Best ball drafts are happening thick and fast as we edge closer to training camp, and no matter the format, there are players we should always be trying to add exposure to. These are the best-looking values in each of the first 15 rounds.
- Snake Draft Pick Strategy: Early | Middle | Late
- Draft Targets for Every Round: Early | Middle | Late
- Fitz’s Draft Primers: QB | RB | WR | TE
- Expert Consensus Fantasy Football Draft Rankings
Best Ball ADP Value by Round (Fantasy Football 2023)
Round 1 – Cooper Kupp (WR – LAR)
2022 wasn’t fun for either the Rams or those of us who chose to watch their games unless you were only watching to keep an eye on Cooper Kupp, who, despite the mess around him, continued to shine. Before Kupp’s season was curtailed by injury, he was putting up 22.4 points per reception (PPR) points per game, only behind Justin Jefferson‘s 22.6, and Kupp was one of only three wide receivers to have a target share of 30% or greater. While the Rams spluttered and disappointed week after week, the same wasn’t true for Kupp, who averaged 90.2 yards per game (third most) on 10.9 targets per game (third most).
Round 2 – Jonathan Taylor (RB – IND)
When drafts opened initially, Jonathan Taylor was a fixture in the back end of Round 1 before slowly tailing off as it became clear his fortunes might be slightly dampened by a rookie quarterback in Anthony Richardson, who might be prone to not checking the ball down as much as Taylor’s previous quarterbacks have. Now, as we edge closer to training camp, Taylor’s mid-late second-round average draft position (ADP) is starting to look like a value. Taylor has true RB1 overall upside. If Richardson helps this Colts offense become more efficient, then Taylor could be primed for a huge season as defenders struggle to take into account both Taylor & Richardson on any given play.
Round 3 – Rhamondre Stevenson (RB – NE)
The Patriots don’t typically favor a single running back. That’s in part due to the fact that for a large part of the last decade, they had James White, an excellent pass-catching back, so why wouldn’t they utilize him on plays where he could shine? The Patriots have very little behind Stevenson and nobody who looks capable of stealing a large workload from him. Even if Stevenson has to give up a few touches to another back, there’s a good chance this offense allows him to score more than the six touchdowns he had in 2022.
Round 4 – Deebo Samuel (WR – SF)
The Niners’ offense is a multitude of talented players whose value will be determined by the health of not only themselves but also by their quarterback, not for the first time. When healthy, Deebo Samuel seemed to be Brock Purdy‘s preferred target on many occasions. Samuel saw barely any drop-off in opportunities after Christian McCaffrey was acquired, putting up 8.0 touches per game before and 7.8 afterward, even while dealing with injuries. We’ve seen Samuel be a league-winner before, and perhaps he can be again, this time at a two-round discount on last year’s price.
Round 5 – Joe Mixon (RB – CIN)
Perhaps Joe Mixon gets cut before the season begins, and this starts to look a smidge foolish, but there is another realistic outcome where Mixon rolls into the season as the RB1 of a high-powered offense with little-to-zero competition now that Samaje Perine is now in Denver. The Bengals seem content to enter the season with Mixon as their main hope at running back, and when it comes to this offense, we want to attach ourselves to the players who will be a big part of the Bengals’ plans.
Round 6 – Diontae Johnson (WR – PIT)
Diontae Johnson famously scored zero touchdowns in 2022 despite having the seventh-most targets in the league (147). Johnson ranked 67th in catchable targets among wide receivers with 20 or more targets, so we can fairly say that not all of the inefficiency was on him with this Steelers offense not flush with passing touchdowns, totaling 12 passing touchdowns in the entire season. Throughout Johnson’s four-year career, he has managed five, seven and eight touchdowns before 2022’s zero. Much like the rest of the Steelers offense, we should be banking on positive regression in 2023.
Round 7 – Gabe Davis (WR – BUF)
It was a disappointing year for Gabe Davis and also those who chose to roster him with his 2022 best ball ADP hitting the fourth round of drafts before ultimately Davis was unable to deliver on the hype, struggling through an ankle injury for much of the 2022 campaign. Davis did deliver four weekly finishes inside the top 13 half-PPR wide receivers, but the disappointment has lingered for fantasy managers, with Davis now dropping to the seventh round. Given Davis’s ceiling outcomes and the lack of competition outside of Stefon Diggs, he’s still an interesting player to be taking shots with.
Round 8 – James Conner (RB – ARI)
James Conner missed three games with an injury midway through the 2022 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 set to compete with Corey Clement and Keaontay Ingram, neither of who are a solid threat for his every-down role. The Cardinals’ best bet is to roll the dice on Conner as a focal point of the offense as they try and cope without Kyler Murray for however long his recovery takes.
Round 9 – Antonio Gibson (RB – WAS)
The Commanders’ backfield wasn’t great for fantasy football in 2022, with neither Antonio Gibson nor Brian Robinson providing much in the way of fantasy returns, but where Gibson stands out is his work in the receiving game, averaging 3.9 targets per game in comparison to Robinson’s 1.0. Gibson is the more explosive and exciting prospect, and barring the Commanders adding a veteran free agent, Gibson is a real upside play for 2023. He could pay off handsomely if new offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy chooses to try and get the most out of a player who was being drafted a lot higher two years ago.
Round 10 – Damien Harris (RB – BUF)
James Cook does not profile as an every-down running back, and the Bills seem to be aware of it from their addition of Damien Harris, who is an excellent short-yardage runner. Ever since the 2022 season finished, the Bills’ coaching staff have talked about wanting Josh Allen to take fewer hits in the running game, which could open up plenty of opportunities for Harris, and it could pay off handsomely in fantasy if he’s utilized in the red zone, an area he’s excellent at succeeding within.
Round 11 – Jamaal Williams (RB – NO)
Fresh off running for over 1000 yards and scoring 17 rushing touchdowns, Jamaal Williams finds himself in a new home with the Saints, who frequently looked to use players other than Alvin Kamara around the goal line. This offense as a whole can take a step forward in 2022, and when Alvin Kamara is confirmed to miss time due to a suspension for legal troubles, Williams’ ADP could jump another round above this.
Round 12 – Michael Gallup (WR – DAL)
A year further removed from an ACL injury, Michael Gallup finds himself being drafted four rounds later than he was in 2022. Understandably Gallup’s recovery from his torn ACL meant that he was slow to get going last year and didn’t deliver upon the hype, but now a year removed, the fade seems to have gone too far. People are starting to take note of Gallup’s ADP rising 13 spots in the last month, but the 12th round still feels too low.
Round 13 – Tyler Allgeier (RB – ATL)
If it wasn’t for a certain Bijan Robinson, then Tyler Allgeier would be getting drafted perhaps as high as the third round on the back of his impressive rookie season. Alas, it was not to be, but perhaps Arthur Smith continues to be a menace to fantasy football and divides the workload more evenly than some would hope between Robinson and Allgeier, who is, after all, fresh off a rookie campaign where he finished with 1035 rushing yards. If Robinson should struggle or, God forbid, get injured, Allgeier is hands-down one of the league’s best handcuffs.
Round 14 – Juwan Johnson (TE – NO)
In 2022 only Travis Kelce scored more tight end touchdowns than Juwan Johnson’s seven, yet with the threat of Taysom Hill lurking in the New Orleans shadows, Johnson is bogged down in the 14th round. As part of a best ball roster, we can live with the occasional Taysom Hill spike week, particularly given that we saw in 2022 Johnson could be a clear fantasy option even if Hill was on the field.
Round 15 – Matthew Stafford (QB – LAR)
The Rams seem unconcerned with Matthew Stafford’s health heading into 2023, which would be a welcome relief after struggling with elbow and concussion issues in 2022. Stafford struggled behind an offensive line that was a mess which led to him being sacked at a career-high rate of 27% on plays where pressure was generated by the defense. When Stafford was kept safe by his line, his clean pocket completion rate was 72.4%, identical to 2021, and even when pressured, Stafford’s completion rate jumped to a career-high 54.7%. If the Rams’ defense is as bad as expected, Stafford could be put in fantasy-friendly, pass-heavy scripts often.