Welcome to The Oracle! :: The Greatest “Cheat Sheet” In Best Ball!
Each week in The Oracle, OWS team members will take on the key strategy questions surrounding Best Ball tourneys :: sharing their thoughts on how they plan to approach these critical elements from a roster-construction, game theory, and leverage perspective.
With only a couple of weeks left until the season and teams unlikely to play their starters much (if at all) in this last week of preseason, we are rapidly approaching the end of the line for season long best ball drafts. As such, with our high volume of entries to this point, most of our player exposures and overall stances are pretty set in stone. That being said, who are the two or three players you have very little of that you are the most afraid of “sticking it to you” by having a monster season you miss out on that puts your rosters at a disadvantage?
Derrick Henry/Jonathan Taylor: I took two very polarized stands in the first round, the first of which was Jonathon Taylor and the second of which was Derrick Henry. Both offenses outperform expectations in 2021 and there is a case to be made that their respective volume takes a hit in 2022. Both offer solid per game ceiling potential byt the floor is scary low on a per week basis. I leveraged those stances by going hard on each pass offense.
Ja’Marr Chase: Chase was a guy I was comfortable taking after the top four players were off the board but he was also a guy I wasn’t going out of my way to target. The Bengals pass offense was also a situation that outperformed expectation last season and they upgraded their OL to a point where I expect a heavier emphasis on the run game. It is also highly unlikely that Chase scores four touchdowns of 80 yards again. On a per cost basis I much preferred Tee Higins.
1 – Trey Lance: For whatever reason, I just rarely end up pulling the trigger on Lance. The main reason mostly has to do with really liking some of the other QBs going at the same time or after him and those QBs (Dak, Russ, Brady, Stafford) having WRs that I am heavily exposed to that become natural stacking partners. I also don’t really have much exposure to the SF pass catchers for a variety of reasons….Deebo I haven’t wanted to chase his big year and now having a different look to the offense, Kittle I took more of early in the summer but have cooled on over the last month, and I love Aiyuk as a player but worry about him as the third option in a potentially very low volume passing offense. That all being said, Lance’s skillset is one which could be a QB1 type of player and if any of those receiving options (especially Kittle or Aiyuk) becomes his “go-to guy” they would also smash alongside him.
2 – Austin Ekeler: Man, this one hurts. Again, unintentionally I just don’t have much of him. After the first 5 players are gone, I have gone different directions most of the time. When I’m near the back of the first round, Ekeler is usually gone before I pick….when I pick in the 5-7 range, I’ve been taking Chase, Cook, Kelce, or Diggs usually before him. His backups look shaky at best and this is such a strong offense, he’s a guy who could really make me pay but luckily the fact he’s going in the first round makes it less likely it totally crushes me.
3 – James Conner: I just don’t really trust Conner for a full season, but man he’s affordable for the clear best RB on an explosive team and a guy who scored so many TD’s last year. As with Lance, a lot of this comes down to how I usually build in his ADP range, and there are a few WR’s plus Pitts who I take on the clock at that time. That being said, if he plays a full year he could score 20 TD’s and it wouldn’t be a shock at all.
1 – Derrick Henry: I generally prioritize pass-catching backs who have more ways to score points than just ground yardage and touchdowns. I have Henry around RB8 or so, but I never get him at that spot, but we all know what he can do if he stays healthy. This is one of those “you can’t be overweight on everyone” spots and I recognize it could absolutely bury me.
2 – The 49ers offense (except Trey Lance): The overall ADP of the 49ers offense feels way too high for a team that spreads the ball around a lot (both on the ground and in the air), is playing with a rookie QB who is going to run a lot (and thus hog a lot of overall team production for himself), and is likely to play a run-heavy style of attack. The combined ADPs of Deebo, Kittle, and Aiyuk make me think it’s highly unlikely that more than one of them (at most) returns value, while Eli Mitchell is being drafted higher than I’m comfortable with for a guy who likely isn’t really a bellcow. I have a lot of Lance, but I’m staying away from the other 49ers.
3 – Elite wide receivers overall: With so much focus around zero-RB and hyperfragile RB builds, my big stand this season is going in the other direction. There are so few true bellcow running backs left in the NFL that I’m trying to get 2-3 of them on every roster. Obviously there’s tons of injury risk in this approach, but I feel like it’s a pretty simple way to differentiate from the masses and try to grab multiple 200+ fantasy point scores at the RB position that most other rosters will be lacking. Because of this and my penchant to try to snag an elite tight end, this leaves me underexposed to the round 1-2 WRs.
There is a rapidly growing amount of content around the industry for Best Ball right now and a lot of perceived certainty in terms of “optimal” strategies and thought processes. What is one way that you think you have “atypical thinking” and stray far from commonly held beliefs?