We previously found that it may be best to wait until August to enter the NFL DRAFT Best Ball Championship, but there are some benefits to drafting at the beginning of the offseason. Teams that draft in August tend to post higher average scores. However, teams that draft earlier in the offseason can take advantage of facing opponents with lower scores, which may help you get more teams into Round 1 of the Best Ball Championship Playoffs.
To explore the best roster construction for early best ball drafters, we will use the Fanball Roster Construction Explorer, as it provides at least two benefits over the DRAFT RCE in this case: 1) The Fanball RCE allows us to split out the data by draft month, which is useful for seeing how roster construction success can change over the course of an offseason and 2) BestBall10s go back to 2015 (as MFL10s), while DRAFT only goes back to 2017. The directionality of the results from BestBall10s should align pretty well with DRAFT.
After looking at many of the popular fantasy football roster construction draft strategies as well as the strategies outlined in Shawn Siegele’s Best Ball Workshop, I found one roster construction strategy continuously provides the highest advantage, even in the early offseason.
Follow The Onesie Position Advice
Siegele’s Best Ball Workshop work shows there are specific rounds in drafts that present windows of opportunity to optimize your onesie (QB and TE) positions:
- 2-QB (and 3-QB) Window: QB1 in Rounds 6-11; QB2 in Rounds 8-12 (QB3 in Rounds 8-12)
- 2-TE with Early TE: TE1 in Rounds 1-4
- 2-TE (and 3-TE) with Late TEs: TE1 and TE2 in Rounds 9-15 (TE3 in Round 9-15).
Using Siegele’s QB and TE Windows for BestBall10s, I have shown that drafting 3-QBs or 3-TEs in their respective Windows has been a winning strategy on DRAFT. However, we should usually avoid drafting six onesie positions on the same team, and you may consider limiting your roster to just four onesie position players.
After looking at different roster constructions month-by-month (including onesie positions, zero-RB, heavy-RB), the one that sticks out the most as continuously being a winning strategy early in the offseason is …
The Happy Medium: Roster Five QBs and TEs in “Window”
Using Siegele’s Onesie position windows from above, we can mix and match them to equal five roster spots. Drafting five onesie positions has been a winning strategy over the past two seasons on DRAFT.
Number of Onesie Positions in Window
To expand the sample size back to 2015 and include a month-by-month breakdown of the strategy, we will transition to looking at BestBall10s.
Five-Onesie-Positions-in-Window in BestBall10s
First, we’ll look at the same chart above from DRAFT, but for BestBall10s in order to re-calibrate our baseline to the format.
Not much to see here, other than we validate that the five-onesie-in-window strategy has been vey effective in BestBall10s since 2015.
Now let’s break down the strategy by year.
Over the last four seasons, drafting with any of the three five-onesie-in-window strategies has provided a win rate above expectation (8.3%) in nine of 12 instances (75% hit rate).
The incredible win rate is just with following the five-onesie roster construction – before we even consider player evaluation.
Now that we know the five-onesie roster construction works, we now want to see if the strategy is more effective in certain draft months:
Five-Onesie Roster Construction by Draft Month:
We’ll look at each strategy by examining the win rates and Average Score Over Expectation.1 Because the sample sizes can get small when looking at individual draft months, I will group together April-June (“Pre-Training Camp” Period) and July-August (“Training Camp”).
Five Onesie Positions in Window
Using any of the three strategies has provided a positive average score over expectation in EVERY Draft Period except one since 2015. That’s truly remarkable.
The similar average scores over expectation suggest that the three different combinations of the five-onesie-in-window strategies have similar efficacy, regardless of draft month.
The five-onesie-in-window strategy is as close to a bulletproof roster construction as you can get.
Looking Forward to August
During this research on the optimal roster construction for early offseason drafts, I stumbled upon the roster construction strategy that provides a mouth-watering advantage to August drafters. You’ll have to keep following the DRAFT Best Ball Championship series to find out what roster construction I’m referring to.
Image Credit: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Aaron Rodgers.
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- Average Score Over Expectation is the average score for the draft strategy minus the average score for all draft strategies in the specified draft month. (back)