The last weekend before the season, time for a final 2022 Best Ball Primer. It is never a bad idea to go over some of the basics on how to Fast Draft. You can have all the player analysis in the world down pat, but if you get flustered in a fast draft and run that clock down, something is wrong. Through all the chaos in having 30 seconds to pick, let me walk you through how you can be a clinical assassin when the clock is counting down.
Why are people slow golfers? They are not prepared. They aren’t bad, necessarily. They think it boils down to pre-swing consistency and having a cadence when you address the golf ball. If that takes more than 50 seconds, you are doing something wrong. The problem is they are not prepared when it is their turn to address the shot. Being unprepared, is not being ready. Your steps in your swing may be the same as a normal faster golfer, however what are they doing different? It’s not what they are doing different, but when. An efficient (quick) golfer is getting their prep done before it is their turn to shoot. What can one digest with their eyes that doesn’t involve talking or walking? As the other golfers are taking their shots, the speedy golfer is already examining distance, lie, measuring wind, and has their hand on the correct club the moment the other golfer strikes the ball. A bad golfer starts the process connecting their eyes to their brain when it is their choice to shoot. In fantasy football, it’s the same process. Why are you waiting until it’s your turn before you start your process? ~92% of a snake draft it is not your turn. A 30 second draft is not 30 seconds a round, it’s a turn. It’s potentially 5 minutes a round. A few people take 30 seconds, some take 2 seconds, and that also depends on where you draft. We’ll call it 15 seconds on average taken per the other competitors. If you draft at the 6 spot, you are not going to have maximum time to plan out your in between time. At 1 and 12, you have max time. If I am on one side of the draft board, in the first three rounds there is an entire other side of the board is not selectable. If I am drafting 1.01, there is a 0% chance you also get Diggs or Lamb going at the other turn. After 5+ rounds, the draft spreads itself out and everyone has an equal chance at allotment. Not the case earlier. The goal is to have two players picked one slot before it is your turn. If the choice A is gets taken, hit the button on B immediately. Let’s walk through a live draft where I walk through those process decisions of the first 15 rounds.
This is a draft I did for Drafters Best Ball championship. Format is a full season, no playoffs, PPR, highest PF tourney. Before the draft begins, what do I need in an ideal scenario?
- Full NFL season schedule
- Current exposure vs. allocation goals
- Draft Board
- ADP trends (volatility, direction)
- Depth Charts
- My model/rankings
None of these are required except the draft room itself. I often draft on my mobile with exposures “memorized”, but ideally, we can concentrate and be prepared. Being prepared allows us to read the room (Draft Board). We don’t need to just play our own cards, but the opponents as well. Also note there is zero strategy prep! Do not go into drafts with a preset mindset! That is needed for Redraft, especially auction. However Best Ball is managing a portfolio of long and short exposures and letting the draft come to you. You can lean into a strategy like a Zero-RB, but do not go into the draft saying, “No matter what, I am going to take Travis Kelce between 5-12”. We see these Redraft, ‘Get your guy’ mistake every day in Best Ball. If you do not have the time or money to draft multiple teams, do not play Best Ball.
If Travis Kelce’s ADP is 11, with a very low volatility, aka he rarely goes before 10 and after 12, and I have a neutral view of his 2022 outlook, I would simply wait for him to fall at his ADP+. If I know I am going to draft 100 teams, I am going to get a fair sample size of the random draft slot designation. I also know Kelce is not on an upward trajectory (ADP Trends) and I can count on him going around his ADP. Therefore, I should never draft Kelce at 10 or under IF I want an even ~8% allocation. Even allocation is not being bullish on a player, just consensus to value. Even if I want a lower exposure to Kelce, say 3%, I can just wait for that instance where he falls to 12. We know his ADP is 11, but with a small volatility he does occasionally go at 12. Say 15%? If I want 3% Kelce total, and 15% of the time he falls to 12, then I can wait. There will be an instance in those 100 drafts, where 15 times Kelce falls to 12 and I obtain a back-half draft slot, and I can obtain my Kelce at the best cost. Now that does assume he falls when I have the pick at the back of the draft, so we need to balance getting too cute and smashing the button when needed. Point being, I can let the draft aka the probabilities work in my favor if I go in with an open mind. If you want to be over the market on Kelce, say 20%, and know he has a low volatility, then I NEED to draft him higher and be that market invisible hand. I will leave in disappointment if I hope and pray Kelce falls to me at 15. It won’t happen and you cannot hit your 20% threshold. If you want an overallocation to Kelce, every time you go a few drafts and you don’t draft him, your level of aggression needs to be that of greater than 20% to equal the needed ending 20% goal of allocation. This year, I am over the moon on Austin Ekeler. I have drafted him ahead of the big 3 WR on occasion because that is the only path to over-market allocation. He will not fall to 10, so I must be the one to move the market.
2 spot. Easy decision. CMC or JT, I will take the other. I now have 2 minutes to assess how many times I have drafted near this side of the draft and my exposures. Same names will be coming at me at the 2/3 turn and want to ensure I am hitting my exposure goals with ‘x’ amount of drafts left based on my drafted ‘y’ amount. Right away I see a few people with their first draft on Drafters, (The site denotes how many Drafts you have completed next to your name, I notate first timers with a green dot over their avatar.) and a few sharps. One of them is Justin Herzig at the 4 spot. We have someone who has proven competency, and potentially a few wild cards. How can that help us? Wild cards will be watched, not because I think they are ‘worse’ than I, but because the odds of a chaos grenade are higher than someone who has drafted 100 of these. They may not have read the rules, or no concept of the game theory based on the pay structure. These are the slots we will watch for drafting 5 straight QBs, taking Chris Godwin in the first round, or not taking an RB until round 14. Unpredictable.
Justin Herzig, a well known Best Ball veteran and previous GPP champion, will be approached on the opposite angle, he is not the chaos grenade. I know, the he knows, that Tim Patrick just went down for the season. I know he understands what a stack is. I can play into this. If Justin Herzig takes Josh Allen, I can assume he will not also be taking Justin Herbert and Lamar Jackson. He understands positional scarcity and basic game theory. Again, we are not trying to be sheepish, but aware of our surroundings. Always watch for the positional flows and if someone could be positionally needy. This is why I love drafting at the end of drafts. 1/2/3 10/11/12 have their own mini drafts between you and the other corner slots.
2022 Best Ball Primer Round 1
No big surprises here. 1.01 takes CMC so I take JT. There is no thinking, there is no looking up Justin Jefferson 2021 highlights. I know the decision before the 1.01 picks. Click the button.
2022 Best Ball Primer Round 2-5
Tyreek is next. Ideally, if I own the overall RB1, I can focus on other positions. It’s all ADP driven, and there is no RB value when the 23 slot comes so I press the button on Cheetah. Same theme, want another non-RB. Mandrews off the board, another easy decision, WR. I take Keenan Allen. Could have gone Keenan/Tee/Williams but we went with Keenan here. This was the only spot of undecision. I can check my rankings and exposure and make a decision. Now I am hoping Herbert makes it around to stack, the math says next draft slot at 47, his ADP, so it will be 50/50. At this time when the 4th comes back around I am watching one person: The Mike Williams drafter at 7. I hope he does not take Herbert. If Herbert gets taken, my alt strat is a Lamar/Bateman stack. If I Herbert makes it, I’ll take him to stack with Keenan and then another WR in the 5th. I don’t like St. Brown at this ADP, not interested in Akers as I have JT and anchoring. I take Herbert as he falls, and ditch the Lamar/Bateman stack idea. The 1 selects Lamar… and does not stack with Bateman! Now I have no problem taking a naked Bateman as my main stack/expensive QB, are locked in.
2022 Best Ball Primer Round 6-10
Expensive QB and Expensive RB secured and this is the path we have taken. I did not want to draft this way, but the ADP/Slot helped mold the outcome. Thoughts as we get to the middle of the draft:
I eventually will need a second QB, I don’t want to take one now, but I can plan for the next one. With Herbert I don’t want a 3 QB build, with this format I want to maximize points-for, and assume Herby plays to his potential. Which means I need a QB on a different BYE week as Herbert. Sometimes the value available makes it so you ditch the next stack, and hope to luck into one late with Goff/Wentz/Ryan/Mac. But today Allen Lazard/Aiyuk fall to me. I still want to pound WR, and Lazard/Aiyuk offer potential additional stacks as I can grab a potential Aaron Rodgers or Trey Lance. I know I have to compete for WR as the 1 slot has taken zero. I lock in my WRs that could potentially have a QB stack and it’s off to RB. Now when I am at the 2 spot, I need to always be weighing the 1 spots mindset. They are still in WR mode, and I don’t need to try and secure the first choice RB. Lance is gone, and I want Rodgers. The 1 spot only has 1 QB so I do NOT want to chance they obtain Rodgers. I have to take him in the 10th round and not wait and chance the 11th. I need to know what teams those around me are targeting. If I was next to Herzig, I would notice he is trying for the PHI stack. Hence if for whatever reason I wanted Quez Watkins, I have to be aggressive and not try and wait for an ADP discount.
2022 Best Ball Primer Round 11-15
First mistake of the draft. I have been trying to aggressively target Julio over the last few weeks. I have zero Julio exposure pre-trade to TB, and even if I want an ~average allocation of Julio overall, I need to be aggressive with being 50% into my ending entry goal of 50 total tickets (This is draft #25). I have 50% of future drafts to allocate a goal of 10% Julio total vs. a 0% exposure now. That means I need to draft 20% Julio between now and Week 1. I get caught in my Julio high beams and miss Josh Palmer. Herzig takes him. Why was this dumb? How often am I going to be able to stack Josh Palmer with Herbert while still wanting to take a WR at cost? Answer is less than the occurrences I can grab Julio in 1/5 drafts. I should have taken Palmer and obtained Julio next draft. I did not let the draft come to me, I only wanted to fill my exposure buckets. That’s okay, next round we are the invisible hand of the market and get KJ Hamler. His ADP is stale and pre-Patrick injury. I am perfectly fine going way ahead of ADP and acquiring if I believe his ending ADP will rise sharply. If I want to be cute and wait an extra round, I need to make sure there is not a DEN stack next to me who will be looking to buy Hamler. The 2/11 spot play these small probabilities. Always secure the potential target first that your opponent could stack/NPA/ADP richness. If they had Wilson, I would attack Hamler first and not leave it to chance.
What did we learn by looking at these 15 rounds? Not a lot on paper. Situational awareness is between the ears. You are playing the probabilities and teasing your draftmates into taking a player they really do not need. Gambling a player will fall to you just a few slots worse than ADP because of the other team’s structures is a small edge I try and put to my use. Always have two players you want before it’s your turn to draft. One gets chosen, you have your backup. Do not wait until it’s your turn to think. The further away you are from selecting, think Macro (structure), the closer you are to your slot, think Micro (player). Now go win your league.
That’s it! Get out there and enjoy the last of the 2022 best ball season, equipped with our primer. Don’t forget, you can get prepared for your fantasy drafts with our Fantasy Draft Kit. Or you can find us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
Image Credit: Bob Donnan – USA TODAY Sports