Something that is often discussed in weekly DFS theory and strategy is the “story” your lineup tells. Basically, the idea is to think about what the recap of the day would have to be for each particular lineup to have been the “right” combination of players that gets you to a first-place finish on that slate. I like to do something similar when drafting Best Ball rosters, thinking about the “story” that the roster is telling about how the NFL season will play out with each pick that is made. As Hilow and I discussed on his pod a few weeks ago, these “if-then” statements can be extremely valuable thought exercises and help us see things in a different light than our competition.
At every selection in a draft, there are a variety of reasonable options available, and whatever choice you make also implies some things about the other players you passed on. Similar to price point or positional pivots on a regular DFS slate, we want to be aware of the scenario where your picks are “right.” Everyone understands team stacks, and most of the industry is focusing on late-season correlations and balancing exposures, but very few are actively trying to leverage the decisions made for a particular roster with their later-round picks by using these indirect correlations.
Contest: Best Ball Mania 3
Draft Date: July 27th
Round 1, 1.06: Stefon Diggs, WR, BUF – I could go on and on about why I love Diggs this year, but that’s not the important part. Any player with a first-round ADP has a ton to like about their season. The important part is understanding what this selection means for how I will attack the rest of the draft.
Round 2, 2.07: Aaron Jones, RB, GB – Jones was easily the top RB left on the board for me at this pick.
Round 3: Josh Allen, QB, BUF – When I selected Diggs at 1.06, I was effectively making a stance that Buffalo will continue as a top passing offense in the league and Diggs will return to his 2020 form with a monster, top-3 WR season. If that happens for Diggs, Allen is basically a lock to remain a top-3 QB as well. In many drafts, I like waiting until the 6th-10th round range to take my first QB, but in this “story,” locking up the odds on favorite for QB1 at pick 30 seemed prudent.
Round 4: Jaylen Waddle, WR, MIA – Waddle correlates with my first two picks during the playoffs, as Miami plays Buffalo in Week 15 and Green Bay in Week 16. Waddle also provides leverage off my decision to pass on Tyreek Hill in Round 2. It’s notable that I passed on Gabriel Davis at this pick. This was a calculated decision as I felt that if Diggs proves himself worthy of the 1.06 pick, then Davis likely will struggle to pay off fourth-round draft capital.
Round 5: George Kittle, TE, SF – This pick is where things really get fun. Taking Kittle here means I have taken care of both “onesie” positions through five rounds with elite options, which gives me great flexibility in my roster positions going forward. From a leverage perspective, Kittle helps me in a variety of ways based on picks I’d already made. The most obvious angle being that I passed on Deebo in the 2nd round and if Deebo is disappointing this year it likely would benefit Kittle. The second and less direct leverage this provides is based on the fact that with each of my first two picks I passed on Kelce and Andrews. I have already effectively made a bet that those two players will not have “had to have it” type seasons at the position, in which case, Kittle is as good of a bet as any to be the TE1 (or match the top options for a much cheaper price). Finally, one person in this league had already taken both Mark Andrews and Darren Waller – this means that having one of the few remaining “elite” TE options will be even more of an advantage in this league than normal.
Round 6: Amari Cooper, WR, CLE – I like Cooper as a high-ceiling WR on rosters where I have already selected at least two WRs before him. Taking Cooper here is a bet on Deshaun Watson being available for at least half of the year, which makes Watson a definite target later in the draft. If Watson were to miss the whole season, Cooper can still have a decent season. Additionally, so much of this roster is relying on a big season from Allen/Diggs so I can take on more risk/variance at my QB2 spot. Additionally, Watson will likely be used mostly on 3-QB rosters or 2-QB rosters with the other QB having a bye after Week 9 (a lot of rumors saying 6-8 game suspension is likely with CLE having a Week 9 bye). This will likely lead to the duo of Allen (week 7 bye) and Watson having low combinatorial ownership.
Round 7: Hunter Renfrow, WR, LV – Solid WR in what should be a good offense and he should have steady production with some potential for spike weeks. This fits well with my other WRs as Waddle and Cooper may be prone to down weeks due to their respective situations. I also already have some indirect leverage against Renfrow’s teammates as Davante Adams and Darren Waller have very similar ADPs to Diggs and Kittle at the same positions.
Round 8: Chase Edmonds, RB, MIA – Adding to the MIA bet, and the negative reports so far on Raheem Mostert’s knee. The market hasn’t adjusted much yet on a possible workhorse role for Edmonds, and I don’t want Tua to stack with Waddle due to already having Allen at QB and targeting Watson later, but taking Edmonds here gives me multiple options as correlations with my BUF and GB studs in Weeks 15 and 16.
Round 9: Devin Singletary, RB, BUF – Hilow had some great info about the use of a QB-RB-WR stack in winning Milly Maker lineups in a tweet he sent last week, and based on the board, I liked adding Singletary to this roster with that in mind.
Round 10: Garrett Wilson, WR, NYJ – Some picks are just about making the right pick. No one stood out as fitting a particular “story” here, which is okay. I added a high-upside player and rookie WRs usually have stronger second halves of the season.
Round 11: Isaiah Spiller, RB, LAC – Leverage off fading Ekeler in the first round. I also passed on Mike Williams in the third round so my story wasn’t that Ekeler fails and the WRs have monster years . . . it’s that Ekeler disappoints with the WRs also having seasons that don’t blow away expectations. That would likely mean Ekeler was injured or ceded a greater than expected workload to Spiller.
Round 12: Jameson Williams, WR, DET – Another bet on a talented player who I am hoping “pops” at the right time late in the year.
Round 13: Michael Carter, RB, NYJ – My RB5, Carter should have a passing down role with the potential for spike weeks from big plays or if Breece Hall misses any time.
Round 14: David Njoku, TE, CLE – High-upside and athletic TE, ADP fit at this pick (not a reach), and plan to stack him with Watson next round. He has the same bye week as Kittle which likely means low combinatorial ownership.
Round 15: Deshaun Watson, QB, CLE – Brings together the CLE stack with Cooper/Njoku, finishes off QB position (only needed 2 roster spots).
Round 16: Parris Campbell, WR, IND – A likely starter in Round 16 who also provides a bit of leverage on my decision to pass on Michael Pittman in the third round. My intent with this pick was to take Isaiah McKenzie but he was sniped right before my pick.
Round 17: Will Fuller, WR, FA – Julio Jones just signed with the Bucs, and his ADP shot up (as expected). My feeling is that Fuller follows suit very soon so this was one of my last chances to get him on the cheap.
Round 18: Jeff Wilson, RB, SF – I would usually go with a WR9 here rather than taking my RB6, but for this roster, I have already made a sizable bet on George Kittle having a healthy and productive season. Kittle is also a key to the SF run game, so if he has that kind of season, then having a piece of the SF backfield makes a lot of sense here. Wilson likely won’t be a regular contributor, but a three to five week stretch of heavy usage at the right time could be a leverage spot that puts me over the top.
THE STORY: Here are the basics of the “story” I need in order for this roster to carry me to the promised land.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I loved how this roster came together and while having *all* of these things happen may be a long shot, none of them are outrageous reaches or outside a reasonable range of outcomes. First place for BBM3 is $2 million and this entry cost $25. I will gladly take 80,000 to 1 odds on a parlay of the above situations happening. I hope you are able to take some things away from an insight into my thought process and I’d love to hear feedback on Twitter or Discord with any thoughts.
Good luck OWS fam, see you in the lobby!!