There is a new wrinkle for all the best ball lovers out there, as DraftKings offers new best ball contests at the start of each week. Every Monday evening during the season they post a new version of best ball, and this week it is from Week 4 to Week 17. They offer Sit & Go contests, which are cash games with entry fees at $1, $10, $109 and $1,060. They also have a Week 4 tournament called the Week 4 Special, which is a $21 entry fee (129 max entry), $80,000 prize pool, with a $20,000 to first top prize. It currently has 600 of 4,320 entries and will go live just before the Thursday Night Football game. It is done like a typical best ball fantasy football draft, just with a different scoring and advancement system. Below is a guide on how to draft in-season fantasy football best ball teams.
How to Draft In-Season Best Ball Fantasy Football Teams
DraftKings Best Ball Weeks 4-17 Tournament Breakdown
- Round 1 = Weeks 4-14 (Top 2 Advance)
- Round 2 = Week 15 (Top 2 Advance)
- Round 3 = Week 16 (Top 1 Advance)
- Round 4 = Week 17 (10 entries in the Finals battle it out)
Standard Rosters Consisting of 20 Spots
- 1 Quarterback
- 2 Running Backs
- 3 Wide Receivers
- 1 Tight End
- 1 Flex (RB/WR/TE)
- 12 Bench Slots
- 1st = $20,000
- 2nd = $7,650
- 3rd = $5,000
- 4th = $4,000
- 5th = $3,000
- 6th = $2,000
- 7th-8th = $1,500
- 9th-10th = $1,000
- Round 3 2nd-4th = $125
- Round 3 5th-12th = $100
- Round 2 3rd-4th = $40
- Round 2 5th-12th = $35
There are lots of mispriced ADPs when these in-season best ball contest first launch and the public catches up, but it does not usually happen until the contest goes live on Thursday night. People have a hard time adjusting week to week on what how players should be valued, injuries happen, and DraftKings just puts out bad ADP on some players right from the start.
Take Advantage of Injuries and ADP
First thing to do if entering these $21 tournament teams is to adjust rankings by taking out all the players that are out for the season that DraftKings still has ADP for. People have not been doing this over the last few weeks and are getting caught auto-drafting players that will not play another down of football in 2021. The first goal in best ball is to draft a team of 20 players that potentially will never take a zero any week. Here is a list of players out for the year that currently have an ADP on DraftKings:
- Cam Akers — ADP 123.1
- J.K. Dobbins — ADP 138.1
- Travis Etienne — ADP 166.3
- Raheem Mostert — ADP 183.0
- Irv Smith Jr — ADP 199.4
- Gus Edwards — ADP 207.3
On the flip side, there is some value in players that are currently on the IR but will be activated soon. Their ADP might be too far the other way, and they can be a value pick:
- Michael Thomas — ADP 81.5 – A Week 7 return date is what the rumor is for Thomas.
- Curtis Samuel — ADP 154.0 – He is eligible to return Week 4.
- Michael Gallup — ADP 147.3 – Earliest return for Gallup would be Week 5.
- Jarvis Landry — ADP 157.0 – Earliest return for Landry would be Week 6.
- Jerry Jeudy — ADP 130.2 – Earliest return for Jeudy would be Week 6.
- Rashod Bateman — ADP 172.1 – Earliest return for Bateman would be Week 4.
- Tre’Quan Smith — ADP 219.8 – Earliest return for Smith would be Week 4.
- T.Y. Hilton — ADP 184.3 – Hilton is eligible to come off the IR now but sounds like it will not be this week.
- Tyrell Williams — ADP 218.6 – Earliest return for Williams would be Week 6.
- Tua Tagovailoa — ADP 201.0 – Earliest return for Tagovailoa would be Week 6.
- Mike Boone — ADP N/A – Week 4 Return.
- Darrynton Evans — ADP N/A – Week 4 Return.
- Nico Collins — ADP N/A – Week 6 Return.
- N’Keal Harry — ADP N/A – Could return in Week 4.
There are players that are not on IR but have suffered injuries and have or will miss games but do not have a set timetable for a return. These are the players with a solid discount at current ADP:
- Christian McCaffrey — ADP 8.8 – This one is the biggest one, as McCaffrey did not land on IR but will miss a few weeks. The hope is he only misses two games.
- Josh Jacobs — ADP 56.0 – Jacobs already missed one game and is questionable for Week 4.
- Diontae Johnson — ADP 72.1 – Johnson missed Week 3 and is questionable for Week 4.
- Darrell Henderson Jr. — ADP 85.9 – He missed Week 3 and is questionable for Week 4.
- Antonio Brown — ADP 86.6 – Brown missed Week 3 for COVID, but as long as he can test negative twice, he should be ready for Week 4.
- Tee Higgins — ADP 82.6 – Higgins scratched in Week 3 and is very questionable for Week 4.
- Eli Mitchell — ADP 124.5 – Mitchell missed Week 3 and is questionable heading into Week 4.
- Russell Gage — ADP 208.0 – Gage missed Week 3 and is questionable for Week 4.
- Jeff Wilson Jr. — ADP 175.2 – Wilson is on the PUP, and his return date is still in question.
- Anthony Firkser — ADP 209.7 – Firkser has missed back-to-back weeks and is questionable for Week 4.
- James White — ADP 193.1 – Left Week 3 with hip injury, likely will go on IR.
- Tevin Coleman — ADP 225.1 – Missed Week 3 with illness, Week 4 he remains questionable.
- Tarik Cohen — ADP 225.3 – He is on the PUP list, and his return date is unknown at this point.
The IR and Q tags on DraftKings are certainly driving the prices down on some of these players that will be on the field at some point this year. The hard part for a drafter is to find out where to feel safe about drafting some of these players and what players to target. The best strategy is to not take on as much risk but at the same time to construct a solid roster of a build of three quarterbacks, six running backs, eight wide receivers and three tight ends to help offset some of the risk.
10 Tips and Tricks for Drafting In-Season Best Ball Teams
- Follow Injury News — When DraftKings launches these tournaments the players’ ADPs are all over the place, and players that are out for the season still have an ADP. Some players that were injured this past week still have a high ADP and will end up getting drafted by others because of that. Players on IR are set to return after Week 3, and there might be some value in some of those players.
- Draft Early When Contest Is First Posted — These contests on DraftKings are typically released on Monday evening. and those drafting right away have to deal with the pain of the bad ADP, but it also allows for avoiding the bad players and finding great values on players that are trending up. Drafting in-season best ball is a lot more work, as it means doing the research and rankings to get an advantage.
- Compare ADP vs. Rankings and Find Mispriced Players — DraftKings ADP is strange early in the week and never adjusts fully by the time kickoff happens on Thursday. Compare the Awesemo “Rest of Season” projections with some of the DraftKings ADP rankings and find the player values. Finding the mispriced ADP’s is probably the biggest edge in these contests, as it helps to avoid the bad players and load up on the players that project well throughout all 20 rounds of the draft.
- Follow a Standard Roster Construction — It is still a tournament with a top prize of $20,000, so do not get too conservative with team builds. That being said, even a well-balanced team (three quarterbacks, six running backs, eight receivers, three tight ends) can still get the job done. Do not target a top quarterback and a top tight end when drafting these teams, as that will provide more flexibility to build a 2/7/9/2 type for more shots at running back and receiver as quarterback and tight end are locked down.
- Onesie Positions Are More Valuable as the Season Goes On – The value of Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen is more important deeper into the season and should be targeted higher than they were during the summer. It is the same for the tight end position since Travis Kelce and Darren Waller can be locked in each week with confidence, and they tend to outscore the rest of the position every week. This is one of the areas where in-season best ball is much different than regular best ball, and others do not view the star quarterbacks and tight ends that way in this format just yet.
- Stacking Is Still Very Important — As the playoff rounds approach, the more important it is to correlate teams by stacking a quarterback with one (or multiple) of their pass catchers. Stacking is more valuable in these in-season best ball leagues, as it will bring the best chance of putting up high-scoring weeks.
- Bye Weeks Are Going to Be a Big Advantage — Once the bye weeks start, teams that have built accordingly will have a slight advantage of scoring more points during the bye week schedule. Another huge advantage is, when drafting in Week 7, players that had a Week 6 bye (Atlanta, New Orleans, Jets, San Francisco) provide an extra week of scoring since they will not miss their bye week. A player like Alvin Kamara might be considered the 1.01 pick in Week 7 best ball because he already had his bye week, and he also has that extra week of rest and should be fresh.
- Rookies Tend to Break Out in the Second Half of the Season — The NFL can be a challenging game to dominate right from the start as a rookie. Rookies can jump in and contribute right away, but there are also plenty that get off to slow starts as they adjust to the next level. Some rookies are good options in the later rounds of in-season best ball drafts, as they give some value and a late-season push at a nice discount. Bad teams start to pack it in, so they want to give their younger players more playing time to see what they have to work with in the future.
- Look at Strength of Schedule Closely with More Data — As the weeks go on, there is more data to work with. Some of the teams that were expected to be bad before the season might surprise, and some of the good teams might not be as good as advertised. Adjust rankings to draft strategy to what teams will have favorable matchups in Week 15 through Week 17.
- Be Willing to Adapt Draft Strategy — This is no different from any other fantasy football draft. Be willing to have an unlimited number of draft plans going into the draft, and after each round passes re-evaluate and adjust.
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