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FFPC Best-Ball Slim: Draft Strategy Guide

No kickers, no defenses, no waivers to worry about, no points left on your bench each week. Is this the perfect fantasy football league?

For those not already aware, let me introduce you to FFPC (Fantasy Football Players Championship) Best-Ball Slim Leagues. If you play best-ball, you know how it works. You draft your team and then sit back and watch the points pile up all season long. For those who love to put together a fantasy football team but don't have the time or interest to keep up with in-season management, this is the ideal format. FFPC has taken it a step further by slimming down the rosters and eliminating the frustrating randomness that can occur when kickers and team defenses get involved.

Since the format is a little different, this is a good chance to formulate a draft strategy specific to Best-Ball Slim by looking at possible roster constructions and identifying ideal early and late-round targets. Once you've read through this guide and feel prepared, sign up for a best-ball league on FFPC and get started!

Editor's Note: Get any 2020 full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off using code FIFTY. Our exclusive off-season content, NFL Draft coverage, rookie rankings, dynasty analysis, preseason Draft Kit, In-Season tools and over 150 days of Premium DFS. Sign Up Now!


Details, Details

It goes without saying (but here goes anyway) that you should always know every detail of a league's rules and scoring settings before the draft. You can get all the details right here from the FFPC site itself, but here's a quick synopsis.

The best part is that you can choose a live draft with a 60-second timer or slow drafts with a two-hour or six-hour timer. Drafting multiple teams at the same time is a great way to do a direct comparison of ADP values and to intentionally differentiate rosters. After all, you can't just have one best-ball team...

By the way, if you do choose a slow draft, don't be that guy that constantly nags people to make their picks. If you're in that big of a hurry, just do a live draft!


Roster Construction

There is an ever-growing branch of knowledge regarding the best way to build a team in best-ball leagues. With no waivers, adds, drops, or trades throughout the season, what you draft is what you get. That means that you should develop a plan during the course of your draft, assuming you don't have one preconceived ahead of time. Typically, high-stakes players won't make egregious mistakes or reach for a player early on, so you should expect tough competition.

Chris Allen of 4for4 Fantasy Football has delved into the best roster constructions for FFPC, although this data relates to standard best-ball leagues with 28-man rosters. Here is what he found based on last season.

The quick takeaway from this chart is that nearly every team at the higher end of winning rates took three QB, DEF, and PK, while RB and WR were fairly balanced. The expanded rosters not only allow for a fourth tight end, the TE-premium scoring (1.5 PPR) encourages extra depth at the position.

In an 18-round draft with no kicker or defense, we could simply subtract six roster spots from kicker and defense, then another one from each other position and we are left with 18. In that scenario, here are the best possible roster constructions for Standard Best-Ball Slim Leagues.

2 6 7 3
2 5 8 3
2 7 7 2
2 6 8 2
2 7 7 3
2 7 6 3
2 6 6 4
2 6 8 3
2 5 9 2

On the Fantasy Bomb podcast a year ago, @TodfromPA (formerly MFLTod) said to me "If you draft a third quarterback in MFL10, you're just a contributor." In this case, contributing isn't a good thing. Essentially, he meant you are contributing money to the prize pot for someone else to collect. FFPC has deeper rosters, but when we pare down to 18 players, none of these combinations contain a third signal-caller .

Drafting a QB early is not required; just make sure your second QB is a high-floor, risk-averse player without an extended injury history. I wouldn't advise taking Cam Newton in the hope that he lands a starting job somewhere. Someone like Kirk Cousins, Philip Rivers, or Gardner Minshew II don't figure to be league-winning picks, but that's not what you need out of a backup QB. In fact, unless you hit on a Lamar Jackson or Patrick Mahomes late, the position isn't likely to win you a league at all.

As far as RB/WR splits, you can choose to keep these two positions balances or lean more on quantity at receiver if you go with quality at running back early. As we'll see further down, drafters are valuing running backs more than ever, so it's best not to wait.

Although we see a couple of two-TE combinations in the top-four most winning rosters in the chart, I would advise grabbing a third unless you landed Travis Kelce or George Kittle as your starter.

Superflex Best-Ball Slim

Among the variety of options available, you can choose to join a Superflex Best-Ball Slim league. All the same rules apply, except that you can slot a quarterback at one of your flex spots. This makes for a very different draft board, as the top QBs will be taken in the first round and every team will want to come away with at least three. Despite the increased value of quarterbacks, it still isn't advisable to take an "extra" player at the position considering how shallow rosters are, as it may handcuff your options at RB/WR/TE.

Here are some possible roster constructions for Superflex leagues.

3 6 6 3
3 5 7 3
3 6 7 2
3 5 8 2
3 5 8 2
3 7 5 3
4 5 7 2
4 5 6 3
2 6 7 3


Draft Example

Hours after the final pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, I wrapped up a slim best-ball draft of my own in order to get a feel for how rookies would be valued and to see how other high-stakes players would build their rosters.

Here is the link to the draft board, but you can view it full-size by clicking on the image below as well.


Positional Distribution

The first thing worth noticing is that 10 of the 12 picks in the first round were running backs. This promises to be a trend across all fantasy football drafts in 2020, as the supply of high-end RB1 types does not meet the demand. The two owners who passed on RB in round one to take Michael Thomas and Travis Kelce followed up with a running back in round two.

The big three at tight end were all gone by the end of round two and the top five were taken by the end of round three. It wasn't until round six that a run on the remaining tight ends took place, other than Gronk being taken in the middle of round five(!?!).

Every team wound up with three QBs except the owner who took Patrick Mahomes early and the one that was on auto-draft because he failed to show and wound up with Jameis Winston as his lone QB. Thank you for your contribution, kind sir.

Although I did just advocate taking two quarterbacks and you can see that I pulled the trigger on a third toward the end of the draft, I did so because I waited too long on a backup and began having doubts about Minshew lasting all season as the starter. Not that Tyrod Taylor will be starting very long either... Lesson learned, go with a second quarterback by round 11 or 12 and then focus on WR depth the rest of the way.


Early Rookie Values

Seeing as how the NFL Draft was fresh in everyone's minds and we assume that every single rookie selected will be a total stud right away, the ADP may be slightly skewed in comparison to drafts done later on in the summer. The top three rookie running backs, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jonathan Taylor, and D'Andre Swift were all third-round picks even though none is promised to be a featured back in 2020. I chose the discount with Cam Akers in round five, who I have as my top rookie RB as of right now. While that point might be debatable, the discrepancy in draft spot makes him the better value and allowed me to take Kenny Golladay and JuJu Smith-Schuster at WR.

The first rookie wideouts came off the board in round nine, with a total of 11 recent draftees being selected. It's a much better idea to take a shot on a player like Denzel Mims or Jalen Reagor in the late stages of a best-ball draft than a redraft league because there is no need to guess correctly as to when they will have their explosive moments amidst the inconsistency.


Draft Recap

Ultimately, I was happy to land Dalvin Cook with the seventh pick and then a top TE in George Kittle on the way back. I stacked high-volume targets at receiver over the next couple of rounds before filling out my backfield. Pretty much every RB on my roster has a question mark or two by his name entering the season, but that's simply the nature of the position. I much prefer to take a player with top-10 potential like JuJu than James Conner or David Johnson. The beauty of best-ball is that I can still reap the rewards of Sony Michel's handful of big games where he scores multiple times without relying on it.

The Alexander Mattison pick is an obvious handcuff, which isn't ideal for a league with only 18 roster spots. Given Dalvin Cook's injury history and the lack of better options in that range, it made more sense than taking a committee back like Tevin Coleman or Boston Scott with limited upside. The depth at WR toward the end of this and other drafts I've done so far is much better than you'd expect, which reinforces the fact that stocking up at RB early is almost a necessity unless you are relying on heavy volume by going with a 2QB-7RB-6WR-3TE build.


Late-Round Values

There won't be much in the way of running backs available past round 10. Some people believe Ke'Shawn Vaughn could claim the starting job in Tampa Bay, although I'm not one of them. His ADP is likely to rise, if anything, which could make Ronald Jones a better value at some point.

Austin Ekeler can't take all the carries in the Chargers backfield, so one of Justin Jackson or Joshua Kelley could become a steal. The problem is figuring out which one.

Chase Edmonds and Malcolm Brown are easily forgotten but could still have a role on their respective teams.

Slot receivers Golden Tate, Anthony Miller, and Parris Campbell are not overly exciting but each could accumulate enough targets to register big weeks. Miller produced four games with six or more catches in the second half of 2019 and Tate had five such games despite suiting up just 11 times last year. Campbell missed most of the year with injury but could play a pivotal role in a revived Colts offense with Philip Rivers at QB.

Speaking of Old Man Rivers, he is a bargain QB2 in round 12 along with second-year man Drew Lock, who now has a pair of new receivers in Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler.

When searching for a potential breakout tight end, a la Darren Waller last year, try Ian Thomas, Irv Smith Jr., or Chris Herndon IV. While tight ends will be taken higher than usual in FFPC, these players should all be around past the 10th round.


Last Word

The unofficial start of draft season for single-season fantasy football leagues won't come for another three months. Best Ball leagues have been drafting since February. Now that free agency and the NFL Draft have taken place, this is the perfect time to start building teams with an eye toward winning prize money. Those who are short on time or simply don't like to mess with K/DST on their fantasy squads should look no further than FFPC Best-Ball Slim Leagues.

As always, the strategies laid out here are suggestions provided to give RotoBaller readers an edge. Ultimately, the draft is in your hands. Every league players out differently and every owner values players in their own way. Our Best-Ball rankings are a great starting point no matter what league type you choose. Good luck!

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