What is Best Ball in Fantasy Football

Saturday, Jun 9, 2018 at 12:00 pm ET

If you've ever played Best Ball in golf, the concept is very similar in fantasy football. We'll cover what Best Ball is, some strategies for winning your Best Ball leagues, and how Best Ball can (and should) be part of your fantasy season.

Best Ball Fantasy Football

In Best Ball leagues, you'll draft a team but you won't ever set a lineup during the year. For this article, we're going to use our friends at Draft as the platform of choice. In a 12-team league format, you'll draft 18 players. Technically, each week you'll be starting these roster minimums:

* 1 QB
* 2 RB
* 3 WR
* 1 TE
* 1 Flex

You'll often hear Best Ball leagues referred to as "set'em and forget'em" leagues, and for good reason. Each week during the season, the system will automatically determine your starting lineup, and it will do it based upon which players did the best that week. For example, let's say that you drafted Todd Gurley, Jordan Howard, Jay Ajayi, and Derrick Henry and you have to start two players. In season-long leagues, you'd probably start Gurley and Howard in Week 1 given the fact that they were drafted as your #1 and #2 running backs, have better matchups, and typically have higher floors than the other two players. But...let's say that Gurley gets stuffed in Week 1 and Derrick Henry (in his debut as the starter in Tennessee) has a monster game. In season-long leagues, you'd be uttering some unpleasant words, but in Best Ball leagues, the system automatically takes the highest scoring players. The Best Ball format will choose your lineup AFTER the games have already been played. In this case, your starters at RB would be Howard and Henry.

Best Ball Leagues have no roster management, no trades, and no waivers. Your highest scoring players start each week. Whoever has the most points at the end of week 16 wins!

Perhaps the best part of Best Ball leagues is that you get to enjoy the fun of drafting without the overthinking that comes with setting weekly lineups. If you do your Best Ball leagues on Draft, you'll be able to see where you stand each week and play for a little money as well. Payouts are typically for 1st through 4th place.


In season-long leagues, most people will look for some consistency - particularly with their early picks. It's OK to do that in Best Ball as well, but unlike season-long leagues, we want to swing for the fences. For example, DeSean Jackson is a guy that you'll likely never start on a weekly basis (ranked ~50th this year among WR's in the FFN draft rankings), but he's also one of those guys who has always been a boom or bust type of player. He'll have one week where he has two catches for 34 yards and the next week he'll haul in four catches for 118 yards and a score. In season-long leagues, that type of sporadic production makes sit/start decisions awfully tough. In Best Ball formats however, you'll get to collect those points on the weeks where he goes off. Now, I'm not saying to rush out and draft DeSean Jackson specifically - instead, I'm using him as an example. If a Boom or Bust player like D-Jax is your fifth or sixth wide receiver, that's a good thing. A mixture of consistent producers with Boom or Bust players is a recipe for success.

We've taken a look at the players who have solid consistency both in their projections as well as past performance and combined that with players who have the potential to be those Boom or Bust types to produce our fantasy football best ball rankings. When those guys score big, so will you!

Why play Best Ball?

The really cool thing about playing Best Ball is the combination of both instant and delayed gratification. First, you get the instant gratification and joy of drafting. Drafts are one of the best parts of playing fantasy football. You can draft as much as you like without the overhead of setting your lineups each week. When the season is over, collect your winnings from your efforts during the preseason. You never had to pay attention to injury reports, fret about which guys to start, or scour the waiver wire. Adding a few Best Ball leagues to the mix maximizes the fun while minimizing the effort. It also makes June, July, and August particularly fun months!

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