Stars vs. Scrubs approach to QB drafting in Best Ball Leagues

Stars vs. Scrubs approach to QB drafting in Best Ball Leagues

This year in the Scott Fish Bowl (SFB) league I opted to draft Aaron Rodgers first overall, and I was told by a teammate that only two other teams in the SFB7 did so. My second choice at quarterback was Philip Rivers at 4.12. Some of this strategy was due to Rodgers being the highest overall scoring player in this format, but another part of the strategy was due to this not being best ball. If it were “best ball”, my quarterbacks would probably be closer to Sam Bradford, Brian Hoyer, and Joe Flacco.

For those unfamiliar, in a “normal” league one sets a lineup each week, choosing their best players that they feel will score the most points. So, in the Scott Fish Bowl format I would choose to start Rodgers and Rivers. In a best ball league, however, a team’s players are chosen after the fact depending on who scored the most points that week. So, in best ball, if I had Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, and Sam Bradford, and somehow Bradford scored the most points that week, he would have been counted as my starter.

Typically, one chooses their quarterback starter(s) each week so a 2QB or superflex team would want to have two reliable starters at quarterback and then a backup to these two quarterbacks for a bye week fill-in. In the Scott Fish Bowl, the scoring of six points for a passing touchdown makes quarterbacks very valuable. We’re required to choose our starter(s), so I wanted a reliable and high scoring option, forcing the rest of the league to find ways to catch up to the highest scoring player in the league (Rodgers) with the rest of their lineups. I plan on starting Rodgers every week he plays, obviously.

Alternately, in best ball, a team has the option of drafting two top starters or drafting three or four “scrub” quarterbacks and live on the variance of ups and downs each week at the quarterback position.

Looking at how the above quarterbacks scored in Week 7* last year (in the 2017 Scott Fish Bowl scoring format), you see these results:

  • Rivers: 20.84 points
  • Bradford: 14.96 points
  • Hoyer: 1.96 points
  • Rodgers: 32.74 points
  • Ryan: 18.72 points
  • Flacco: 10.02 points

*I chose to highlight Week 7 because it was a week where all the referenced quarterbacks registered fantasy points in the same week.

A team who started Rodgers and Flacco (42.76) would score closer to or as much as a team who took a later-round approach and had Ryan, Rivers, Bradford, and Hoyer as starters in a best ball league (39.56 adding the top two out of four scores of Ryan and Rivers).

Putting this into practice, in one best ball league I’m in (Fantasy Cares), eighteen quarterbacks went in the first four rounds. I waited and took Sam Bradford and Ryan Tannehill as my “top two” quarterbacks in rounds five and six, respectivley, and then added Hoyer, and the Bears QB duo of Mike Glennon and Mitchell Trubisky in the 11th, 13th, and 16th rounds, respectively. If Bradford or Tannehill have a bad week, there are two other presumed starting quarterbacks who can step up and fill those point gaps if they score more in retrospect. I do not need to select them as my starters, so having the high variance of several quarterbacks makes up for one bad week from a top option.

More so, taking this high variance scrubs approach in best ball allowed me to draft Devonta Freeman at 1.11, Mike Evans at 2.02, Rob Gronkowski at 3.11, and Dez Bryant at 4.02, adding their high upside each week to any lack of “top” quarterback scoring.

In a two-quarterback or superflex league, standard or point-per-reception, normal or best ball, every scoring and format difference changes the strategy. Regardless, the mantra remains the same in fantasy football.  Points win the game, regardless of how your team looks. The only thing that matters is outscoring your opponent every week. Even if that means drafting more QB scrubs later in a high variance strategy — rather than drafting one or two quarterback stars earlier in a more traditional “choose your starters” league that has high scoring for quarterbacks.

Editor’s Note: Go to and earn a free entry into a best ball league when you create an account and make your first deposit.

A. Don Davenport

Don is a 2QB dynasty-only writer with a government contractor job (he'd tell you what he does, but then he'd have to kill you), who also does voice work for and rides a sport bike through the countryside for fun.Don is married to a fiery redhead and has a grown-up son along with two "furry children."Several years ago a co-worker came to him and asked him to join a 2QB fantasy football league he was starting. Don didn’t know anything about it, so he started to study the strategy of the game and this format in particular. By the time the draft started he was ready, but came in second place, losing in the championship game. He's had a chip on his shoulder ever since. He kept a running monologue in his head about how he would explain to others the values of the players in this format and after a while he decided to start writing it down. You can follow Don on Twitter @‪ADonDavenport‬

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