One of my favorite things about playing the best ball fantasy football is that the equation for an optimal build is constantly changing. I’m not talking about roster construction. I’m talking about specific player targets. A player I loved last week may no longer be a value after the right rumor or free agency signing. It’s what makes drafting these squads so addicting and gratifying for eight consecutive months.
Two of the biggest influencers of ADP this early in best ball draft season are the NFL combine, which can drive rookies up and down the board, and NFL free agency. With the former behind us and the latter in full swing, which players are have earned greater confidence from drafters in FFPC best ball leagues as compared to 30 days ago? I used the RotoViz FFPC Best Ball dashboard to explore.
For the purposes of this article, I also excluded team defenses and kickers from the query. Over the past 30 days, only two players saw their ADP rise more than a full round (12 spots) in FFPC Best Ball drafts.
1. Baker Mayfield | Quarterback, Cleveland Browns
Mayfield’s sharp rise in average draft position correlates directly with the team’s trade for Odell Beckham Jr. on March 12. Prior to the trade, Mayfield had only been drafted one time within the top-70 since mid-February. However, in the six days since the trade, he’s been selected inside the top-70 in eight out of nine completed drafts.
There was already plenty to like about Mayfield prior to the team adding one of the premier pass catchers in the league. He had one of the best rookie seasons by a quarterback in NFL history and he was fantasy QB5 in points per game over his final eight contests. Savvy drafters also would have noted that new Browns offensive coordinator Todd Monken helped lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the most passing yards in the NFL over the 2017 and 2018 seasons. However, the addition of Beckham Jr. needs to be given proper consideration in the Mayfield ADP equation moving forward.
Mayfield was one of the league’s best downfield passers as a rookie despite marginal talent Breshad Perriman being his best available deep threat. You’ll notice from the AYA chart below that Mayfield didn’t get much in return from his receiving corps on slants last season, with the entire group managing a meager 4.78 AYA.
Insert Beckham Jr. to the equation.
In addition to posting elite AYA on deep targets for his career, OBJ is absolutely one of the most dangerous receivers in the NFL on short crossing routes. Mayfield is going to get more than a handful of big fantasy plays in 2019 on calls where he doesn’t have to do much. This was an element entirely missing from his arsenal as a rookie.
The addition of Beckham Jr. to the mix certainly helps reinforce Mayfield’s scoring floor and more importantly (given his ADP) raise his scoring ceiling. He was a solid value prior to the trade, but the discount is gone as he’s now sporting a fifth round ADP and has even been drafted in the fourth round twice in the past week. For the record, I think overall fantasy QB1 is within Mayfield’s range of outcomes this season and he has a top-8 floor. You could do worse than calling his name early in best ball drafts, though I still prefer the round five-six turn as a more comfortable location for grabbing my shares versus the late fourth, as some drafters have done in the past week,
2. Chris Godwin | Wide Receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Godwin’s ADP has risen more than a round due to his new de facto team WR2 status as result of DeSean Jackson’s exodus to the Philadelphia Eagles via trade last week.
The former 2017 NFL Draft third-round selection enjoyed a breakout sophomore season, finishing with a line of 59/842/7 on 95 targets and appeared in all 16 games. Jackson’s exit is a big deal, given what we’ve seen from Godwin in games when the diminutive speedster didn’t suit up.
Over a six-game sample size, Godwin paced at 14.95 PPR points per game, which would amount to 239 PPR points over a projected full season. Hitting that number would’ve tied Godwin for PPR WR14 with T.Y. Hilton in 2018. Granted, Tampa Bay has installed a new regime, but new head coach Bruce Arians has driven some high-end fantasy production for his WR2 when he’s had talented players filling that role.
- Santonio Holmes posted a PPR WR14 season in 2009
- Antonio Brown was PPR WR24 in 2011
- Michael Floyd managed a PPR WR27 performance in 2013
- John Brown was PPR WR25 in 2015
Given that Godwin already has a PPR WR26 season under his belt (2018), he’s still an ascending talent (entering year three) and his new play-caller has supported multiple legitimate fantasy wide receivers on the same team four times in the past decade, I think Godwin is absolutely still a target even at his new mid-sixth round price.