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Fantasy Football: Breaking down players who are better in best ball

Glendale, Arizona, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett (16) sets a single season franchise record with his 95th reception of the season during the first half against the San Francisco 49ers at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

In today's pass-happy NFL, the single greatest crutch argument to back any WR is: Boom-or-bust wide receiver “X” is better to draft in a best ball. The “better in best ball” mantra has become popular in recent years with the best ball format catering to players (mostly wide receivers) with extreme volatility.

Guys like Tyler Lockett, DeSean Jackson, Amari Cooper and Will Fuller can all be complete headaches to roster in traditional league formats that require start/sit decisions every week. One week it’s 53 points (Lockett in Week 7) and the next it’s seven points (Lockett in Week 8).

But the best ball format automatically sets the highest-scoring lineup, so we can draft these players knowing we'll benefit from their high ceilings without being hurt by the dud weeks. 

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By analyzing each player's mean fantasy points per game output in conjunction with their standard deviation (amount of variation with respect to their average output), PFF’s Ben Brown and I have created a floor/ceiling range of fantasy point outcomes for each player based on a certain probability (95%). Each player's fantasy points will fall into this range in 95% of occurrences. 

The players that have the highest upper ranges are the quintessential “better in best ball” targets.


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