Boom/Bust WRs in DRAFT Best Ball Leagues (Fantasy Football)
One of the most exciting ways to enjoy fantasy football is by participating in “best ball” drafts. In this format, there are no weekly lineups and no waiver moves during the season.
Also known as “draft only” formats, these leagues appeal to the fantasy football enthusiast who wants to avoid the stressful weekly decisions. One of the best places to enjoy best ball fantasy leagues is at DRAFT.
Best Ball Format on DRAFT
You can join any contest (usually 10 or 12 players) and once it has filled, your draft begins. The length of the draft is predetermined and can be a slow (eight-hour time clock) or fast (30 second time clock) draft. Each entrant drafts an 18-player team that must have at least: one QB, two RBs, three WRs, one TE, and one flex (an additional RB/WR/TE).
Each week, the eight highest scoring players for QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE, and flex (highest scored additional RB/WR/TE) will accumulate points for the team, while the other 10 scores will not count. The scoring system is as follows:
The key to a successful best ball draft is to maximize upside, but only by doing so at the proper value. Selecting players with tremendous upside in the later rounds is the ideal strategy. On the flip side, selecting volatile early round fantasy players is the quickest way to best ball misery.
Let’s take a look at the top “Boom and Bust” wide receivers this season in the DRAFT best ball format.
BOOM Wide Receivers
DeSean Jackson (WR – TB)
The new Tampa Bay wide receiver has spent his career solidifying the nickname “Feast or Famine Jackson.” Last season, Jackson provided seven WR2 or better weeks, yet also finished outside the top 50 receivers six times. Regardless of his volatility, Jackson is the perfect DRAFT wide receiver to target.
His Average Draft Position (ADP) of WR35 provides great value for a player who will provide multiple WR1 weeks tethered to quarterback Jameis Winston. Jackson is always among the top five wide receivers in yards per target and is the ideal mid-round best ball target.
Ted Ginn Jr. (WR – NO)
Take all the reasons for DeSean Jackson, and double them for Ted Ginn Jr. The 10th year receiver signed with New Orleans in the offseason, which means he gets to play his home games in a dome as part of the ideal Saints’ fantasy offense. Ginn has averaged 49 receptions over the last two seasons and did catch 10 touchdowns in 2015.
He will also benefit from a significant quarterback upgrade, going from Cam Newton (53 percent completion percentage) to Drew Brees (70 percent completion percentage). Ginn’s strength is catching the deep ball, and Brees was first among all quarterbacks with a 51.4 deep ball completion percentage. It all adds up to the perfect DRAFT best ball wide receiver.
Adam Thielen (WR – MIN)
The third-year wide receiver breakout narrative was again illustrated by Adam Thielen. After totaling 20 receptions in his first two years, Thielen enjoyed a 69 reception, 967 yards, and five touchdown campaign in 2016. In Week 16, he was the number one overall fantasy wide receiver with a 12 catch, 202 yards, two touchdown performance totaling 44.6 PPR fantasy points.
The value is again fantastic, as Thielen’s 107.5 ADP places him at WR46. While fellow receiver Stefon Diggs gets the overwhelming amount of attention from fantasy drafters, Thielen is clearly the better value.
With free agent acquisition Michael Floyd suspended until Week 5, Thielen has the perfect opportunity for some huge fantasy weeks, especially early in the season.
BUST Wide Receivers
Dez Bryant (WR – DAL)
While clearly being one of the top overall wide receivers in the league, Bryant is also one of the most volatile. Players like Jackson, Ginn, and Thielen are perfect best ball DRAFT selections because of their low draft capital. Bryant is the exact opposite. He averaged 144 targets, 91 receptions, 1,311 yards, and 13.7 touchdowns during a tremendous 2012-2014 three-year stretch.
But those years came with the retired Tony Romo at quarterback. Bryant has suffered through multiple lower body injuries and is now working with second-year quarterback Dak Prescott. Bryant had a decent year in 2016, but only averaged 7.3 targets, 3.8 receptions, and 61 yards per game.
While always a strong red zone threat, his 6 to 1 touchdown to reception ratio will not be repeated. With a current ADP of WR10, Bryant will provide more bust than boom for DRAFT best ball owners.
Martavis Bryant (WR – PIT)
Same last name, same best ball bust result. Martavis Bryant returns after missing an entire season as a result of multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy. There is no record of success for NFL players returning from multiple violations for substance abuse, and Bryant missing an entire season only compounds the situation further.
Fantasy owners are tantalized by Bryant’s 14 touchdowns in 21 career games, but he comes with a heavy investment as another hit or miss player. His current ADP is 48.1 as WR25. In best ball formats, I would much rather select Willie Snead, Jamison Crowder, and Larry Fitzgerald, all of which are being drafted after Martavis Bryant.
Tyreek Hill (WR – KC)
The shiny new sports car with a four-cylinder engine. Hill burst onto the fantasy scene last year as a fifth round draft pick out of West Alabama. Hill brings incredible 40-yard dash speed (4.34) and the deep ball threat that the conservative Chiefs’ offense sorely needed. After the Chiefs released veteran wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, the Hill fantasy projections went through the roof.
As a result, his current ADP of 44.2 at WR23 is massively inflated. Hill has never been a high-efficiency player in college or the NFL. He is from the Cordarelle Patterson, Travis Benjamin, Tyler Lockett “gadget guy” tree, that will frustrate owners on a weekly basis. Hill is not the type of player to spend a fourth or fifth round pick on in a DRAFT best ball format.