4 Best Ball Players to Avoid (2022 Fantasy Football)
It’s a very strange time in the fantasy football offseason. Gone are the days post-Super Bowl where we can immediately react to how we saw the playoffs unfold. We are now over a month removed from the NFL Combine & nearly a month removed from the start of what was absolute craziness in NFL Free Agency 2022. Unless any more significant trades happen over the next few weeks, players’ values will be seemingly locked in until the NFL Draft starting on April 28th.
For those who need to scratch that itch to draft, even this early in the draft season, thank goodness we have Best Balls. Best Ball drafts allow you to draft a full roster of players you want the exposure to, and then you can sit back with no work required after your team is completely drafted. Best Ball will automatically take your top scoring players at each position and spit out your best possible performing lineup every week. This helps you gain exposure to many different players, and ultimately, you can have success outside just your standard season-long redraft leagues or dynasty leagues.
There are a few rules of thumb that I like to have when drafting in Best Ball Leagues:
- Shoot for players that have the most upside. This is what people have labeled the “DeSean Jackson (WR – LV)” format. Where you’d be able to roster him and have him in your lineup for all his breakout games while he’d be on the bench for his duds. His incredible upside would automatically make him more valuable here.
- Try to give yourself exposure to many different players. You don’t want to miss out on the Ja’Marr Chase (WR – CIN) breakouts, the Cooper Kupp (WR – LAR) record-breaking seasons, or grabbing different running backs in committees (James Conner (RB – ARI) & Chase Edmonds (RB – MIA)). Exposure to many different players will allow some of your teams to do well and ultimately lead you to a better chance to profit. Remember, one league win could pay for nearly ten of them.
- Try to limit drafting players that have smaller paths to success. There is no waiver wire or free agency pick-ups in these leagues, so if you try to roster players with massive downside or ones that could barely make the team, you won’t be able to add someone else to replace them—nothing worse than rostering players that have capped upsides.
We’re more going to talk about the last rule in this article as these are four players that, as it stands today, I don’t find myself rostering very much.
Hunter Renfrow (WR – LV): Underdog Best Ball ADP – 64.2 | WR31
This man was as consistent as they came in 2021, scoring double-digit PPR points in 14 of 17 games. He also went from the WR59 to the WR10 this past season, and this was the most significant jump in terms of ranking any wide receiver this past season. Renfrow and his 21% target share this season balled out even more so from Week 9 on and was the WR7 & looked very much like a player you’d select in the first four or five rounds this year.
The problem is simply this; the Raiders traded for arguably the best wide receiver in football just a few weeks ago. A player with at least 127 targets each of the last three seasons & THE ONLY PLAYER in NFL history with a target share of over 30% for three straight seasons. You add this type of game-breaking wide receiver with a tight end that already had a 15% target share in this offense, and suddenly there doesn’t seem to be enough footballs.
There’s no denying the talent with Renfrow, but what could eventually become the third option on an offense that has two other great passing game options? I’m a little off Renfrow at this price, and I expect the Raiders to still try and run the football a reasonable amount and wouldn’t be shocked if the Raiders look for another receiver in the draft.
Brandon Aiyuk (WR – SF): Underdog Best Ball ADP – 72.5 | WR35
The WR35, in terms of PPR scoring, was one of the biggest disappointments in fantasy football in 2021. He scored double-digit PPR points in five of his first six games, with a big goose egg in Week 1. Aiyuk was able to somewhat salvage his season by finishing as the WR15 from Weeks 9 through 18, averaging 13.4 points per game. This coincided with Deebo Samuel (WR – SF) transitioning into an all-around offensive weapon and not just a wide receiver.
There is a lot more uncertainty going into this offense next year. Trey Lance (QB – SF) & his 57.7% completion percentage is expected to be under center. While he was a rookie, there was not much opportunity to see if he’s progressed as a passer where receivers in this offense can benefit. Not only that, but the 49ers already ran the fourth-fewest percentage of pass plays at just 51.61% in 2021. Only the Saints, Titans, & Eagles threw less. That was with Jimmy Garoppolo (QB – SF) under center for much of the season.
While Samuel was used a lot as a running back in the latter half of the season, the 49ers can’t deploy him out that way for an entire season and expect he’ll stay healthy. I imagine he’ll return to his role as primarily a wide receiver and a darn good one at that, while Aiyuk will settle back into his role as the #3 pass-catcher in this offense behind Samuel and George Kittle (TE – SF).
I was snake-bitten drafting Aiyuk in 2021, and I don’t see this situation getting much better in 2022. I’ll look elsewhere at other wide receivers in this range.
Devin Singletary (RB – BUF): Underdog Best Ball ADP – 75.0/ RB24
The RB18 on the season, but the RB1 over the last four weeks of the regular season is a very intriguing player in the offseason. We saw how the Bills utilized him at the end of the season, three out of four games with 19+ carries & 21+ touches, 18.8+ fantasy points, & five touchdowns over that stretch. He was the running back the Bills trusted from in close, between the 20s, and in the passing game.
The draft will play a big part in how Singletary will be seen next season. Zack Moss looks to be done as a factor in this backfield, so right now, there’s no immediate threat to Singletary’s touches. Suppose the Bills use a top-three-round pick on a running back, especially one of the top five at the position. In that case, I’m going to question Singletary’s role in 2022 and assume it will be another frustrating backfield to avoid. For now, Singletary has not been someone I’ve found myself drafting so far this offseason for this exact reason.
Cordarrelle Patterson (RB – ATL): Underdog Best Ball ADP – 108.8 / RB37
The face of the breakouts of fantasy football in 2021, Cordarrelle Patterson, made everyone look foolish who didn’t draft him as he finished RB9 on the season. Patterson was RB7 through the first 14 weeks averaging 17.7 PPR points per game, before finishing as RB51 over the last four weeks of the season, averaging 5.5 PPR points per game.
We can’t discount him over 1,000 yards from scrimmage or his 11 touchdowns in 2021, nor can we ignore Patterson’s resigning with the Falcons to possibly lead this backfield. What concerns me is what can we honestly expect from this offense led by now quarterback of the Falcons, Marcus Mariota (QB – ATL)? According to PFF, the Falcons’ offensive line ranked 27th overall, where the line allowed 200 pressures on the season and ranked 29th in pass-blocking efficiency.
The Falcons’ wide receivers at this moment include Olamide Zaccheaus (WR – ATL), Damiere Byrd (WR – ATL), & Auden Tate (WR – ATL). Kyle Pitts (TE – ATL) appears to be the only actual threat outside of Patterson in this offense. Atlanta, to me, might be the worst team in the NFL in 2022, and I would not be surprised to see them tank for a quarterback in the 2023 draft. This offense will be inefficient, hard to watch, & I’ll be avoiding pretty much all Atlanta Falcons except Pitts in my drafts.
David Mendelson is a featured writer on FantasyPros. For more of his work, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter at @DMendy02.