Last season I drafted 50 Yahoo Best Ball teams and had an ROI of 150%. This offseason, I spent countless hours collecting and analyzing the data from my 50 leagues (500 teams) to help make data-informed decisions about roster construction. If you are new to this format and want to learn how it works, here is a good article explaining the format.
It is clear that implementing some simple roster-construction strategies will give you an edge. In fact, after going through this research process, I believe roster construction is even more important than the players you select. It is only to your advantage that other people do not feel this way.
In BestBall format, what do you think is more important?
— Sam Factor (@walterpicksCEO) May 27, 2020
Let’s take a look at four simple strategies that will instantly boost your odds of winning in this format. Keep in mind, because these are 10-team leagues, our expected win rate should be 10%.
1. Draft Three Defenses
Team’s that drafted three defenses won their best ball league 23% of the time. Yet, 73% of teams in my 500 team sample only drafted two defenses. On average, teams that drafted three defenses scored nearly 75 more points than those that drafted two defenses. Take the easy points and use your last three picks of every draft on defenses.
2. Draft Two Quarterbacks
There was only a one point difference, on average, between team’s that drafted two quarterbacks versus teams that drafted three. However, team’s that drafted two quarterbacks had a win rate of 13% versus a 9% win rate for those who went with three. My takeaway here is, why would you draft a third QB if you can get the same output with two? We should be maximizing our upside at running back and wide receiver rather than wasting a roster spot on a third quarterback. On a side note, team’s that drafted less than two quarterbacks or more than three had a win rate of exactly 0%. When you see a team in your league draft their fourth quarterback, you should be celebrating.
3. Draft Three Tight Ends
There are exceptions to this rule. For example, if you snag George Kittle and Travis Kelce early in your draft you should not be drafting a third tight end. However, teams that spent three mid to late picks on tight ends last season had a win rate 4% greater than those that selected two tight ends early in the draft. Furthermore, no team managed to win their league unless they drafted two or three tight ends. If you see an opponent take less than one or more than four tight ends in your draft be sure to thank them afterwards. There are some great late round tight end options this season.
4. Let Someone Else draft Antonio Brown
It seems like just yesterday we were all watching the best receiver in the NFL make countless headlines on his path out of the league. Brown recently received an eight-game suspension from the NFL and there have been rumblings that the Seattle Seahawks could be interested in giving Brown another chance.
Russ and AB getting reps in together 👀 @brgridiron
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 2, 2020
If Brown finds his way onto the field he undoubtedly has the ability to be a top-5 receiver in fantasy football. However, in a format that does not allow for any in-season management, you can not waste a pick on a player with a high likelihood to not play the entire season. Even if Brown does get signed by a team, there is no guarantee he ever sees the field. Best ball teams that drafted Antonio Brown last season had a win rate of 3.4%. Let someone else in your league burn a roster spot on Antonio Brown.
These four simple roster construction techniques will help you dominate this format. I will be back soon with advice on how to approach the running back and wide receiver positions in this format as well as some of my favorite players I have been targeting. But remember, our knowledge of optimal roster construction is more likely to help us win in this format than our player evaluations.
P.S. Download the WalterPicks app for FREE on your iphone (coming to android soon) if you want to increase your odds of winning your fantasy league this season by leveraging Walter, an artificially intelligent algorithm with the best projections in the industry. We also have some exciting DFS and Player Prop tools coming soon!