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DRAFT Best Ball: Want to Post a Quick 15% Win Rate? The Roster Construction Explorer Reacts to An Expert Mock

At the invitation of former RotoViz star Ben Gretch, I recently participated in a CBS best ball mock with DRAFT settings. The draft was a blast, as you would expect with Ben, Heath Cummings, current RotoViz contributors like Mike Beers and T.J. Calkins, as well as former contributors and friends of the site like Davis Mattek and Josh ADHD. With such a star-studded cast of drafters, what can we do to maximize our chances? Check with the DRAFT Roster Construction Explorer, of course.

The Best Ball Workshop currently has 14 lessons that provide advanced tactics for overall roster construction and deep dives into every position. Those lessons focus on BestBall10s. Do the same tactics apply to a DRAFT format with 18 rounds, no defense, and only half-ppr? To start to answer that question, you should jump into the work of Michael Dubner. In his latest, he explains why an underutilized RotoViz strategy will help someone win $1,000,000.

With Michael’s advice in our back pocket, let’s dive into the mock and see what type of win rate we can generate.

The Crucial Early Rounds

1.02: Christian McCaffrey

I’ve spilled a lot of virtual ink discussing why RB is the best and most flexible start.1 This is also true in DRAFT with an 8.8% win rate over the last two seasons.2

2.11: Zach Ertz

Grabbing an elite TE boosts win rates in almost any format. George Kittle was selected at 2.10, which meant I’d need to dodge two picks at the turn to nab the last of the Big 3. With numerous similarity-rated WRs, it was straightforward to grab Ertz here and rectify the potential mistake from the MFL10 of Death.

3.02: Stefon Diggs

I’ve been balancing my T.Y. Hilton and Diggs selections, but I went with my No. 20 overall player here and the No. 9 WR in our staff redraft rankings.

4.11: Calvin Ridley

The very friendly CBS computer emailed me after the draft, offering an overall A- for my picks but rebuking me for not selecting Kenny Golladay here. It’s always tempting to get the “value” points, but when you compare the two offenses and the two career arcs, Ridley is the better selection.3 If you think my No. 36 ranking is too high – and drafters in general certainly do – jump over to my in-depth look at why Ridley is poised for a massive secondary breakout.

5:02 Tyler Boyd

In explaining why the Bengals are going to be the next offense to adopt forward-thinking principles and explode as a result, I noted that Screener projections suggest Boyd is underdrafted even if Cincinnati just treads water.

Where Do We Stand After 5 Rounds?

In BestBall10s, the 1-Elite-RB approach dominates and selecting an early TE throws fuel on the fire. It’s time to use the RCE to find out if that same approach can be successful in DRAFT.

As was the case with Fanball, selecting an RB in Round 1 provides the foundation for us to then hammer the safer and more important positions through the rest of the early rounds. More than 11,500 owners have tried this construction over the last two seasons, and they’ve won more than 15% of the time.

These results aren’t a surprise, but it’s nice to see confirmation of the role that starting requirements play even in half-ppr formats. When you consider the inconsistency of RBs year-to-year, the potential for league-winning breakout RBs, the hostage-taking prices current ADP demands, and the 3-WR starting lineup . . . it all adds up to an advantage for WR-heavy drafts.

What Happens If We Continue With A Controversial Build?

6.11 Eric Ebron

7.02 Jarvis Landry

8.11 Matt Ryan

9.02 Derrius Guice

10.11 Jared Goff

11.02 Lamar Jackson

Perhaps avoiding RB in Rounds 2 through 5 can provide an advantage. But continuing to draft at other positions has to eventually catch up with you. Right? It seems especially ludicrous in the context of drafting three QBs.

In the Best Ball QB Lesson, we learned that 2-QB builds are superior in general but there’s a 3-QB hack that can juice your win rate. Dubner has confirmed the same is true in DRAFT. If that’s the case in general, will it still work with a 1-Elite-RB build?

RB1 in Round 1, RB2 After Round 7, Elite TE

Continuing to wait at RB still returns a dominant win rate when we use the recommended 2-QB or 3-QB constructions.4 The win rate for 3-QB jumps above 17% when we grab that third QB within the QB window.5

Finishing the Draft

With that start through 11 rounds, there are some specific moves you need to make down the stretch. You can compare my final picks against the DRAFT RCE6 and check out all of the selections from other drafters by sliding over to Ben’s awesome draft recap.

I also recommend perusing the DRAFT lessons from Michael Dubner’s series.

Why You Should Limit Your Onesie Selections to Only 4 Picks in DRAFT 
The QB and TE Windows: A Contrarian Approach to the Onesies
The Onesie Strategy for Tournament Entries
When to Draft Your Tournament Entries to Maximize Points
The Top WR Values in DRAFT Leagues7
Zero RB Will Win Someone 1,000,000 – DRAFT Championship Strategies

Looking for the top analysis for FFPC leagues? Experts Monty Phan and John Lapinski write about best ball from the perspective of defending titlists.

Image Credit: Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Zach Ertz.


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  1. And this is true in many situations, but not in others. Be sure to read Michael’s article to understand where and why you might want to zig when others zag.  (back)
  2. We only have two seasons of data for DRAFT, compared to the four seasons for BestBall10s, but that covers both the most recent time period and the time period with the most similar ADP environment. It represents almost 300,000 drafts.  (back)
  3. Even as one of the earliest Golladay supporters, I’ve watched too much Lions football to take him at these heights.  (back)
  4. The win rate actually jumps above 16% when you wait until after Round 8 for your RB2, but the sample is much smaller.  (back)
  5. You should obviously maintain some skepticism that these specific win rates will continue, but it’s encouraging to know that what has happened also fits with what should happen, based on our analyses of the various formats.  (back)
  6. Where I may not have hit the total number of RBs you need to select with this build.  (back)
  7. Two of these picks have already skyrocketed.  (back)

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