Underdog Best Ball drafts are won and lost in the middle rounds. Should you pick up that running back that dropped a round past his ADP due to a past injury? Do you select that quarterback that recently switched teams?
While these decisions could make or break your fantasy football season, one of your main duties as a fantasy footballer is to understand where to select your rookies. Between newcomers Bijan Robinson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson, use this strong rookie class to your advantage in Best Ball.
Team: Atlanta Falcons | Best Ball ADP: 9.7 (RB3)
It’s no surprise here. Since early on in the college football season, Bijan Robinson has been the running back to watch. The Longhorn ran for 1,580 yards and 18 TDs, with the latter leading the Big 12 Conference.
While his collegiate stats are video game numbers, the team he was drafted by should get fantasy owners even more ecstatic to draft him. Bijan should be used in both the rushing and passing game this season, as 2nd year QB Desmond Ridder will still be adapting to his Falcons offense.
Robinson’s stature and combine statistics all point towards him becoming a once in a blue moon type of player, especially in his first year with a team that should check the ball down a ton.
Last season, Falcons lead running back Tyler Allgeier finished as the RB29 with only 9 games over a 50% snap count. Give me Bijan to finish as a top 5 running back, mirroring Saquon Barkley’s rookie season with the Giants in 2018.
Team: Detroit Lions | Best Ball ADP: 40.7 (RB14)
Used as a running back and wide receiver? Check. Limited wide receiver options to start the season? Check. A 200 pound Alabama-product that ran a 4.36 40-yard dash? Check.
Jahmyr Gibbs is in the perfect position to make a year one impact in Detroit. The Lions selected him at 12, which would’ve been the highest drafted running back since Saquon Barkley in 2018 if Bijan Robinson was born a year later.
Between Gibbs’s Alvin Kamara type playstyle, seamlessly bouncing off tackles into the endzone, to the history of Alabama running backs in the league, Jahmyr has a great chance to finish better than his ADP at the start of the season.
One real draw for Gibbs is the Jameson Williams factor. Another Alabama draftee, Williams will be suspended for the first six games of the season, allowing Gibbs to develop a connection with Jared Goff.
Lastly, Gibbs averaged 12.6 carries per game his senior year. While that might be a big number for NFL/fantasy standards, he will be considered “fresh” compared to his fellow halfback draftmates.
Team: Seattle Seahawks | Best Ball ADP: 62.0 (WR32)
If you take a peek at the wideouts that have come out of Ohio State recently (Garrett Wilson & Chris Olave in particular), there’s a real shot JSN mirrors those numbers, if not eclipse them during his rookie year.
As a primary slot receiver alongside Lockett and DK Metcalf, Jaxon will dominate the middle of the field against the 2nd or 3rd option at cornerback. Both Wilson and Olave posted over 1,000 yards alongside 4 TDs in their first season with subpar quarterbacks.
Expect JSN to run wild with Geno Smith, who has proven to be a reliable NFC QB in a decimated conference.
Team: Minnesota Vikings | Best Ball ADP: 70.9 (WR37)
Addison at the WR37 spot is a huge steal in your Best Ball Underdog draft. A 31-year-old Adam Thielen finished last season with 107 targets as the #2 wideout in Minnesota.
Both Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson will be itching to get on the field with the shifty Addison, who won the Biletnikoff award at Pittsburgh before transferring to the Trojans last season.
Surrounded in ADP by Kadarius Toney (WR38), Treylon Burks (WR36), and Jahan Dotson (WR40), Jordan’s combined situation plus skill set should be a seller here.
Team: Kansas City Chiefs | Best Ball ADP: 137.8 (WR63)
The KC wideout room is depleted, with Kadarius Toney, Skyy Moore, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling as the three main options prior to Rice’s arrival. With Rice’s big play ability and route running skills, becoming a top 3 option isn’t out of the question.
Kansas City’s wide receivers coach hinted that Rice is a “bigger body guy” that they don’t have in the room. Give me Rashee as the 3rd best rookie WR this season.
Team: Indianapolis Colts | Best Ball ADP: 98.3 (QB11)
The 4th overall pick lands in a great spot. Between one of the easiest divisions in football, a solid offensive line, and Jonathan Taylor out of the backfield, Anthony Richardson just has to do one thing to remain fantasy relevant this season: Not turn the ball over.
At QB11, Richardson’s rushing ability in the red zone will be the only way he sniffs top 10 production in his first year.
Team: Buffalo Bills | Best Ball ADP: 125.9 (TE11)
Kyle Pitts, T.J. Hockenson, Noah Fant. Since 2019, these were the only TEs drafted in the first round. While all struggled in the fantasy football world outside of Pitts their rookie seasons, none had Josh Allen as their QB or the Bills as their franchise.
Expect offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey to deliberately give Kincaid targets, especially after spending a first round selection on the Utah product.
Team: Los Angeles Chargers | ADP: 81.3 (WR42)
Johnston is a physical freak at wide receiver at 6’3, 208 lbs with a 40.5 inch vertical. So, why isn’t he ranked above JSN, Addison, and Rice? Well, Johnston will compete with Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Austin Ekeler, and Joshua Palmer for targets.
Also, Quentin tends to play “smaller” than he really is, which is a concern of mine. Lastly, no Big 12 receiver has made a fantasy impact in their rookie season since 2019 outside of CeeDee Lamb.
Team: Baltimore Ravens | Best Ball ADP: 90.5 (WR46)
Flowers, out of Boston College, could be an elite Swiss army knife for the Ravens. However, that won’t come in his rookie year.
The first season after Lamar’s extension, I expect the Ravens to still be run heavy and let Mark Andrews dominate the red zone targets. While Flowers is an enticing prospect on film, the landing spot is less than ideal and I’d stray away at his current ADP.
Team: New Orleans Saints | Best Ball ADP: 137.5 (RB44)
Kendre Miller’s rookie season all depends on Alvin Kamara. The 27-year-old’s next court date is before training camp. If Alvin is due to miss a large chunk of the season, Kendre Miller and Jamaal Williams will be more than capable of sharing backfield duties for Derek Carr and co.
While I wouldn’t draft Miller at his ADP if Kamara is suiting up for Week 1 of his seventh season, this might be the best value you can get Miller at this season.