fantasy football best ball leagues History

By Emil Kadlec
Emil Kadlec

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Way back in the summer of 1998, a bunch of fantasy football fanatics were running a site called Fan Ex – which stands for Fan Experts. Yes, I too am not enamored with the term “expert.” Their mission was to provide the millions of fantasy football manager with draft advice and be the place to go for help winning your leagues.

Each summer FanEx would have a “slow” draft and provide analysis of each pick. The draft took about two weeks to finish. This year, many of the FanEx team wanted to extend their reach to the fantasy players as they thought two weeks was a bit short. So they suggested to the group to add a second league. Ironically many of the participants were concerned that two leagues would take up to much of their time through the NFL season. Funny thing huh! Now most people play three or four fantasy football leagues each year! You would think that “experts” could handle two?! I guess things were different in the late 90s.

People suggested doing a mock draft for the second slow draft so the participants would not have to manager two leagues. Others believe mock drafts were not real enough to give top analysis. People would not draft with true intent in a mock.

I emailed back with an idea. Let’s do a regular meaningful draft(League) and have no free agency or any Lineups each week of the NFL season. We can have Terry Canon, the commissioner, pick our best lineups from our rosters each week on Tuesday morning after all the week’s games are completed. This way each manager does not have to do any additional work and the league is legit. Also our customers would get a second two weeks of draft analysis to prepare for their season.

The group agreed and the first Best Ball Fantasy Sports league was born. We also chose to make it a total points league and called it the "Fantasy Analysis Draft" (FAD).

Five years later the WCOFF adopted the idea with high stakes (best ball) and called it "Draft Masters." The entry fee was $1,000. After this many companies adopted the idea and now it is a staple in fantasy football managers preparations and play. People love to draft yet only have so much time during the season to work on their hobby. So the idea had wings and has become a wonderful part or our hobby fantasy football (and fantasy sports in general).

Here is the original best ball fantasy football league (FAD 1998), rosters and final results.

fantasy football best ball FAD 1998 final standings

fantasy football best ball FAD 1998 league rosters 1

fantasy football best ball FAD 1998  league rosters 2

fantasy football best ball FAD 1998  league rosters 3

fantasy football best ball FAD 1998  league rosters 4