Best Stacks to Target in DRAFT Best Ball Leagues (2019 Fantasy Football)
If you’re looking to boost the scoring ceiling of your fantasy team’s quarterback, nabbing his top pass-catching option — or perhaps a couple of his pass-catching options — can do just that. Below, I’ve highlighted some of my favorite stacks to target in DRAFT best ball leagues and have also listed their positional and overall DRAFT best ball ADP next to them for reference. It starts with a pair of pricey trios that are joined by a pair of cheap trios. The selections are rounded out by a pair of duos.
Baker Mayfield (QB – CLE) – QB5, 78.2 Overall
Odell Beckham Jr. (WR – CLE) – WR5, 15.9 Overall
David Njoku (TE – CLE) – TE10, 85.6 Overall
If you’re paying a top-five quarterback price, you might as well swing for the fences on Mayfield making the leap in year two. Over the last decade, 42 rookie quarterbacks have attempted at least 150 passes, per Pro-Football-Reference’s Game Index tool. Among the 42 quarterbacks, Mayfield ranked seventh in completion percentage (63.79%), third in passing yards per game (266.1), first in touchdown passes (27), and fifth in quarterback rating (93.7).
Ranking tops in touchdown passes is an especially impressive feat considering he sat the first two games and part of his third game while Hue Jackson inexplicably trotted out Tyrod Taylor as his starting quarterback. He clicked down the stretch with current head coach Freddie Kitchens after he was promoted to offensive coordinator last year. The Browns have since hired Todd Monken, who led Tampa Bay’s explosive passing attack as their offensive coordinator and play-caller for the majority of the season, to serve as their new offensive coordinator.
They’ve also added Beckham via trade. He’s off to a historic start to his career despite catching wobbling ducks from a washed Eli Manning up to this point. OBJ’s 92.8 receiving yards per game is the second highest average of all time, and his 44 receiving touchdowns through his first five years (only 59 games, though) are tied for the 17th most in a player’s first five seasons dating back to 1920, per Pro-Football-Reference.
Njoku doesn’t carry the gigantic ceiling of OBJ, but he doesn’t carry the top-16 pick ADP, either. The soon-to-be 23-year-old tight end made huge strides from year one to year two, save for repeating his four touchdown grabs from his rookie season. As the saying goes, a high tide raises all ships, and if the Browns’ offense turns into one of the NFL’s highest scoring as many pundits expect, Njoku has a reasonable chance to benefit as well. Again, if you’re paying a premium for Mayfield, you’re doing so chasing an MVP-caliber 2019 season, and that would mean touchdown tosses aplenty. Consider truly shooting for the moon and adding his big, athletic tight end who could be a red-zone nightmare for opposing defenses that are tasked with slowing down a talented backfield, OBJ, and Jarvis Landry as well.
Matt Ryan (QB – ATL) – QB6, 86.3 Overall
Julio Jones (WR – ATL) – WR4, 14.2 Overall
Calvin Ridley (WR – ATL) – WR24, 57.5 Overall
Ryan has sandwiched an MVP season (2016) and another outstanding season (2018) around a ho-hum disappointing season in 2017. Over that three-year span among quarterbacks who’ve attempted at least 400 passes, he ranks third in completion percentage (68.04%), quarterback rating (105.7), passing yards per game (290.9), and is tied for first in touchdown passes (93).
During that same three-year stretch, Jones has balled out. He is tied for 25th in touchdown receptions (17), tied for third in targets (447), ranked sixth in receptions (284), and first in receiving yards per game (98.5). The duo has made sweet music together and appears poised to do so again in 2019. Ryan’s job should be eased by the addition of two offensive linemen in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft, and that’s good news for all of Atlanta’s offensive playmakers.
Atlanta’s top-shelf playmakers total grew by one last year with the addition of Ridley. The 2018 first-round pick had an excellent rookie campaign. Among rookie receivers in the last decade, he tied for 13th in receptions (64), 25th in receiving yards per game (51.3), and fourth in touchdown receptions (10). Atlanta’s offense ranked sixth in total yards, yet they ranked just 10th in scoring per game (25.9). Even a repeat of last season would be enough for Ryan to support both Jones and Ridley, but their high-flying 2016 season in which they ranked second in total yards and first in scoring (33.8 points per game) illustrates there’s upside for more.
Josh Allen (QB – BUF) – QB15, 126.0 Overall
John Brown (WR – BUF) – WR56, 148.0 Overall
Robert Foster (WR – BUF) – WR69, 188.6 Overall
Usually, when I’m targeting a trio stack or advocating doing so, it’s because that offense projects to be a juggernaut. That’s not the case with this stack of Bills players. Instead, bargain cost is the primary motivating factor. I recently highlighted Allen and Foster among ADP inefficiencies. Instead of rehashing why I like both as bargain targets, I’ll direct you here.
Brown will compete for field-stretching looks with Foster after the Bills inked him to a contract this offseason. Smokey’s home-run ability plays well in best ball formats and mitigates the volume concerns about playing in a run-first offense. Theoretically, he pairs well with Allen thanks to his blazing speed and Allen’s cannon for an arm. Brown and Foster are unlikely to frequently have big weeks together, but at their respective costs, they don’t have to consistently be great to earn value on their bargain prices.
Sam Darnold (QB – NYJ) – QB23, 161.0 Overall
Robby Anderson (WR – NYJ) – WR30, 73.1 Overall
Chris Herndon (TE – NYJ) – TE12, 108.7 Overall
I also gushed about Darnold and Anderson in the highlighted piece above, so I won’t regurgitate that info here. As I did adding Smokey to Buffalo’s mix, I’ll add Herndon to the Jets’ duo as a bargain stack addition. Herndon had an intriguing rookie season, besting 500 yards receiving (502, to be exact) while hauling in a respectable four touchdowns. He was efficient, and among the 19 tight ends who were targeted a minimum of 50 times, his 8.96 yards per target ranked fifth highest, sandwiched between Evan Engram and Travis Kelce. That’s not bad company to keep. He’ll have more competition for targets with the additions of Le’Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder to the offense, but, as I noted with Cleveland’s offense on the rise, a higher-scoring offense increases the fantasy point-scoring ceiling of all key members. Each of these three players is among my favorite value options, so it makes sense that I like the trio as a bargain stack, too.
Drew Brees (QB – NO) – QB7, 93.0 Overall
Michael Thomas (WR – NO) – WR3, 13.6 Overall
Brees is coming off of a stellar season. He led qualified quarterbacks in completion percentage (74.4%) and quarterback rating (115.7), is tied for 16th in passing yards per game (266.1), and he tied for sixth in touchdown passes (32). The veteran signal caller has numerous huge seasons on his resume, and he also has sizable home/road splits that favor playing at home and fit best ball formats well. His spike weeks are a thing of beauty, and his road duds are unlikely to be used unless they coincide with duds from your backup quarterback or quarterbacks.
Since the Saints spent a second-round pick on Thomas in the 2016 NFL Draft, Thomas has been the apple of his future HOF quarterback’s eye. Since his rookie season in 2016, Thomas ranks seventh in targets (417), is tied for sixth in receiving touchdowns (23), sixth in receiving yards per game (80.6), and first in receptions (321). Thomas is coming off the best season of his three-year career, and while he’s a great standalone target as evidenced by his top-15 ADP, stacking him with Brees is also a strong move.
Philip Rivers (QB – LAC) – QB16, 130.0 Overall
Keenan Allen (WR – LAC) – WR11, 31.0 Overall
When gushing about Matty Ice above, I mentioned that he’s tied for the most touchdown passes over the last three years with 93. He’s tied during that time period with Rivers, yet Rivers is being selected nearly 50 picks later. The Chargers stud quarterback has averaged a hearty 275.2 passing yards per game since 2016, a total tied for 10th-most among qualified quarterbacks. Rivers was sharp last year and showed no signs of slowing down, making him a value at his cost despite his lack of running skills to bolster his passing numbers.
Allen has posted back-to-back big years after suffering a season-ending injury in the first game of the 2016 season and playing only eight games in 2015. Over the last two years, Allen is tied for 20th in touchdown receptions (12), ninth in receiving yards per game (81.5), tied for sixth in targets (295), and sixth in receptions (199). Gamers can spend their top two picks on stud running backs and still nab a high-ceiling QB/WR duo in Rivers and Allen.