Over the last few seasons, the best ball fantasy football format has grown incredibly popular. If you are unfamiliar with the format, it is geared for those looking to draft a team and leaving with without roster moves. This puts an emphasis heavily on drafting, and you will need some good fortune along the way. Teams will score points from weeks 1-16. This number can vary, but usually the top eight players score each week, which is broken down into positions. Your highest scoring players at each position will accumulate points. This means no more being frustrated that you have a running back scoring 20+ fantasy points on the bench. It is a running tally of fantasy points throughout the week, and the team with the most at the end wins.
There are various strategies to go with, but solidifying a good floor of fantasy points is key. Getting later in drafts is where you can begin to take some risks. Handcuffs for running backs become important, as they could end up being league winners come late in the year. You want guys that have upside, and low ceiling players can not be as exciting in this type of format. Rushing quarterbacks have an advantage in this format, as we saw with Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen last year. Having a balance of safety and upside is a good starting point to any lineup. I will be breaking down targets to go with by position with a focus on getting the best value.
You have your elite tier of quarterbacks going within the first 60 picks. I much prefer to wait it out a little bit and bulk up other positions. There are plenty of upside quarterbacks late to be paired with a steady quarterback as well. Kyler Murray is getting increasingly popular in best ball formats, and just in general for fantasy. With a new coaching staff and some young weapons at his disposal, Murray is a solid upside quarterback. His legs offer him upside, and I actually like the receiving core he has. The Cardinals are one of the more popular best ball teams to target because their offense should take a tick upwards. Combining this with their current ADP numbers, they are a strong team. Murray is now about the 11th quarterback off the table, with an ADP of about 92.3.
Mitch Trubisky is another mobile quarterback worth taking. His ADP is going at 112.5, and that is good for the 18th quarterback off the table. Trubisky gets another year under Matt Naggy, and I like the running back core with him. He also has some excellent wideouts and a few major speed threats too. There is a lot of excitement around names like Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen for their rushing upside, but do not forget about Trubisky’s. He finished as QB15 last season, and had over 400 rushing yards. If the passing game can take a step forward, there is a lot of upside here.
Coming off of a injury filled 2018 season, Devonta Freeman comes in with a pretty significant discount. He is being taken as the 17th running back in best ball formats, and 31st overall. Freeman will be 27 this season, and has put up solid numbers in his career. From 2015-2017 he produced nearly 3,000 yards on the ground and 35 total touchdowns. In 2015 he finished RB1, 2016 was RB6, and 2017 he finished as RB13. Last year he played just two games due to injury, but is checking into 2019 looking for a good year of health. There wasn’t a lot of good game flow for running backs in Atlanta last season, but that shouldn’t be the case this year with a healthier defense. Going behind names like Marlon Mack and Aaron Jones who have downsides of their own is a big plus for Freeman’s value. I will gladly get him in the second or even third round. If you are worried about the injuries, Ito Smith is the handcuff to get late.
Crowded backfields, injury prone backs, and now holdout prone backs can give us a ton of value to take shots on in the back halves of drafts. Both Ezekiel Elliot and Melvin Gordon are threatening to hold out, and it will be interesting to see how those teams approach. Le’Veon Bell gave us a pretty good look at the chaos it brings for fantasy last season. Gordon seems me more likely to hold out than Elliot, but speculating on this further isn’t in my expertise. However, Austin Ekeler and Tony Pollard are names to keep an eye on because of this information. Ekeler has an average ADP of 99.2, while Pollard is way back there at 211.1.
An abundance of running backs have pushed wide receivers more and more into the second round. Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, and JuJu Smith-Schuster are all going early second round based on their ADP, and there is a reason to love that turn around if you are drafting out of the 11 or 12 spot. All of these names are on my radar because of the upside. Moving just a little bit later, the Rams wideouts have a lot of value. Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods are both close in ADP, hovering around the 40th to 45th pick. This is later in the third round. On a weekly basis they may not be the most consistent, but that is completely fine. Cooks has surpassed 1,000 yards in each of the last four seasons. He has 29 touchdowns in that span, and is coming off his highest amount of receptions since 2015. Woods is coming off his first 1,000+ receiving yard season, and saw a career high in targets and receptions. Los Angeles will face nine defenses that ranked in the bottom half for pass defense efficiency. Four of those games where they don’t are against Seattle and Arizona.
In terms of late round picks, this is where you can really take your shots. Chasing upside with receivers late in drafts is wise. The format is a bit forgiving with the weekly consistency, as long as you have a good base around them. Christian Kirk, Keke Coutee, and the Green Bay wideouts have all seen an increase in ADP over the last month to where they are not exactly lesser known options. Michael Gallup is someone worth looking at going 150th overall in best ball formats. There is a projected increase in targets about about 30, and his overall production is set to take a jump. Miami, Arizona, and Buffalo all create late round options as you can see listed below.
You will not be getting one of the three tier one tight ends outside of the first three rounds. Therefor, I don’t mind loading up on other positions and drafting mid-tier tight ends in the middle and later rounds. Jared Cook is one of them, going around 75th overall and the 7th tight end off the board. Vance McDonald going off as the 9th overall tight end is strong as well. Both him and David Njoku are two AFC North tight ends with upside in the latter rounds. Cook is going to be a big weekly ceiling guy, but the floor on a week to weke basis won’t be that strong. His targets will drop, but efficiency should take a step forward in New Orleans. Moving him to a high powered Saints offense will provide him with a weekly TE1 ceiling. Njoku has a lot of competition for targets, but like Cook that weekly upside is there. This is what I am looking for. McDonald stands a chance to get an increase in targets, and his 50-610-4 line was fairly solid last year.
In terms of truly late round shots in the dark, it makes sense to take Jordan Reed. Health has always been his downside, and the ADP doesn’t really bring any risk at 150.8. When healthy he is a big part of the offense. He had 84 targets in basically 12 games last season. Both rookie tight ends out of Iowa are going late, as Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson have profiles to be huge fantasy assets down the line. Tight ends usually have a trajectory that make them options in year two or year three. However, snaps will be there in year one. Both are on teams in need of a tight end presence.
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