Fantasy Football: How to Play DRAFT
Are you new to the DFS scene?
Here at the Fantasy Footballers, we highly recommend and play DRAFT not just because they’re the studio sponsor of the podcast, but because they truly believe in being “Fantasy for the People” as the recent Fantasy Footballers tour is so named. Read on to learn about basic rules, how best ball drafts work, how to rank your players, and what elite strategies to employ.
Be sure to get into some Best Ball before the season starts at Draft.com/Ballers. Sign up with DRAFT and use the code THEBALLERS to get a free $3 ticket!
DRAFT gives an easy-to-view drafting set-up of a classic snake draft. Unlike DraftKings and FanDuel which utilize Salary Caps, DRAFT gives users the complete freedom you find in a redraft league of making the best selection possible.
DRAFT is the only major DFS player that gives its users a chance to make the offseason count. “Bestball” drafts, as they are commonly known as, allow you to draft a complete league today. Your main focus is the draft, not the weekly management. Each week, your top scoring players automatically start and will count toward your season total. The team with the most points at the end of the season wins.
The in-season contests are also addictive considering you get to draft a new team every single week. These are typically drafts where you select a team of 5 players that are also specific to game times (early, afternoon, or primetime).
How to Play DRAFT
For a best ball draft during the offseason, you select players in 18 rounds–regardless of how many teams participate. Whether you want a 3-man draft to stack your team with superstars or a 12-man in which your searching for sleepers and strategizing what the best configurations, there are . These are snake drafts and the draft order is randomly generated. The timer can be set for fast (30 seconds) or slow (8 hours) depending on your availability.
Drafts start either when the alotted league number is filled or a specific scheduled time that is listed in the title of the DRAFT lobby. Make sure you analyze the Summary tab to get full details for each specific league.
If you’re intimidated by DFS or a 1st time user of the site, DRAFT allows you to navigate tournaments by skill level.
Beginner– These are generally $1 entry drafts in the lobby which can only be accessed by other beginners. To classify as a beginner, someone is categorized by entering into less than 20 drafts per sport or 50 drafts overall.
Experienced– These are players who have entered 500 total drafts OR have played 6+ drafts AND Won $2500 or more. They are signified with a black shield over their avatar. If they have a red shield, they are classified as “highly experienced” entering 1000 drafts OR have won 4+ $1000+ prize drafts.
Entry fees are taken at the time of entering a draft. If the draft is not guaranteed and does not fill before games are about to begin, the draft will be canceled and all entry fees will be returned.
For bestball, the beauty is that you can shape your team in whatever fashion you see fit. You must draft at least 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE and one more RB/WR/TE. DRAFT will not auto-pick more than three QBs from your pre-draft rankings or from projections.
During the season, you fill your starting lineup with 5 positions: 1QB, 2RBs, and 2 FLEX. The flex positions can be WRs or TEs.
The scoring system for DRAFT is 0.5 PPR, a favorite of the Fantasy Footballers. There is 4 points per passing TD and only -1 per INT. Rushing and receiving yards are worth 0.1 points while fumbles are negative 2 points.
How Does BestBall Scoring Work?
Each week, DRAFT optimizes your team’s highest scoring players at all the positions that count. This includes 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, and 1FLEX, which is your highest scoring RB, WR, or TE that isn’t already scoring. The rest of your players ride the bench that week and contribute zero points along with those on bye. Here’s an example of a team I drafted earlier this offseason.
As you can see with this specific team, whoever between Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, and Andy Dalton scores the most would be slotted in as my QB for the week. This brings up one of the more important best ball tips, recognizing bye weeks. Because you want optimum scoring each week, have players from the same position with similar bye weeks can be debilitating. As Jason recently attested on a Best Ball Bonanza segment, it’s important to view bye weeks for players after your first 5 or 6 rounds and especially very late in your drafts. In redraft leagues, the Ballers usually downplay the importance of bye weeks because of trading, the waiver wire and the number of changes you make after the draft. For a best ball draft, this is it. There is no maintenance so getting your bye weeks correct matters.
How to DRAFT your Players
Once the timer starts, your screen will look like the following while have 4 different tabs at tbe bottom: Players, Queue, Teams and Info. Here’s how you can best utilize the first 3 tabs while drafting in best ball.
Players– The main tab you will be using during drafts highlighting the average draft position (ADP) in overall rankings as well as specifical positional rankings. You simply scroll up and down and select the player you are thinking of selecting. After going to an info screen revealing their latest fantasy scores and projections, you get to select your player. The running snake draft menu at the top gives you the ability to see what is going on in real time while still perusing the available drafting list.
Queue– DRAFT makes it very easy to pre-rank your players by putting this at the very top of the NFL DRAFT lobby. Setting your pre-ranks allows you to make a list of which players stand out to you in the specific order that you see fit. We wholeheartedly champion tier-based drafting, which can significantly improve your final roster by helping you identify which player to choose when comparing players across positions. Tiers are great for identifying gaps in value at one position, but the tier-based drafting strategy shines when used to compare different positions. Using the pre-ranks, you can quickly recognize who is the last RB available in your personal tier while also assessing where WRs align in comparison.
Teams– This tab is extremely valuable for assessing how other drafters have assembled their teams in the midst of the actual draft. You basically get a quick cheat-sheet of how many QBs, RBs, WRs, and TEs each team has selected at any moment of the draft. This is especially helpful if you are near the “turn” and can’t figure out if the drafters after you will be picking from a specific position (i.e. QB or TE) and whether you can afford to wait until your next pick. You can also get a quick view of what types of early strategies (Zero RB, Zero WR, etc.) other drafters are employing as you make counter moves.
In season, you can draft your team based on what matchups you specifically like for that week. Drafts are only five rounds. Every player involved in the slate (games within the contest you enter) are available to you. Lineups also must include players from at least 2 different NFL games. You don’t have to worry about setting aside a ton of time for your draft as there are only 30 seconds between picks.
Chris Meaney, one of our DFS experts, contributes a weekly DRAFT article showcasing how he would rank his top 30 players for in-season drafting.
Player Swap is an option for in-season drafts. In order for a player to be swap eligible, they must have had an active status at the time you drafted them which then changed to an inactive status. Active statuses are In, Probable, Questionable, Game Time Decision, Day to Day, and No Status. Inactive statuses are Doubtful, Out, Traded, Suspended, Withdrawn, Postponed, and Out for Season.
When you have a swap eligible player, you’ll be notified via push notification. Click swap on the completed or live screen next to that player and you will be able to select from all undrafted players. When swapping players, the positions must match and the swap must be completed before the start of the game in which the player is playing. All swaps are final.
As stated earlier, the roster requirements allow best ball drafters the ability to a number of lineup configurations and strategies. Here are a few strategies to employ in best ball drafts:
Positional Balance– The first 4-5 rounds of any draft dictate the lions’ share of your fantasy points you accrue. Having solid RBs and WRs that give you high weekly floors are valuable given the fact you start multiple of these positions each week plus the opportunity to FLEX.
Zero RB– Based largely on Sean Siegele’s antifragility article from a couple years ago, this strategy takes advantage of the injury-prone nature of the RB position by stacking early round WRs. The goal is to use the 0.5 PPR scoring by hammering away at WRs with high potential of finishing as top 15 guys. The RBs past the 5th round with high ceilings on teams with ambiguous backfield situations such as Philadelphia, Cleveland, New England or Indianapolis make for great picks with this strategy.
Zero WR– The exact opposite of what you just read. Zero WR is using the first couple of rounds to load up on top-notch RBs are guaranteed a heavy workload. This is where the biggest differential in fantasy football lies so why not try a couple different shots at it? This strategy recognizes the depth at the WR position and allows you to use double-digit rounds to lean into the plethora of serviceable options.
TE Dominance– Now more than ever, it’s clear there is an obvious tier break after the top 3 TEs in 2018. Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, and Zach Ertz give you a positional advantage and the opportunity to dominate your opponent on a week-by-week basis. While this strategy is somewhat risky in redraft leagues, it certainly can give you the upper hand if you grab 2-of-3 elite options.
For in-season, the format of drafting 5 total players for each week lends itself to focusing on smaller slates and specific games rather than the macro-level best ball strategies. You are focusing on differentiating yourself from your opponent(s) while trying to simply gain the most amount of fantasy points in that given week. Here are a number of strategies employed for in-season DRAFT:
Late QB– Depending on the slate, there usually are comparable QB options available late in drafts. Because QB scoring is more predictable compared to the other positions and there is a large number of viable starters, it’s best waiting on QBs and taking them with one of your last picks as you load up on stud RBs and WRs.
Stacking– A stack is betting on a combo of at least 2 players from the same team gaining correlating fantasy points. There are many different ways to accomplish this but the most obvious is pairing a QB & WR together. Essentially, if the WR goes off for 150 yards and 2 TDs, you know their QB will be producing as well. For 5-player drafts, this is an easy way to gain an advantage against your opponent(s). Suppose you own Keenan Allen and you are deciding between Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers, and Matt Ryan for your QB position. It may seem like you are putting all your eggs in one basket by selecting another Charger, but data says stacking works over similar players on different teams. Remember: you’re going for the whole enchilada!
Going for the Bonanza– As fellow DFS writer Ben Cummins lays out, a “bonanza” is stacking players from the same game in order to go for the offensive back-and-forth explosion. If you have a combination of a high Vegas total, two good passing offenses, and subpar pass defenses, this tricky strategy can blow away your opponent in DFS.
Sign up with DRAFT and use the code THEBALLERS to get a free $3 ticket!
Be sure to get into some Best Ball before the season starts at Draft.com/Ballers