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Best Ball: Expert Consensus Rankings vs. ADP (2022 Fantasy Football)

by Tom Strachan | @NFL_Tstrack | Featured Writer
May 17, 2022
Justin Fields

Our FantasyPros experts currently see Justin Fields as undervalued compared to his best-ball ADP.

There are many ways to approach ranking players, and at FantasyPros, we combine our many expert opinions to bring you the ECR (Expert Consensus Rankings). The ECR combines FantasyPros writers including Andrew Erickson, Derek Brown, Matthew Freedman, Pat Fitzmaurice, Joe Pisapia, Scott Bogman, Tom Strachan, and a host of other content creators to give a crowd-sourced view of how players should be ranked.

While the ECR may sometimes be quite different from ADP, it shouldn’t be viewed as a solid rule. Instead, the ECR shows you how as a collective, we value players. If the ECR has a player 60 spots ahead of ADP, don’t rush to draft that player five rounds ahead of schedule, as you’ll probably be the only player in your draft thinking that way. Instead, use the ECR ranking and judge by your draft room how late you can leave it before swooping in.

It might feel early on to be drafting for some, but the best ball season no longer takes a rest, and post-draft, we’re starting to get a good idea of how each team will look. It’s time to scrutinize the ADP and see who is being undervalued and who is being overvalued. The ADP we’ll be using is taken from Underdog Best Ball Mania III and FFPC Slim leagues.

Quarterbacks

Justin Fields (QB – CHI) – ADP Underdog – 129.8. FFPC – 127.7. ECR – 116.7

While Justin Fields is currently the QB16 in ECR and on both Underdog and FFPC, our ECR sees Fields’ current price as a value. With the situation in Chicago looking less than perfect for fantasy, it appears drafters are holding off on selecting Fields when possible. While all of the FantasyPros rankers agree that best-ball drafters should take Fields around this positional range as an overall best-ball pick, we believe he should be higher, and here are three arguments for it.

  • Justin Fields averaged 35.0 rushing yards per game in 2021, ranking fifth-best at the position, and averaged 6.0 rushing attempts per game, ranking seventh. Simply put, Fields’ rushing upside is sizable, and without upgrades in the passing game, he should continue to use his legs to accrue us fantasy points.
  • Fields had four top 12 weeks in 2021, representing 33% of his games. As a typical QB2 on a best ball team, that can be seen as a solid return.
  • Stacking Fields with the concentrated passing attack of Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet is a straightforward and cheap stack with plenty of upsides.

Verdict: Undervalued

Ryan Tannehill (QB – TEN) – ADP UD – 167.0. FFPC – 137.5. ECR 173.0

Tannehill’s job security seems a little safer after the Titans waited until the third round to draft Malik Willis. In contrast, the team doesn’t seem wholly committed to him, and it would take quite a poor season for Tannehill to be replaced. Underdog drafters are pretty aligned with our ECR ranking, but over on FFPC, drafters seem very confident in Tannehill, taking him a full three rounds earlier. While Tannehill seems likely the starter for the majority of the season, it’s worth considering that he no longer has A.J Brown a part of the team. If the aging Derrick Henry suffers more injuries, the team’s overall productivity may fall.

Verdict: Overvalued

Wide Receivers

Brandin Cooks (WR – HOU) – UD – 66.2. FFPC – 70.3. ECR – 54.0

Only seven other players had a better target share of wide receivers to play ten games or more than Brandin Cooks’ 26.7%. Cooks finished the season as the WR20 in PPR points per game but somehow goes into the offseason with doubts still remaining around his ability to put up points. The Texans haven’t gotten hugely better across their skill position players, and there should be no reason to think Cooks can’t repeat 2021. The ECR suggests Cooks is being undervalued by at least a full round and should be a target in your drafts.

Verdict: Undervalued

DeVante Parker (WR – NE) – UD – 131.4. FFPC – 170.1. ECR – 144

After seven seasons in Miami, Parker was part of a rare in-division trade to the Patriots. With New England not overwhelmed with talent at the position, Parker has an excellent opportunity to have a relevant season. There is a disconnect between Underdog and FFPC on Parker, with Underdog drafters valuing him as the WR1 in the offense and FFPC drafters seeing Jakobi Meyers as the WR1. Underdog drafters also value Parker much higher and closer to ECR than FFPC managers. On FFPC, Parker is going two full rounds later than consensus. Parker struggles to add anything after the catch, but he’s a reliable target who could stand to benefit from more efficient quarterback play than he’s dealt with in recent years.

Verdict: Undervalued

Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR – KC) – FFPC – 141.9. ECR – 126.5

There are few players more suited to best-ball than MVS. The Prince of Best Ball is perennially underrated even in this format where his low floor is counted against him. Best ball isn’t about a safe floor, though, it’s about high ceilings, and MVS has top twelve weekly finishes in his range of outcomes, putting up two top twelve finishes last season. The arguments against MVS typically involve talking about how he drops passes, but in 2021 he was credited with zero drops. While it’s fair to say Valdes-Scantling plays a limited role, he is now with the Chiefs and specifically Patrick Mahomes, who routinely ends up near the top of the touchdown passing charts and even in a year like 2021 where teams tried to take away the deep ball Mahomes finished with the fourth-most passes of 40+ yards. FFPC drafters seem to be undervaluing a player who will likely be your WR5 or WR6 in your draft, but who could propel you up the scoreboards.

Verdict: Undervalued

Sammy Watkins (WR – GB) – UD – 174.9. ECR 233.0

You might be surprised to learn Sammy Watkins played 13 games for the Ravens in 2021. Watkins put up three games in the double-digits of PPR formats and, after averaging 7.25 targets per game over his first four appearances in Baltimore, went on to average 2.2 per game over his last nine games, a period where the Ravens were passing at a higher rate than they normally would yet Watkins was unable to find a way to targets. Watkins has now joined his fifth NFL team in eight years and will be hoping the lack of veteran options in Green Bay can benefit him. Underdog drafters value Watkins almost five full rounds ahead of the ECR, and there are plenty of arguments against drafting Watkins. In the last five seasons, Watkins has put up only seven games over 15 points and only two in the previous three years. Watkins may live to prove the FantasyPros ECR incorrect, but for the time being, the gap between ECR and ADP feels too big.

Verdict: Overvalued

Running Backs

Miles Sanders (RB – PHI) – UD – 86.2. FFPC – 90.6. ECR – 70.3

Only twelve running backs averaged more rushing yards per game than Miles Sanders in 2021. Sanders’s 62.8 yards per game was a respectable amount, but his failure to score a single touchdown hurt his fantasy managers badly. While many believe that positive regression is coming for Sanders in 2022, the stink of 2021 still hangs over him and puts some managers off, resulting in his ADP sitting over a round and a half below the ECR. 2022 will be the second year of Nick Sirianni as the head coach in Philadelphia, and the team seems to be building in the right way. While it’s hard to see Miles Sanders making it into the top ten running backs in fantasy points, a top twenty finish remains in his range of outcomes.

Verdict: Undervalued

James Robinson (RB – JAC) – UD – 146.0 FFPC – 148.3. ECR – 127.2

When the Urban Meyer regime drafted Travis Etienne, it was fair to say that James Robinson was in danger of losing touches as Meyer had brought in his own guy in Etienne. With Urban Meyer banished from Jacksonville, neither Etienne nor Robinson have a head coach’s expectations attached to them, and instead, Doug Pederson is free to use them as he sees fit. Before Etienne went down injured in preseason last year, multiple beat reporters suggested whether Meyer liked Robinson or not that Robinson would end up as the clear RB1 due to his superior ability in the running game. While Etienne is an accomplished player, his skill set is more suited to the passing game than running. It wouldn’t be surprising to see James Robinson lead this team in rushing attempts and yardage. Currently, Etienne is drafted as the RB24 and Robinson as the RB42. If positive reports emerge about Robinson’s health, expect that gap to close.

Verdict: Undervalued

Tight Ends

David Njoku (TE – CLE) UD – 159.8. FFPC 149.3. ECR – 130.0

The Browns cut Austin Hooper, and the Cleveland pass-catchers still look a bit thin on the ground, but David Njoku is still seemingly undervalued compared to the ECR. While chasing breakouts from tight ends entering their sixth year in the league isn’t a habit to get into, Cleveland likes to throw to their tight ends regularly, keep them on the field a lot, and going back to an earlier point, don’t have much choice. In 2021 Njoku ranked 11th in Expected Points Added at the position (21.1) and fifth in fantasy points per touch (amongst TEs with 25 or more catches). Njoku makes a perfect TE2 on a best ball roster and is easily stackable with other Cleveland players.

Verdict: Undervalued

Dawson Knox (TE – BUF) – UD – 98.2. FFPC – 78.9. ECR – 108.4

In 2021 Dawson Knox paid off his 203.2 ADP handsomely, rewarding drafters with a 25.8% advance rate on Underdog. Knox saw only one fewer red-zone target than TE1 Mark Andrews and finished with equal touchdowns as Andrews and Travis Kelce. Those touchdowns largely buoyed Knox’s production, masking the fact that he saw only 3.3 touches per game and was the only tight end in the top 16 in points per game to have less than 50 touches on the season. While any player who is a part of this all-out passing attack in Buffalo is one we should be interested in at the minute, Knox is going a little too high for someone who might experience a dose of touchdown regression.

Verdict: Overvalued

Many of the stats here are from @FF_Spaceman‘s excellent database that collates stats from a long list of sites.

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