Introduction to Bestball Exposure

By Tod Burros
Tod Burros




Introduction to Bestball Exposure

The bestball format has become more and more popular each year and with good reason. Drafting is fun and Bestball allows you to set a budget and then draft as many teams as your heart desires. I personally have once drafted over 300 teams and this year I will do less drafts but will spend more on bestball teams then I ever have.

Once you get over say 20 teams it becomes very important to have a strategy for how much exposure you want to have on players and to understand why exposure is so important in bestball. In this article, I want to touch briefly on some of the key thoughts I believe everyone should at least take into consideration when building a Bestball portfolio.

We all know players get injured more in the NFL than any other sport so spreading your exposure out just on this factor is crucial and the earlier a players ADP the more important it becomes to balance your exposure. One of the key factors that I consider is win rates of players in how I build more rosters. I could do a whole article on this alone but basically win rate is what percentage of winning teams a player is on and 8.5% is the break-even point for win percentage (12 teams in a league divided by 100%). The lowest win percentages each year come from the first round and often it is because your first or second-round pick gets hurt with win percentages as low as 2%!

When we project total points for a season in the first round you might even have one player rated 35 fantasy points ahead of another. It seems like a lot but really it is only 2 points a week. Compare that to what happens if the player you like better gets injured and in my view it is a no-brainer to set a maximum amount you ideally want on any first-round player. For me it is 15% and my willingness to raise exposure raises slightly each round after that. Keep this in mind when you are deciding how much of one player you want and how much you are willing to risk by not having hardly any shares of early-round players. You might like one player more than another but that player has about the same chance of season-ending injury as another. If you have 30% say of one player and zero of another and your guy gets hurt in a preseason game you are in for a long season.

Last two years is a perfect example of this and a trap I fell into with Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. Each of the last two years these players had first round ADP’s. I felt and I still think rightly so that it was unlikely both players would pay off such a high grade with a declining Drew Brees at QB. So in each of the last two years I was way underweight on both players. However, in each of the last two years one of the two got injured allowing the first players usage to skyrocket. I missed out on both of these players which greatly hurt my season as first-round and second-round picks are often also the players with the HIGHEST win rates. So even when you have a good reason to fade a player keep injuries in mind when building your portfolio.

Some people I hear say well later in drafts I am willing to have 50-60% ownership on a player. I still think 30-35% is more than enough on any player. Players are being drafted that late for a reason and even if they overcome the obstacles that have them being drafted so late are still liable to injury. I try to keep even my late picks to no more than 35% and many years I don’t have any players over 25% and have won plenty of money doing it that way!

Most analysts when they give projections give you tiers that they have players in. I advise that you have your own tiers of players and that you do what I do and mix players in as you go knowing that even though you like Player A in a tier the best he is likely only going to score 1-2 points more a week than the other players in your tier. I won’t DROP a tier to do one of the below strategies as you often are giving up more points reaching up a tier than you gain by any of these strategies.


Tie breakers

I use “tie breakers” when possible to help me to decide between players in a tier. Some of them are
• Bye weeks- as having too many players with the same bye week can cause you to have a dip in scoring during the bye week. Unlike season-long leagues there is no waivers in bestball so it is a great way to mix up your exposure
• Stacking players from the same team or with their QB- This is a tried and true method in DFS because when teams have a good week it supercharges your whole lineup. Don’t overdo it in regular bestball but it is a great tie breaker when deciding who to take.
• Different draft positions- The first few rounds of drafts I am typically not using much of a strategy rather just putting the best players on my team. Your early exposure is going to be set primarily by which draft spots you have. Don’t get too cute and allow early ADP to mix up your exposures. I typically won’t jump more than 2-3 spots in either the first or second round to take a player and many drafts I won’t jump at all.
• Draft Strategies- Early in drafts I let ADP come to me for the most part and try and build my best team. But I am aware of strategies out there like Zero RB, Modified Zero RB (taking one stud RB early) or Robust RB. As I draft I can use my knowledge of how to play these strategies into making unique teams and can use these strategies to help me decide between players I have rated in the same tier.
• Risk-I like to build a certain amount of risk into each team. Another term for this is Floor/Ceiling. Early in drafts I am always looking for players that I think have a sound floor and a good ceiling. If not they probably are not in the tier I am choosing from. But as the draft progresses I will start mixing in players I think have high ceilings with low floors meaning their role or their job isn’t safe but the talent is there should they get a shot. I will also balance riskier players with safer floor players as well at times. Keep this in mind when drafting and crafting your teams.
• Exposure itself- If I have a few players really close and I don’t have any other tie breaker I will use my total ownership on the players to help me decide who to pick. I always keep my exposure handy and there are a few websites out there that can help you track your exposure. I use them to ensure I can use my exposure as a final tie breaker in deciding who to draft

As you can see there is a lot of meat on the bone here. I probably could have easily written twice as many words to explain my thoughts here. But these thoughts should help you to craft a bestball portfolio that is able to stand up to injuries while still giving you the best chance to win.