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Best Ball Players to Avoid (Fantasy Football 2023)

Best Ball Players to Avoid (Fantasy Football 2023)

The 2022 season is not long behind us, but we can already start to turn our attention to the 2023 drafts and start building our best ball portfolios. As ever, with best ball, the key to a winning roster is hitting on the players who look like the best values. Using Underdog’s early 2023 ADP, we can start to take a look at which players are being overvalued and determine if now is the right time to draft them or if we should be waiting for more information.

2023 Fantasy Football Best Ball Draft Advice

Best Ball Players to Avoid (Fantasy Football 2023)

Here are players to avoid in best ball leagues at each position.

Quarterbacks

Daniel Jones (QB – NYG) ADP 94.3 QB13

The New York Giants are currently trying to decide how to deal with the possibility of needing to extend both Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. The running back franchise tag is much cheaper and has better value than the quarterback one, so it seems to make sense that the Giants will try and get Jones under contract as soon as possible. Currently, though, we have to consider where Jones would end up if it wasn’t in New York, or do the Giants manage to build a better receiving core for him? If Barkley leaves, do the Giants find another running back who can turn 76 targets into 338 yards, and if not, does that dilute Jones’s production? There is no doubt that Jones had a fantastic year, but it feels like there are too many questions to be aggressively drafting him right now.

Kyler Murray (QB – ARI) ADP 94.9 QB14

It was the 12th of December when Kyler Murray suffered a Grade 3 ACL tear of his knee whilst scrambling to the sideline. We have seen differing timelines with injuries like this, but it feels crazy to have an optimistic spin on this one. Many players returning from similar injuries after an entire calendar year still haven’t looked the same, and this year after 14 months from an initial injury JK Dobbins had to have a second surgery to remove scar tissue. On top of all of this, Murray will be working with a new head coach, installing a new offense for the first time in Murray’s NFL career. Murray isn’t famed for his work ethic. If he’s landing in the team mid-season or later, running less than usual, it feels fair to question how effective he might be in a rebuilding Cardinals side, possibly without DeAndre Hopkins.

Running Backs

Josh Jacobs (RB – LV) ADP 23.3 – RB8

In 2022, Josh Jacobs’s averaged over 4.0 yards per carry for the second time in his career. The final year of Jacobs’s contract brought with it career-highs in attempts per game, yardage, touchdowns, receiving yards, and yards per reception. It’s entirely fair to say that the 2022 ADP got Jacobs wrong, in part because of the actions of the team that led people to be low on him. Heading into 2023, though, we currently don’t know if Jacobs will return to the Raiders and what the situation at quarterback would look like if he did. If Jacobs lost work in the receiving game or some of his touchdown equity, his value could regress quickly.

Travis Etienne (RB – JAC) ADP 26.8 RB10

When James Robinson was traded to the Jets mid-season, many thought that it spelled the dawn of Travis Etienne, a workhorse running back. Etienne went on to be the RB17 between Weeks 8 and 17, averaging just 13.7 PPR points. While the Jaguars have done nothing but show faith in Etienne, it’s worth mentioning that Doug Pederson didn’t draft him, and during the playoffs JaMycal Hasty out-snapped Etienne against the Chiefs, with 57% to 43%. At this cost, Etienne feels a little too pricey, and it’s better to wait to see if it falls further into the third round as the offseason continues.

Joe Mixon (RB – CIN) ADP 35 RB12

The Bengals have a talented offense, but with it comes the welcome headache of who to pay and when. Joe Mixon was signed to a new contract in September 2020, and now even before the off-the-field troubles cropped up, he looks primed to be moved on in exchange for opening up $7.2m of cap savings. When Mixon missed time through injury in 2022, Samaje Perine staked a claim to be more involved going forward and continuously ate into Mixon’s workload to the point that in playoff games, he averaged 48% of snaps. Mixon is a luxury the Bengals no longer need, and at the end of the third round, he’s too expensive with question marks looming over him.

Javonte Williams (RB – DEN) ADP 48.2 RB17

It was shaping up to be a nice season for Javonte Williams before he tore his ACL and LCL in early October. Williams will face an uphill struggle to be ready for the start of the season. He could face the same issues that other running backs coming off an ACL injury have struggled through, namely a lack of explosiveness and inability to hit their top speeds. The Broncos will likely have to bring in another running back to start the season unless they feel comfortable with Chase Edmonds being their main option, and with a new head coach, Williams will need to prove he is capable of being a three-down back. 2024 feels like a better year to be in on Williams.

2023 NFL Draft Guide: Prospect Rankings & Player Profiles

Wide Receivers

Deebo Samuel (WR – SF) ADP 29.4 WR14

Deebo Samuel had a far less relevant fantasy year in 2022 after the outstanding WR3 campaign he had in 2021. Samuel managed only two top-twelve weekly finishes, with the rest of his weekly finishes being 19th or worse, with seven outside the top 30. In best ball, we want players capable of huge spike weeks, and it seems like Samuel will struggle for these, with Christian McCaffrey now commanding such a large amount of fantasy work. Paying a third-round price for a player coming off two games over 16 PPR points doesn’t feel great at all, not to mention the question marks at quarterback.

Christian Watson (WR – GB) ADP 47.4 WR20

Between Weeks 10 and 13, Christian Watson was the WR3, putting up 99 PPR points and pulling fantasy rosters toward the playoffs. It remains to be seen what happens at quarterback in Green Bay, with Aaron Rodgers most likely traded away at this point due to the cap issues with his contract, and it also feels like it might be best for everyone involved to have a clean break. Without Rodgers, Watson’s value feels very difficult to project. If a rookie comes in, can Watson expect to connect on as many high-value touches? Does the offense take a step back, like the Steelers did this year, scoring far fewer touchdowns? These are all valid questions.

Tyler Boyd (WR – CIN) ADP 116 WR49

After seven years in the league, Tyler Boyd seems to be missing a beat, and his production regressed heavily in 2022. Boyd had his fewest targets, catches, and yards since 2017, when he missed half the season through injury. On top of this, Boyd only found his way into the top 20 wide receivers on two occasions and had ten finishes outside of the top 30 with seven games featuring single-digit point returns. In best ball, we want ceiling outcomes instead of safe floors, and Boyd’s ceiling outcomes seem to be behind him now. The Bengals can also easily move on from him this off-season.

Tight Ends

George Kittle (TE – SF) ADP 45.6 TE3

One of the easiest fades should be George Kittle, despite coming off a career-high 11 touchdowns. Kittle feasted against opponents who were weak against the position, dominating the Seahawks and Cardinals in particular, with 6 touchdowns against them across three games. Kittle had the second-highest touchdown rate of any tight end with 50 or more targets and, in the eight games with no touchdowns, averaged only seven PPR points per game. If Kittle wasn’t scoring, he wasn’t helping you. There also remain plenty of questions about the Niners’ quarterback situation.

Cole Kmet (TE – CHI) ADP 121.7 TE13

There was a two-week spell this year where Cole Kmet was a top-two option at the position, but that was as good as it got for him, with only three top-12 finishes throughout the season. Eight of Kmet’s finishes came outside the top 20, and he scored less than 10 points in 75% of his games. With the Bears set to bring in more target competition, it’s entirely possible that we’ve seen Kmet at his best for fantasy purposes.

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