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ADP Arbitrage - Best-Ball Draft Values

At RotoBaller, we share your passion and dedication for every format that is available for members of the fantasy community. That is why we remain dedicated to providing a multitude of resources to fuel your success regardless of which type of leagues that you prefer in today's burgeoning landscape.

This includes the immensely popular Best Ball leagues, which involves constructing rosters that will remain highly competitive without the benefit of a waiver wire. Our goal is to help you assemble teams that contain the scoring depth to withstand the challenges of injuries and disappointing performances that can emerge during the season. Despite the emphasis that is often placed on determining which players to select during the early rounds, the decisions that you make in the middle and late rounds will also determine whether your team will accumulate the highest point totals throughout the year.

This article will improve your chances of accomplishing this by examining a select group of players that you should target and avoid at their current ADPs in FFPC Best Ball drafts. The objective is to pursue players who will surpass the expectations of owners by outperforming their current ADPs, along with others who are primed to deliver disappointment if they are selected during the early rounds of their drafts.

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Cam Newton (QB9/9.10) and Patrick Mahomes (QB1/3.12)

To state that there are a considerable number of viable options at quarterback is a massive understatement. The mammoth list of signal callers that can be secured by exercising patience until Round 10 includes Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, Ben Roethlisberger, Jameis Winston, Kyler Murray, and Kirk Cousins. However, Newton is the recommended target as the former league MVP recovers from arthroscopic surgery. For the sake of clarity, this is not a suggestion that Newton’s numbers will replicate the output that Mahomes will deliver. But the disparity in points will be sufficiently low for Newton to reward your modest investment of a ninth-round pick. He finished at QB12 despite his well-chronicled shoulder issue, while generating multiple touchdowns in 11 consecutive games. He is just one year removed from a QB2 finish and should accumulate coveted fantasy points by delivering a healthy percentage of quick passes to the cluster of dynamic weaponry that will surround him (Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Mooreand Curtis Samuel). Newton also remains a threat to accrue respectable rushing totals even as McCaffrey functions in Carolina’s feature back role.

His imminent return also allows you to eschew the deployment of an early-round selection on a quarterback so that you can secure a highly productive back or receiver. That involves the avoidance of Mahomes, whose current ADP of 36 should encourage you to locate another productive signal caller that will not require you to extend your draft capital in order to attain him. The impressive nature of Mahomes' prolific output last season is unquestioned (5,097 yards/50 touchdowns/8.6% touchdown percentage). But it would have been challenging for him to duplicate those 2018 numbers even before the protracted uncertainty that still engulfs Tyreek Hill’s availability. There are simply too many options that will be accessible as your drafts approach the double-digits rounds for you to deploy a third-round selection on this position.


Running Backs

Matt Breida (RB50/10.12) and Mark Ingram (RB22/3.08)

Enthusiasm for Breida has been tempered by the profusion of weapons that will comprise San Francisco's congested backfield. But dismissing his chances of sustaining an ongoing role overlooks how effectively he performed during 2018. The third-year back led the NFL in rushing yards after Week 2, averaged 5.3 yards-per-carry throughout the season, and finished sixth among all backs with 10 runs of 20+ yards. Tevin Coleman will attempt to rekindle the success that he attained while amassing 941 total yards in Kyle Shanahan's Atlanta offenses of 2016. But it is unclear how proficient he can be with a workload that expands beyond his career-best totals (167 carries/44 targets). Jerick McKinnon also lurks within the unsettled depth chart, although his status is nebulous nine months after his opportunity to function in a critical role was eviscerated by a torn ACL. Breida will be operating within a committee. But his ability to burst for huge gains should help him sustain an ongoing role, and outperform the meager expectations of a Round 10 ADP.

That leaves him available to potential owners for a full nine rounds after Ingram is being selected, even though the former Saint’s path to a significant workload could contain more imposing obstacles than many are anticipating. His final season with New Orleans included a discernible drop in usage from the 17.7 touches-per-game that he received from 2014-2017 to just 13.25 per game. This triggered a decline from the 68.5 yards-per-game that he averaged during the aforementioned four-year span to just 53.8. His current ADP indicates the substantial percentage of owners that are expecting an increase in his touch total. But the slimmed-down Gus Edwards could abscond a sizable percentage of rushing attempts, while shifty fourth-round pick Justice Hill will also secure a consistent role. This unsettling scenario should encourage potential owners to reevaluate the usage of a third-round selection on Ingram.


Ronald Jones II (RB41/8.05) and Derrius Guice (RB28/4.08)

The focus shifts to a pair of second-year backs who were derailed by challenges that prohibited them from matching the optimistic forecasts that existed immediately after the 2018 NFL Draft. The inclusion of Jones is not a suggestion that you should disregard his disastrous rookie year, which included a meager 30 touches. But despite being physically and mentally overmatched during his forgettable season, Jones remains positioned to garner a favorable workload, without contending with the formidable competition that awaits other backs who are being selected before him. Any surge in usage and production will only occur if he can outperform Peyton Barber, which he was incapable of accomplishing last season. But if Jones can rekindle the burst and agility that convinced the Buccaneers to select him 38th overall, and he regains the confidence that appeared to vanish, then he can capitalize on the cavernous pathway to the opportunity that is awaiting him.

While potential owners have not been particularly eager to invest in Jones, there has been substantial interest in a fellow member of 2018’s rookie class who has yet to play a down. Guice quickly elevated among the top 20 runners chosen during last year’s drafts, as many coveted the opportunity to procure an explosive back who would seize a significant role. Even after the devastating setback that was incurred by his torn ACL last August, the potential for highly productive performances has compelled a large percentage of owners to retain their confidence in Guice. However, questions linger concerning his effectiveness at this point in the recovery process. The unexpected resurgence of Adrian Peterson during Guice’s absence (1,042 rushing yards) has presented an additional reason to question whether Guice will secure the same workload that appeared imminent in 2018. As we search for tangible evidence that Guice is physically capable of assuming the extensive role that Washington originally intended, you should examine alternative options rather than investing a Round 4 selection amid the current level of uncertainty.


Wide Receivers 

Christian Kirk (WR35/6.11) and Adam Thielen (WR9/2.12)

Even though Kirk’s promising rookie season ended prematurely in Week 13 (broken foot) he had already established himself as the Cardinals’ most productive receiver. He delivered the greatest potential to explode for big plays, collected at least six targets in six of his final seven games (6.3 per game) and was second among all rookie receivers with 68 targets for the season before his health issue. That placed him on pace to accrue 58 receptions for 787 yards over the course of 16 games despite his challenge of functioning in the NFL’s most woeful offense from both a conceptual and statistical standpoint. But a prehistoric offensive strategy will no longer impede his production, due to Arizona’s unconditional transformation toward Kliff Kingsbury’s revitalized aerial attack This will provide Kirk with abundant opportunities to use his familiarity with the air raid approach, and assemble numbers that could result in breakout status. That should persuade potential owners to seize him at his current ADP.

That stands in contrast to Thielen, as anyone who is familiar with my wide receiver target and snap count column is already aware of my concerns regarding his precipitous drop-off in production during the final nine games of 2018. He had collected double-digit target totals during each of Minnesota’s first seven matchups, and led the league in targets (96), target-per-game average (12), receiving yards (925), and receptions (74). But he only reached double-digits twice during his remaining contests, while averaging just 4.8 targets-per-game from Weeks 14-17. He also trailed teammate Stefon Diggs in all major receiving categories from Weeks 11-17 (targets 64/50, receptions 44/35, yardage 434/426) and touchdowns 5/2). Thielen will also be operating within an offense that has cemented its commitment to a run-first philosophy. This supplies sufficient rationale to discourage you from pursuing him at his lofty ADP, as he will not deliver the output that would be anticipated by a receiver that has been selected in Round 2.


Dede Westbrook (WR42/8.03) and Jarvis Landry (WR 24/4.10)

Owners have not been overly enamored with the concept of selecting Westbrook, which is underscored by his Round 9 ADP. But he persevered amid the hurdles of inadequate quarterback play to lead the Jaguars in targets (101), receptions (66), yardage (717) and receiving touchdowns (5) last season. While his output could still be characterized as disappointing, the sizable shortcomings of Blake Bortles negatively impacted Westbrook and the Jacksonville passing attack until Bortles was supplanted under center by Cody Kessler. But the combination of Westbrook’s potential for explosiveness and Jacksonville’s upgrade at quarterback should create a surge in his production, and he enters his third season as the Jaguars’ top big-play weapon at his position, He should reside atop an unexceptional depth chart that consists of oft-injured Marqise Lee, Chris Conley, D.J. Chark, and Keelan Cole, and will have a genuine opportunity to deliver excellent numbers at various weeks of the season - which will function favorably in the Best Ball format.

The trail of articles that express my concern regarding Landry’s sizable downturn in usage last season is as prominent as the previous discussions surrounding Thielen. Landry’s current ADP elevated him beyond other receivers who appear primed to supply better results throughout the season. Landry had surged to second among all receivers with 94 targets entering Week 9 and was accumulating 11.8 targets-per-game. But his targets decreased to just 6.9 per-game after Freddie Kitchens became the architect of Cleveland’s play-calling from Weeks 9-17. That alarming scenario blends with the arrival of Odell Beckham Jr. to provide a clear indication that Landry will not receive the appealing target totals that he garnered during the first eight games of 2018. His mammoth targeting from 2015-2017 with Miami (153 per-year) has also become increasingly irrelevant, and you can make more effective use of your Round 4 draft selection.


Tight Ends 

Vance McDonald (TE10/7.07) and Zach Ertz (TE2/2.08)

While an argument can be made to utilize a first-round selection on Travis Kelce, it will behoove owners to elude any inclination to select any other tight ends before Round 6. At that point, you will be presented with a cluster of TE1 options after you have addressed your running backs and wide receiver positions. McDonald is included in that group of viable options after he vaulted to TE10 in both PPR and half-PPR scoring during a season in which Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster both finished among the top four in targets (168/166). McDonald also achieved career bests in targets (72), receptions (50) yardage (610) and touchdowns (4), and that collection of numbers should rise. Brown’s departure will create a redistribution of targets, and McDonald will benefit regardless of how extensive his allocation will be. It is conceivable that he approaches the top five in scoring if he evades health issues, and McDonald should exceed his current ADP.

That provides the rationale for bypassing Ertz at his Round 2 ADP even though his extensive usage and outstanding production in 2018 remain unquestioned. Even though his 2019 output should still be appealing, it will be difficult to replicate last year's results, when  Ertz led tight ends with 156 targets, finished fourth overall with 27 red zone targets, generated his first 1,000-yard season (1,153) and tied his career high in touchdowns (8). While he will remain an integral component within a potent Philadelphia passing attack, multiple additions of talented weaponry will modify the distribution of targets, and decrease the level of opportunity for Ertz. DeSean Jackson has returned after a five-year absence, the Eagles deployed a second round pick on 6’ 2” J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, and 6’ 5” Dallas Goedert is an emerging presence who will command a larger portion of Carson Wentz’ attention. The additional options will not prohibit Ertz from delivering favorable production. But the likelihood of even a slight decline in targets and production should compel you to focus on selecting a running back or wide receiver in Round 2.

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