Players to Avoid in Best Ball
Evaluating talent and opportunity is a major aspect of fantasy drafts, but cost comes into play as well. Here are a handful of players who are unlikely to return value on their ADPs this season.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Bold strategy to fade last year’s top quarterback, right? Well, after Mahomes’ standout 2018 season, his ADP has soared to 30.7 in early Best Ball leagues. In comparison, Ben Roethlisberger, QB3 in 2018, comes off the board at pick 115.3, providing immense value in the double-digit rounds of drafts.
While Mahomes may finish 2019 as the top quarterback again, the nature of Best Ball leagues works against selecting a quarterback in the third round. With only one QB starting each week (aside from Superflex leagues), Mahomes’ potential can be captured by drafting two to three high-upside signal callers in the later rounds, while spending the third-round capital on an elite running back or receiver.
Tyreek Hill’s possible suspension is another factor adding additional questions to Mahomes’ profile. The young superstar remains a top talent, but an ADP in the third round is too rich.
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
After a QB7 performance in 2018, Goff enters this season with an ADP of 106.3 (QB10). However, he looks like a quarterback with limited upside in the middle rounds. Unlike many other passers in this range, Goff brings little athleticism with his legs. He only recorded 108 rushing yards in 2018 and sharply regressed as a passer in the back half of the season.
After averaging 303 passing yards per game in the first half of the season, Goff recorded only 282 yards per game in the final half, eclipsing 300 yards just once in his final five games. Coupled with the passing struggles, he simply doesn’t bring enough rushing upside to mitigate his risk.. Cam Newton looks like a superior play with a similar ADP at 108.7.
Sony Michel, New England Patriots
Locked into New England’s early down role, Michel’s ADP has soared to 25.7 in recent weeks. The sophomore back is already competing with James White for snaps, and the Patriots selected Damien Harris in the third round last week.
Michel’s snap share never crested 50% in the final seven games of the season. While averaging 19.4 carries per game in these contests, Michel only received three total targets. Unlike other backs in this range, he does not have three-down ability. With Leonard Fournette, Devonta Freeman, and Damien Williams coming off the board later, Michel remains a risky proposition at the 2/3 turn.
Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears
After breaking out for 725 receiving yards on 71 catches in 2018, Cohen finds himself inside the top 50 picks with an ADP of 43.9. Similar to Michel, Cohen remains too expensive in drafts given his limited opportunity in the Chicago offense. With Cohen stuck in a pass-catching role, the Bears added rookie David Montgomery to handle the early-down work.
Jordan Howard's departure helps, but the Bears also brought in Mike Davis to compete for playing time, so Cohen is unlikely to top his 99 carries last season. Overall, targeting an elite wide receiver in Round 4 looks like the superior move once the bell-cow running backs come off the board.
Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns
A bit of a surprise, Landry’s fifth-round ADP (52.9) has held strong since Odell Beckham came over from New York. Before even looking at Landry’s efficiency, his overall target share must be examined. Landry recorded a 26% target share last season, while Beckham came in at 28%. In 2018, only five pairs of receivers combined for 50% of their respective team’s target share.
Aside from the potential decrease in volume, Landry brings a number of production concerns. He ranked 11th in targets in 2018, but failed to reach 1,000 receiving yards (958). The output is even more underwhelming given Landry ranked 14th in ADOT (11.9) among 61 players to receive at least 80 targets.
Heading into 2018, Landry will likely move back to his true position in the slot, decreasing his average depth of target. Seeing fewer targets at a shallower depth makes Landry quite hard to stomach in the fifth.
Devin Funchess, Indianapolis Colts
One of the biggest winners in NFL free agency, Funchess signed a one-year contract with the Colts. Following the free agency period, his ADP skyrocketed into the top 100 and currently sits at 92.7.
Funchess lost playing time to a pair of rookies in D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel last season. The Colts secured Parris Campbell with a second-round pick and have T.Y. Hilton locked into the starting lineup,. Indy already uses tight ends at one of the highest clips in the league (25.7%), potentially squeezing snaps from Funchess even more.
The former Panther posted some of the worst efficiency metrics in all of football last season. According to PlayerProfiler, Funchess posted the 102nd-best QB Rating when Targeted (68.0) and the 91st Separation rating (1.14) at the point of target. Playing with Andrew Luck provides ample upside, but Campbell provides more at a fraction of the cost.
Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions
For similar reasons to Funchess, Ebron ends up on here due to an absurd draft cost and the potential to play a limited number of snaps. He's currently coming off the board as TE5 with an ADP of 57.1.
The main concern regarding Ebron is the return of Jack Doyle. Expected back sometime in training camp after offseason hip surgery, Doyle actually out-snapped and ran more pass routes than Ebron when healthy.
Ebron also remains a prime touchdown regression candidate, adding further risk to his profile. The former Detroit Lion led the position in touchdowns (13) in 2018. Mentioned above, the Colts added Campbell and Funchess, along with Hilton and Doyle returning from injury. With O.J. Howard and Hunter Henry being taken a little later, Ebron looks like a mid-round landmine.
Trey Burton, Chicago Bears
After posting 604 yards and six scores in his first year in Chicago, Burton leaves Best Ball drafts on average at pick 116.1 (TE14). While the cost to acquire Burton remains low, the second-year Bear showed a fairly low ceiling, averaging 4.75 targets per game.
With Burton standing only 6-feet-3-inches tall and weighing 235 pounds, the Bears preferred to use Adam Shaheen as an inline blocker. On top of losing snaps to Shaheen, Burton suffered what was reported to be a serious groin injury at the end of 2018. With Jordan Reed, Noah Fant, and Doyle coming of the board far later, Burton’s risk makes him an unnecessary reach in the 11th round.