Best Ball Fantasy Football Portfolio Analysis
If you are drafting a ship load of Best Ball fantasy football leagues on DRAFT and other sites, doing an analysis of your Best Ball Fantasy Football Portfolio is incredibly important. It’s very possible that you are over or underexposed to a few players relative to what you are wanting over the course of draft season. While we laid out the foundation of winning DRAFT Best Ball Leagues, it is course important to be drafting a variety of players. You might feel extremely strongly about 10 or 15 players and it’s mathematically fine to take them on a plurality of your best ball teams. This article will contain an analysis of my DRAFT Best Ball teams in 50+ drafts from this offseason to see how the RotoExperts rankings and projections are culminating into finalized rosters.
Sam Darnold 20% Of Rosters
Phillip Rivers 17%
Jameis Winston 13%
If you had told me in January that these three quarterbacks would be my highest owned, I almost certainly would have believed you. Darnold is one of the cheapest starting quarterbacks available in the market with an Average Draft Position on DRAFT of 164.6. While most teams have already selected a starting quarterback by around Round 12, our Ultimate Guide To Winning DRAFT Best Ball Leagues suggests that the optimal construction is taking only 2. Darnold fits that construction perfectly as you can load up on RB/WR before selecting him in the 15th round. There is defintely ceiling for Darnold as he had the best QBR of any QB in the month of December and has added Le’Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder to what was a thin positional group.
Rivers and Winston are dichotomies of each other. On teams where I am embracing risk, whether it be by selecting an explosive but low floor player like Mecole Hardman or going heavily Zero-RB, Rivers is the perfect add. You can feel comfortable taking Rivers as your first QB and you are not forced to consider him until the 11/12th rounds of drafts. Rivers has been a top 14 QB in fantasy each of the last six seasons and has finished inside the top 10 seven times in his career. The Chargers offense projects to perform very similar to 2018 with Dylan Cantrell subbed in for Tyrell Williams but adding Hunter Henry at TE.
Winston will have a very large hand in how my teams do in 2018. Not only am I making an effort to land him on a large number of my rosters but I am also very invested in Ronald Jones, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and Cameron Brate. Our projections have Winston as a screaming value at his 111.7 ADP as he is our second-highest projected quarterback. If QB was a more important position, this sort of difference between ADP and projection would make him a top target. As it stands, he is a great value and worth targeting starting in the 10th round.
Running Back Portfolio
Ito Smith 44%
Ronald Jones 34%
Chase Edmonds 27%
Dion Lewis 24%
When you enter into the realm of Zero-RB drafting, your exposure percentages for running backs are going to look quite odd. Theoretically, your exposure to the top tier (Barkley, Elliot, Kamara, CMC, David Johnson) should be pretty varied based on where your first round picks land. Then, the next tier of RB’s shouldn’t be too high of a priority, particularly the Dalvin Cook/Marlon Mack/Leonard Fournette grouping.
What you will find, however, is that you continually draft towards the same style of running backs late in drafts. Our projections are a fan of the backfield split between Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith relative to ADP. I recently wrote about the impending breakout for Ito Smith which will transpire this season if Freeman struggles at all and will be enhanced by Smith’s skills as a receiver. Similarly, the market seems to have forgotten that Dion Lewis topped 200 touches last season and is a better pass catcher than Derrick Henry. The team may be planning on using Henry as a three-down back but Lewis is the primary spell back and handcuff to Henry on a team that will run the ball plenty. The median outcome for Lewis isn’t earth-shattering but he should provide some weekly scores even if Henry does not get injured.
Chase Edmonds is just a player that is undervalued. He has an RB1 ceiling if David Johnson goes down injury and those sorts of players are very valuable in a Best Ball format. We know that running backs will get hurt, we know that not all of these RB1’s will make it through the season. While handcuffs are probably overvalued in weekly management leagues because they clog up a roster spot, they are likely undervalued in Best Ball formats you are only getting their good weeks. Edmonds also has some weekly upside as a member of an offense that we project to be in the top-half of the league in terms of yards per play and pace as DJ is not going to play 100% of the weekly snaps.
Finally, Ronald Jones is one of the most interesting players to diagnose in fantasy right now. He was highly drafted, barely played as a rookie due to his inability to pass block or perform as a pass catcher and was benched for do-nothings Jacquizz Rodgers and Peyton Barber. The new regime has spoken highly of Jones throughout the offseason and he certainly has a chance at being the top running back in a top passing offense (a very valuable role). The reason that I keep selecting him is that the upside of finding an RB1 in Round Eight is league winning; the downside of that pick not panning out doesn’t kill a given best ball team (though it is a disadvantage).
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Wide Receiver Portfolio
Chris Godwin 24%
Demarcus Robinson 24%
Kenny Golladay 24%
Kenny Stills 20%
The heavy hitters here are Chris Godwin and Kenny Golladay. Of all the wide receivers who are in the WR2-tier after the true studs, I feel most confident in Godwin and Golladay to post eye-popping numbers. Godwin’s target share went up exponentially with both Adam Humphries and DeSean Jackson out of town. Then the Buccaneers added a pass-happy head coach who made John Brown a fantasy football stud while Larry Fitzgerald remained an WR1. While Godwin feels like a total slam dunk, there are a few reasons to be concerned about Golladay. While Babytron confidently projects for around a 25% market share of the Lions passing offense, that pie might be smaller due to the run-heavy offense Detroit wants to establish. However, I will gladly pay the premium for a clear WR1 who will also be his teams’ primary red zone weapon.
Robinson was not a player that I planned on being super overweight on but the reasons for drafting him are clear. Tyreek Hill seems unlikely to start the season with the team, Chris Conley is gone and Mecole Hardman is a raw rookie. While Robinson might not be a starting wide receiver for the best passing offense in football all season, I do think it is likely that in the first half of the season, he is the primary boundary receiver with Sammy Watkins in the slot. That alone justifies an 18th round selection especially in drafts where you take Mahomes (which I have done on a few occasions).
We have already touched on how the Miami passing offense is currently undervalued in the DRAFT Best Ball markets. Stills is fairly clearly the WR1 in Miami with some debate after him between Parker, Albert Wilson and the other tertiary wide receivers they have on the roster. Locking in 110 targets after the 12th round is an easy decision to make especially considering Stills’ otherworldly TD rates throughout his career.
Tight End Portfolio
Austin Hooper 20%
Trey Burton 17%
Travis Kelce 17%
Mike Gesicki 17%
The outline in the DRAFT Best Ball guide for tight ends was pretty simple: select one of the elite tight ends (Kelce/Ertz/Kittle) or wait until the double-digit rounds to start taking them. Travis Kelce is often available in the second round and when that is the case, I select him. His ceiling is higher than any other tight end and his median projection makes him a top-12 value in all of fantasy football.
However, we can’t all be lucky enough to get Travis Kelce in every draft. Austin Hooper has been one of my frequent targets due to his affordable cost and reliable role in a good offense. The RB/WR market really starts to dry up close to where Hooper is selected. Hooper is involved enough on a game to game basis that I am fine taking him as my first tight end and only selecting a single back up. Having only two tight ends on a roster is a systemic advantage which is another reason taking Kelce is such a strong move.
To be quite honest, I do not feel overly strong about Trey Burton. He doesn’t have a high-volume role in the Bears offense and our projections do not love him either. Burton does offer good touchdown upside as the Bears don’t have another reliable redzone option outside of him and Allen Robinson and he finished inside the top-10 of tight ends last year despite seeing fewer than 80 targets.
Finally, if we are taking stabs at the Miami passing game, it would be foolish to overlook Mike Gesicki. Only one year removed from being a highly drafted uber-athlete at the tight position (legit 99th-percentile SPARQ athleticism), Gesicki is the perfect example of a player who is following a normal developmental curve but has been forgotten about by drafters. Gesicki was actually drafted more often and higher as a rookie tight end than he is being drafted now. This sort of dip in the market is a perfect buy.