FFWC Best Ball Drafts: For Beginners

QB Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson

FFWC Best Ball Drafts: For Beginners

Guest Post from Bradley Stalder of FantasyData.

It’s officially fantasy football season and Best Ball drafts are in full swing. Recently, I had the pleasure of assembling an FFWC Best Ball squad and the results were fantastic.

For those unfamiliar with Best Ball formats, each week teams will accumulate points from an optimized starting roster. There is no lineup setting– the program will optimize automatically.

Nine players comprise the starting roster: 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRS, 1 TE, 1 FLEX, and 1 D/ST. Per usual settings for Best Ball, there is no FAAB (Free Agent Acquisition Budget) Waiver runs in this starter draft.

Notable Scoring Settings: 0.05 points per passing yard, 4 points per passing TD, 6 points per rushing/receiving TD, 0.1 points per rushing or receiving yard, 1 point per reception, and heightened defensive scoring. See further scoring details here.

Preparation & Philosophy Before Drafting

  1. Starting 3 WRs drives up the value of wide receiver, devaluing all the other positions. Prioritizing WRs in both the early and middle rounds would be necessary. Knowing that wide receiver is the most volatile of positions, and needing to start 3, selecting anchor receivers early paired with boom-bust partners later on allowed for more flexibility.
  2. Stacking an elite fantasy quarterback would be determined by their proto-type. A mobile, Konami Code QB would decrease a desire to correlate with multiple pass-catchers. However, if a defined pocket-passer was selected, their corresponding pass-catcher would be a priority. 
  3. Confidently drafting rookie WRs and RBs once starting positions are secured. Rookies tend to improve as the season goes on. Veteran wide receivers and running backs tend to get more banged up or end up on injured reserve as the season goes on. 

Entering Round 1

Drafting Davante Adams signaled prioritization of drafting an elite WR early. The next day after I selected him, however, Adams was traded from the Green Bay Packers to the Las Vegas Raiders for two draft picks. While Adams’ value dropped, his 2022 outlook still projects as a top-6 wide receiver. Had Adams been traded the day prior, a selection of Justin Jefferson instead of Adams would have made more sense. Regardless of the perceived loss of value from the Adams trade, leaving Round 1 with a WR1 was a win. 

Surprising Pick of Round 1: Austin Ekeler went off the board at the 1.03 as the RB2 behind Jonathan Taylor. Early ADP suggests that Ekeler is selected as the RB5 closer to the 1.09 or so. 

Round 2

There was a bit of an RB run between 1.09 and 2.04. In fact, five of the next seven picks were running backs. Alvin Kamara ended the tier of elite running backs. Kamara rushed a  career-high 240 times last season and is the only sure thing on the New Orleans offense. While there are questions about what the offense will look like without Sean Payton, Kamara has eclipsed RB4 in PPR fantasy points per game in four of his five career seasons. The risk of Kamara’s pending legal situation was baked into his fall to 2.05.

Surprise Pick of Round 2: CeeDee Lamb fell to the 2.10 as the WR10. Lamb’s ADP has hovered between WR7 and 8 so far this offseason. 

Round 3

Selecting Diontae Johnson at 3.08 was straight theft. Only one player with 100+ targets last season had more targets per game than Johnson: Cooper Kupp. Despite Ben Roethlisberger’s documented decline over the past three seasons, Johnson has steadily improved year-over-year, finishing 2021 as the WR8 in PPR fantasy points per game. His floor is unquestioned. Again, leaving the first three rounds with two high-floor elite WRs would allow for more risks later on in the draft.

Surprise Pick of Round 3: David Montgomery off the board at RB15 at 3.09. Montgomery’s ADP usually falls outside of RB20. 

Round 4

Breece Hall, projected as the first rookie RB off the NFL draft board, was selected at 4.05 and the 17th running back off the board. Over the past seven seasons, the first rookie RB drafted went on to be RB16 in PPR ppg six times. The only one not to score that high? Clyde Edwards-Helaire at RB23. In fact, five of the last seven seasons, the first RB selected off the rookie draft board finished as RB9 or better. Aside from his savory measurables, history is on Breece Hall’s side to out-perform RB17. 

Surprise Pick of Round 4: Chris Godwin at WR20. Godwin tore his ACL in week 15 against the Saints. A late-season ACL tear is a risk when a drafter is investing WR20 draft capital in a start-3 WR league. 

Round 5

At 5.08, Travis Etienne was the gamble of the draft. Selected right after Najee Harris in the 2021 NFL draft, Etienne missed his whole rookie year due to a lisfranc injury. However, Doug Pederson suggested that Etienne will be able to do off-season and drill work. With 4.50 speed, 1st round draft capital, and 85 receptions in his final two seasons at Clemson with teammate Trevor Lawrence, Etienne’s potential as a needle-moving playmaker in an improved and up-tempo Pederson-led Jacksonville offense. 

Surprise Pick of Round 5: Darnell Mooney at 5.01 and the WR23 off the board. While Mooney showed interesting upside last season, his ADP as outside the top-30 of WRs looks like a significant loss of value. Perhaps Mooney wouldn’t have made it back to this team, but it looked like a tier-overstep.

Round 6

At 6.05, Lamar Jackson provided relief in the midst of six consecutive quarterback selections. Jackson’s Konami Code accesses a ceiling nearly unmatched by any other quarterback– three top-2 weekly QB finishes in ‘21, five top-5 weekly QB finishes in ‘20, and nine top-3 weekly QB finishes in ‘19. Perhaps the most interesting trend in ‘21 was Jackson’s significant Pass Attempts increase; 34.4 attempts per full game was a 28.7% increase from his previous seasonal career high. Lamar Jackson is also a strong quarterback consideration who doesn’t necessarily need a stacking partner in a tournament.

Surprise pick of Round 6: Russell Wilson as the QB3 off the board ahead of Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, and Joe Burrow. Wilson is going off the board near QB7 at ADP– so this drafter must’ve been interested in buying into Denver’s future. 

Round 7

Perhaps one of the most undervalued WRs in best ball drafts so far is Adam Thielen. Ten of his last twenty-five games have resulted in a WR10 or better weekly finish in PPR scoring. Entering his year-32 season, Thielen has conceded #1 WR work to Justin Jefferson. However, the Vikings hired former LAR OC Kevin O’Connell, who coached the Rams up to the 2nd highest game-script adjusted pass % over the past two seasons (MIN had been 16th each of the last two seasons). This bodes well for the entire Vikings offense, Thielen included.

Surprise pick of Round 7: Cordarelle Patterson off the board at RB25. This pick was made right after Patterson re-signed with Atlanta. While he may still play an integral part of the offense in 2022, Patterson is 31 years old and showed signs of slowing down near the end of last season. His ADP usually falls outside RB30. 

Round 8

Dallas Goedert fell to the 8th round as the TE7 off the board, behind TJ Hockenson. While the sample without Zach Ertz is small, Goedert performed in a big way after Ertz was traded to Arizona. In the 9 games without Ertz in ‘21, Goedert exceeded a 27% target share six times– and averaged a 27% target share during that span. While the concern for Goedert may be Jalen Hurts’ pass volume, Goedert has an odds-on chance along with Kyle Pitts to lead the TE position in target share.

Surprise pick of Round 8: Kenneth Walker off the board at 8.10 as the RB34 off the board. Kenneth Walker’s ADP usually is within the top-30 of running backs, and with 2nd round draft capital expected in April’s rookie draft, Walker looks like a great value.

Round 9

Chase Edmonds going off the board after Rhamondre Stevenson and Devin Singletary felt like another gift. In a part-time role over the last 28 games in Arizona, half of those weeks were RB24 weeks or better. Now, Edmonds is the 15th highest-paid running back in the NFL on the Miami Dolphins, who prioritized the former Cardinal immediately in free agency. Selecting Edmonds as the 4th RB on this roster signaled the end of drafting RBs for some time. 

Surprise pick of Round 9: Russell Gage as the WR42. Gage has four top-10 WR weekly finishes over his last 17 games. With Godwin’s ACL tear, Rob Gronkowski contemplating retirement, Antonio Brown gone, Mike Evans coming off a career-low target share, and no other legitimate threat for targets, Russell Gage should be a fantasy target for managers who want to tie themselves to an offense which has ranked 2nd in neutral script pass-rate each of the last two seasons. 

Round 10-13: Wide Receiver Stretch

Kadarius Toney (WR46), Drake London (WR54), Tim Patrick (WR59), and Curtis Samuel (WR64) all provide either ceiling or ambiguity I sought at WR after filling the first three starting-WR roster spots. 

Toney was WR7 in target rate (28.9%) as a rookie. With an aged Sterling Shepherd ailing from an Achilles rupture in Week 15, Toney slots into a high-volume role where he can utilize his WR1 overall Juke Rate (66.7%) and WR19 target separation (1.79 yards) to access ceiling. Four of Toney’s seven games of 40+% snap share resulted in 9+ targets. 

Drake London’s projected 1st round draft capital proved irresistible. Built at 6-4 219 lbs, London profiles as a prototypical alpha, commanding a 27% college target share at USC (15.5 targets per game his Junior year). London’s probably another great value at this point in the draft. 

Tim Patrick scored a higher 67th percentile weekly finish over his last 17 games than: DJ Chark, Gabriel Davis, Jerry Jeudy, Allen Robinson, and Kenny Golladay. Perhaps the most forgotten WR in Denver, Patrick has five top-27 WR finishes over his last 17 games. Now with Russell Wilson in Denver, Patrick has a chance to increase that ceiling.

Curtis Samuel’s lost 2021 provided this round 13 discount. Over his last 17 games, Curtis Samuel’s 67th percentile weekly finish is better than DK Metcalf, Amari Cooper, Elijah Moore, Brandon Aiyuk, and teammate Terry McLaurin. If he’s on the field and fully healthy, Samuel is one of the most dangerous weapons in the NFL. At this point in the draft, Samuel accesses a ceiling few of his peers can.

Rounds 14 & 16: TE Dart Throws

Albert Okwuegbunam pegs in as Denver’s TE1. A 4th round selection in 2020. Okwuegbunam is now fully recovered from an ACL tear in his rookie year. Despite exceeding 54% snap share only once in 2021, he was TE15 in yards after the catch. With Noah Fant out and Russell Wilson in at Quarterback for Denber, Albert Okwuegbunam could provide significant returns on TE19 draft capital.

News that Gerald Everett signed with the LA Chargers immediately put Everett on the fantasy radar. Nearly half of 35-year-old Jared Cook’s weekly TE outputs finished in the top-13 as the Chargers’ starting TE in ‘21. Now that Everett moves from a historically slow-paced offense to a pass-first, up-tempo offense his fantasy ceiling heightens. 85-90 targets are feasible for Everett. 

Round 15 & Round 18: Backup Quarterbacks

Davis Mills showed a sneaky ceiling last season. A 3rd round pick by the Texans in 2021, Mills started 12 games as a rookie– four of which were top-10 weekly finishes. That was a higher rate of top-10 weekly finishes than Ryan Tannehill.  With Brandin Cooks returning and an anticipated pervasive negative game script, Mills played well enough to secure one more prove-it year in 2022 as the starting quarterback in Houston and earn a spot on this best ball roster.

Many have forgotten the ceiling Mitchell Trubisky could provide. Trubisky scored a top-10 weekly finish 14 of his last 39 starts. Trubisky finished as QB11 in fantasy points per game back in 2018. Now on the Steelers with Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, Pat Freiermuth, and Najee Harris, Trubisky has a fresh start in Pittsburgh. He also stacked with Diontae Johnson selected earlier in this draft.

Rounds 17 & 19: Defense/Special Teams

It is necessary in drafts like this to select at least two D/ST. Selecting the Broncos correlated to two DEN pass-catchers. Selecting the Steelers correlated to the PITT stack of Trubisky-Diontae. Historically both teams have had solid defensive sides of the ball. Losing Tyreek Hill from the division will help DEN, but the Steelers now may face Deshaun Watson twice (pending outcome of the investigation). 

Rounds 20, 23, 24: Late-Round WRs

George Pickens in round 20 at WR88– extraordinary value for a player with projected 2nd round draft capital. While he hasn’t played significant in-game football since 2020, Pickens’ ambiguous future could prove immense returns if a team like the Packers or Chiefs selected him in Round 1 of April’s rookie draft.

Auden Tate’s selection came after he signed with the Atlanta Falcons. In 2019, with Cincinnati, Tate had a 7-game streak of 6+ targets. While he’s struggled with injuries over the past 2 seasons, the Falcons are desperate at WR and there are worse picks than Tate as a dart throw.

  Deonte Harty (formerly Deonte Harris) was selected in the last round. Harty scored a top-33 WR weekly finish five times, with one inside the top-10 over his last 17 games. His 67th percentile weekly finish over the last 17 games is higher than Laviska Shenault, Jerry Jeudy, Robby Anderson, Courtland Sutton, or Kadarius Toney. Harty’s WR3 overall target rate (34.3%), WR2 overall hog rate (22.2%), and WR2 overall Yards Per Route Run (3.31) is nothing to scoff at. While he’s only 5’6”, Harty is lightning in a bottle and should be a last-round consideration in all formats.

Rounds 21 & 22: Late-Round RBs

Tyler Goodson crushed the rookie combine, running a 4.42 40-yard dash. His other measurables such as speed score, burst score, and agility score all graded 73rd percentile or higher. With an 86th percentile college target share, Goodson has been compared by some analysts to CJ Spiller. He might be this year’s version of Elijah Mitchell.

Another Tyler, Tyler Badie, also impressed at the rookie combine. A Missouri product with 4.45 speed, Badie caught 110 career passes in 32 collegiate games. If given the opportunity, Badie’s pass-catching capability along with a sprinkle of rushes could mean spike weeks like Kenneth Gainwell (who had three top-11 weekly finishes as a rookie). 

Conclusion

This team finished as a 3-6-10-3-2 build. While admittedly fragile at running back with clarification needed for Alvin Kamara and Travis Etienne’s situations, all other positions are strengths. In a start 3-WR league like this, selecting many high-upside discounted receivers is balanced with selecting Davante Adams and Diontae Johnson at the top of the draft. 


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Draft: 20 Rounds | Style: Best ball (no lineups or free agency in-season)

Lineup requirements: 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, (no kicker or defense) + 2 FLEX players – one of which can be a QB.

Scoring: Same as FFWC. See below.

Playoffs: After 14 weeks, the TOP TWO scoring teams advance per league to week 15 for a total of 100 advancing teams. Advancing teams will compete for a 3-week point total championship entering with their season average weekly points scored (from weeks 1-14). Top 2 scorers in each league after 14 weeks are guaranteed at least $100 in prizes. (2X)

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Slow drafts – As soon as the 12th team fills, the draft begins the top of the next hour. You’ll get an email and text notification.

Quarterback is more important in this contest because a starter will traditionally score more points than a typical flex position so you’ll see QB go much earlier in these drafts. The 24th best QB averaged 17.2 fantasy points per game.  That equals the 9th best RB and the 10th best WR in the FFWC scoring format.

PLAYOFFS

Weeks 1-14 – Each League’s Highest Scoring Team

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About Jody Smith 147 Articles
With over a decade of winning experience, Jody is a well-known fixture in the fantasy football community. He was named Fantasy Pros’ **Most Accurate Ranker** previously and was the site’s Top NFL over/under totals picker with a record 65% accuracy in 2020, while also ranking 5th in the country with a 55% against-the-spread hit rate. Jody has written for many sites over the years including Pro Football Focus, FantasyPros, CBS Sportsline, FantasyData, and is a regular contributor to the Fantasy Index magazine expert’s poll, draft, and auction.Jody’s experience ranking and projecting player performance will help prepare the Fulltime Fam for their big draft days as well as answers they can trust on Sunday for those ever crucial Who Do I Start questions.