Continuing on with my “best ball rules” mini-series, the back half of my ten rules looks at diversification and targets that fit that mold. You can find the first five rules of how I’m drafting in best ball drafts here! Otherwise, the next five are below!

6. Diversify Your Portfolio

Every draft I go into, I want to make sure that I’m conscious of who I’m taking from an overall standpoint. Putting all of your eggs in one basket is risky, and while it may work out for you, it just hasn’t worked for me. I drafted Jayden Daniels in about 80% of drafts last season, yet I finished in the back half of the standings for the Champion Series drafts I do every year. If I can be nearly all in on the clear best CFF player last season and still not see success, how valuable is this drafting style?

Looking back at my drafts, I was all in on many guys that didn’t work out, whether it was injury, bad luck, or bad selection. For this reason, I’m focused on having “my guys” but not going overboard with draft ownership. The higher the pick, the higher the ownership I’m willing to have, generally speaking. I’m looking at capping ownership around 50-60% for the higher draft picks, with that number dropping to 25% or so for my late-round dart throws with more risk. 

7. Diversify Strategically

If you play daily fantasy sports and multiple lineups, you know what I’m talking about here. The general idea is to determine your core group of players for your lineup, and then, in the final few spots, you rotate in players with higher risk and reward.

If every single lineup has every single slot unique, then you’re not correctly playing to your projections/rankings/beliefs. That team you just drafted where every player is unique may be a winner, but it also means you likely aren’t going to do well in those other leagues. This is a more valuable idea for me when playing in the Champion Series drafts, where there are 12 drafts with winners for each draft and an overall winner based on the results of all 12 teams combined.

As I get deeper into draft season, I start to look at what player combinations I have and then look to pick and choose players to select in the next draft, both early and late, and create unique combinations that way. This idea can also be utilized for players and positions. It would be wise to draft a quarterback early and be unique in how you put together your team but also try to continue to select your typical favorites along the way after that.

8. Draft One of Zavion Thomas, Chris Bell, Gary Bryant Jr., Traeshon Holden, or Sam Brown Late

This rule is specific to me, but it can also easily pertain to you. The idea of drafting one of these guys late in drafts is the cost is fairly low, but the reward is very high. Gary Bryant Jr. and Traeshon Holden are Jumbo WR3 guys who will be in a great Oregon offense. They hold some value as a WR3 but would see their stock jump if one of Tez Johnson or Evan Stewart were to get hurt. Considering the essentially free cost, I’m willing to sometimes take shots with either.

Courtesy of Card Chronicle

Chris Bell is a part of that Jeff Brohm offense that always pumps out valuable WR1s, and Bell seems to be in the lead. There are others at play here, but Bell is the guy I want to throw darts at. The upside is very real (and the floor is quite low if we’re wrong).

Sam Brown could quite easily slot into the WR2 role for Miami (FL) this season but isn’t being drafted that way. You can lock him up in the mid-20s, which is too low. Again, his upside is quite high, even without a potential injury. 

Finally, I’ve talked about Zavion Thomas a ton, but he really is underpriced. We all expect Kyren Lacy to be the WR1 catching passes from Garrett Nussmeier but that’s not a guarantee. And even if Lacy is the WR1, Thomas certainly has a leg up for the WR2 role in an offense I think could throw for 4,000+ yards.

What you should take away from this is that you should target high-upside guys in murky situations late in drafts. You can easily strike gold, but it is important to diversify these players so you’re not killing all of your receiver depth. 

9. Draft 1 of Luke Lachey, Mason Taylor, Jake Briningstool, and Caden Prieskorn Early

This year, I do enjoy toying with early tight ends (Fannin/Kuithe/Gadsden), but boy, do I love the next tier of tight ends. You can argue Lachey is in that elite tier, but looking at my recent drafts, he’s in that second tier. These four guys are experienced, proven, and prime for big years. Iowa tight ends are always amazing, and Lachey showed that in his two games before the injury.

Courtesy of LSU Football

Mason Taylor at LSU will be a part of an offense that could throw for 4,000 yards with no truly proven receiver. Jake Briningstool is the safety blanket for the Clemson passing attack and has a high floor like the rest. Caden Prieskorn probably has the lowest floor of this group, but his upside is ridiculous. We all saw the bowl game against Penn State last year, where he caught ten passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns. The Ole Miss passing attack will be elite, and while they have some nice weapons at receiver, the run game could be so non-existent that the depth at receiver won’t matter.

You don’t have to love these exact players in the second tier of tight ends, but it’s worth mentioning how valuable this tier is compared to years past. You can grab a great option in rounds 9-12 that won’t cost you the same as those elite options at the top. 

10. Draft 1 of Sam Roush, Tanner Koziol, and Thomas Fidone Late

When you’re done drafting your top-end tight end, that is the time to line up that cheap option down the road. For me, it’s Roush, Koziol, and Fidone. Those guys are going way too cheap and have some nice potential. Because you’re likely only drafting four, bye weeks matter for tight ends, so you must be careful about when those bye weeks hit.

Besides the fact that all will be top 2-3 targets in better-than-we-think passing attacks, these guys have bye weeks that avoid those top-end tight end bye weeks. Koziol has byes Weeks 1 and 10, which is simply amazing. Roush is off 3 and 11. Finally, Fidone has bye weeks in Weeks 7 and 11. Securing a top end option with a low end cheap option I really like at the position that fits bye week schedules is a must considering the position.

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