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    Welcome to ‘Best Ball Plus’ 2024!


    Team Previews

    You can find summary notes of the podcasts here.

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    UD Top 300

    Rankings by: Hilow
    Last Updated: 5/17/24

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    DK Top 300

    Rankings by: Mike Johnson
    Last Updated: 5/26/24

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    Drafters Top 250

    Rankings by: Mike Johnson
    Last Updated: 5/26/24

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    Team Previews

    Hilow and Mike Johnson go team-by-team, exploring what we can expect in 2024:

    • Bull Case
    • Bear Case
    • Expectations // Takeaways
    • Coaching Philosophy // Personnel Changes // Schedule

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    Mike’s Drafting Plan

    In our Best Ball+ product we give you rankings, analysis, theory, and much more. Most of that revolves around how and why we do things a certain way within our drafts. A question that seems to come up frequently is, “How many teams should I be drafting right now?” The answer is basically . . . it depends. Obviously, that’s not the answer people are looking for and it isn’t very helpful but it is hard to get too deep into the weeds during a Twitter or Discord conversation. Even in an audio or video podcast training session, it feels like a topic that is hard to properly evaluate. As such, I decided to write this piece to give you an idea of the ways that I go about drafting my Best Ball teams in terms of:

    • What: Which tournaments on each site am I going to play?
    • How: Fast drafts or slow? (and why?)
    • When: When during the draft window (from the NFL Draft until the NFL season kicks off) am I drafting on specific sites, and in what contests?

    Hopefully, by doing this, you can understand my thought process and approach based on my goals and allocated bankroll. Then, you can figure out your own goals and bankroll and tailor your approach in the best way possible to achieve your goals and keep your sanity. In my opinion, managing the time that drafting takes and keeping a wrap on your bankroll are the most challenging parts of playing Best Ball at a high level. It’s a lot of money to have tied up for several months, so I try to make sure I am calculated and cost-efficient in my approach by not making myself feel rushed late in the draft window and keeping myself from going in too deep, too early in the summer.

    DRAFTERS

    What: 

    • I will max enter their $15 flagship tournament, “Drafters Million III NFL Best Ball Championship,” and I will also max enter their $2 “Mini” tournament. 
    • If they create other tournaments, I will consider them depending on price point and release date.

    How: 

    • To complete 300 drafts, I’m putting in a lot of work. I’m consistently drafting throughout the draft window but not forcing it. I pay attention to any “Bonus” promotions they do and will take advantage of those as much as I can. For instance, they’ll sometimes do a “draft 5 teams this weekend and we will give you a free ticket for 1 team” promo or something like that. Last year, they also had monthly challenges in June and July. There is also an aspect of time that must be considered. I don’t want to do all of my drafts before August, but I also don’t want to get to August and need to force in 120 drafts in each contest. Last year, I had about 70 drafts completed in the “Million” and about 100 completed in the “Mini” by the first week in August. Like I said, I didn’t force it and somewhat let their promotions direct me. They had a June challenge where you got 2 tickets if you completed 25+ drafts during the month. I think I did around 30 in that month. They also had a July challenge where you were rewarded tickets based on how long of a “streak” you could have of drafting teams. The highest reward was 5 tickets for drafting 30 days in a row. They also had several “weekend challenges” where you got a free ticket for every 3 or 5 drafts you completed. Completing those “challenges” significantly improves your expected value as those free entries reduce your cost per entry.
    • I also do a lot of slow drafts on Drafters to help me get my volume in. My approach to this last year was to almost always have between 12 and 20 slow drafts going at once. I do this for both contests, and the number that I have going is combined between the two. I start by entering a couple of slow drafts in one of the tournaments. Then, the next day I will enter a couple of slow drafts in the other tournament. I’ll continue this for a few days until I get a good number going and then just let it go. It probably sounds like a lot, but if you’ve got 10 to 15 minutes to check the site two or three times per day it’s not that tough. Usually, when you check, you will have two to five drafts that you are on the clock to pick or you are coming up within a couple of picks. When I check, I make my picks for the drafts I am up, and I will click on the drafts that I am within five picks of, so I can look at my team to that point, and what the draft looks like, so I can queue up guys who I’d want when I get up. That way when it does get to be my turn, I already have a good idea of what I want to do and can make the pick relatively quickly. Also, if for some reason I can’t get back to the site for my pick, then at least I know the pick will be roughly what I would have wanted it to be rather than a straight auto-draft.
    • Eventually, drafts will begin to conclude. Every draft room is different, but the drafts generally take anywhere from 10 to 21 days to complete. For example, my team that took seventh last year began drafting on August 18th and finished on September 4th . . . about 17 days. After my initial wave of slow drafts, I try to enter new slow drafts when I finish one. This keeps my flow of drafts relatively steady, and when trying to do 300 drafts over four months, this is a critical part of the process. The “time suck” of drafting is very real and having a good system and routine for slow drafts helps you keep your sanity and stay sharp. I don’t know the exact numbers, but I would guess I did around 100 “slow drafts” last year out of my 300 total drafts. The clock is eight hours so honestly, if you check in the morning while you eat, take a quick look around lunchtime, and check before you go to bed, you can do it effectively and efficiently while only taking five to ten minutes at each turn to catch up on several drafts at once.

    When: 

    • My general target is to have around 25 drafts done in each contest by the end of May, another 25 done by the end of June, and another 25 done by the end of July. This will leave me with 75 drafts for each contest to complete from August 1 until the season kicks off on September 5th.
    UNDERDOG

    What: 

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    Storyboard #3 (DK)

    Written by Mike Johnson

    Published – 5/26/24

    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. 

    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.” While everyone understands team stacks and most of the industry is focusing on late season correlations and balancing exposures, very few are actively trying to leverage the decisions made for a particular roster with their later-round picks by using these indirect correlations. Below is a summary of a draft I did on May 26th in the Draftkings NFL Best Ball $15M Millionaire:

    Picking from 6th slot

    Pick 1.06 – Justin Jefferson, WR, MIN – This is maybe my favorite spot in the draft as I’m guaranteed one of the coveted top-5 WRs and I also get an earlier pick in the second round. I will gladly take Jefferson here as we know he has overall WR1 upside.

    Pick 2.07 – Davante Adams, WR, LVR – Once again, a veteran WR who we know can be dominant at the position. He had an absolutely massive game in Week 17 last year. I’ll gladly take Adams in the middle of the second round every time.

    Pick 3.06 – Deebo Samuel, WR, SF – Well, well, well. I love all three of Jefferson, Adams, and Samuel . . . but, the thing I like most about this start is how unique it should be. All three of these guys have top-5 WR upside, and all of them can nuke a given week. Based on early draft trends, it seems like it will be somewhat rare for all three of them to end up on a roster together (basically you need both Adams and Deebo to drop past where they are usually drafted).

    Pick 4.07 – Tee Higgins, WR, CIN – This is where a “story” starts to come into focus. I took Justin Jefferson after Ja’Marr Chase, but those two present a decision point for many drafters. Pairing Higgins with Jefferson leans into the leverage on the idea that Jefferson separates from that tier or WRs. 

    Pick 5.06 – Dalton Kincaid, TE, BUF – Kincaid might be the top receiving option for Josh Allen this season. Adding him to this lineup of WRs sets the tone for the story I’m telling. At this point, I start thinking about the remainder of my roster. This is DraftKings so the playoff weeks 15 to 17 make stacks extra valuable. Jefferson and Adams are unique in their huge weekly upside and have cheap associated QBs. I’ll be looking to take JJ McCarthy and Gardner Minshew late in this draft to lean into that “story.”

    Pick 6.07 – Jayden Reed, WR, GB – Reed was electric last season and his role/skills separate him from the other Packers WRs. Considering he faces the Vikings in a dome in Week 17 and I have Jefferson and intend to add McCarthy, Reed is the perfect fit as WR5 on this roster.

    Pick 7.06 – David Montgomery, RB, DET – Similar to the Tee Higgins pick, Montgomery fits in this “story” as a bet that Amon-Ra St. Brown (who I passed on to take Jefferson) doesn’t keep pace with the top WRs, either for the full season or on a one week basis when it counts. Also, Montgomery’s Lions face Deebo Samuel and the 49ers in Week 17, giving me a nice mini-correlation that I might be able to add to with Purdy, Goff, and/or Pearsall later. 

    Pick 8.06 – Zack Moss, RB, CIN – Ja’Marr Chase isn’t the answer in this story. After this pick, I have both Tee Higgins and Zack Moss on this roster. Maybe in this story, Chase misses significant time or key weeks in the playoffs. In which case, I now have the WR1 and RB1 for the Bengals. 

    Pick 9.07 – Brock Purdy, QB, SF – One of the main “stories” of this roster is clear. Elite WRs with a massive single-week ceiling, paired with their relatively cheap QBs who can be carried along for the ride. Purdy is perfect as he completes a SF // DET Week 17 game stack and should also be a steady contributor throughout the season to help this roster advance out of the initial round, whereas McCarthy and LVR QB may have some rough patches given their situations. 

    Pick 10.06 – TJ Hockenson, TE, MIN – This is a perfect fit for this roster. Already having Kincaid makes this a luxury pick, as I won’t have to rely on Hockenson early in the year if he misses time or is slow to regain form coming back from a torn ACL. In the playoffs, I can now have an explosive Vikings stack that was substantially more expensive in 2023 than you can get it this year.

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    Storyboard #2 (DK)

    Written by Mike Johnson

    Published – 5/17/24

    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. 

    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.” While everyone understands team stacks and most of the industry is focusing on late season correlations and balancing exposures, very few are actively trying to leverage the decisions made for a particular roster with their later-round picks by using these indirect correlations. Below is a summary of a draft I did on Wednesday, May 15th in the Draftkings NFL Best Ball $15M Millionaire:

    Picking from 12th slot

    Picks 1.12 and 2.01 — AJ Brown, WR, PHI and Garrett Wilson, WR, NYJ — Man, I wish this was on Drafters. After the top-5 WRs are gone, Brown and Wilson might be the guys I think have the best chances of ending the season as a top-3 player at the position. Wilson is an elite talent who should finally have good QB play while Brown is also an elite talent who went on a crazy six week run last year. Anyways, starting with those two together has been hard for me to find but I could see that being this year’s version of the “Lamb/ARSB” combo from the 1/2 turn in 2023.

    Picks 3.12 and 4.01 — Devonta Smith, WR and Jalen Hurts, QB (PHI) — If this was a Drafters draft, I would have taken Cooper Kupp and DK Metcalf here. But on DraftKings, I’m going to get the full Eagles passing game stack on one team.

    In 2023, the trio of AJB // Smith // Hurts combined for 60+ points in 7 of 16 games with DraftKings scoring last year with three games of 80+ points.

    In 2022, the trio combined for 60+ points in 6 of 15 games with 4 games of 80+.

    This is an elite team stack to get in playoff style formats.

    Picks 5.12 and 6.01 — Jayden Reed, WR, GB and Kyle Pitts, TE, ATL — Taking a bit of a risk on young guys to take a big step forward this year. Probably take one more WR at the next turn and then pound RB for a few rounds.

    Picks 7.12 and 8.01 — D’Andre Swift, RB, CHI and Jake Ferguson, TE, DAL — Swift is a player I am extremely high on this year, so getting him this late as my RB1 fits perfectly on this squad. I decided to take Ferguson instead of a WR for two reasons:

    1.  DeAndre Hopkins was the last WR in a tier for me and he has the same bye week as the Eagles. When I take Hopkins (or Calvin Ridley), I try to stack Levis with them. Given the bye week situation and the fact that I don’t want to take a third QB on a Hurts roster, I decided to avoid Hopkins.
    2. I felt like the RBs I would get at the next turn would be similar to the ones I would take here, so I opted for Ferguson who plays the Eagles in Week 17. Ferguson dropped a 37-point game in the playoffs last year, so his ceiling along with the Eagles stack is #VeryNice

    Picks 9.12 and 10.01 — Austin Ekeler, RB, WAS and Tyjae Spears, RB, TEN — Just loading up at RB now. Ekeler plays the Eagles in Week 16, but that’s not “why” I took him. Wouldn’t be surprised if he has one more good year in him and Spears is an explosive young player on an underrated offense who will likely be top 5 in my RB exposures when it’s all said and done.

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    Storyboard #1 (Drafters)

    Written by Mike Johnson

    Published – 5/2/24

    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. 

    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.” While everyone understands team stacks and most of the industry is focusing on late season correlations and balancing exposures, very few are actively trying to leverage the decisions made for a particular roster with their later-round picks by using these indirect correlations. Below is a summary of a draft I did on Wednesday, May 1st in the Drafters Million III NFL Contest.

    Drafters Scoring/Settings::

    • Drafters format has NO PLAYOFFS. The format is cumulative points for 17 weeks
    • This means Week 17 correlations can be thrown out the window
    • 20 man rosters, same as Draftkings
    • PPR scoring, like Draftkings, but NO BONUSES for 100 yards rush/rec or 300 yards passing
    • As of now, Drafters has paused their deposit “reload” codes we’ve used in the past. However, they are still offering to all users “Milestone Bonuses” – draft 10 teams, get one bonus ticket; draft 25 teams, get one bonus ticket; draft 50 teams, get two bonus tickets; draft 100 teams, get three bonus tickets; max enter 150, get $100 Bonus and a Drafters T-Shirt
    Picking from 9th slot

    Pick 1.09 — AJ Brown, WR, PHI — Brown had six straight games with 125+ yards last season before the Eagles fell apart. He showed he could be a top-three type guy if they can keep it together.

    Pick 2.04 — Brandon Aiyuk, WR, SF — Decided to “reach” a bit on this one as WRs were going somewhat quickly and Aiyuk actually gives me a relatively unique pairing with AJB.

    Pick 3.09 — DK Metcalf, WR, SEA — I am higher than most on Metcalf. Read my Team Preview on the Seahawks to get the full breakdown but I like the team’s offensive prospects under their new pass-oriented OC, and love the idea of Metcalf finally having a “ceiling” year where his physical talents are displayed. 

    Pick 4.04 — Jalen Hurts, QB, PHI — I don’t believe you have to stack your QB in Best Ball and specifically on Drafters. That being said, Hurts in the 4th round makes sense to me on a team that has AJ Brown. If Brown is putting up a top five WR type of season, then Hurts (with his insane rushing ability) is once again finishing top two or three at his position. At this point, I also decided to try to replicate my positional draft strategy from my team that took 7th place in this contest last year (started WR-WR-WR-QB)

    Pick 5.09 — Amari Cooper, WR, CLE — Loading up at WR. Cooper fits perfectly on this roster as he tends to be very high variance and by having a lot of other high end WRs, I don’t necessarily have to count on him for weekly contributions. 

    Pick 6.04 — James Cook, RB, BUF — OK, I’ll bite on a running back. Cook was the RB11 in points per game through Week 15 last season and the Bills have removed two of their top weapons from that team (Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis). I believe Cook is a centerpiece for Buffalo this year and am happy getting him in the 60s.

    Picks 7.09 — Aaron Jones, RB, MIN  and 8.04 — Brock Bowers, TE, LVR — Again, I’m sticking with my “replicate last year’s team” theme. Last year’s team was carried in large part by Alvin Kamara as a veteran RB who people were writing off. In this same range, I also got a talented rookie in Sam LaPorta. Jones and Bowers fit those molds perfectly.

    Pick 9.09 — Tyler Lockett, WR, SEA — I’ve already made the bet on Metcalf having a big year. If that happens, the Seattle passing game is likely clicking. Lockett is my WR5 on this team and his spiked week potential and starting a “team stack” for me is too good to pass up here. 

    Pick 10.04 — Austin Ekeler, RB, WAS — I love getting him at this pick as my RB3. He played most of last season injured and I think the Washington offense could be sneaky good with Daniels at QB.

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