Now that most rookie drafts are in the rearview mirror, best ball is a great way to fill your fantasy football desires in the offseason. Furthermore, you can scratch the fantasy itch without adding 20 new dynasty leagues to your plate. However, they are also a great way to set your money on fire if you don’t understand how the game works.
Like every other form of fantasy football, it is critical to find the best values throughout the draft. So let’s look at the best value in each round of an 18-round best ball draft.
The average draft position (ADP) used for this article comes from Underdog Fantasy.
Round 1 – Dalvin Cook (RB – MIN): ADP 10.4
Last season was a down one for Cook. The veteran running back averaged only 14.6 fantasy points per game last year, his lowest average since his sophomore season. However, Cook had over 1,150 rushing yards for the third straight season. He also averaged 4.7 yards per rushing attempt, matching his career average. The reason for Cook’s struggles was a lack of touchdowns. Cook had only six last season after scoring 29 rushing touchdowns the previous two years. With a new offensive-minded head coaching running the show in Minnesota, Cook could end the year as the overall RB1.
Round 2 – Mike Evans (WR – TB): ADP 18.8
The Buccaneers have one of the most explosive passing attacks in the NFL, partly because of Evans. He has been arguably the most consistent fantasy wide receiver since entering the league. Evans has put together eight straight seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards. He also has 27 receiving touchdowns since Tom Brady joined the team. Furthermore, Evans was a force in the playoffs last year without Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown. He had 17 receptions on 26 targets for 236 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the Buccaneers’ two playoff games. With Godwin likely out the first few weeks of the season, Evans will provide top-five production early on for your team.
Round 3 – Mike Williams (WR – LAC): ADP 28.9
Coming off the best year of his career, Williams signed a three-year contract worth $60 million with the Chargers. Last year, he had over 120 targets, 75 receptions, and 1,100 receiving yards for the first time in his career. More importantly, Williams was the WR10 last year, ahead of teammate Keenan Allen. Despite rumors that the Chargers would add a wide receiver early during the NFL Draft, they didn’t add any wide receivers in the draft or sign a veteran in free agency. Williams has too much upside to pass up in the third round, especially with Justin Herbert under center.
Round 4 – Cam Akers (RB – LAR): ADP 46.4
Last year was a lost year for Akers. While it’s impressive that he returned only six months after suffering a torn Achilles, Akers didn’t look 100% during the playoffs. However, fantasy players should be encouraged by how Akers ended his rookie season. He averaged 13.2 fantasy points per game over his final five games in 2020. Akers then had 46 rushing attempts for 221 yards and two touchdowns and averaged 4.8 yards per rushing attempt in the Rams’ two playoff games that year. With Sony Michel in Miami and Darrell Henderson‘s injury history, Akers has no threat to his feature role this season.
Round 5 – Brandin Cooks (WR – HOU): ADP 54.1
Cooks has always been among the most underrated wide receivers in the NFL and the fantasy football world. Despite playing for four teams during his career, Cooks has averaged at least 11.3 fantasy points per game in all but one season. Furthermore, he was a fantasy star last year. Cooks averaged 8.3 targets per game and a 26.9% target share last year, both ranking in the top 12 among wide receivers. While the Texans drafted John Metchie, the rookie likely won’t be ready until midseason after suffering a torn ACL late last year. Furthermore, the Texans will be in negative game script most of the time this season. Thus, giving Cooks top 10 upside in the fifth round.
Round 6 – Jalen Hurts (QB – PHI): ADP 63.4
In his first year as the full-time starter, Hurts was the QB9 and averaged 20.8 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, he tied for the QB6 finish on a points per game basis with Aaron Rodgers. However, he should take another step forward in 2022. The Eagles made the blockbuster trade for A.J. Brown during the NFL Draft. They also signed Zach Pascal in free agency. More importantly, Hurts and Josh Allen were the only two quarterbacks to throw for over 3,000 yards and rush for over 750 yards last season. Hurts is entering his second year as the unquestioned starter and should take a massive step forward in his development, especially with the addition of Brown.
Round 7 – AJ Dillon (RB – GB): ADP 73.1
After losing Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling this offseason, the Packers will lean on their two star running backs in 2022. Last year, Dillon averaged only 3.6 fantasy points per game less than Aaron Jones despite playing 129 fewer snaps. Furthermore, Dillon had more rushing attempts, rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns than Jones while nearly matching him in receiving yards. More importantly, Dillon has an ADP almost five rounds later than Jones. Therefore, fantasy players should pass on Jones early on and grab Dillon in the seventh round.
Round 8 – Tony Pollard (RB – DAL): ADP 86.3
Pollard has always been a popular breakout candidate, given his explosive running ability. Last year he had a career year in many categories, including rushing attempts (130), rushing yards (719), yards per attempt (5.5), receptions (39), targets (46) and receiving yards (337). Ezekiel Elliott battled injuries last year and had a career-low 237 rushing attempts. As a result, Pollard earned more of a role last year, and it should grow this season. Furthermore, the Cowboys lost Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson this offseason and have hinted at playing Pollard in the slot in certain situations. If Elliott suffers an injury, Pollard becomes a league winner. Even if Elliott stays healthy, Pollard will provide consistent fantasy production.
Round 9 – Melvin Gordon (RB – DEN): ADP 107.6
When the Broncos re-signed Gordon, it dented Javonte Williams‘ fantasy value for this season. However, re-signing with Denver was a solid move for Gordon’s fantasy value. Last year, he averaged 11.3 fantasy points per game and rushed for just under 1,000 yards. Gordon also had at least eight rushing touchdowns for the sixth consecutive year. Furthermore, he scored at least 16 fantasy points in over 30% of the games last year. If Williams misses time with an injury, Gordon has top 10 upside.
Round 10 – Rashaad Penny (RB – SEA): ADP 115.1
Penny is arguably the most polarizing running back in fantasy football. After scoring only 140.6 fantasy points in his first three years in the NFL, Penny scored 118.7 fantasy points in 10 games last season. However, 107.7 (90.7%) of his fantasy points from last season came over the final five weeks of the year. Furthermore, the Seahawks used a second-round pick on Kenneth Walker while Chris Carson is still on the roster. All of that is why Penny is a risk pick in redraft leagues. However, his strong finish to the 2021 season makes Penny the perfect upside pick in Best Ball. If Penny can stay healthy this season, he is a potential league winner.
Round 11 – Dameon Pierce (RB – HOU): ADP 129.4
Houston was an ideal landing spot for a rookie running back, given the current players on the roster. Veterans Marlon Mack and Rex Burkhead are Pierce’s competition for the starting role in Houston. However, they shouldn’t keep Pierce off the field as a rookie. Mack has 37 touches over the past two years, while Burkhead had one game with over 47 rushing yards last season. Furthermore, there have been reports that Pierce could take over as the lead back sooner than later. He could quickly earn the starting role and become a steal at his current price. Rarely can you find running backs with mid-RB2 upside outside the top 100 picks. However, Pierce has that level of upside.
Round 12 – Jahan Dotson (WR – WAS): ADP 138.4
Terry McLaurin has been away from the team as his agent works out a long-term deal with the Commanders. Without McLaurin on the field, Dotson has shined as the No. 1 wide receiver. Multiple reports have shown that he and Carson Wentz have built a strong connection during camp. McLaurin is all but guaranteed to show up well before Week 1. However, Dotson could have top 20 upside if McLaurin holds out. Furthermore, Dotson has the big play ability to become a consistent player for the Commanders and fantasy teams as a rookie regardless of McLaurin’s contract situation.
Round 13 – Jameis Winston (QB – NO): ADP 154.6
Despite a lack of weapons, Winston had 14 passing touchdowns and only three interceptions in seven games last year before tearing his ACL. He scored over 25 fantasy points in two of those contests. Instead of drafting a quarterback with one of their two first-round picks, the Saints used the draft capital on Chris Olave and Trevor Penning, giving Winston help on offense. Furthermore, they signed Jarvis Landry this offseason and should get back Michael Thomas after he missed the entire 2021 season. Winston was the QB14 on a points per game basis last year. Winston has top 10 upside this season, thanks to his trio of weapons.
Round 14 – Darrel Williams (RB – ARI): ADP 157.5
While Clyde Edwards-Helaire got all hype in the Kansas City backfield heading into last season, Williams was the running back to shine. He ended the year as the RB22, averaging a career-high 10.1 fantasy points per game. Williams also showed he could play a role in the passing game last season, averaging a career-high 2.8 receptions for 26.6 receiving yards per contest. Meanwhile, the Cardinals lost Chase Edmonds and his 10.2 fantasy points per game average from last season in free agency. Williams could fill that role next season. Furthermore, James Conner has struggled with injuries in his career. If Conner misses time, Williams becomes a league winner in that Arizona offense.
Round 15 – James Robinson (RB – JAC): ADP 171.5
Unfortunately, Robinson suffered a torn Achilles towards the end of last year. The injury could cause him to miss the beginning of the 2022 season. However, there have been reports that Robinson could be ready for the start of training camp or shortly after. Plus, with Akers’ quick recovery last season, there is hope Robinson could be close to 100% in Week 1. Regardless, taking a shot on him this late in the draft is a steal. Robinson has averaged 4.6 yards per rushing attempt and 13.7 fantasy points per game in his career. While Travis Etienne will limit Robinson’s upside, he is an injury to Etienne away from returning to his mid-RB2 status.
Round 16 – Brian Robinson (RB – WAS): ADP 189.9
Even after re-signing J.D. McKissic, Washington used a third-round pick on Robinson. However, they didn’t use that high of a draft pick to give him two to three rushing attempts per game. Instead, Robinson will see consistent touches as the Commanders try to lighten Antonio Gibson‘s workload. Gibson has only missed three games in his NFL career but has repeatedly gotten slowed down by shin and toe injuries. As a result, Robinson will likely steal some early-down work and goal-line attempts from Gibson. Furthermore, Robinson becomes a league winner if Gibson misses significant time with an injury.
Round 17 – D’Onta Foreman (RB – CAR): ADP 200.8
Christian McCaffrey has played only 10 games the past two years because of injuries. While the handcuffs behind him have been hit or miss, Foreman should be better than those players. Last year, he averaged 4.3 yards per rushing attempt and 9.9 fantasy points per game, filling in for Derrick Henry. However, Foreman finished the year on a positive note after taking over as the lead guy post-Henry’s injury. He averaged 12.7 fantasy points per game over the final five games of the year, scoring 13 or more fantasy points three times. If McCaffrey misses significant time again, Foreman will turn into a top 24 running back as his replacement.
Round 18 – Romeo Doubs (WR – GB): ADP 211.1
Even after losing their top two wide receivers from last year’s squad, the Packers didn’t draft a wide receiver in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Instead, they waited till the middle rounds to grab Christian Watson and Doubs. Meanwhile, Doubs had over 2,100 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns in his final 20 games at Nevada. He won’t turn into the next Adams, but Doubs could become the new No. 1 wide receiver in Green Bay this season. Furthermore, there have been several reports so far this offseason of Doubs impressing during camp. He is a total wild card, but if Doubs impresses during camp, his ADP will be at least 75-100 spots higher come August.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.