This time of the fantasy football offseason, two things are the primary focus for gamers: Dynasty leagues and best ball drafting. We’ve already been scratching the surface on dynasty ranks and rookie articles, but for the short term we’re going to cover some ground for best ball players. You can also check out our rankings hub for early 2020 rankings that will updated throughout the offseason to apply to these early drafts.
For those of you who are new to best ball, the format has grown exponentially in popularity over the past few years. At its core best ball leagues are fantasy football leagues that remove week-to-week management. You draft your team and your optimal lineup automatically gets set for the highest score each week. It’s that easy. No waivers, no trades and no management in season. When the dust settles, the best team(s) take home the prizes.
The two most popular places to currently compete in best ball leagues are on Fanball BestBall 10s and in FFPC satellite leagues. With those two places being the focal point of popularity, we’re going to dive into some data from the past few seasons for what has been ideal lineup allocation and construction per position just to provide a few guidelines in building successful teams. Kicking things off, we’re going to dive in on the quarterback position.
Number of Total QBs Selected and Win Rate
|# of QB||Fanball Tm%||Win %||FFPC Tm%||Win %|
*FanBall Data is from 2017-2019 **FFPC Data is from 2018-2019 (no SuperFlex)
One quick note for those who are new to the format, Fanball is a 20-player roster compared to a 28-player roster for FFPC leagues. We’ll cover both and the difference in approaches. The inherent baseline odds of winning a 12-team league is 8.3%, to provide further clarity on the success rates.
Starting at Fanball, 57.8% of the teams drafted over the previous three seasons left their drafts with only two quarterbacks and held a slight edge over teams with three quarterbacks in win rate.
With the extra roster spots on FFPC, two-QB teams lag behind the three and four-QB rosters. Those two roster constructions are neck and neck in win rate over at FFPC, but the three quarterback approach is by far the most popular approach taken. With an idea on a target area for how many quarterbacks you should roster, let’s dive into when you should be taking them.
Allocation and Success Rate for First QB Drafted
The rate of teams per round in which a team selected their first quarterback on Fanball rises in each of the opening 10 rounds while win rate doesn’t fall off until after the 11th round. The real sweet spot for QB1 drafters is Rounds 9-10, which have a 9.7% win rate and account for 29.6% of the teams.
On FFPC, teams taking their QB1 starts to head downwards after the eighth round and falls off a cliff after the 10th round. If you’re playing QB1 roulette there and are in that portion of the draft, that’s the breaking points, but also has carried high success.
One thing of note here is that we’ve had two of the highest-scoring fantasy seasons the past two years come from quarterbacks in the late-QB1/early QB2 area of drafts in Patrick Mahomes in 2018 and Lamar Jackson a year ago. Anticipating a quarterback from that area of the draft to hit is not uncommon while waiting on the position, but these two have had record-breaking seasons, registering the first- and third-highest scoring fantasy seasons per game for a quarterback ever. Jackson just provided the largest scoring edge for a QB1 over the QB2 since the 2007 season. Expecting to have the highest-scoring player at the position, while also setting league records, from that kind of draft capital is something due for regression.
That said, you can see on both sites where early quarterback drafters have struggled. On Fanball, teams taking their QB1 prior to the fifth round have had just a 4.5% win rate while at FFPC teams taking their first quarterback prior to the seventh round have had a 4.9% win rate.
With a ballpark on how many quarterbacks you should be drafting and when is the most optimal time to take your first one, let’s take things a step further by looking at the most successful points in the draft to take your second and third quarterbacks.
QB2 Selection for 2QB Teams
Here we’re just looking at teams that rostered only two quarterbacks. As highlighted in the open, this is most successful approach on Fanball and subpar strategy on FFPC, so this section is going to be primarily Fanball driven.
These are the round allocations and success rates for when teams selected their second passer. All of the rounds prior to Round 8 made up fewer than 1.0% of the total teams with two quarterbacks, so we trimmed things up on the front end. The same goes for the later rounds.
The bulk of the QB2 options here were selected in Rounds 11 and 12, making up 39.9% of the two-quarterback teams at Fanball. Those teams also had a high pool of win rate (9.9%).
Teams here taking their QB2 prior to Round 9 have had just a 7.7% win rate compared to an 8.7% win rate after, so loading up on two expensive quarterbacks and logging out hasn’t been a winning formula.
Waiting for the bottom position to fill your QB2 spot also hasn’t been optimal, with teams selecting their QB2 after Round 12 carrying a 7.6% win rate compared to a 9.4% prior.
Pairing up the thoughts here with the QB1 selection previously stated, Fanball teams who selected their QB1 after Round 6 and their QB2 at Round 12 or earlier combined for a 10.2% win rate.
At FFPC, 2QB teams managed just a 2.9% win rate waiting on their backup passer after Round 13, compared to a 7.7% win rate prior.
QB3 Selection for 3QB Teams
Looking at the teams that selected three quarterbacks overall on both sites, our samples inherently don’t get strong until the double-digit portion of the draft. On Fanball, 3QB teams that selected their third quarterback in single-digit rounds account for just 1.0% of all of those teams while that percentage is even lower on FFPC (0.7%).
On Fanball, teams taking three quarterbacks are taking them very late. 76.2% of all 3QB teams have selected their third option Round 15 or later. The interesting part of that dynamic is those teams had just a 7.7% win rate with a win rate per round lower than the baseline odds in all of those individual rounds. 3QB teams that selected their QB3 prior to Round 15 had a 9.4% win rate. The real money spot came when teams took their QB3 in Rounds 11-13. Those teams account for 12.8% of the sample and combined for a 10.1% win rate.
Pairing the 3QB approach with when those teams selected their first quarterback, Fanball owners who took their QB1 after Round 6 and their QB3 prior to Round 13 combined for an 11.4% win rate, while making up 5.2% of the 3QB team sample.
As mentioned to open, the 3QB approach is the most popular roster allocation method at FFPC. The densest individual rounds for 3QB drafters taking their final quarterback has been Rounds 12-15, accounting for 34.8% of the teams and those teams have had a strong 9.5% win rate.
In a similar fashion as we saw above, these 3QB teams are waiting until the back half of the draft to get that third quarterback, with 53.1% of the teams in the sample selecting their QB3 in Round 16 or later. As is the case with Fanball drafters, those teams have combined for a subpar 8.0% win rate compared to a 9.8% win rate prior.
Paired with their QB1 selection, FFPC drafters taking their QB1 after Round 6 and their QB3 prior to Round 12 combined for a 12.4% win rate while making up 8.3% of the 3QB team sample. This, of course, is impacted by the selections of Mahomes and Jackson in that two-year sample, but waiting for the bottom of the position is once again not a fruitful strategy.
QB4 Selection for 4QB Teams
Given the difference in overall rostered players, taking four quarterbacks is not a strategy deployed frequently or recommended on Fanball, so we’re only focusing on FFPC drafts in our final breakdown.
As touched on in the open, 4QB teams have had slightly more success there despite actually being a less popular approach than even 2QB teams.
Teams taking four quarterbacks have waited to the bottom of the draft to tack on that final option, with the final four rounds accounting for 59.0% of all of the 4QB teams, with the rate of their fourth quarterback rising in each of those rounds. Those teams had an 8.2% win rate with a 9.0% win rate in the final two rounds.
For the robust quarterback approach, only 225 teams (6.0%) of our 4QB sample selected their fourth quarterback prior to Round 15, but those teams had a gaudy 23.6% win rate compared to 8.0% win rate afterward. For teams loading up on viable passers without an early-round anchor, 5.3% of our 4QB teams selected their QB1 after Round 5 and their QB4 prior to Round 15 and had a 25.9% win rate.