the just the opposite.

A GM generally assembles a team but a coach decides which players are used most. If anything best ball format makes FF much more like being a GM.

It saved the hobby for me as I can't stand trying to read the tea leaves with regard to who is hurt and who is injured and what each means. There is just so much coach-speak BS with regard to work load I hated that aspect of the game. In some ways you were penalized for having depth because guys would go off for big games on your bench all the time. In best ball you are rewarded for creating a strong bench, and being a better GM imo. That's the biggest difference with best ball, every spot on your roster matters, not just the starters. But to each their own.

 

zamboni

Footballguy
Not a fan of best ball though - basically throwing crap at the wall and seeing what sticks as opposed to really being a GM.
I think the just the opposite.

A GM generally assembles a team but a coach decides which players are used most. If anything best ball format makes FF much more like being a GM.

It saved the hobby for me as I can't stand trying to read the tea leaves with regard to who is hurt and who is injured and what each means. There is just so much coach-speak BS with regard to work load I hated that aspect of the game. In some ways you were penalized for having depth because guys would go off for big games on your bench all the time. In best ball you are rewarded for creating a strong bench, and being a better GM imo. That's the biggest difference with best ball, every spot on your roster matters, not just the starters. But to each their own.
Fair point - GM really picks the players and up to the coach to pick the lineup.

But I don't have the budget to have separate GM and coach, so I have to do it all.

 

Mr. Irrelevant

IBL Representative
Plenty of advice out there on theory - but if you want to see what works and doesn't in practice, check out the past couple years' worth of WSLs / PDSLs / SSLs on FBG's Mock Drafts board. They're all run in best-ball format with varying numbers of roster spots (18, 20, 24). The key difference is those leagues are "draft-and-done" - no trading, waiver wires, etc. - but if it's draft strategy you're interested in that's moot anyway.

A couple of random pieces of advice:

  1. Generally you're OK if with N starting slots at each position you can lock up N-1 studs / high performers. This implies you don't need any studs at QB and TE ... which is often the case ... in particular, QBBC's are a lot more attractive in best-ball format since you never have to worry about picking the "right guy". Of course this all depends on the scoring system (FBG's drafts award 2PPR for TE's, so a stud TE is a huge benefit in those leagues).
  2. Especially if it's a non-PPR scoring system, your focus in the mid to late rounds should be on "high-variance" guys ... big-play speedsters and red-zone hawks like Torrey Smith, D-Will, Tony Gonzalez. Mediocre-but-consistent guys like Jay Cutler, Vick Ballard, Nate Washington go down in value. You'd much rather have the guy who puts up 0 points half the weeks and 14 points the other half than one who plods his way to 7 points every week. PPR offsets this to a degree but the principle still holds.
  3. There's absolutely no point in having more than two kickers or defenses - I ran the numbers going back three seasons and only in rare cases would three guys net you more than 1 extra point a week on average over two marginally better ones. You can get a lot more than that out of a team's goal-line RB or slot WR at a similar draft position.
 

JB Breakfast Club

Footballguy
Thanks! I usually go 3 kickers (a few got injured last year and spooked me) and 2 defenses.

I'm trying to learn from last year...in a few early drafts I took a 7th WR in the final round instead of drafting Russell Wilson. I'm thinking about taking Pryor as a third QB in the final round (assuming I am comfortable with my two QB from earlier in the draft).

 

Maurile Tremblay

Administrator
Staff member
In general, compared to normal leagues, studs are comparatively worth less in best ball leagues, and depth is worth comparatively more.

In leagues with a draft, the difference is manifest mainly in roster allocation. In a standard league, you don't want a backup kicker or a backup team defense. You can use the waiver wire as needed if your starters fail. In best ball, backup kickers and defenses are valuable.

In auction leagues, the top players should be had at a discount compared to what they'd go for in a standard league. Since not all fantasy owners realize this, and the top players actually don't go for a discount, the best strategy is often to skip taking the top players at any given position, and instead increase the quality of your depth. If you're going to carry three QBs in a 12-team league, for example, instead of trying to get a top-five QB and then backing him up with, say, QB18 and QB30, you should instead try to get three QBs that are all within the QB10-QB18 range.

But as always in an auction league, there's no single strategy that is always right. The best strategy for you will depend in part on what strategies your league-mates are pursuing.

(The reason that studs become less important, and depth more important, in best ball leagues is that bench points are worthless in normal leagues. But they're not "bench" points in best ball leagues. Just because you wouldn't have started a guy if you'd had to designate your starting lineup ahead of time doesn't mean you don't benefit when he unexpectedly blows up. Similarly, it's very important in normal leagues for your studs not to have a bad game. He's definitely starting for you, and if he is a dud, you effectively have a hole in your starting lineup. But in a best ball league, you'll be covered if you have adequate depth. So it's not as big a deal if your QB1 isn't a stud, and it's not as big a waste if your QB3 ends up being good. Therefore, it makes sense to shift some resources from your spending on a QB1 to your spending on a QB3, as compared to a normal league.)

(On a side note, players like Percy Harvin and Michael Crabtree -- guys who will play less than a full season, but are generally quite good when they do play -- are also worth less in best ball leagues than in normal leagues.)

 
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ebsteelers

Footballguy
didnt realize best ball is the same as set it and forget it.

i guess the best strategy would be to load up on boom or bust guys more so then in a h2h weekly situation.

not sure if I like a team in that format, guess its good for the casual owner or someone who only checks their team once a point,

I think I'd like that format for baseball with it being such a grind

 

Go DC Yourself

Footballguy
In general, compared to normal leagues, studs are comparatively worth less in best ball leagues, and depth is worth comparatively more.
I'd tweak this a little and say that it is the players just below the stud category where you should shave your dollars off to save for depth. The top RB and WR are considered studs largely because of their consistency. I don't mind full price for that in best ball, particularly with regard to RB, where the pool is shallow. WR you can spread the auction dollars and have a reasonable hope that your depth will pay off on a weekly basis.

 

Leroy Hoard

Footballguy
It saved the hobby for me as I can't stand trying to read the tea leaves with regard to who is hurt and who is injured and what each means. There is just so much coach-speak BS with regard to work load I hated that aspect of the game. In some ways you were penalized for having depth because guys would go off for big games on your bench all the time. In best ball you are rewarded for creating a strong bench, and being a better GM imo. That's the biggest difference with best ball, every spot on your roster matters, not just the starters.
 

ZWK

Footballguy
Rule of thumb: if there are N starting slots at a position, you generally want 2N+1 players at that position on your roster. If there's a flex spot, those players can be from any of the flex-able positions (it'll generally end up being WRs and TEs; in leagues with 2 flex spots it's fine to draft 6 TEs if that's where the value is, especially if there's a TE PPR bonus). It's possible to get by with 1 less at QB, PK, or DEF.

If you get a safe top QB, then you can get away with only taking 2 QBs. Guys like Brees & Brady consistently score so much that a QB outside the top 10 or 15 will rarely crack your lineup outside of bye weeks or missed games. A high-end QB1 plus low-end QB2 will generally outscore three high end QB2s, unless your QB1 gets hurt in which case you're screwed.

I treat every spot as a starter, and target guys who are safe bets to contribute over all-or-nothing sleepers. Guys like Brandon Lafell, Pierre Thomas, and Marcedes Lewis are solid contributors - they're nice to have on the bottom half of your roster at their positions. In other FF leagues a WR who puts up 50/650/4 is essentially the same as a total bust who never sees the field, but that is not true in best ball leagues (he is at least likely to crack your lineup in the 4 weeks that he scores those TDs).

With kickers and defenses, if you get three of each then it almost doesn't matter who they are - there is enough year-to-year unpredictability and week-to-week variability for any team with three to be in pretty good shape. (Of course, it does help a lot to have a defense that goes crazy like last year's Bears, but that is very hard to predict in advance.) I typically figure out ahead of time when the latest is that I can get starters at each (being extra careful with kickers - you want healthy guys with a safe hold on their job), and then aim to draft them as late as possible.

On the bottom half of your roster, players who are inconsistent from week-to-week give a small advantage over players who are more consistent, but this is only a small factor (in part because it's hard to predict which receivers will be inconsistent). The main thing that I look for is TDs - I'll take a WR who I project to score 90 fpts with 5 TDs before one who I project to score 90 fpts with 2 TDs.

 

BoltBacker

Footballguy
Fair point - GM really picks the players and up to the coach to pick the lineup.

But I don't have the budget to have separate GM and coach, so I have to do it all.
But that's where the problem lies for me.

If we were simulating a season on Madden we could be both the GM and the coach, but none of us are the coach. We don't get to actually see what players are slightly dinged and will get their full workload or who is going to be a last minute scratch before the game. We can't decide that Michael Turner should relinquish some of his touches to Rodgers no matter how much we wish it to be so. Each player on our roster has his own coach and we're just guessing how that coach is going to use that player nearly as much as we are guessing which players are actually better than another player.

We can pretend to be the coach by making a starting lineup, but how that player will be used or whether they actually play or not is completely out of our hands. The guessing what each players actual coach will do seems unrealistic to me and detracts my enjoyment from the traditional starting lineups.

 

zamboni

Footballguy
Fair point - GM really picks the players and up to the coach to pick the lineup.

But I don't have the budget to have separate GM and coach, so I have to do it all.
But that's where the problem lies for me.

If we were simulating a season on Madden we could be both the GM and the coach, but none of us are the coach. We don't get to actually see what players are slightly dinged and will get their full workload or who is going to be a last minute scratch before the game. We can't decide that Michael Turner should relinquish some of his touches to Rodgers no matter how much we wish it to be so. Each player on our roster has his own coach and we're just guessing how that coach is going to use that player nearly as much as we are guessing which players are actually better than another player.

We can pretend to be the coach by making a starting lineup, but how that player will be used or whether they actually play or not is completely out of our hands. The guessing what each players actual coach will do seems unrealistic to me and detracts my enjoyment from the traditional starting lineups.
If it were easy, it would be less interesting to me. And in my view, trying to gauge situations rewards teams who really keep up on things as opposed to those who just check the news on Sunday morning.

 

Go DC Yourself

Footballguy
Strategery question for best ball: If you are in a leagues that doesn't permit free agent pickups during the playoffs, do you cut your RB handcuffs loose in exchange for greater depth to your roster?

 

pizzatyme

Footballguy
Go DC Yourself said:
Strategery question for best ball: If you are in a leagues that doesn't permit free agent pickups during the playoffs, do you cut your RB handcuffs loose in exchange for greater depth to your roster?
Yes. If AP goes down, is Gerhart going to save your season? I think not.

I'd rather have a backup RB on a good team with decent playing time built in. Guys like Woodhead, Powell, Moreno, Ballard, Jennings will find my team much more so than Knile Davis or Toby Gerhart.

I'll take weekly points with upside over a "lottery ticket" handcuff any day.

 

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