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Intriguing Recent Best Ball Risers

The 2018 season draws ever closer, with the Scott Fish Bowl draft starting this week. But while not everyone is able to take part in this event, almost all can still experience the joy of building a roster in best ball leagues.1

Using the RotoViz MFL10 ADP app, I’ve identified three players who have seen their popularity with best ball drafters increase in recent days. Don’t get me wrong, none of the three would seem to be players out of the top drawer. But given their situations, and in some cases their pedigree, they do make for interesting dart throws at their current prices. Let’s kick things off with New York Jets second-year running back, Elijah McGuire.

Elijah McGuire

mcguire

After playing his college ball at UL Lafayette, McGuire did not seem to be a particularly outstanding prospect heading into the 2017 NFL draft. His comps, taken from the RotoViz RB Prospect Lab, do not include many players who have taken the league by storm, as you can see below.

NAME TEAM AGE YEAR WT 40 CONE RuATTs YPG TDS RecPG SCORE
Stepfan Taylor Stanford 21.58 2013 214 4.7 7.13 23 109.29 0.93 2.93 40
David Fluellen Toledo 21.82 2014 224 4.72 6.9 18.44 123.78 1.11 3 40
Stevan Ridley Louisiana St 21.96 2011 225 4.65 6.78 19.15 88.23 1.15 0.85 40
Zac Stacy Vanderbilt 21.75 2013 216 4.53 6.7 15.92 87.77 0.77 0.77 40
Mike Gillislee Florida 22.19 2013 208 4.48 7.12 18.77 88.62 0.77 1.23 39
Dion Lewis Pittsburgh 20.3 2011 193 4.56 6.9 18.25 88.42 1.08 2.25 39
Elijah McGuire UL Lafayette 22.3 2016 214 4.53 7.26 17.85 88 0.5 2.2 38
Darel Scott Maryland 22.67 2011 211 4.31 7.15 9.38 54.56 0.38 1.08 38
Joe McKnight Southern Cal 21.65 2010 198 4.4 7.12 13.67 84.5 0.67 1.83 37
Dwayne Wright Fresno State 23.52 2007 228 4.66 7.23 21.75 121.83 0.92 2.42 37

The most promising comp would seem to be Dion Lewis. Given how effective Lewis has been for the Patriots over the last few seasons, the Jets would certainly welcome any emulation of his feats in the coming season. McGuire had a mostly quiet rookie campaign, with 88 carries for 315 yards and 17 receptions. But he, along with wide receiver Chad Hansen, seem to be two homegrown players impressing their coaches for the year ahead.

The Jets RB coach, Stump Mitchell, has spoken in glowing terms of McGuire in recent weeks. Mitchell even went so far as to say he saw a little LaDainian Tomlinson in him. That’s quite an upgrade in terms of comparison over, say, David Fluellen. Isaiah Crowell should get the bulk of the early down work for the Jets, leaving McGuire to compete for passing down work with Bilal Powell. But Powell will turn 30 during the season, and the team can save $4m in cap space if they cut him, per Over the Cap. With the Jets win total for the season projected at 6, they should be behind in quite a few contests. This could give McGuire plenty of opportunities to earn his keep in the passing game and make him well worth his late-round ADP.

Geronimo Allison

geronimo

The image above does little to support the claim that Geronimo Allison is beginning to attract the attention of the best-ball community. If we look a little further back, however, we can see that he has enjoyed quite the bump in popularity over the last month.

geronimo 2

Allison is a young wide receiver blessed by the fact that he is part of an Aaron Rodgers offense. If there’s one thing fantasy players all love, it is getting a piece of a squad quarterbacked by one of the game’s elites. Allison is competing with rookies like J’Mon Moore and Equanimeous St Brown for the coveted third WR spot, behind Davante Adams and Randall Cobb. But Allison has a slight advantage, given that he has shown some small degree of chemistry with Rodgers in his two seasons in the NFL. At the very least, it’s more than he had with Brett Hundley.

allison

If Allison is able to cement his grip on the job, then this makes him someone of extreme interest in fantasy circles. Rodgers has shown a consistent ability to prop up multiple fantasy-relevant pass catchers. Adams is, at this time, the clear-cut number one, with Cobb behind him. If this were 2014, that would make Cobb something of an impenetrable barrier. But a lot has changed since then, and very little of it for the good as far as Cobb is concerned.

cobb

With Cobb also sporting a walking boot recently, it is already starting to look like a difficult year ahead for him. And that means Allison is definitely someone to consider at his current ADP. He could be an absolute steal.

Ryan Tannehill

tannehill

It may seem odd to consider Ryan Tannehill as a late-round quarterback to target in drafts, I concede. After all, haven’t we seen how Adam Gase wants to use Tannehill when things are going right for the Dolphins? Namely, he wants to take him out of the equation and lean on the ground game. Gase did scale back Tannehill’s pass attempts from Week 6 in 2016 (the last time we saw Tannehill healthy).

tanny

Yet despite losing almost two attempts per game, and seeing his passing yardage fall by forty yards, Tannehill maintained a similar level of fantasy output. His touchdowns went up, and his interceptions went down. Gase managed to coax the most efficient season of Tannehill’s career out of him in 2016. He set career highs in yards per attempt, adjusted yards per attempt and touchdown rate with 7.7, 7.2 and 0.049 respectively. It’s almost as if tilting the offense away from Tannehill got the best out of him.

Of course, there are differences between that Dolphins team and this one. Tannehill has lost his most targeted weapon, namely Jarvis Landry. Into his stead comes Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola, as well as rookie tight end Mike Gesicki. It may take Tannehill time to establish chemistry with these players. There is also a question as to whether the run game that sustained the Dolphins two seasons ago is a thing of the past. Instead of the sprightly, physical Jay Ajayi, the Dolphins now have the aging Frank Gore, the enigmatic although efficient Kenyan Drake and the rookie Kalen Ballage. But, if somehow Gase can coax a competent ground game out of these pieces, and restrict Tannehill in the same way as in 2016, he could be an intriguing late option in two QB formats as well as best ball.

  1. if you live in areas where the activity is permitted, that is, unlike myself, over on the other side of the pond.  (back)

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