For those that do not know me, my twitter handle is @FFLinx, and I do a high volume of best ball drafts yearly. I do several hundred drafts a year, and this year I am well over one hundred already. With redraft season coming up and the height of best ball drafts happening now it is hard for me to keep up with writing articles while drafting anywhere from 20-40 best ball drafts at a time. Many times you hear experts talk about the guys they love, but talk is cheap.
I have decided to prove to everyone who the guys I love are by offering you my top 20 owned players, so far this offseason on MFL. For better or worse I will give you my top 20 owned with a short blurb on each player.
Albert Wilson – 34.8% – Wilson can be owned for (virtually) free in rounds 16-20. Miami has a target hole since they traded Jarvis Landry’s and signed Wilson to a 3yr / 24 million dollar contract to help fill that hole. Wilson ranked second in the NFL in Yac/Target last season and is a dark horse to lead the Dolphins in targets.
Lamar Miller – 28.8% – Every year I have one player I believe is being criminally under drafted that I pound the table for. Last year it was Mark Ingram, and this year it is Miller. Miller has been very consistent, and while playing with Deshaun Watson, he was the RB8 overall. Houston did not draft any running back to compete with Miller, and D’Onta Foreman is looking likely to start the season on PUP. For a deeper look at my reasoning for loving Miller read here.
Duke Johnson – 27.3% – The RB11 in PPR leagues last year with only 82 rushing attempts. Most of my exposure to Johnson was accrued prior to the Jarvis Landry trade/re-signing and the drafting of Nick Chubb. I still believe Duke is a value as he is regularly slipping into the eighth and ninth round. I don’t expect Carlos Hyde or Nick Chubb to challenge Duke for third down work.
Travis Kelce – 25.8% – In the early, to mid third round I will take him every time. In best ball leagues, the significant advantage Kelce provides is often overlooked. He is almost a lock for 80 catches and 1,000 yards. Rob Gronkowski would likely be on this list as well, but in early drafts I passed on him, due to the possible retirement talks.
Michael Crabtree – 24.2% – He has moved up in drafts recently, but while in the sixth round, he is still one of the best wide receiver values in the NFL. Crabtree has been one of the most consistent and skilled wide receivers in the league for several seasons. Many owners are nervous about a wide receiver changing teams, but Baltimore’s entire wide receiver corps is new. Crabtree could realistically lead the NFL in targets.
Zach Ertz – 24.2% – I love Ertz for the same reason I love Kelce. If you can gain a weekly advantage at tight end, you will have a much higher success rate. I am very comfortable taking him in the late third or early fourth round.
Tyrell Williams – 24.2% – There has been a ton of hype around Keenan Allen after the Hunter Henry injury. People forget that Tyrell Williams had over one thousand yards two seasons ago. With Henry out for the season and Antonio Gates gone, Williams should be the second option for Phillip Rivers and can be drafted in round twelve or later.
Javorius “Buck” Allen – 22.7% – The RB23 in PPR last season, he has been cast aside in drafts. Often available in round twenty, he’s one of the best values in best ball. The Ravens did not draft a running back leaving him behind only undrafted Alex Collins. Yes, Kenneth Dixon could take his role, but he’s coming off an injury and was also suspended for recreational and performance-enhancing drugs. Using a round 18-20 picks on the RB23 whose situation did not change from last season, seems like an easy decision.
LeSean McCoy – 21.2% – Yes, the Bills likely have the worst offensive core in the NFL with a bad line. McCoy has been accustomed to being on bad teams and still producing year after year. No matter how bad the situation is, he will get enough volume to be an RB1 who can be taken anywhere from the middle of the second round to the early third.
Bilal Powell – 21.2% – The Jets will be bad and playing from behind often. Powell is a great PPR running back that can be had in round 12 plus. I have been drafting him less often with the news that he could lose third-down work to Elijah McGuire.
Demarco Murray – 21.2% – I love to draft Free Agents whose ADP would jump 5+ rounds once they sign somewhere. I have had a lot of success doing so and believe Murray is a great dart throw in round thirteen and after. He may not sign until closer to the start of the season, but I would try getting some exposure before he does and his price rises.
Kenny Stills – 21.2% – With Jarvis Landry gone I believe Stills will be the Dolphins WR1 and should have a bunch of spike weeks. His ADP is slowly creeping up into the ninth and tenth round, and I would not be surprised if he passes Devante Parker come August.
Carlos Hyde – 19.7% – Most of my exposure was before the Nick Chubb signing but now being drafted in round seven, I still believe he will be a value.
Rishard Matthews – 19.7% – The Titans WR1 can be had in the double-digit rounds. A lot of the hype will be with Corey Davis, but I believe Matthews will outproduce him again this season while being taken more than five rounds later.
Jordan Matthews – 19.7% – I have always been a fan of Jordan Matthews, he was misused and mismanaged in Buffalo. If there’s one thing the Patriots do especially well it is to take players from Buffalo and utilizes them to their full potential. Jordan Matthews can lineup anywhere and with Julian Edelman suspended four games. He will get his shot in the best offense in the NFL. In rounds fifteen and sixteen he is one of my favorite targets.
Kelvin Benjamin – 19.7% – Any time you can get a teams WR1 in the double-digit rounds I will take it. The Bills could be the worst offense in the NFL, but this means they will be throwing the ball early and often.
Tyler Lockett – 19.7% – Tyler Lockett is the perfect late round best ball target. The Seahawks lost Paul Richardson and Jimmy Graham which makes Lockett the number two target for one of the best quarterback’s in the league. The defense is headed in a downward trajectory and should offer plenty of opportunities for Lockett to outproduce his ADP with some very big spike weeks.
Tavon Austin – 19.7% – I know Tavon Austin won’t get 20 touches a game, but this is easily one of the worst receiving corps in the NFL. The Cowboys will need to come up with creative ways to move the ball, and as their “web-back” I do expect them to try and use him in creative ways.
Cam Newton – 18.2% – Cam is a top-five quarterback year after year but can be had in rounds seven through nine. His rushing gives him a huge floor, and he will likely own a few of the highest scoring games of any quarterback in the league throughout the season.
Odell Beckham Jr. – 18.2% – I have had a lot of picks in the 10-12 range, and I have grabbed OBJ every single time he is there. OBJ has upside to be the WR1 and has often fallen to end of the first or the beginning of the second. I don’t believe I need much reasoning to justify exposure to him.
This may not be my list of favorite players or values, but it is who I have drafted most often during the offseason. Keep in mind as the season nears this list will change significantly. As a bonus below I have provided my top value at each position that did not make my top twenty in exposure:
QB – Matthew Stafford – Year in and year out Stafford is a top 10 quarterback and is my number two highest owned quarterback after Cam Newton.
RB – Giovani Bernard – I am not a big Joe Mixon believer and with Jeremy Hill gone Gio is the unquestioned complement to Mixon who has also shown he can be a three-down back if anything happens to Mixon. He can be had in the early double-digit rounds.
WR – Jamison Crowder – Alex Smith should regress from being the best deep ball passer in the NFL to the best game manager (sorry Jared Goff). Crowder is a dark horse for 90+ receptions in an offense that will check down often.
TE – George Kittle – This is more of an upside play. I have grabbed him often in round nine and ten when I do not take one of my “big 3” tight ends. Kittle is an athletic freak who would have been up there with the other high-end tight ends of last year’s class if it wasn’t for injury. With Jimmy Garoppolo under center and not many playmakers at wide receiver, I believe he can take the next step.