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Best Ball Players To Avoid (2020 Fantasy Football)

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
May 22, 2020

Austin Ekeler is going late first round in best ball drafts, which is too pricey

If you haven’t played the best-ball format before, you’re missing out. It’s your chance to enjoy all the best parts of fantasy football without a lot of the responsibility that comes with it. You draft your team, then you don’t have to worry about it again. Your lineup is automatically set based on the best lineup your team could possibly generate.

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We went through the best players to target in the later rounds of a best-ball league last week, so it’s only natural we’d return with a list of players to avoid this week, right? The idea is to get as high of a ceiling as possible, while skipping over the players who give boring production. There’s a place for those players in redraft leagues, but this is a list of players you should actively try to avoid in best-ball formats at their current cost. Everyone has value at a certain point, but at their current ADPs, they’re not.

Quarterbacks

Tom Brady (QB – TB) Current ADP: 88
I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to putting (QB – TB) next to Brady’s name. While he’ll be fine in redraft formats, Brady is not the quarterback you want in best ball, especially when his ADP is where it is. Did you know: Of the top 100 single-game performances by quarterbacks over the last two years, Brady owns none of them.

Kirk Cousins (QB – MIN) Current ADP: 142
You’ll always hear someone yelling that Cousins has been a top-10 fantasy quarterback multiple times, but why won’t those same people draft him as a top-15 quarterback? He’s boring. Oh, and he just lost his best wide receiver. There wasn’t a game in 2019 where he threw more than 38 pass attempts. Knowing he offers little-to-no mobility, his upside is minimal.

Running Backs

Austin Ekeler (RB – LAC) Current ADP: 12
It’s no secret that Ekeler had an amazing year in 2019. Of the top 50 fantasy seasons by running backs over the last 10 years, there were just two who made the list with fewer than 270 touches: Alvin Kamara and Ekeler. Regression is coming. The Chargers offense will not be the same without Philip Rivers and it will hurt Ekeler’s touchdown-upside.

Nick Chubb (RB – CLE) Current ADP: 14
The Browns offense should be better in 2020, that much is true. However, there are suddenly a lot more mouths to feed, as Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, Austin Hooper, David Njoku, and Kareem Hunt are all going to get a piece of the pie. Once Hunt joined the team last year, Chubb was the No. 18 running back, yet he’s going at 14 overall in best-ball formats. Way too expensive.

Le’Veon Bell (RB – NYJ) Current ADP: 40
You don’t need me to tell you Bell didn’t live up to his first-round draft position last year. It’s not because he didn’t perform consistently – he did. There were just nine running backs who had more games with 12.5-plus PPR points (the average top-24 running back performance in 2019). The issue is upside, as he didn’t have a single 25-point game. The Jets are reportedly looking to do more of a rotation in 2020, because, well, Adam Gase. Bell will be a value in redraft formats, but not in best ball.

Devin Singletary (RB – BUF) Current ADP: 42
“What?! Mike, didn’t you see Singletary average 18.9 touches over the last eight games of 2019?” Yes, but do you know where he ranked in fantasy football over that time? As the RB20. That’s horrible. It’s because he’s not used around the goal line, as he received just two carries inside the five-yard-line all year. The Bills have already confirmed that third-round pick Zack Moss will take over in those situations. Singletary just doesn’t get volume when it matters most.

Wide Receivers

Cooper Kupp (WR – LAR) Current ADP: 30
Did anyone notice when Kupp lost a lot of his value last year? It was when the tight ends started being used a lot more. From Week 10 through Week 17, Tyler Higbee was the TE3 in fantasy football. Meanwhile, Kupp was the WR21. I thought Kupp would be a value in drafts this year because of the drop-off in production as the year went on, but at No. 30 overall, you should be looking towards a running back.

D.J. Moore (WR – CAR) Current ADP: 31
I’m a fan of Moore, but there are suddenly a ton of mouths to feed in Carolina, and it’s a brand-new coaching staff. Trying to figure out the split between Moore, Robby Anderson, Curtis Samuel, Christian McCaffrey, and Ian Thomas is going to be difficult. While you don’t have to figure it out on a weekly basis in best ball, you are paying a massive premium to acquire Moore.

Courtland Sutton (WR – DEN) Current ADP: 39
Even if Sutton had the same season in 2020 as he did in 2019, Sutton was the No. 51 player in VBD (Value Based Drafting). While it’s normal to expect a player to grow, the additions of Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler, and Melvin Gordon are going to make targets much tougher to find. Sutton is a good football player, but 39th overall is way too expensive.

Keenan Allen (WR – LAC) Current ADP: 43
I love Allen the football player, as he’s extremely underrated. However, we cannot underrate his situation. The Chargers appear to be set on starting Tyrod Taylor in Week 1, which doesn’t bode well for the passing game. While Taylor is solid, he’s not going to throw the ball 35-plus times per game like Philip Rivers did. Allen is not a downfield receiver who can hit value on one play, but rather one who racks up receptions to approach WR1 status. This is not the same offense without Rivers, which is a theme in my rankings.

Tight Ends

Darren Waller (TE – LVR) Current ADP: 46
I’ll start by saying that Waller was my No. 3 tight end prior to the offseason. Once that started, the Raiders decided to snag Jason Witten in free agency, then draft Henry Ruggs, Lynn Bowden, and Bryan Edwards. They’re suddenly littered with pass-catchers, while there was little-to-no competition for Waller in 2019. I still think he’s a fine player in fantasy, but not anywhere near No. 46 overall.

Hunter Henry (TE – LAC) Current ADP: 66
The Chargers seemed to be moving away from Henry as the season went on, as he didn’t top 45 yards after Week 11. Now, the Chargers will move to the combination of Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert. The way Chargers players are being drafted, it’s as if nothing has changed, when in reality, it won’t have anywhere close to the same look. The 597 pass attempts are likely to fall to sub-500, which will cut into everyone’s production. Henry would be considered just an okay pick at No. 66 with Philip Rivers. But he’s not, so he should be falling much more.

Austin Hooper (TE – CLE) Current ADP: 78
Did you know that Hooper would’ve tallied 119 targets had he been on the field all 16 games for the Falcons? That’s what his 7.46 targets per game amounted to. The new head coach/offensive coordinator in Cleveland is Kevin Stefanski, who was with the Vikings last year. They targeted the combination of Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr. a grand total of 95 times, and neither of them missed a game. He now has Hooper, David Njoku, and fourth-round pick Harrison Bryant at tight end. I’d be skeptical that Hooper walks away with 80 targets this season, which removes him from consideration for a top-100 selection in best-ball leagues.


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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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