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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.
At this point, every NFL team has had to trim their rosters down to 53 players whether by cuts, trades, IR/PUP moves, etc. These roster changes can often have a big impact on many players, not just the specific players involved in the moves. What are the notable movements (or in some cases a team not making a move) that you’ve seen that may have altered how you view the situations of them or players on the teams they left or joined?
Here are a few of situations I’m thinking of, but feel free to use others instead:
Sony Michel to the Chargers, Tyler Johnson to the Texans, Kenyan Drake to the Ravens, and Jimmy Garoppolo restructuring his deal are the big ones from my perspective. Michel could immediately step into the “1B” or “2” running back spot in Los Angeles, which is likely the top “last minute move that carries enough fantasy pull to matter” spot.
Tyler Johnson, Kenyan Drake, and Jimmy G are more nods to what else is going on with the respective teams that either snagged them or retained them. Johnson joining the Texans feels more like a direct replacement of rookie John Metchie, which should be the WR3 spot/downfield threat for a team that could produce secondary spike weeks throughout the season. Kenyan Drake heading to Baltimore mostly brings the status of Gus Edwards further into question. To me, the team is likelier to start the season more pass-heavy that we otherwise would have expected, but that should settle back towards historical norms under Harbaugh. Notable for early season DFS, less notable for BB. As for Jimmy G, this was always the move that made the most sense to me, so nothing really to freak out about just yet. As in, it was never really the percentage solution that Garoppolo would be dealt prior to the year starting. On his new deal, he can now safely hold Lance’s clipboard while allowing other teams the opportunity to assess their current situations at QB prior to a potential deal coming down the pipe.
Tyler Johnson, the former Bucs WR, signing with the Texans makes him someone I’m interested in as a last round flyer – particularly on Draftkings with their full-PPR scoring and extra roster spots. The Texans receivers are very weak outside of Nico Collins and Brandin Cooks, and Johnson is coming from a situation with perhaps the best receiver room in the NFL (and perhaps one of the best ever). It would not be surprising to see him move into the #3 WR role in a couple of weeks and become a preferred target of Davis Mills if something happens to one of Cooks or Collins.
This may seem like a stretch, but the Raiders cutting their 2021 1st-round pick, OT Alex Leatherwood, caught my eye. While it may seem like a weird thing for me to focus on the status of an offensive lineman when evaluating fantasy football, this particular situation feels relevant. The Raiders’ new regime already cut Kenyan Drake and has now also cut a very high draft capital player who wasn’t meeting expectations. This raises even more red flags for me about Josh Jacobs. I think the Raiders are just going to be looking for reasons to phase him out and/or trade him during the season, and this makes me much more bullish on Zamir White as well.
Another Raiders move, cutting Keelan Cole, caught my eye. Cole was expected to be the #3 WR coming into camp but didn’t make the team at all. Mack Hollins appears to be the new #3 and could have some spike weeks and provide value as a unique piece as a last round pick.
Sony Michel signing with the Chargers is a big one to me. Michel is a “just a guy” back, but he immediately vaults to the RB2 role on one of the league’s best offenses. He’s currently going undrafted in many leagues and this feels like a fantastic opportunity to scoop a guy up who could be a real difference-maker and isn’t even rostered in a bunch of drafts that have already finished.
Agree on Ty Johnson, love that dude.
As the start of the NFL season approaches, that also means the end of our season-long best ball drafting. We often talk about how “each season is the equivalent of one regular season DFS slate” in terms of sample size, but the difference here is that we have to wait half a year before we can take what we learned from this “slate” and apply it to the next one. We are also always talking about “process over results”, so as the Best Ball lineups prepare to lock, what are some things that you have regrets over or wish you had done differently this Best Ball season and how will you try to learn or change your approach for next season?