Super Best Ball: Assimilating Build Strategy, Part 1 “Win Now”

When a novel version of a pre-existing experience or condition becomes observable, the initial step in studying the anomaly is to identify how it diverges from predecessors. A superflex, best ball (SFBB) dynasty league is a fondue of 3 incredibly strategic pastimes, unified by the sport of American football at-large, but more intrinsically via the startup draft. Each variation has an added element to the prior generation, with added twists and best practices along the way. In understanding how to prepare for this new format, a manager must contend with how to maximize the galactic brain of a multi-strategic history of modern fantasy football.

As a preface to the draft theories to follow, it is relevant to consider how wide the scope of conditions can be for this SFBB dynasty league. An alteration to any setting can dramatically change the utility of a given strategy. An example could be the traditional best ball approach that eliminates all transactions in-season (thus, draft and hold), versus an approach more befitting a dynasty league that allows waivers and trades in season. Consider the following to be the general settings for the type of league discussed herein. Starting Roster: QB, RB1, RB2, WR1, WR2, WR3, TE, SuperFlex, Flex1, Flex2, Bench x 18 (28 total). PPR. Trades and waivers like traditional dynasty leagues. Starting lineups are automatically optimized each week based on player performances from your entire roster. The league is 12 teams and can be either head-to-head (H2H) or season-long points, however, the league and teams referenced throughout used H2H. As a final note, consider “value” as a baseline draft strategy that the following ideas are built upon. Each strategy may alter the lens of value to meet philosophical principles, but there is no inherent disregard for taking excellent value when given the opportunity.

Win Now

Win Now is the closest dynasty strategy link to redraft. Cigler (Dynasty Startup Win Now Strategy) dismissed the notion that the strategy is veteran-centric, as some dynasty managers may have you believe, but focused on immediate production and market value. However, the nature of production is such that experience typically precedes and signals elevated production. When discussing value in the context of Win Now, there is production and market price. The goal is to contend for the title immediately, but with the caveat that you must be ready to turn over strong assets in their prime to maintain an influx of talent and avoid significant roster atrophy. The difficulty with this proposition is that the biggest production advantage is held in the earlier rounds of a dynasty startup draft, as well as the most dangerous value bubble. Another regrettable factor is the desire for younger, blossoming talent among dynasty managers, which can make it difficult to get appropriate value when trading veteran assets at near peak production value. A trepidatious first season and you may have several depreciated assets with no real buyers. Below is an example of the Win Now strategy employed by Regulators (the eventual champion!), with a look at their 1st-12th rounds in a SFBB dynasty startup drafted in May, 2020.

You may be able to identify other strategies employed by Regulators as we dig into SF and BB, but the evident pick-block of Tom Brady, James Conner, and Chris Carson really ice the Win Now approach early in the draft, along with the Mayfield-Landry stack. A sleeping Baker Mayfield in the 7th was a tremendous oversight by the rest of the league.

Win Now Applications in SFBB Dynasty

Where Win Now can be advantageous within the SFBB dynasty format is in the transition rounds mid-draft. For the most part, people are prioritizing value early and even the Win Now strategist concedes production to overwhelming market value. Managers are not foregoing Ja’Marr Chase to select Julio Jones, especially when they recognize consensus ADP gaps and the ability to maximize pick value by trading back. For most players, however, a well-structured foundation allows almost any variety of team build to capitalize on production sleepers in the middle rounds when other teams are gambling with lower tier rookie WRs and day 3 RBs that have abysmal hit rates. Round 18 from the above draft had ideal targets that brought great value despite being after-thoughts during rookie draft season; Chase Edmonds, Jamaal Williams, Curtis Samuel, and Corey Davis. Meanwhile, the upside fliers included Jalen Hurts (nice hit), Van Jefferson, Lynn Bowden, and Jacob Eason. Regulators rode to victory with a significant boost from players in this transition period; Darrell Henderson (15th), Curtis Samuel (18th), and Malcolm Brown (22nd).

Weekly Hits Among 18th Rd Vets/Fliers

18th Rd Sleepy Vets
PlayerQB1QB2RB1RB2WR1WR2WR3
Williams, Jamaal22
Edmonds, Chase26
Samuel, Curtis331
Davis, Corey323
18th Rd Rookie Fliers
PlayerQB1QB2RB1RB2WR1WR2WR3
Hurts, Jalen12
Eason, Jacob00
Bowden, Lynn010
Jefferson, Van000
At pick 18+, you need to add utility to your army, not try to hit a Cinderella each round. This becomes more important in a league with waivers, which will allow you to take shots in season with better information.

There is also the consideration of trading up in the startup to improve the value of the current roster at the cost of depth and future picks. Sacrificing the many to be rewarded with few is a dangerous proposition. An earlier discussion on weekly hits highlighted the potential power of significant depth. Added to this is the inefficiency of later draft picks that lay waste to valuable roster spots. With 28 total roster spots, there is opportunity in finding ways to place value or production in all of them. The most egregious error would be to have several 3rd/4th string RBs with no touch volumes as well as unnecessary backup or even retired QBs (Full disclosure; the author drafted Andrew Luck in the 26th and has no one to blame but himself). These players are efficiency vacuums in any form of BB, let alone dynasty and SF.

The rookie draft following year 1 is your first (unforced) opportunity to enhance roster depth, making it crucial that giving those picks away must truly solidify a championship run. Regulators played this card as well, trading Mike Williams and his 2021 1st for Keenan Allen.

(look forward to the next assimilated strategy in part 2, “Productive Struggle”)

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