Best Ball: Assessing Archetypes & Points Added for Your Roster

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On the latest Best Ball Breakdown on the Fantasy Footballers podcast, Andy, Jason, and Mike shared a few players they were bullish on in Best Ball formats, but avoiding for redraft leagues.

There is a common adage: this player is better in Best Ball. Yes, it is so true. This may sound a bit elementary but a reminder: you don’t get to use 100% of a player’s fantasy points. Best ball formats take the optimal score for your lineup each week. Injecting volatile players into this format can be more valuable.

The bigger question: how did this player score their points? Did they accumulate? Were there massive spike weeks? We want that!

Average Points Added is a key best ball metric to take note of every year. It is simply dividing the points added from Underdog by their total fantasy points from Weeks 1-17. You are left with a percentage that shows how much of a player’s total fantasy points were used on a Best Ball roster on average.

Why does this matter?

End of year fantasy finishes are a bit misleading when you apply that to Best Ball. For example, DeVonta Smith finished as the WR10 last year. But in BestBall, you only were able to use 64% of his fantasy points. That was the LOWEST % among WRs adding 107+ points to rosters.

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While using this information isn’t necessarily prescriptive for 2023, it does give you an idea that some players are better fits in Best Ball.

Upside for Best Ball, Risky for Redraft

Gabe Davis

In redraft last year, he felt like a major disappointment. Davis was going 44th overall and creeping into the 3rd round in many 1st Ball drafts. Woof. He finished as the WR27 on 93 targets for 48/836/7 which sounds awful in redraft but he added 105.7 best ball points on average with an 18.7 % advance rate. Let’s compare to other players who finished near him in redraft…

In best Ball, he added MORE points on average despite only 48 receptions.  You were able to use 74% of his fantasy points in Best Ball and he missed Week 17 due to the game being cancelled. This year? We’re talking WR41 pricetag which is perfect for his type of archetype in best ball. If simply repeats or slightly regresses from last year’s numbers, he’d actually hit the 22% advance rate mark we were looking for.

Buffalo TEs

Let’s stay on the same Buffalo Bills team. That guessing game in redraft sounds frustrating:

But for Best Ball, you are adding these guys way later on an offense we know will be throwing the ball at a high rate. The Bills have one of the NFL’s highest win totals and a potent offense, making them an obvious priority in best ball for their weekly and season long upside. Buffalo scored 27+ points in 10 of 17 games last season, finishing the season behind only the Chiefs in yards per play. Buffalo was also third in pass rate over expectation in both 2022 and 2021. If that continues, we can continue to expect plenty of spike weeks from Buffalo pass catchers thanks to the Stallion being one of fantasy’s most valuable QBs. Dalton Kincaid is being drafted as the 2nd highest rookie TE in the modern Best Ball era behind only rookie Kyle Pitts. It’s a steep price to pay considering rookie TEs generally underwhelm but we might need to reconsider how we classify him. Taking one of these TEs as a late backdoor stack with Josh Allen is just way too easy.

Mike Williams, WR

He has some of the wildest distributions of any player in fantasy football. It can be frustrating knowing that he wants to be a super hero going up for every catch. He is the classic all-or-nothing but on a per-target basis, what if I told you he ranks top-10 among all WRs over the last five years in fantasy points per target? He’s slightly behind Davante Adams on this list.

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Rank Player Fpt/Tgt Tgt
1 Tyler Lockett 1.86 536
2 A.J. Brown 1.81 440
3 Mike Evans 1.76 606
4 Tyreek Hill 1.72 690
5 Adam Thielen 1.69 511
6 Cooper Kupp 1.69 602
7 Justin Jefferson 1.67 476
8 Davante Adams 1.66 794
9 Mike Williams 1.65 463
10 Calvin Ridley 1.65 380

Sam Howell, QB

He was recently named the team’s starter and his price tag (QB26/192nd overall) says the risk is low. If you are taking a shot at a QB3 late with your final picks, Howell is the guy I’m currently willing to bring in the mix as a stack with Terry McLaurin or Jahan Dotson. At this price, you’re not asking him to be a top-15 QB by any means. QB20 is well within the range of outcomes with a couple of spike weeks here and there when you look at his weapons. Oh, and he also runs the ball more than you might realize. In his lone start in Week 18, he went 5/35/1 on the ground after showcasing monster numbers his final year at UNC: 828 rushing yards and 11 scores on the ground. Before we paint a picture full of roses, realize there is real fear that he gets replaced by Jacoby Brissett at some point and wastes away your final pick. But finding a starting QB with his added rushing ability this late is a rarity. Five rush attempts per game would put him above 80 on a season-long output. For reference, we’ve had 15 QBs surpass that rushing total in their 1st two years in the league with the average being 19.7 fantasy points per game. That is way too high of a projection for Howell but it’s something worth grasping for considering we’ve had at least one QB outside the top-200 ADP (QB30-ville) finish as a top-18 QB each of the last six years according to FFPC draft data.

Cade Otton, TE

Going into your redraft league, you can’t feel confident starting Otton in Week 1. But for Best Ball, what am I missing here? The Buccaneers selected Otton as the first pick of Day 3 (106th overall) in 2022. He had some impressive dominator numbers at Washington (92nd percentile) and he played his way to being an almost every-down TE as a rookie. He ran the 6th most routes among all TEs in 2022 and for context, it was the 2nd most routes run for a rookie TE since 2013, behind only Kyle Pitts.  When you add in the valued targets he saw with the 5th most red zone targets among all TEs, Otton is being left for dead right now. The Buccaneers’ QB situation is a mess which probably is plummeting his ADP but the opportunity is there especially now with Russell Gage out for the year. The TE depth chart behind is a group of players you’ve probably never heard of. In the 18th round, why not grab a TE3 who should once again be among the league leaders in routes run?

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