FINDING LEVERAGE IN NFL BEST BALL TOURNAMENTS

Written by Bobby Gomes

The best way to approach Best Ball is to take a step back, observe how the slate is breaking down and identify the consensus approach to drafting. Early-on based on the success of the “anti-fragile” drafting approach last season, running back heavy lineups were being constructed by most high-level drafters. The issue with the anti-fragile approach this year, in my opinion, is that there are so many question marks at the running back position. With drafters taking the anti-fragile approach early on, it led to an enormous amount of value at the wide receiver position. The value at the receiver position was soon identified and drafters started to switch their strategy back to Zero RB.

We are currently at another shifting point in the 2021 best ball season and most high-level drafters are shifting back to an “Anti-fragile” construction from “Zero RB.” Which to me doesn’t make a ton of sense because there is still a lack of great running back options at the top of the draft. What is forcing a reliance on the anti-fragile approach is contest structure. You have to win your 12-mans in Best Ball to advance, so building high-floor cash-game-like DFS lineups makes an enormous amount of sense because the cumulative score is what allows you to advance out of your group. I see an issue with this strategy because after CMC and Dalvin I don’t love another running back until Ekeler or Cam Akers. You can poke holes in Henry, Kamara, and Zeke. What I believe is the main player component forcing the reversion back to the anti-fragile approach, outside of contest structure, is how far Saquan is falling, but you can still draft Saquan late in the first and revert to a wide receiver dominant build. What I find even more interesting is the fact that people are overlooking the holes in the consensus “great” plays Dalvin Cook and Cam Akers.

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The best leverage on the entire slate is Alexander Mattison and Darryl Henderson if one of Dalvin or Akers goes down. In the case of Akers, the running back position in the Rams backfield is extremely volatile and you may not even need an injury. I want ceiling outcomes baked into my construction. With so many drafters reliant on these players within their anti-fragile build concepts, it makes perfect sense to me to completely avoid the “safe plays”. I want to make this very clear: I do not root for player injuries. Incorporating all of the possible outcomes to eventually help you hit a ceiling outcome is part of the game.

One concept of anti-fragile construction that I do like is the fact that it leverages “over-stacking.” You should be stacking in your builds, but over-stacking is a horrible idea if you’re trying to win these contests because you’re sacrificing so much floor to fit a stack with every QB when you should just be taking the best WR or QB available. I think understanding this is very important because if you choose to stick with the “Zero-RB” approach, and everyone else goes anti-fragile, then you are sacrificing a portion of your floor already.

The final thing I want to hit on is the importance of drafting quarterbacks with rushing equity. At the top of every cash game build you see from Hoop or Mangone in DFS this year will be a quarterback with the rushing equity. I shouldn’t say every week because of salary restrictions, but I would venture to guess at least 90% of the cash game lineups they play this year will have QB’s with rushing equity at the top. The reason for this is the floor these QBs provide in cash games and small field tournaments. If you are not drafting QBs with rushing equity in Best Ball you are doing it wrong. Check out some of my targets below and sign up for RunPureSports.com premium membership to get all the NFL winners this season! Use Promo Code RPSHEATER25 to get 25% off your 1st payment on monthly subscriptions.

Top Leverage Targets:

QB:
Jalen Hurts
Trevor Lawrence
Daniel Jones
Taysom Hill

RB:
James Robinson
Damian Harris
Alexander Mattison
Darryl Henderson
Tony Pollard
AJ Dillon
Gio Bernard
Jerrick Mckinnon

WR:
Kenny Golladay
Davante Adams (playing the Rodgers stays theory)
Mike Williams
Devontae Smith
Diontae Johnson
Van Jefferson
Byron Pringle

TE:
Logan Thomas
Hunter Henry

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