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Best Ball Players to Target (2023 Fantasy Football)

Best Ball Players to Target (2023 Fantasy Football)
cameraBest Ball Players to Target (2023 Fantasy Football)

With a month until the NFL Draft, there is still time to draft plenty of best ball teams and adjust your exposures to players you want to have strong closing line value on. Rookies, in particular, will experience a bump in their value when we know their landing spots, while veterans are susceptible to drops down the draft boards. You should target these players before the next set of best ball competitions rolls out. The average draft position (ADP) is taken from Underdog’s Big Board contest.

2023 Fantasy Football Best Ball Draft Advice

Best Ball: Players to Target (Fantasy Football 2023)

Lamar Jackson (QB – BAL) 47.5

There are still many tweets to be tweeted before the Lamar Jackson contract saga gets put to bed. The short of it is that this situation seems to be more about money than a completely broken-down relationship, and when things are about money, they often have a way of working themselves out. Jackson is currently being drafted as the QB6, and barring a trade to a team like the Colts, who have even fewer pass-catchers than the Ravens, he could turn into a steal.

The Ravens removed offensive coordinator Greg Roman, who had hindered the passing game to the point that Marquise Brown requested a trade a year ago. Todd Monken should be a breath of fresh air to the Ravens’ offense, and the moment a contract is signed, expect a jump of 6-12 spots in ADP.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR – FA) 52.7

Few things are as sure as the bump in ADP that top rookie prospects will get after the draft. There are offenses where Jaxon Smith-Njigba might not be the primary target, but he’s an elite pass-catcher from the slot and will earn targets at a high enough rate to make himself very relevant. We’ve seen players labeled as slot receivers come into the league and be fantasy gold mines, most recently Amon-Ra St. Brown and Justin Jefferson. Smith-Njigba could be drafted virtually anywhere in the first round, according to mock drafts, but the landing spot really shouldn’t detrimentally affect his outlook. Grab yourself some JSN now before the cost jumps a round in a month’s time.

Marquise Brown (WR – ARI) 63.0

Rumors continue to swirl about DeAndre Hopkins‘ likely destination, and the one thing almost everyone can agree on is that it makes little sense for the Cardinals to keep a 31-year-old wide receiver, whose cap number is $29 million this year. Brown will be the unquestioned WR1 of this offense when Hopkins is traded, with little pass-catching competition. While it is fair to expect this Cardinals offense to be a mess this season, with Kyler Murray likely missing much, if not all, of the season, Brown has shown that he can be deployed in a number of ways. If Murray is back by the end of the season, then we might be in for some big spike weeks right at the time of year when points really count.

Darren Waller (TE – NYG) 87.1

The Giants have made efforts to surround Daniel Jones with better pass-catchers in 2023, and the best they’ve acquired so far is Darren Waller, who cost them the 100th pick in this year’s draft. Many of the other players the Giants have brought in are smaller slot receivers, but Waller is a much bigger-bodied receiver who can play close to the line of scrimmage and downfield on the perimeter. Under Brian Daboll, we saw the Giants’ offense take a notable leap forward in 2022. Despite the lack of healthy pass-catchers, now they have a chance to make a bigger leap in year two, and Waller should be the focus of much of the passing game.

James Conner (RB – ARI) 99.6

Another Cardinal player on this list is James Conner, who somehow is slipping down draft boards after flashing nicely in 2022. Conner missed three games with an injury midway through the season, but from Week 9 onwards was a top-five running back on four occasions and only finished outside the top 15 on one occasion. Conner is currently being drafted as the RB32, behind the likes of James Cook and Khalil Herbert, who look set to compete in running back committees.

Meanwhile, Conner is set to compete with Corey Clement and Keaontay Ingram, neither of who are a serious threat to his every-down role. The Cardinals’ best bet is to roll the dice on Conner as a focal point of the offense as they cope without Kyler Murray, and they have little choice with the cost of cutting Conner $13 million in dead money, compared to $9 million for keeping him on the roster.

Chigoziem Okonkwo (TE – TEN) 140.3

Chigoziem Okonkwo went from being a small-time player in the first half of the season to becoming very fantasy worthy down the stretch. Between Weeks 12-17, Okonkwo had 2.5 yards per route run, the third highest among all pass-catchers with 10 catches or more. With the Titans not exactly flush with pass-catchers, Okonkwo can be excellent for fantasy in 2023.

Samaje Perine (RB – DEN) 143.4

The Bengals offered Samaje Perine the same money as the Broncos did, but Perine was sold on Sean Payton’s vision of using him heavily, so much so that he left the Super Bowl contenders to join the question mark that is the Broncos. Nevertheless, it looks like a smart move, with Javonte Williams reportedly set to miss anywhere between a few games to an entire season in 2023.

During 2022 Perine looked better than fellow Bengal Joe Mixon at times, with 4.2 yards per carry to Mixon’s 4.0 and 26 missed tackles to Mixon’s 33 but on 110 fewer attempts. If the Broncos are without Williams for an extended period, then Perine can fill in on all three downs, which he showcased last year with 7.6 yards per reception to Mixon’s 7.3. The Broncos were a mess in 2022, but Sean Payton is setting them up to be a run-heavy team in 2023, with offensive line upgrades a key area of his focus.

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