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Players That Are Better in Best Ball Formats (2022 Fantasy Football)

Players That Are Better in Best Ball Formats (2022 Fantasy Football)
cameraPlayers That Are Better in Best Ball Formats (2022 Fantasy Football)

Now that some of the largest best ball tournaments in the fantasy football community have commenced, fantasy managers are getting their first taste of drafting with new ADPs. It is also time to start identifying players who, for 2022, are better suited to win in these best ball formats rather than traditional redraft leagues.

While scoring settings may vary from site to site, the concept of selecting players who have shown that they can access tournament-winning ceilings should be weighed more heavily remains the same. Below are players worth strongly considering as better plays in best ball formats.

Lamar Jackson (QB – BAL)

Over the last three seasons, no quarterback has a higher Percentile Adjusted Rate (PAR) of scoring at least 22 fantasy points (in both regular and postseason games) than Jackson — 55%. In fact, over the last three seasons, no player had a season-high greater than Lamar Jackson‘s 2019 PAR of 82% of games scored over 22 fantasy points. Even Aaron Rodgers‘ 2020 season only achieved a PAR of 80% weekly scores eclipsing the 22-point threshold. While 2021 was marred by injury and COVID-19 list stints, Jackson has shown a consistent ceiling eclipsed by few players. Over the last three seasons, the following QBs have scored 23+ fantasy points as their 73rd percentile weekly outcome each season:

Despite the Marquise Brown trade, the Ravens still surround Jackson with talented pass catchers Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman coming off a 2021 campaign where the franchise was seventh in the NFL in pass attempts per game.

Action Item: Drafting Jackson at QB should help consolidate the position and permit flexibility at other positions. In short, drafters are getting a player that will consistently hit hard. Jackson should be considered the QB2 in Best Ball formats behind Josh Allen.

Dak Prescott (QB – DAL)

Prescott has been a set-it-and-forget-it QB over the last three seasons. Only Patrick Mahomes and Dak Prescott have three straight seasons of at least 25 fantasy points as their 73rd-percentile weekly output. Despite a season that featured Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb, and Ezekiel Elliott all sustaining injuries and coming off a devastating 2020 knee injury himself, Prescott still put up 22+ fantasy points at the sixth-highest PAR (46.7%) among quarterbacks. The receiver room may look different in 2022 with the additions of Jalen Tolbert and James Washington along with the departures of Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson, but Prescott has shown that even through adversity he can consistently score fantasy points at the highest level.

Action Item: At QB8, stacking CeeDee Lamb and Dalton Schultz with Dak Prescott doesn’t require the opportunity cost of top stacking pieces with a QB such as Joe Burrow or Josh Allen.

Aaron Jones (RB – GB)

With a depleted pass-catching group in Green Bay after the departure of Davante Adams, Aaron Jones should be a priority running back in Best Ball tournaments. In the seven games Adams has missed over the last three seasons, Aaron Jones has averaged over five receptions on nearly seven targets along with over 125 total yards and 1.4 TDs, on average finishing as the RB9 in PPR formats along with two RB1 overall weekly finishes. Additionally, Aaron Jones has scored at least 23.6 PPR fantasy points at the seventh-highest rate over the last three seasons. Despite the emergence of A.J. Dillon, Jones still scored at least 23.6 fantasy points at about the same PAR in 2021 as in 2020. The additions of Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs in the rookie draft won’t impact Jones’ role in the passing game for 2022.

Action Item: Aaron Jones is the only priority stacking option for Aaron Rodgers in the Green Bay offense. With an ADP floating around RB12, Jones should be a consideration for those hero-RB drafters.

Joe Mixon (RB – CIN)

Last season, Joe Mixon‘s PAR of at least 23.6 fantasy points was the fourth highest, only behind Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry, and Jonathan Taylor. Mixon’s 73rd-percentile weekly PPR output was the third highest only behind Christian McCaffrey and Derrick Henry. Enter a revamped offensive line: Alex Cappa (71.2 Pro Football Focus Run Block Grade) upgrades Hakeem Adeniji (47.7 PFF RBG), La’el Collins (89.8 PFF RBG — sixth-highest among all OL), and Ted Karras (67.8 PFF RBG) upgrades Trey Hopkins (48.6 PFF RBG). Despite the high ceiling, Mixon ranked sixth among all RBs in stuffed runs and 33rd in Run Block Rate, per

Action Item: With an improved offensive line, receiving goal-line carries in a high-ceiling offense led by Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, and Tee Higgins, and coming off two straight seasons with at least a 9% target share, Mixon profiles as a staple anchor/hero RB.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR – KC)

MVS is the perfect later-round Best Ball target. A newcomer from Green Bay, MVS experiences the rare lateral move from one elite quarterback in Aaron Rodgers to a new elite signal-caller in Patrick Mahomes. MVS has led the NFL in average target distance each of the past two seasons and was top five in 2019. MVS’ long targets translate into unpredictable, yet rewarding spike weeks. Not to mention, Patrick Mahomes ranked fourth among QBs in Deep Ball Attempts in 2021 — Rodgers was 11th. Over the last three seasons, MVS has finished as a top-12 WR seven different weeks. In fact, Valdes-Scantling’s PAR of scoring 19.3 points or more over the last three seasons is higher than teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster (ADP WR27), Mike Williams (WR16), and Courtland Sutton (WR22) – with MVS’s ADP hovering around WR54.

Action Item: The additions of MVS, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Skyy Moore to the Chiefs’ offense nerf any value of Mecole Hardman (ADP WR66). Don’t draft Hardman; draft MVS instead two rounds earlier.

Tyler Lockett (WR – SEA)

Many high-profile WRs have been on the move this offseason; surprisingly, Tyler Lockett was not one of them. Falling outside the top 36 of WRs in early Best Ball drafts, Lockett’s become one of Best Ball’s greatest values. Only four WRs have a better PAR of scoring 24.6 or more fantasy points over the last three seasons than Tyler Lockett (22.6%): Cooper Kupp, Davante Adams, Michael Thomas, Tyreek Hill. But nearly all of that was with Russell Wilson. In the only three-game sample that exists without Russell Wilson, Tyler Lockett did have one week where he finished as a top-five WR — without a TD. Lockett showed that he can still boom without Wilson. Whether it’s Geno Smith, Drew Lock, or another QB at the helm for the Seahawks in 2022, Tyler Lockett‘s upside is better accessed in Best Ball formats than standard redraft leagues.

Action Item: Draft Lockett with confidence as a WR4 in Best Ball. Barring injury, he’s a good bet to return that investment with just a few spike weeks.

Mike Gesicki (TE – MIA)

Over the last three seasons, Mike Gesicki has scored 16.4 or more PPR fantasy points on a PAR of 17.6% — eclipsed only by Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Mark Andrews, Rob Gronkowski, and Darren Waller. Gesicki’s athleticism and route participation opens up opportunities for big plays. Gesicki finished 2021 as TE1 in slot snaps, TE3 in Air Yards, TE5 in Air Yards Share, TE6 in Average Target Distance, TE6 in deep targets, and TE9 in target share. Gesicki’s ADP hovers around TE13, most likely due to the addition of Tyreek Hill and expected ascension of Jaylen Waddle. However, an improved Miami Dolphins offensive efficiency should offset the impact on Gesicki’s fantasy ceiling.

Action Item: The Miami Dolphins are one of the cheaper upside stacks to target: Tyreek Hill WR8, Jaylen Waddle WR14, Mike Gesicki TE13, Chase Edmonds RB36, Tua Tagovailoa QB18.

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