A Best Ball Draft Experience

Last week I decided to finally give best ball a shot after doing research into it over the past year. If you’re not familiar with the format, you draft 18 players and start 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE, and 1 FLEX. The highest scoring players are automatically started each week, and the team with the most points at the end of the season wins. There’s no roster management at all; once you draft, you’re done until the end of the season. So you need to take bye weeks and injuries into consideration as you draft.

Here’s a look at the scoring:

Courtesy of Draft.com

I signed up on Draft.com and I got a free entry since I was a newb. After looking through the site, I burned that free entry on a 10-person fast draft that was almost full.  I was the 8th person to sign up so I started putting together a draft board while I waited.  You should ALWAYS have a draft board, something that ranks your players from 1 to infinity; that way you can keep track of who’s gone and pick the best available when your time comes around.  Plus it keeps you from looking like a schmuck.  You don’t want to be the person holding up the draft while you comb the Net for your 50-11th pick.  And ALWAYS have your draft board completed before drafting.

After about 5-6 minutes, the final person joined the league and it was on.  The fast draft is FAST; you only have 30 seconds to pick, which adds to the tension and excitement.  I was drafting from the 6th spot, which is perfect for my draft style.  Since it’s a half-point PPR, I figured I’d have a shot at DeAndre Hopkins if all the usual suspects were gone (Barkley, Kamara, Elliott, McCaffrey, and Bell).  But Hopkins went 4th, so Bell was available when my name was called.  However, my distrust/disdain for all things Adam Gase led me in another direction: Patrick Mahomes.

I’m sure there was plenty of eye-rolling and laughing amongst my peers, and I get it.  But Mahomes is tracking like LaDainlian Tomlinson in 2006, Drew Brees in 2011, and Peyton Manning in 2013.  Those dudes were carrying people to fantasy championships.  The Force compelled me to take him.

By the time my next pick came around, James Connor was staring me in the face, begging me to take him.  I eagerly complied.  If he stays healthy, Connor could easily be a poor man’s version of Bell’s 2015 season.  In the 3rd, I went with Keenan Allen, who was somehow still available.  I could have taken Antonio Brown or Zac Ertz, but Allen has been at top-flight receiver for the past few years, as long as he remained healthy.

At this point I’ve got my starting QB, my RB1, and my WR1.  I always go best-available when drafting, and in the first 5-7 rounds, I typically ignore positions.  I almost never have 3 starters at these 3 key positions this early in the draft, so I’m feeling good.  I know I can build a solid team around these guys.

I went with Derrick Henry in the 4th, even though I was SO tempted to pull the trigger on OJ Howard.   But since this is best ball, and I knew I needed to pound the running back spot with all things being equal, so.   Melvin Gordon was there in the 5th, but I don’t think he’s going to be playing until much later in the season, so I went with Tyler Boyd.

At this point in the draft, consistency is gone for the most part and you’re drafting based on speculation.  Teams were hammering RBs and WRs mostly at this point, but I was able to snag Telvin Coleman, Sterling Shepard, and Kenyan Drake in the next few rounds.  In the 9th, I grabbed Mark Andrews at TE.  I waited a bit too long to address the TE position and this was the best I could get.  TE is volatile after the top 3-5 guys, so I decided to wait, but if I could change anything about this draft, I would have knabbed Howard or Evan Engram earlier.

As the draft progressed, I was able to grab Peyton Barber, Larry Fitzgerald, Jamison Crowder, Marquise Goodwin, Greg Olsen, and Jordan Reed.  All these guys should contribute if they’re healthy.  I stole Ben Roethlisberger in the 12th and Tom Brady in the 13th.  I don’t see too many weeks either will outscore Mahomes, but one of them will automatically be filled in when Mahomes is on the bye, and if there’s an unexpected injury I’ll be more than covered.  It doesn’t hurt to have these guys off my competition’s roster either. 

With my last pick, I took Jerrick McKinnon, who promptly got placed on IR a couple days later.  So my team is already a player down (well 2 if you count Jordan Reed, who is will get injured at some point)

When the draft was over, the point projections were listed; I’m projected to score the most points out of the competition, beating out the 2nd place guy by a measly 3 points.

Courtesy of Draft.com

I’m looking forward to seeing how things shake down.  Be sure to check back each week, as I’ll be posting an updates on how the league is going.  This should be one hell of a ride!