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6 Players Who Gain Value in Best Ball Drafts (2024 Fantasy Football)

6 Players Who Gain Value in Best Ball Drafts (2024 Fantasy Football)

You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘better in best ball’ thrown around when talking about some players in fantasy football. It’s often used for players with higher ceiling outcomes but low floors. The annoying types for redraft leagues where you can never trust them from one week to the next. In best ball, with optimized rosters every week, that’s much less of a pain. This article will cover six players that gain value in best ball formats.

Undervalued Best Ball Players

Cole Kmet (TE – CHI)

The Bears tight end could be one of the poster boys for better in best ball after a couple of frustrating years with Justin Fields under center. In 2022, Kmet put up straight weeks with less than 10 points, including four finishes as the TE35 or worse, before finally scoring 22.0 points and 23.4 points in back-to-back games. But if you thought that was the start of a Kmet breakout you’d be disappointed, as Kmet followed those top-two finishes with TE17 and 24 finishes before his final top-15 appearance of the season in Week 13. In 2023, Kmet displayed slightly more consistency with one three-week spell inside of the top twelve and another of four consecutive weeks but Kmet still disappeared at times with fewer than five PPR points in 31.2% of appearances. Getting a virtual zero in multiple weeks of managed leagues is a hard pill to swallow. In best ball, though, we can build around that tendency and hopefully make up for it.

Gabe Davis (WR – BUF)

The most divisive player in fantasy football continued to divide opinion with his stat lines and production, providing a Rorschach test to fantasy managers. Those who enjoy the Gabe Davis experience saw four top-12 weekly finishes, along with two more inside the top 24 at the position. He did record five games of over 21.0 points — for what it’s worth those, five finishes over 21.0 points were more than AJ Brown, Amari Cooper, Nico Collins, Davante Adams, Brandon Aiyuk and Davis’ Buffalo teammate, Stefon Diggs, among others.

Meanwhile, those who sway towards the more negative side will pinpoint Davis’ four finishes with zero points, along with a further three below five. In best ball, this is a problem you can live with, as long as you’ve selected several WRs ahead of Davis. It might be more problematic if you’ve leaned running back heavily early on.

Jaylen Warren (RB – PIT)

The Steelers found themselves at the end of 2023 with a strong two-headed running back committee, which should be viewed as one of their strengths heading into 2024. In 2023, Jaylen Warren was the clear value play being drafted 70 spots later than Najee Harris (44.5) and it was debatable over who was the better back of the pairing. Warren finished as the RB4 in rushing yards over expected, with 162 on 149 attempts. It was Harris, though, who kept a stranglehold on the RB1 duties with his bigger size being an asset around the goal line. Warren feels primed to push Harris even further in 2024 but there will be weeks where game flow favors Harris and Warren languishes in the single-digit returns.

De’Von Achane (RB – MIA)

A few months after De’Von Achane took the NFL and fantasy football by storm, drafters aren’t getting a discount on him in early 2024 drafts with his average draft position (ADP) at 16.7. Achane led all running backs with 8.0 yards per carry (min. 50 attempts) and his Week 3 score of 51.3 points was the third-most of any player this season (most of any running backs). When we zoom out, though, Achane played in 10 games and finished as a top-eight running back in five. He finished as the RB24 or worse in the other five, including three games with less than five points. The knock on Achane coming out was that his 190-pound frame might not hold up to the difficulties of the NFL RB position, which proved correct with Achane missing seven games of his rookie season. In redraft, losing a second-round pick for seven games can be a killer blow, but in best ball, it’s possible to survive it, as long as Achane delivers when on the field.

Lamar Jackson (QB – BAL)

The 2023 almost-undisputed MVP, Lamar Jackson finished as the QB1 overall on three occasions in 2023, including 10 top-10 finishes, but there were a few weeks where things weren’t so pretty. Jackson finished as the QB20 or worse on three occasions and scored 15.0 points or below in 37.5% of appearances. With Gus Edwards becoming an excellent threat around the goal line there were occasions when the Ravens didn’t need Jackson to throw the ball, harming his fantasy output. Jackson is still a fine play in managed leagues but his value increases in best ball where we can build around the possible downside.

Calvin Ridley (WR – JAX)

Expectations were probably too high for Calvin Ridley coming off almost two full years without playing. The Jaguars could have done a better job of scheming him some easier catches at times, instead of everything being on the boundary in low-probability catch situations. Until we see otherwise, however, Ridley feels like a volatile asset. In 2023, Ridley had only one two-week stretch where he finished as a top-24 WR in back-to-back weeks. Aside from this, his weekly finishes ping-ponged between top-10 to WR81, WR9 to WR56, and so on. Ridley’s ceiling is WR1 on any given week, as he proved in Week 11. His catch rate of 56% was tied for bottom among top-30 WRs in 2023, which needs to change to make him reliable enough for redraft, whereas in best ball, the ceiling is still worth chasing.

Best Ball Draft Strategy

Best Ball Draft Targets & Fades

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