The start of training camp and the preseason is getting closer and closer. We are starting to get enough information to make a baseline opinion on where we stand on certain players. We here at TFA felt now would be a good time to put a piece on the growing world of best ball. Below are 7 Fantasy Football Best Ball Questions!
Favorite early-round target?
David Johnson – If I had to pick a running back not named Barkley, Zeke, or McCaffrey that has the potential to finish as the overall RB1 it would be David Johnson. While 2018 wasn’t exactly what you were hoping for from Johnson, he still finished 11th overall in fantasy points per game on an offense that averaged 15 points per game. Now fast forward to 2019 and it’s not hard to understand why there is so much optimism surrounding the dynamic running back. First, the Cardinals brought in Kliff Kingsbury and his high octane air raid offense. Reports from Arizona point to the Cardinals head coach wanting to run 90-95 plays per game which should make any fantasy gamer salivate. Lastly, the addition of Kyler Murray at QB should open up the running lanes and take the pressure off of DJ. While many could make an argument for Alvin Kamara or DeAndre Hopkins at pick 4, everything is lining up for David Johnson to take over his throne as the top running back in football. – Kevin Steele
Kerryon Johnson – I’m glad Cody talked about Davante Adams so I could talk about Kerryon Johnson. Currently going at the end of the 3rd/beginning of 4th round (RB20), Kerryon definitely catches my eye every time. There are so many late round WR values that owners should look to snag a couple of high floor running backs with paths to high volume in the early rounds. Johnson is one of those guys for me in 2019. A knee sprain ended his season early in 2018, keeping him out of the final six games. Though he started slowly as part of an RBBC, Johnson distanced himself from the other backs as the season progressed by showcasing his talent on the ground and through the air. Kerryon finished with two 100+ yard rushing games, a 5.4 yards per carry average, and 6.7 yards per catch on 32 receptions. In Weeks 7-11, he received 16-21 touches per game and finished with 641 yards on 118 touches in 10 games. Both head coach Matt Patricia and OC Darrell Bevell aren’t shy about stating their commitment to running the football, which only means good things for Johnson. My only concerns are their comments regarding possibly limiting Kerryon’s touches and adding CJ Anderson to the mix this off-season. Though I’m sure they will spell Kerryon with Anderson and some Theo Riddick, I’m confident he gains enough touches to be worthy of an early round best ball pick and has workhorse upside on an offense looking to bounce back. – Jen Smith
Davante Adams – Kevin beat me to David Johnson, so I’ll go with Adams instead. Adams has a legit shot to finish as the top overall wide receiver in 2019 with a healthy Aaron Rodgers returning. Early reports of Adams being moved around the formation will create mismatches for defenses, and Rodgers has said he’d like to target Adams more this year. Adams was already at 169 targets last year, so we shouldn’t expect that to be much higher, but the fact Rodgers has even mentioned it is exciting. Being able to snag Adams in the back half of the first round gives you a lot of flexibility when building out your rosters as well. – Cody Kutzer
A player you’d love to have, but is going too high?
Patrick Mahomes – I’m a wait-on-QB-kind-of-gal. Yes, I reached for him a couple of times, but overall, Mahomes hasn’t graced my best ball rosters due to his price. In the early rounds, I’m needing my skill positions, especially at running back which seems to thin out FAST and is full of question marks, per usual. I’m confident in waiting for later round value at QB with guys like Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, and Carson Wentz (among many others…) going in the 7th round or later. Even if you can’t wait that long, Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers have current ADPs in the early 5th round and are top tier QB options. Mahomes is currently going in the early 3rd round on average according to FantasyPros ADP, but I’ve seen him go much earlier. Even in the first round. My advice would be to not do that, but I can’t talk you out of Mahomes’ high upside. I love his playmaking ability, the points he gets you with his legs, and his accuracy outside of the pocket. I can only tell you that I would rather invest in my top tier RB/WRs in those early rounds and to remember that Mahomes’ numbers will regress some (just because they are ridiculous and unsustainable) but also because he may be losing Tyreek Hill. All of that is still pending. – Jen Smith
Dalvin Cook – If Cook stays healthy this year he’s going to absolutely smash, but that’s the issue. In his first two years in the NFL, Cook has only appeared in 15 of a possible 32 games. He’s currently going in the mid-second of best ball drafts, and if you start your draft off with DeAndre Hopkins, for example, I don’t like the idea of having Cook as my “top” running back. I’d rather have Nick Chubb, Damien Williams, or Marlon Mack who are currently being drafted after Cook. – Cody Kutzer
Adam Thielen – All offseason Mike Zimmer has stood his ground about the offense reverting back to a more run-heavy offense. Thid is not good news for the pass catchers in the offense. The Vikings finished 4th in pass attempts in 2018 and Thielen’s 155 targets were the 6th most in the league. Next, factor in 58% of his targets came within the first 7 weeks of the season. He received double-digit targets just twice from week 8 through week 17, while Stefon Diggs saw a bump in targets over that span. With everything considered, I just can’t see him paying off his WR9 ADP and I would much rather draft Mike Evans, TY Hilton, Keenan Allen, or his own teammate Stefon Diggs a full round later that have higher ceilings than the 29-year-old wide receiver. – Kevin Steele
Favorite late-round target?
Geronimo Allison – With Randall Cobb in Dallas, the WR2 for Aaron Rodgers is up for grabs and my money is on Allison. There will be competition from Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown, but Allison fits well as new head coach Matt LaFleur’s slot receiver. He flashed his potential last season, catching 19 passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns in the first four weeks. An injury kept him out the rest of the season, but he’s back to full health and ready for a brand new offense under new coaching staff. Green Bay fought to keep free agent Allison this offseason and signed him to a one year deal ($2.8 Million). They’ll give him another shot to be a standout receiver if he shows the same talent we saw last year in training camp. I’m excited about this offense, aren’t you? Oh, by the way, Allison is going in the 13th round, so he’s cheap. – Jen Smith
John Brown – Before Lamar Jackson took over for Joe Flacco last year, Brown had at least 58 yards and/or a touchdown in 6 of 9 games. He’s now in Buffalo with Josh “Throw The Ball Over Them Mountains” Allen. Coming off draft boards as WR61 and with an ADP of 176, I love Brown’s ability to outperform his current draft position. – Cody Kutzer
Curtis Samuel – This is the easiest move in every draft. I absolutely love Curtis Samuel and his big play ability. In any best ball draft, looking for lottery tickets later in your draft are key, and Samuel going WR50 certainly qualifies him as a late round WR steal. Landing on a few of these guys will be the difference in you finishing in the money. Curtis Samuel and his 4.3 speed make him look like a deep threat, but we saw him take a step forward last year where he demonstrated the ability to be a more nuanced route runner. He finished 2018 14th in fantasy points per route run which showcases his ability to be an explosive playmaker for the Panthers in 2019. He’s incredibly cheap and I would not be shocked to see him finish the season ahead of DJ Moore in fantasy points. – Kevin Steele
A player being drafted too high?
Eric Ebron – Look, I get it. Who doesn’t want a tight end that snags a crazy 13 TDs and 750 yards in a season? Well, we all do, but that’s not what you’ll get again this year with Ebron. The Colts added more weapons (Campbell, Funchess), look to maintain a successful run game (Mack), and express confidence that Jack Doyle will return to full health by the start of training camp. In the games played by both Doyle and Ebron last season (five), Luck targeted Doyle more or the same in all but one. So, to draft Ebron in the 5th-6th rounds (TE7) and yet draft Doyle in the 13th round or later (TE19), seems like a glaring discrepancy. Yet, Doyle should steal some serious targets from Ebron, who needed 17% of the overall target share and 22% of the red zone targets to hit his 2018 stats. I do think the Colts offense will use their tight ends often, but fantasy owners should be realistic about the kind of production to expect from either and realize the presence of both muddies the fantasy waters for 2019. You know how you hate running back by committee? Yea. Kinda like that. – Jen Smith
Aaron Jones – This answer is based simply off early (and multiple) reports that Green Bay will be utilizing a committee approach for their backfield. Jones can absolutely still produce in a limited role, and he has, but I can’t take a part-time running back at the end of the third round. Add in the fact that Jones has missed time in both of his NFL seasons due to injury, and I can’t get behind his draft price. Jones also scored a rushing touchdown on 6% of his carries, which should regress. His touchdown per carry rate was higher than guys like Barkley, McCaffrey, Gordon, and Conner. Full disclosure: I’m fully expecting this answer to be very wrong in several months. – Cody Kutzer
Jordan Howard – Please, stop. No, seriously. Stop. Jordan Howard is simply not good at football. There is zero chance I’ll have any shares of Howard. He’s a between the tackles grinder and isn’t even the second-best running back on the roster. With the Eagles drafting Miles Sanders, Howard’s fantasy value collapsed and has no business being taken as the RB36 in best ball. – Kevin Steele
Who has appeared on your best ball teams most often?
Cooper Kupp – It isn’t necessarily something that I aimed for, as there is no guarantee that he will return for Week 1 coming off his ACL injury; however, the news indicates his recovery is on track. Kupp continues to fall to me in the 5th round, right around Chris Godwin, Tyler Lockett, teammate Robert Woods, and Sammy Watkins. Before his ACL injury, Kupp accrued 566 yards and 6 TDs on 56 targets in eight games. Those numbers even include the one game in which Kupp tweaked his knee and left the game after only one catch. If Kupp is fully healthy, I expect him to lead the team in targets and put his 73% completion rate (highest on the team) to good use. Side note: A free late-round QB target would be pairing Kupp with Goff, whose completion rate, first down percentage, and yards per attempt were heavily impacted by Kupp’s absence despite the other weapons at his disposal. His 1st down percentage went from 47 to 38 percent, his completion rate from 71 to 61 percent, and his yards per attempt from 9.3 to 7.2. Watch out for this offense again this season. – Jen Smith
Sammy Watkins – This is very #OnBrand for me, but I can’t stay away from Watkins this year (or ever, really). The only thing stopping him from going off this year is injuries, which have plagued him for his career. In the nine full games that Watkins played, he saw at least five targets in seven of those. If we change the bar to seven targets, he got there in five of nine games, and that was with Tyreek Hill on the field with him. Being drafted in the mid-fifth round (53.7 ADP) with the ability to be Patty Mahomes WR1? ALL. DAY. – Cody Kutzer
Chris Godwin – I’ve been waiting for this entire article to express my love for Rod Christopher Godwin and his tremendous upside in 2019. First, it doesn’t take much to make a case for the third year wide receiver. He finished 2018 at WR26 with 842 yards and seven touchdowns on 59 receptions. Not too bad for a player who was being drafted in the 12th round in 2018. Now heading into 2019, everything is aligning for a true breakout campaign for the third year wide receiver. First, the Bucs have the 4th most targets vacated with Adam Humphries and DeSean Jackson moving on. That should allow Godwin to see 120+ targets while playing the majority of the snaps from the slot which we know is a very lucrative position for any fantasy wide receiver. Next, the Bucs defense will be among the worst in the league which will lead to the offense once again being one of the most pass-heavy in the league. So with all things considered, Godwin makes for an easy buy in any format. I currently have him ranked as a top 15 WR in my current rankings. The only issue I could see with him is if his ADP gets out of control and he’s getting closer to that at WR20. The window seems to be closing so get as much Godwin as you can. – Kevin Steele
Biggest offseason riser?
Kyler Murray – He’s currently coming off the board at QB16 in Bestball10s which is terrific value for a QB who has the chance to finish as a QB1 as a rookie. This is a feat that only four other rookies have accomplished – RG3, Luck, Cam, and Vince Young. While this should come as no surprise, three of the four QBs are dual-threats, which is exactly what Kyler Murray is capable of. It should be mentioned, however, Murray isn’t simply just a running QB. He’s a terrific passer and the Konami code that he possesses (shoutout to Lord Reebs) isn’t the only thing to love about his outlook. Landing in an offense that will be run by an offensive-minded head coach won’t hurt either. Why there are certainly concerns with the weapons around him, there is enough talent to allow him to be a competent passer. Once you combine his upside as a runner you have a perfect late-round QB (currently) that has the upside and floor to be a strong option for any best ball team. – Kevin Steele
Darrell Henderson – Deemed by his new head coach to be the “most dangerous offensive player in the  draft” helps, but we all know why Darrell Henderson will be the biggest offseason riser. Every piece of news we get about Todd Gurley is either negative, confusing, or mysterious. Basically, we know that Gurley will have chronic knee issues and that the Rams are no longer hiding he will have a reduced workload. What is much more telling and clear are the Rams’ actions this offseason. They drafted Darrell Henderson in the 3rd round and they resigned Malcolm Brown (matched an offer from the Detroit Lions even) to a two-year contract. Those aren’t the actions of a team that expects Todd Gurley to play every snap nor to receive all the touches out of the Rams backfield. We’ve seen what mediocre running backs [enter, CJ Anderson in the playoffs] have done behind the Rams blocking scheme. There’s every reason to believe that Henderson could get chances to shine this season, especially if Gurley misses any time. Henderson’s ADP is in the 8th round, at RB36. I’m betting it continues to rise if we get any more negative news about Gurley. I expect him to be the #1 ranked handcuff this offseason and too rich for my blood once draft season arrives. But early best ball drafts? I’m trying to get him now when I can, but he’s already jumped up since summer began. – Jen Smith
Curtis Samuel – I love Kevin and Jen’s answers, but I’ll try to give you something different here. Samuel has been getting some hype from both inside the organization and outside of it, from guys like Matt Harmon and Josh Norris. He’s currently listed as the WR50 in best ball drafts, which is wayyy too low, even without the buzz he’s been garnering. Once we see Cam Newton practicing and if Samuel’s drumbeat keeps up, we’ll see Samuel climbing draft boards quickly. – Cody Kutzer
Jaylen Samuels – While I don’t believe in drafting handcuffs in best ball, I do believe in taking plenty of shots late in drafts on backs I believe have a high ceiling. Samuels demonstrated last season what he can do when given an opportunity while proving that he can be more than just a pass catching back. Over the final four weeks of the season, he finished as RB13 in PPR formats in relief of James Conner. Samuels has the tools to be three down workhorse in the event anything happens to James Conner. He should also have some standalone value as he should see some work as the change of pace back in the offense. – Kevin Steele
Rashaad Penny – Darrell Henderson is my answer, but since I already used him for my biggest off-season riser (which he WILL be), I’ll go with Rashaad Penny. Chris Carson sits atop the depth chart for the Seattle Seahawks currently, but is already dealing with injuries and had minor knee surgery in May (out for a “few weeks”). Coach Pete Carroll stated that he wants to have a “one-two punch” in the backfield of Carson and Penny and Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer recently emphasized that the Seahawks will remain run heavy. Seattle let Matt Davis walk in free agency this offseason, so Penny looks to benefit the most from all these factors. This makes him a strong best ball pick at his 7th round ADP, despite his lackluster rookie campaign in 2018. – Jen Smith
Alexander Mattison – Going along with my Dalvin Cook answer above, Mattison is a guy you can grab with one of your last picks that has a chance to smash ADP if Cook misses time. The Vikings drafted Mattison relatively high (102 overall, 3.39) and was a favorite of mine as well as draft and fantasy twitter this offseason. Mattison has a three-down skill set that would fill in for Cook very nicely. – Cody Kutzer
What answers do you agree with? Disagree? Let us know what you’ve been seeing early in your Best Ball drafts. Drop a comment below or hit us up on Twitter!