Fantasy Football Best Ball Strategy: How To Approach Snake Drafts

It is now time to shift our focus to the 2024 fantasy football season. What is the most effective Best Ball strategy to use for snake drafts?

The time between the NFL Draft and fantasy football draft season can be quite boring. There’s little in the way of news and not much fantasy managers can do during the spring and early part of the summer.

Fortunately, we have Best Ball.

Like any fantasy format, strategy is important. Let’s go over some general strategies so you are prepared to jump into Best Ball leagues.

How Does a Snake Draft Alter Your Approach?

Some of this will seem obvious to veteran fantasy managers, but it’s important not to overlook managers newer to the game, especially those new to Best Ball.

A Best Ball snake draft is no different than any other snake draft. The platform you’re playing on will randomly assign you a draft slot once your league fills. This is the first and arguably most important factor that will influence your draft strategy.

As with any snake draft, your draft slot has a huge impact on what your team will look like.

Specifically in the early rounds, which are the most important rounds, your draft slot will determine which players you cannot draft.

Your draft will also play a huge role in what strategy you use.

That means while you will undoubtedly enter your draft with a preferred strategy, you must be willing to adjust on the fly, as needed.

Quarterbacks Matter More in Best Ball

The late-round quarterback strategy isn’t as prevalent now as it was five years ago. But you can still get by in managed leagues by streaming quarterbacks. In Best Ball, that’s not an option.

You can’t just wait until the 10th round to take a QB and still get someone you feel you can trust. Plus, you need to draft at least two.

This doesn’t mean you need to take a quarterback early. You certainly can and should if the opportunity presents itself. It’s not required, though.

MORE: What Is Best Ball?

One of the most important factors in deciding when to draft a QB is what everyone else is doing. Every pick is information. If your fellow league-mates aren’t too keen on spending early-round draft capital on quarterbacks, it might behoove you to grab one with the plan to stack him with some of his pass catchers (more on that next).

If you see a QB run, you’re likely better off going in a different direction.

Don’t overpay for a lesser top QB. Instead, take two low-end QB1s later in the draft, plus a third upside QB2/3 in the later rounds. Spend your early picks loading up running backs and wide receivers.

Stacking in Best Ball Is Almost Required

Snake drafts may technically be easier than auction drafts, but stacking is far easier to accomplish in an auction. In a snake draft, you can only take one player at a time.

If you draft CeeDee Lamb in the first round, you want to target Dak Prescott. But you’re not taking him in one of the first five rounds. You need other quarterbacks to go before you can justify taking Prescott.

You have to try and time it. Take Prescott too early, and you’re sapping the value of your stack. Wait too long, and you may not get him.

It’s crucial to know ADP and understand when it’s OK to take your guy because you have to get him. Reaching (taking a player several spots above his ADP) is far more viable in Best Ball drafts than in managed league drafts.

Don’t be afraid to be aggressive to construct the roster you want. In managed leagues, it’s possible to create the roster you want after a lackluster draft by making good waiver pickups and beneficial trades. In Best Ball, there is no activity beyond the draft. Do what you need to do while the draft is happening.

Wide Receivers Rule the Land in Best Ball Snake Drafts

The nature of the running back position makes it usually more optimal to build around wide receivers. You’re going to roster more of them at the end of your draft, and it’s easy to plug the back of your roster with a couple of handcuff running backs that are one injury away from being fantasy-relevant.

Running backs still matter, though. The most valuable asset in fantasy football has always been, and still is, the elite RB. The reason wide receivers seem more valuable now is because of how few truly elite running backs there are in modern fantasy football.

Specifically, in 2024, I would argue there are three — Christian McCaffrey, Bijan Robinson, and Breece Hall.

If you can get one of those three, you should do it every time. However, that requires picking in a very specific spot. And even if you do get one of them, that should probably be it for running backs early. Get your elite guy, and then load up on wide receivers.

In large-scale tournaments, you want to try to draft six wide receivers with your first nine picks. However, that doesn’t mean the other three are running backs. You will need at least one quarterback in there, and probably a tight end, too.

Use your early draft picks wisely. Find receivers who pair well with your quarterbacks in a stack. Spend the middle rounds in the relatively flat efficiency curve in this range. This will allow you to maximize your snake draft, regardless of your draft slot.

Week 17 Matters…On Draft Day

I know what you’re thinking: “It’s difficult enough to predict what players will be good. Now, you’re saying we have to not only do that but also predict what teams will have favorable Week 17 game environments?”

In short, yes … depending on the league you’re doing.

This is exclusive to large-scale tournaments. In a standard 17-week Best Ball league where the only thing that matters is total points, Week 17 is no more or less important than any other week.

But in tournaments where there are playoff weeks, you need a Week 17 lineup that is strong enough to lap the field, but different enough that you won’t have too many overlapping players with other managers.

The challenge, in addition to predicting way down the line, is you still ned to get there. What good is an amazing Week 17 roster if you get eliminated Week 15? Of course, the alternative is what good is making Week 17 if you can’t win it?

We will never correctly predict every good or bad offense each year. Who saw the Houston Texans as a team we want to target for fantasy production in 2023? There will invariably be a surprise team like them in 2024 as well.

With that said, was it a surprise that the San Francisco 49ers had a great offense last year? What about the Dallas Cowboys? Detroit Lions? Buffalo Bills?

Much like player talent, we can predict player situations. We’ll never be 100%, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. We have to if we’re going to maximize our chances of winning a Best Ball league.

The Ravens play the Texans in Week 17. That could be a game filled with fantasy goodness, making those two teams to target players from in your Best Ball draft.

Do Several Best Ball Drafts

After reading this, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “How can I possibly account for all of these things while 11 other managers are trying to do the same thing?” You’re right. It’s impossible. That’s why you need to do a bunch of Best Ball drafts.

You’re not always going to be able to build the exact team you want in any draft. You may not be able to even get close in some of them.

Fortunately, there are many different ways to construct a winning roster. If one draft doesn’t go your way, do another. And then another.

That’s the beauty of Best Ball. You can do as many drafts as time and money can afford without having to worry about managing an excessive amount of teams in-season.

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