With Best Ball season underway, the experts over at Fantasy Six Pack are bringing you some insight with our most recent 2021 Fantasy Football Best Ball Expert Draft. I’ll be breaking things down, team by team, for our draft hosted on Underdog Fantasy.
Reviewing our drafts. and reflecting on what we could’ve done better is crucial. It’s how we become sharper drafters.
There’s give and take with every pick in Best Ball, and that’s because we need to draft as if we are using every player. So let’s dive on into this draft review.
2021 Fantasy Football Best Ball Expert Draft
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A Brief Overview
As I mentioned previously, this Best Ball draft was hosted on Underdog. For those unfamiliar with the platform, Underdog uses half-PPR scoring in an 18 round draft.
Each roster will start 1QB/2RB/3WR/1TE/1FLEX, and includes 10 bench spots. In our case, we participated in a 12-team league, which is one of the most popular on the site.
The 12 experts that participated, as well as their draft position, were:
- John LaPresto (@TheJohnLaPresto)
- Garrett Ball (@GarrettBFF)
- Dylan Clemons (@dclemons2222)
- Dennis Sosic (@CALL_ME_SOS)
- Mark Strausberg (@MarkStrausberg)
- Joe Bond (@F6P_Joe)
- Michael Tomlin (@Tomlin3)
- Davis Peng (PengsPicksFF)
- Mike LaPlant (@BeLike_Miike)
- Preston White (@FF_Engineer_)
- Bob Van Duser (@BobVan_IDP)
- Nick Spencer (@NickBSpencer)
For the most part, the board started out relatively balanced. It wasn’t too running back heavy through the first two rounds.
The board actually took a rather unexpected turn, and became wide receiver heavy in the third and fourth rounds. Although Patrick Mahomes managed to fall back to the fourth round, a second quarterback went in the fourth as well. Only this time, it was Lamar Jackson rather than Josh Allen.
After the wide receiver heavy rounds, the room counter-reacted. Things took a turn towards the running backs, with nine going between the fifth and sixth rounds.
Overall, the draft was relatively balanced. Compared to the current wide receiver heavy rooms taking place in the Puppy 2’s lobby, wide receivers were actually drafted at a normal pace. With that said, let’s jump into how the individual rosters turned out.
1.01 – John LaPresto
Starting out of the 1.01, John did what every drafter should do – draft Christian McCaffrey. From there, John moved into a Hero RB/modified Zero RB approach. This Hero RB approach allows him to really depend on McCaffrey filling his RB1 spot, while grabbing some Zero RB targets to fill the second slot.
This approach allows you to load up on some high end wide receivers, and fill some of the one starter positions (quarterback/tight end) as well. Which is exactly what John has done.
John did a nice job rounding out the rest of his team. He managed to take two tight ends total since he invested a decent bit at the position initially. I like the three quarterback build he created here as well, which allowed him to invest in other positions, while waiting on his last two quarterbacks.
1.02 – Garrett Ball
Drafting out of the 1.02, Garrett took a similar approach as John with the Hero RB strategy. The only difference is that Garrett invested in an elite tight end, rather than taking a wide receiver in the second round.
This is definitely one of my favorite starts to any Best Ball drafts. Anytime I can start with Dalvin Cook or McCaffrey, and then get Darren Waller at the turn, I’m doing so every time. With this start, followed by a wide receiver, you’re locking in some serious ceiling weeks at three different positions.
Garrett managed to stack both of his quarterbacks as well, which is always a plus if you can do so without sacrificing other value. The only thing I would’ve done differently is invest in a wide receiver at the spot Garrett took Damien Harris. In my opinion, there were some better values available at the wide receiver position.
1.03 – Dylan Clemons
Out of the third spot, Dylan arose with a slightly different plan. Dylan worked with more of a Bimodal RB approach, which is similar to the Hero RB strategy. The main difference is that a second running back is drafted early, preferably in the second round.
This strategy allows you to wait longer on the rest of your running backs, while still loading up on wide receivers early. And this is precisely what Dylan did.
The two things I would’ve done differently in this draft involve the tight end and quarterback positions. I personally feel more comfortable stopping at two tight ends with Tyler Higbee and Logan Thomas.
Contrarily, I’m less comfortable with Sam Darnold as my second quarterback in a two quarterback build. For that reason, I would’ve taken a third quarterback, as opposed to a third tight end. There’s just more of a ceiling with quarterbacks.
1.04 – Dennis Sosic
With Dennis drafting fourth overall, we saw our first non-running back go – Travis Kelce. Following his Kelce pick, Dennis seemingly started with a Zero RB approach. That is, until he drafted a few early-ish running backs to push himself into a 4 RB build.
The floor on this 4 RB build is a little shaky, and probably wouldn’t be my preferred choice in a 12-team league. However, I do enjoy 4 RB builds in general, and think Dennis’s execution provides a nice contrarian approach for tournaments.
Dennis also acknowledged he was rather weak at the quarterback position, and opted to take three total, which I think was the right move. As for his tight ends though, I would’ve preferred to stop with two tight ends given the early investment in Kelce.
Although, I’m sure Dennis viewed this as more of an upside pick, given that Ertz could hold more upside than most wide receivers going in the last round. And while the general premise of 4 RB is to aim for more wide receivers, Dennis should be just fine considering his early investments at the position.
1.05 – Mark Strausberg
Mark came out of the fifth spot with quite a different build than the first four teams. Mark invested quite a bit of draft capital at the running back position by taking seven overall.
I typically prefer to only take a max of six or seven running backs if I utilize the Zero RB approach. Otherwise, I’m typically aiming for no more than five if I invested in a first or second round running back. This is due to the volatility at the wide receiver position, as well as the number of starters.
As I mentioned previously, on Underdog, team’s start three wide receivers compared to two running backs. From that standpoint, we should already be aiming to take more wide receivers than running backs.
As for the volatility, even the higher end wide receivers have more of a spike week scoring pattern as opposed to running backs. Not to mention, wide receivers typically have a higher weekly ceiling as well. And this showed in last year’s win rates, as teams with six or less wide receivers performed below average.
Overall, I do like the early investment on the elite tight end in George Kittle. And with that, Mark stopped at two tight ends overall, which is my preferred strategy given the early investment.
1.06 – Joe Bond
At the 1.06, Joe managed to land Derick Henry, which was a nice value considering this is a half-PPR format. From there, Joe managed to take six running backs overall, leveraging some high upside with the two early rookie picks.
This is another situation in which I’d be more comfortable taking one less running back. However, Joe did a good job building out both the quarterback and tight end positions so that he only needed to take two total for each.
By doing so, Joe managed to still take eight wide receivers total, which helped to balance out taking six running backs. All in all, I like this roster for the balance, as well as the upside.
It’s balanced as Joe isn’t particularly weak at any position. While on the other hand, there’s weekly upside by having a high-end quarterback like Patrick Mahomes. Not to mention, Travis Etienne and Javonte Williams provide some upside themselves if they can take over their backfields.
1.07 – Michael Tomlin
Drafting out of the seventh spot, Michael took somewhat of a Zero RB approach. This ultimately led to him taking seven running backs total, similar to Mark. Only this time, Michael took only five wide receivers total, while investing more draft capital at the position.
I do think Michael’s wide receivers are better off due to their quality, despite the quantity being lower. Although, this would not be my preferred execution. I prefer to almost always take at least seven wide receivers because of the volatility at the position.
My preferences would’ve resulted in one less running back overall. Additionally, by going Zero RB, I would’ve attempted to invest more capital at the one-starter positions. Whether it be by taking a higher-end quarterback or tight end.
This could’ve resulted in the need to only take two total at one of the single starter positions, while allocating the third to the wide receiver room. Although, I do like Michael’s late-round upside approach to the quarterback position. It could really pay off if it hits right in terms of games played for Justin Fields and Cam Newton.
1.08 – Davis Peng
As Davis started out of the 9-hole, he took perfect advantage of the how the board moved. Since he was able to lock in two high upside running backs early, he quickly moved to a 4 RB build.
After investing into the running back position for the first three rounds, he shifted his focus to going deep at wide receiver. This resulted in taking 10 total after managing to stop at two quarterbacks and two tight ends.
Overall, I think the execution is strong, as Davis managed to keep a balance among his other positions as well. He’s got upside at the quarterback position, depth with his wide receivers, and a nice floor/ceiling mix at tight end.
1.09 – Mike LaPlant
Mike at the 1.09 brings us another four-RB build in this expert draft. Only this time, Mike takes a somewhat in-between structure compared to Dennis and Davis. Mike managed to lock in two running backs with his first two picks, but then waited a lot longer for his next two.
This move allowed him to lock in some more elite options in other departments. Which included taking a high-end quarterback and tight end – something that’s hard to do in a four-RB build.
The only questionable part Mike had is his second tight end. This is understandable, as it’s hard to push yourself off of wide receivers in a four-RB build. I would’ve just preferred to lock in a second tight end with some more certainty.
1.10 – Preston White
Drafting out of the 10th spot, Zero RB just made sense to me, especially considering the wide receivers available. I easily preferred Tyreek Hill to any other player available with my first pick. And pairing Hill with Diggs was too hard to pass up.
But I promise you I won’t be tooting my own horn the whole time. While my quarterbacks and wide receivers turned out solid, I can’t say the same about my running backs and tight ends.
Of course, I went Zero RB so my running backs shouldn’t look “great”, but I made some mistakes along the way. The draft was particularly running back heavy, at least through the single-digit rounds. Ideally, I should’ve taken a second running back where I took either Chase Claypool or Mike Williams.
I was simply more intrigued with Williams’ value, which should’ve been disregarded. I needed running backs, not more wide receivers. I also should’ve taken a third tight end, or taken my second earlier to stop at two. Ultimately, I got preoccupied making up for my lack of depth at the running back position. There’s always hindsight bias.
1.11 – Bob Van Duser
With the 11th pick overall, Bob started his draft with back-to-back running backs. For me, the back of the draft is either a hit or a miss. But there are a lot of different ways you can start at the back of the draft, though.
Here, Bob took a rather unique approach. I for one would’ve forgone taking a fourth quarterback in this situation. I think the fourth quarterback could’ve been better allocated to either the tight end position or the wide receiver position.
Bob’s roster is strong at the running back position and is fairly solid at the wide receiver position for a team with only seven total. All things considered, I would’ve taken a third tight end instead of a fourth quarterback. But it’ll certainly be interesting to see how it plays out.
1.12 – Nick Spencer
Finishing off our Best Ball Expert Draft is Nick at the 1.12. Nick had one of my all-time favorite starts out the last pick, which is Austin Ekeler paired with Aaron Jones. Talk about upside, yet consistency at the running back position.
From there, Nick rounded out his draft in good form. Each of his position rooms are solid and well-balanced. While his wide receivers and tight ends aren’t the most elite, he has some quantity to work with.
For instance, taking three tight ends total kept things afloat there. His roster’s real strength comes from his quarterbacks and running backs. He’ll be able to get by with his other positions, but he’s created a great bit of upside with at least two position groups.
Be sure to check out the rest of our 2021 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers!