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Best Ball Players to Target (2019 Fantasy Football)

by Zachary Hanshew | @ZaktheMonster | Featured Writer
Feb 13, 2019

Derrick Henry’s boom-or-bust nature makes him the perfect Best Ball target.

With the Super Bowl now in the rearview, 2018 fantasy football is finished. So, what can you do to scratch that fantasy itch now? The answer – Best Ball. If you want to get started, you can try DRAFT or MFL10s for the best experience.

If you’re not familiar with Best Ball, it’s a very simple form of fantasy football that starts and ends with the fantasy draft. Pretty easy, right? Players are drafted to fill a roster, but there are no in-season moves at all. That means no trades or add/drops – even in the event of injury. Each week, the players with the best scores at each position are automatically added to your starting lineup, and whoever finishes the season with the most points wins. Best Ball roster construction is made up of 18-20 players, and weekly lineups are 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, 1 WR/RB/TE flex (MFL10s also has a D/ST spot).

Because there are no in-season moves, there is some strategy involved in the players you select. An appropriate strategy is to draft players with high upsides. Because you don’t have to make lineup decisions week-to-week, guys with low floors and high ceilings make for perfect pickups after you get past the usual studs. These players may have many peaks and valleys, but they only make your starting lineup when they have a huge game. Players with low ceilings, however, usually make for less-than-ideal adds, even if they have a consistent floor because the big games are very infrequent. Based on that set of criteria, here are some players to target in Best Ball leagues in 2019 (for players to avoid, click here).

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Derrick Henry (RB – TEN)
Henry’s 2018 was the Tale of Two Halves. From Weeks 1-7, he totaled only 273 rushing yards and one rushing TD. From Weeks 9-17, he had a major turnaround, racking up 786 rushing yards and 11 rushing TDs. Some notable performances included a monster 17-238-4 line in Week 14 followed up by a 33-170-2 line the following week. Henry was the ultimate boom-or-bust option, totaling 40 rushing yards or fewer in seven games. Although he’ll continue to share time with Dion Lewis, Henry is expected to receive far more carries in 2019 and fill a work-horse role for the Titans. With increased opportunities and the potential to pop off for huge games, Henry should be a Best Ball darling this upcoming season. It’s worth noting that since 2017, he leads the NFL with three TD runs of at least 70 yards.

Jordan Howard (RB – CHI) & Tarik Cohen (RB – CHI)
Howard was completely frustrating last season unless he was scoring TDs, but he did score nine of them (including four over his final three games) for the second year in a row. He had two 100-yard rushing games and two multi-TD games. Although his yards per carry fell to a career-low 3.7, his nose for the end zone makes him a good Best Ball target. Cohen, the team’s pass-catching back, compiled 1,169 yards and eight total TDs, grabbing 71 catches along the way. He finished the season with four games of 110 yards or more, including two of at least 170 yards. Cohen had five games of at least seven receptions, including a 12-reception effort against the Giants. His dynamic playmaking abilities make him an excellent Best Ball RB to draft. Pick your poison here, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing to end up with both Chicago backs.

Mike Williams (WR – LAC)
Williams finished the 2018 season with a 43-664-10 line, leading the Chargers in TD receptions. His scoring prowess was encouraging, but he only played on 62.5 percent of snaps, drawing just 64 targets all year. He’ll likely take on an expanded role in 2019, but with Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon demanding Philip Rivers’ attention, Williams won’t be a 100-target receiver. Yet he doesn’t need to be in order to produce. Williams actually tied for a league-leading six receiving TDs inside the 10-yard line. He’s physically the team’s biggest wideout and will continue to see targets in the red-zone. Williams finished with three multi-TD games in 2018. His average usage and high ceiling- especially on a high-flying offense-make him a great WR to add in Best Ball leagues.

Robby Anderson (WR – NYJ)
Anderson has been a big-play threat since entering the league in 2016, racking up six receiving TDs of at least 40 yards in his career. Anderson has never finished a season with more than 941 receiving yards or seven receiving TDs, but he has the ability to put up huge numbers on any given day. He boasts a 14.7 yards per reception average with 4.34 speed. He hits free agency this year and may not be back with the Jets, but his home-run skills make a great Best Ball target no matter what team he joins.

Travis Kelce (TE – KC)
The TE position has been a wasteland in recent years outside of the top two or three players. In season-long leagues, streaming the position is a popular strategy, but since there are no add/drops in Best Ball, it makes sense to pick up one of the top guys early. The position is a crapshoot to try and predict, and big games are scarce compared to other positions. Therefore, grabbing an elite TE presents a clear advantage in Best Ball leagues. Kelce should be picked as early as the second round. He’s accumulated at least 80 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards in three straight seasons. Kelce puts up WR numbers and has the potential for monster games playing with Patrick Mahomes on a loaded Chiefs offense.

George Kittle (TE – SF)
Kittle set the single-season record among TEs with 1,377 yards in 2018, also setting a 49ers TE record with 88 receptions. His humongous season saw him record six games of at least 90 receiving yards, four of at least 100, and an incredible 210-yard explosion against Denver all accomplished in the first half. As I mentioned with Kelce, snagging an elite TE is an important (yet often overlooked) Best Ball strategy that can yield big returns. Kittle is a great target.

Josh Allen (QB – BUF)
Allen had surprising success with Buffalo in 2018, putting up some impressive numbers on a team with few pieces around him. Although he finished the season as the QB20, he was the overall QB1 from Weeks 12-17 in four-point per passing TD formats thanks in large part to his rushing abilities. On the season, Allen racked up 89-631-8 on the ground, supplementing his subpar passing. He started only 11 games last season, but he had four top-four weekly finishes. Buffalo will make some moves in the draft and offseason to shore up the Bills’ offensive line and get Allen some more receiving weapons, so he should be targeted in Best Ball leagues.

Lamar Jackson (QB – BAL)
Jackson took over as starting QB for the Ravens midway through the season, leading Baltimore to the playoffs and leading all QBs with 695 rushing yards. Deployed as an RB almost as often as he was a QB, Jackson received 26 carries in his first start. The Ravens have committed to Jackson as the new face of the franchise, and he’s going to work hard on his unpolished pocket passing this offseason. His insane athleticism, escapability, and rushing skills paired with his still-raw passing abilities mean that Jackson will have some poor outings and some massive ones as well. By selecting him in Best Ball, you won’t have to guess the games in which to play him.

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Zachary Hanshew is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Zachary, check out his archive and follow him @zakthemonster.

Best Ball, Draft Prep, Featured, NFL