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Most-Rostered Players in Best Ball Leagues (2020 Fantasy Football)

by Josh Shepardson | @BChad50 | Featured Writer
Jul 20, 2020

Drew Brees’ success inside the Superdome makes him well suited for Best Ball drafts.

Back in March, after most of the biggest free agents landed deals, I jumped into Best Ball leagues with both feet.

Prior to the NFL Draft, I participated in 11 Best Ball drafts. Since the NFL Draft concluded, I’ve participated in 25 more, bringing my total to 36 Best Ball rosters drafted. All of the leagues I’ve participated in have been top-three, 12-team leagues. You can see a breakdown of the number of times I’ve selected from each of the 12 draft slots in the forthcoming table.

Draft Slot # Times
1 5
2 4
3 0
4 1
5 5
6 1
7 3
8 3
9 4
10 2
11 4
12 4

 
My most-rostered players are featured in tables broken down by position below. Many of the featured players have found their way into my offseason pieces as players to target.

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Quarterback

Player Overall Rosters Pre-Draft Post-Draft 
Drew Brees 12 3 9
Gardner Minshew 11 0 11
Tom Brady 9 5 4
Kyler Murray 6 2 4
Josh Allen 6 1 5
Joe Burrow 6 3 3
Jared Goff 5 2 3
Lamar Jackson 3 0 3
Russell Wilson 3 2 1
Deshaun Watson 3 1 2
Dwayne Haskins 3 0 3

 
The table is largely littered with quarterbacks who add value with their legs. However, it’s a statuesque Drew Brees at the top and Tom Brady third in times selected. I wrote about why I’m drawn to the pair of future Hall of Fame quarterbacks here. In short, Brees is still extremely accurate. He has performed as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in each of the last two years and has eye-popping home splits that create a high weekly ceiling perfect for Best Ball formats. As for Brady, he’s surrounded by an absurd collection of talented pass-catchers and has a reasonable average draft position (ADP) of 99.0 (QB10). Drafting Brady allows me to wait at the position and double or triple-dip on mid-range quarterbacks while filling running back, receiver, and tight end earlier.

With the Jaguars not adding a signal-caller in the early rounds of the NFL Draft, I’ve gone from having zero teams with Gardner Minshew to rostering him on 11 teams. As I wrote over at numberFire, Minshew’s rookie season compares favorably to other quarterbacks’ recent rookie seasons in a number of measures such as their proprietary stat Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, NFL Next Gen Stats’ expected completion percentage, and traditional measures such as passing yards per game, passing touchdowns, interceptions, and adjusted yards per passing attempt. Add in the scrambling ability he showed off last year, and he’s a higher-upside option as a second quarterback than his ADP (162.0, QB25) would suggest.

Running Back

Player Overall Rosters Pre-Draft Post-Draft
Jerick McKinnon 16 0 16
Austin Ekeler 15 5 10
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 15 7 8
Matt Breida 14 3 11
Justin Jackson 14 7 7
Ke’Shawn Vaughn 12 0 12
Nyheim Hines 11 5 6
Darrynton Evans 9 4 5
Rashaad Penny 9 3 6
Kenyan Drake 8 2 6
Cam Akers 8 0 8
Derrius Guice 8 4 4
James Conner 7 1 6
Christian McCaffrey 5 2 3
Miles Sanders 5 0 5
Darrell Henderson 5 1 4

 
The top of the table is filled with a who’s who of backs I’ve written about extensively: Jerick McKinnon here, Austin Ekeler, teammate Justin Jackson, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and Matt Breida here, and Nyheim Hines here.

The only back I’ve yet to write about who appears on double-digit rosters is Ke’Shawn Vaughn. I don’t think he’s a special back, and it’s possible he’ll split time or even lose the position battle to Ronald Jones. However, at his cost (86.5, RB36), I like him a great deal as an RB4 who’s attached to an offense that could move the ball well and put up points in bunches.

In the links above, you’ll find favorable write-ups for a few other backs in the table. Additionally, I have sung the praises of Kenyan Drake here. I haven’t written about the Rams’ backfield, but I love the landing spot for Cam Akers. Further, I’m not yet ready to quit on Darrell Henderson after a horrendous rookie season — at least not at his cost (132.0 RB48).

Wide Receiver

Player Overall Rosters Pre-Draft Post-Draft
Breshad Perriman 31 7 24
Terry McLaurin 23 9 14
DeSean Jackson 18 6 12
Brandin Cooks 14 5 9
Hunter Renfrow 14 3 11
Andy Isabella 13 6 7
Adam Thielen 11 3 8
Laviska Shenault Jr. 10 0 10
D.J. Moore 8 0 8
Robert Woods 7 2 5
Courtland Sutton 7 5 2
Tyler Boyd 7 0 7
John Brown 7 2 5
Parris Campbell 7 2 4
Kenny Golladay 6 1 5
Marquise Brown 6 2 4
Michael Pittman Jr. 6 0 6

 
Breshad Perriman and Terry McLaurin were two of three players I labeled as must-have players in this piece. I’m far and away higher than others on the duo and will continue to scoop them up regularly in Best Ball drafts.

I most recently laid out why I’m still picking DeSean Jackson as his ADP rises in the offseason as part of this piece. Hunter Renfrow and Laviska Shenault Jr. also appeared in that article. Brandin Cooks is another of the receivers on double-digit rosters whom I wrote about this offseason. Ditto for Andy Isabella as a dart throw late in drafts.

Adam Thielen is the only receiver on 10 or more of my rosters whom I haven’t written about for the 2020 fantasy season. The departure of Stefon Diggs via a trade to the Bills makes Thielen the Vikings’ unquestioned No. 1 receiver — even after accounting for the first-round addition of Justin Jefferson. He should receive a massive target share, and that’ll play even in a run-heavy offense.

Among other noteworthy receivers in the table, I’ve also written about Kenny Golladay as an early-round target, Robert Woods and Marquise Brown as wideouts to target, and the Colts’ receiving duo of Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman Jr. as a potential sophomore breakout and a possible instant impact rookie, respectively, here.

Tight End

Player Overall Rosters Pre-Draft  Post-Draft 
Hayden Hurst 11 1 10
Hunter Henry 9 6 3
Rob Gronkowski 7 0 7
Mike Gesicki 7 1 6
Tyler Higbee 6 1 5
Chris Herndon 5 4 1
Jace Sternberger 5 0 5
Travis Kelce 4 3 1
George Kittle 4 2 2
Darren Waller 3 1 2
Gerald Everett 3 1 2

 
Back in late May, I touted my two most-rostered tight ends, Hayden Hurst and Hunter Henry, as tight ends to target. I’ve since doubled down on Hurst and planted a flag in him as a must-have player even with his escalating draft cost. Draft spot largely dictates the availability of Travis Kelce and George Kittle, but I discussed them as early-round targets and have drafted one or the other on a combined eight teams. I did select the duo together out of curiosity about how the team would end up (I wasn’t a fan of the final product), meaning I’ve drafted Kelce or Kittle on seven of 36 teams (19.44%).

Rob Gronkowski is the third member of the Buccaneers to appear in one of the tables, and his rapport with Brady could pay immediate dividends in the red zone. I’m not sure there’s enough ball to go around with Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and perhaps even O.J. Howard sprinkled in for Gronk to make big waves in receptions and yardage, but his touchdown potential plays well in Best Ball.

Mike Gesicki is basically a tight end in name only. He’s really an oversized slot receiver, as I discussed in-depth here while pointing to the work of Rich Hribar of Sharp Football Analysis and a tweet from Pat Thorman of Establish The Run. I’m not entirely convinced the Dolphins will be able to support fantasy lines from DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, and Gesicki on a weekly basis, but Gesicki’s potential volatility is much easier to swallow in Best Ball leagues than traditional formats.

Defense/Special Teams

Player Overall Rosters Pre-Drafts Post-Draft
Chiefs 19 6 13
Bills 16 4 12
Eagles 12 1 11
Buccaneers 10 6 4
Cowboys 9 2 7
Packers 3 2 1

 
I’ll keep this short and sweet. Defenses are at their best and most fantasy-friendly when staked to a lead. This way, they can rack up sacks and turnovers against opposing offenses forced into passing situations while playing catch-up. Having said that, every single defense I’ve drafted on three or more Best Ball rosters is attached to a team win total of 8.5 or higher, per FanDuel Sportsbook. The win totals range from 8.5 wins for the Bills, 9 for the Packers, 9.5 for the Eagles, Buccaneers, and Cowboys, and 11.5 wins for the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs.

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Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.

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