Players Who Are Better/Worse in Best-Ball Leagues (MFL10 and DRAFT)

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
May 29, 2019

You want no part of Josh Allen in redraft leagues, but you do in best-ball

Stop me if you’ve heard this before – Patriots running backs are unpredictable. I know, you’ve likely heard it on at least five different podcasts and read it in 10 different rankings articles on why you shouldn’t draft one of them. Well, there’s players like that all over the place. Are they fun to own in redraft leagues? Nope. Are they fun to own in best-ball leagues? Absolutely.

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There’s a flipside to that argument, too. There are players who are much better suited for redraft rosters, as they offer week-to-week consistency, but don’t offer the upside you want in best-ball. Today, we’ll be highlighting players who are better or worse in best-ball, and whether or not their ADP reflects that.

Quarterbacks

BETTER

Josh Allen (BUF) Best-Ball ADP: QB20, Redraft ADP: QB22
You know those analysts out there who have Allen ranked as a top-10 quarterback in 2019? Yeah, it’s not because you’ll be able to start him every week. No, it’s because when he has big weeks, they’re really big. He posted top-18-type numbers in just 50 percent of his games last year. Andy Dalton, Joe Flacco, and Nick Foles were better. However, Allen posted 26 or more points (boom) in 33.3 percent of his games, which ranked as the fourth-best number in football. Draft him in best-ball but stay away in redraft. The gap in his ADP isn’t large enough.

Kirk Cousins (MIN) Best-Ball ADP: QB15, Redraft ADP: QB12
I’ve been tracking “Boom, Bust, and Everything In Between” since the early 2000’s and you should know that Cousins has posted top-12 numbers in just 41 percent of his games, which ranks 17th among quarterbacks over the course of their careers. His ‘boom’ rate (above 26 points) stands at 19.2 percent, which ranks sixth among quarterbacks, behind only Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Deshaun Watson, Cam Newton, and Aaron Rodgers. His ADP numbers are backwards.

Mitch Trubisky (CHI) Best-Ball ADP: QB17, Redraft ADP: QB19
We don’t have a very large sample size with Trubisky under Matt Nagy, but what we do have is very promising for best-ball purposes. He was a top-12 option just 35.7 percent of the time in 2018, but 28.6 percent of the time, those were ‘boom’ performances, which ranked fifth in the league, ahead of Deshaun Watson, Jared Goff, and Cam Newton. He’s someone who should be valued very highly in best-ball, with upside to be more than just a ‘boom’ player.

WORSE

Philip Rivers (LAC) Best-Ball ADP: QB14, Redraft ADP: QB16
He should be in the Hall of Fame someday, but it doesn’t mean you should draft him to your best-ball team. Yes, Rivers has been a top-14 quarterback in 11-of-13 seasons, but that’s over the course of a season, not on a weekly basis. Over the course of his career, Rivers has posted ‘boom’ performances just 6.7 percent of the time, behind guys like Matt Schaub, Case Keenum, and Trevor Siemian. No, I’m not making this up. His current ADP’s make absolutely zero sense, as he should be valued much more in redraft.

Matt Ryan (ATL) Best-Ball ADP: QB6, Redraft ADP: QB7
While Ryan had some big performances in 2018 due to the defensive collapse (a lot of injuries) of the Falcons, he’s not someone who traditionally racks up big performances. Here’s a look at him and Kirk Cousins‘ career side-by-side comparisons, who is currently going over 50 picks later in best-ball formats.

Player Top-5 % Top-12 % Top-18 % Boom % Bust %
Kirk Cousins 21.8% 41.0% 57.7% 19.2% 39.7%
Matt Ryan 13.8% 40.8% 62.1% 9.2% 34.5%

 

Carson Wentz (PHI) Best-Ball ADP: QB10, Redraft ADP: QB11
Not only did he deal with an ACL injury, but now he’s dealing with a back injury. It’s safe to say that Wentz won’t be running the ball very often. That’s going to hurt his ceiling even more, which wasn’t very high to begin with. He’s now played in 40 regular season games, netting a ‘boom’ performance just three times, or 7.5 percent. That’s behind Sam Darnold, Blake Bortles, Derek Carr, and Marcus Mariota to name a few. DeSean Jackson is likely to help, but Wentz is someone you shouldn’t aim to draft in best-ball.

Running Backs

BETTER

Marlon Mack (IND) Best-Ball ADP: RB17, Redraft ADP: RB15
I’m one of those who’s relatively high on Mack, considering he’s playing behind what might be the best offensive line in football and one that should be high-powered with Andrew Luck under center. Unfortunately, if last year was a sign of things to come, Mack was a RB2-type option just 41.7 percent of the time, which ranked behind guys like Matt Breida, Austin Ekeler, and T.J. Yeldon. On the bright side, 25 percent of his games netted 20-plus PPR points, which ranked as the ninth-best mark among running backs.

Derrick Henry (TEN) Best-Ball ADP: RB16, Redraft ADP: RB18
This is one the community has right, as Henry is a better best-ball asset than redraft due to his lack of pass-catching skills and the role of Dion Lewis. Gamescript is a massive concern for him. Did you realize Henry posted RB2 or better numbers in just 6-of-16 games in 2018? That’s not great for consistency and it’s tough to guess when he’s going to have those 30.2- and 47.8-point outbursts that he did towards the end of last season. Fortunately, in best-ball, you don’t have to.

WORSE

Chris Carson (SEA) Best-Ball ADP: RB25, Redraft ADP: RB23
The public has another one right, as Carson’s a better redraft asset. The Seahawks ran the ball an astounding 32.8 times per game last year, yet Carson posted just one game with 25 PPR points, highlighting a limited ceiling. He did post RB2 or better numbers in 64.3 percent of his games, which ranked 12th among running backs, but his lack of involvement in the passing-game limits his best-ball impact.

Lamar Miller (HOU) Best-Ball ADP: RB31, Redraft ADP: RB31
There’s no difference in his ADP from one to the other, but there should be. Miller had just one game over 19 PPR points in 2018 despite injuries to both Will Fuller and Keke Coutee, highlighting just how low his ceiling is, even with injuries to guys he should steal targets from. It’s not a one-year thing for Miller, either, as he’s posted five ‘boom’ performances (25-plus PPR points) over his 101-game career. Eddie Lacy had more than that in his 60 career games.

Wide Receivers

BETTER

Michael Thomas (NO) Best-Ball ADP: WR3, Redraft ADP: WR4
There was no one who had more 25-plus point games as a wide receiver than Thomas in 2018, as he posted five of them. It may not be the biggest issue, because he’s really dang good in redraft, but he was a WR2 or better “just” 56.3 percent of the time, which ranked 13th among wide receivers, behind the likes of Will Fuller and Cooper Kupp, though they did play shorter seasons. Still, Thomas is a better asset in best-ball leagues than redraft.

Amari Cooper (DAL) Best-Ball ADP: WR13, Redraft ADP: WR13
If I had a dollar for every time I heard Cooper is too inconsistent to draft in the first couple rounds, I’d be rich. Changing teams sure helped him become a tad more consistent, but he’s still a much better guy to roster in best-ball leagues. He was a WR2 or better just 33.3 percent of the time in 2018, which ranked 29th among receivers. On the flipside, he scored 25-plus PPR points in 20 percent of his games, which ranked ninth, tied with Davante Adams and Stefon Diggs.

Tyler Boyd (CIN) Best-Ball ADP: WR26, Redraft ADP: WR23
The public who’s drafting Boyd as the WR23 right now is going to have serious regrets in-season. Even with A.J. Green missing a lot of time, Boyd finished as a WR3 or better in 57.1 percent of his games, which ranked 28th among wide receivers. With Green in the lineup, he’s not going to see the same target share he did in 2018. He did post ‘boom’ performances in 21.4 percent of his games, which ranked eighth, making him a better best-ball asset.

WORSE

Cooper Kupp (LAR) Best-Ball ADP: WR20, Redraft ADP: WR18
There’s something to be said for Kupp’s consistency, as he’s been a WR2 or better in 47.8 percent of his NFL games, which is ahead of the careers of Jarvis Landry and Brandin Cooks. The issue for best-ball, however, is that Kupp rarely gets those massive games needed to raise your team to the top of the standings, as he’s posted WR1 numbers in just 4-of-23 games throughout his career, or 17.4 percent. That mark is below guys like Robby Anderson and Tyler Boyd. Now coming off an ACL injury, it’s even less likely he’ll change these results.

Jarvis Landry (CLE) Best-Ball ADP: WR22, Redraft ADP: WR22
Have those drafting Landry as the WR22 in best-ball leagues ever rostered him in best-ball leagues? It’s not something you want to do very often, as Landry’s ceiling has been miniscule. Over 80 career games, Landry has produced 25-plus PPR points just four times, which averages out to less than one per season. There were seven guys who did that more than him in 2018 alone. Now add Odell Beckham Jr. to the offense? He’s not going to offer many upside performances.

Julian Edelman (NE) Best-Ball ADP: WR16, Redraft ADP: WR19
The public really has this one flip-flopped, as Edelman is worth much more in a redraft league due to his consistency on the field. His upside, even with Rob Gronkowski missing tons of time last year, is minimal. Edelman posted WR2 or better numbers in an astounding 75 percent of games in 2018, which ranked fourth, behind only Davante Adams, Antonio Brown, and A.J. Green. The issue is that there were 98 wide receiver performances of 25-plus PPR points in 2018, yet Edelman didn’t account for one of them. His career ‘boom’ rate of 7.4 percent is behind guys like Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, and Eric Decker. He’s still a good player to own in both formats, but he’s worth less in best-ball.

Tight Ends

BETTER

Zach Ertz (PHI) Best-Ball ADP: TE2, Redraft ADP: TE2
Let’s be real about this, you’re not getting Ertz unless you invest a pick in the top two rounds on him. In best-ball, he might be worth it. Did you realize that Eric Ebron and O.J. Howard were more consistent than Ertz last year? Not by much, but their TE1 performance percentages were better. The reason Ertz gets a boost is due to the fact that nobody (including Travis Kelce) topped his 43.8 percent ‘boom’ rate, which stands at 20 or more PPR points for tight ends. Kelce was the only other tight end over 31.3 percent.

Jared Cook (NO) Best-Ball ADP: TE8, Redraft ADP: TE7
He’s with a new team now, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s been a boom/bust player his entire career. Before you mention that he’s playing with Brees now, you should remember he played with Aaron Rodgers a few years ago when he posted TE1 numbers in just 20 percent of his games. During his career, Cook has ‘busted’ 52.9 percent of the time (less than 7.0 PPR points), which is obviously not very good for redraft.

WORSE

Jack Doyle (IND) Best-Ball ADP: TE21, Redraft ADP: TE25
He seems like someone who’d benefit from best-ball, but not with the added talent around him combined with his lack of big performances. Doyle has just two games in his career with 20-plus PPR points, a number that Eric Ebron topped in 2018 alone. Doyle has a lower ceiling due to the shared workload with Ebron, but truth be told, it was low before Ebron even got there. It also doesn’t help that the Colts added Devin Funchess, who’s a red zone threat, as well as Parris Campbell, who’s someone to steal targets over the middle of the field.

Evan Engram (NYG) Best-Ball ADP: TE4, Redraft ADP: TE6
The public has this one backwards, as Engram offers more stability than he does upside in the Giants offense. While he was a TE1 in 54.5 percent of his games, he only posted one ‘boom’ performance. Both Austin Hooper and Jared Cook had more than he did. With Odell Beckham Jr. out of town, it might increase his ceiling, but he now has Golden Tate stealing targets over the middle of the field. I like Engram in season-long due to the consistency and potential, but he’s worth a bit less in best-ball.


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Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.

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