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Avoid These Best Ball Fantasy Football Mistakes in Drafts in 2021 | Yahoo Best Ball Strategy

James Brimacombe



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With best ball taking over the fantasy football world the last few months, there are plenty of new users in the space. Everyone wants to know how to draft good best ball fantasy football teams, and when chasing the bigger tournaments every edge is appreciated. Today’s best ball article will focus on Yahoo Fantasy, but all these fantasy football draft strategies and tips can be used on any best ball format.

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Yahoo Best Ball Strategy: 11 Best Ball Fantasy Mistakes

Today I want to focus on some simple mistakes that I often see others making in best ball leagues. I often make some of these mistakes myself, as the more you draft the more you learn what is the right or wrong way to draft a team.

1. Following and drafting off of ADP is not always the best way to draft

When drafting we often gage “Average Draft Position” as the bible on how we value players. ADP should be used as more of a guide or map on where we want to look to draft players. ADP for the first three or four rounds is worth sticking close to, but after that (and especially in tournaments) do not be afraid to take players 10 to 15 picks ahead of ADP. You can always play the game of “I think this player will be available next round because of his ADP,” and sometimes it works, but other times you get sniped on your pick.

2. Getting cute with roster construction

There are different formats of drafts, as I like to put out that there are cash and GPP (tournaments) leagues you can enter in best ball. For your standard cash leagues a simple build of three quarterbacks, six running backs, seven wide receivers and two tight ends is fine, and looking at past years’ data provides the best win rate. In tournaments it is a different story, as you are looking to not only cash your team but to finish as the top team or second-place team to advance to the next round. You want to shoot for more upside and higher-ceiling players and roster builds. Often I stick with a 2/5/9/2 build for tournaments, but really there is no correct or one way is better than the other type in this format.

3. Drafting best ball teams the same way as redraft teams

In best ball you want to maximize spike weeks and target higher-ceiling players (especially in tournaments). In redraft you have a waiver wire each week, but in Best Ball the mentality is draft a roster and move on. My goal in best ball is always to draft players with the intention of never taking a zero any week of the year. I get a total of 17 shots to draft players that can score points, so I want to maximize each selection.

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4. Not paying attention to scoring system and rules

Yahoo is a half-PPR format, but often times you see it reflecting in ADP that it is more of a PPR league with wide receivers being so rich in ADP pricing. Another big thing I see is people not knowing Yahoo best ball offers weekly and season-long prizes, so now users do not have to hit the homerun team all season or in the opening round and can change up strategy week to week.

5. Not being aware of player ownership levels (for high-volume drafters)

Anyone that has drafted over 100 best ball teams is a high-volume drafter. I draft thousands of teams, and I have learned over the years that drafting any player at any spot in the draft over 30% of the time equals a lot of risk. Sure, you can hit on Stefon Diggs in 2020 as a fifth-rounder, and if you have him owned at 50% you are laughing. But on the flip side, if that player gets hurt in Week 1 or 2, you are now playing with 50% of your rosters having only 17 total players. Take this year for an example; say I am really high on Zack Moss and draft him every single time in Round 10. By the end of draft season I will be likely 50% on Moss when I could have also mixed in more James Conner, Michael Carter or Tony Pollard. I like Moss more than those players, but it is safer for me to be closer to 20-25% on Moss and have 10% on each of the other running backs close to his ADP. My goal is to stick around 25% on the players I am highest on to offset some injury risk.

6. Not being aware of all the tools being offered

Use the tools available to you to help build your teams the best way possible. If you are in a slow draft, you have more time to think things through, but in fast drafts you have to be smart and be ready for your time on the clock. Use the queue to put players you might want to consider drafting. Set your rankings and player limits so in case your life gets busy and you have to step away from a draft, you can still have a decent team build even in autopilot. Look at the draft board and trends that others are setting in your draft room; even just making sure your onesie positions do not have the same bye week can help you down the line.

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7. Drafting too riskily

We all want to find that home run value late in drafts, and a prime example this year would be Deshaun Watson. The problem is that you have 17 roster spots, and every single one is valuable. My personal goal is to never draft a player that I think has a shot to take a zero any week. I want healthy players and players in good standing. I am trying to avoid guys on suspension, fighting through injuries, roster bubble guys and even older players on the verge of falling off of a cliff. You can also make a case that we value younger players, so sometimes we are too quick to click on a rookie at the end of our rosters. I get that in tournaments you want to have some risk, but I see too often others just going all in on these types of players and shooting themselves in the foot right out of the gate.

8. Not adapting to the draft and sticking to a plan regardless

Every draft is going to be different for you, and every draft we have in our head how we want to attack the draft room and what type of drafting strategy we want to use. If you are one that has set in stone that you are going zero-RB build and skip over a Dalvin Cook at No. 5 because he falls, that is probably not the correct call. You have to adjust quickly as the draft goes; having a plan is great, but sticking to that plan 100% during the draft usually never happens. Be flexible, and do not be afraid to adjust your strategy as you go.

9. Overvaluing certain positions

We have seen this over the past month on Yahoo with the wide receiver position. I get that there is solid data over the past few years, but the fact that everyone just went nuts with wide receivers in a half-PPR formats and elevated all ADPs across the board at the position makes you think that things have shifted too far, and you can now attack drafts at a different angle. The one area I like to undervalue is tight end, as I see an 17-round draft as one that, if you do not land a premium pick on Travis Kelce, Darren Waller or George Kittle, it is best to wait really late (sometimes Round 14 or later) and draft a pair of tight ends with different bye weeks.

10. Overreacting to daily player news

The offseason is filled with good information and bad information. The NFL is also king, so any information on a player that comes in often hits the news cycle. Player news drives the price of players up or down, so knowing how to react to the news will help you find value players and overvalued players. For example, Jalen Hurts’ ADP is now in Round 10 or later, and just a couple of weeks ago he was going a couple of rounds earlier. There is no real reason why he dropped, but the lack of news for him winning the starting job or looking great in camp has not hit the news cycle just yet. Once that does, his ADP will jump back up a couple of rounds. He has also bumped down due to the slight injury to DeVonta Smith. If you can sift through the player news cycle and find situations like Hurts, this will help you find value throughout your drafts.

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11. Following advice and rankings too closely

With the growing popularity of best ball, finding sources to trust is a big part of the game, but it also can be misleading at times, as best ball drafters are starving for information and soaking it all up via Twitter, player news, articles, different tout sites, podcasts, subscriptions, etc. When I am in drafts, 70% of the time I can spot drafters that are blindly following others’ advice or rankings. For me, I use it to my advantage. I have lots of my own strategies and ideas that vary from how the field thinks, and that is super valuable in best ball drafting. It is all about taking pieces of information from everywhere, putting them together and finding out what works and does not work for yourself.

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