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Pawel’s Best Ball Exposure

Pawel

Hello, One Week Season Fam!

This article comes at the perfect time, as I have just finished drafting my Underdog Best Ball Mania 2 entries. I’d usually wait to max this out, but I couldn’t resist the current RB value. I still have roughly 30 DK Millionaire-Makers to draft that I am trying to delay to as close to the start of the season as possible. I started drafting my entries back in May when the contest first dropped and have been fortunate to capitalize on numerous ADP shifts.

This article will share my exposures for each position and my thought process on why I am so high on certain players.

The table below shows my overall exposures. I think this is a good place to start so you can see which positions and roles have garnered the highest exposure: high upside running backs with standalone roles, late-round TE targets, Darren Waller, and a couple late-round WR’s along with a couple WR’s in the historical four to seventh round break out zone. Thirty-plus percent ownership on certain players is a little aggressive, but I am happy to take on the additional risk as late as I got them.

OVERALL

Quarterback

At QB, I am very diversified. I try not to reach for stacks and allow the QBs to fall to me. Almost every draft, you’ll see players like Matt Ryan, Joe Burrow, or Kirk Cousins fall significantly below ADP. My primary approach is to take two QBs if I invest in a high-tier QB (Patrick Mahomes to Russell Wilson-range). If outside of that range, I aim to take three. 

-Ryan Fitzpatrick– WAY too cheap. This is going to be an explosive offense, and I love pairing Fitz with an elite WR and just rolling with just two QB’s. 

-Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins– Two guys I like to take if they fall. A good bet to be playing with a top 12 WR.

-Joe Burrow– I have been on the Burrow train all off-season. Pairing Burrow with Higgins, Chase, and/or Boyd is very easy to do. Burrow is one of my big second-year breakout bets. Cincinnati should have an explosive passing attack this season. 

-Trey Lance– most of my Lance exposure was earlier in drafting season when he was around ~ADP 115. He would often slip, and I kept buying. I dig the strategy of drafting rookie QBs early, as they are practically guaranteed to rise.

-Dak Prescott, Justin Herbert– Two guys to whom I am overexposed all across the board. Not only have their ADPs slipped recently, but they are poised to explode this season. Last year, Dak was on his way to shattering records, and it appears that his shoulder is going to be okay. Herbert lit up the league last year, and with all the weapons around him and the addition of Joe Lombardi, I don’t see why these two can’t push for top 3 QB finishes.

-Tom Brady– I do not have enough Tom Brady in the Best Ball Mania and wish I had more. This offense is going to be unreal this season. 

-Ben Roethlisberger, Derek Carr, Daniel Jones, Jared Goff– These are my go-to guys late round for a QB3, in this order. Big Ben got hurt at the end of the season but still put up QB13 numbers. I am incredibly bullish on the Steelers’ offense despite the concerns at the O-line. If Ben is gone, I am taking Carr. Despite everyone’s bias that the Raiders suck, they were a top 10 offense in 2020 and just outside the top 10 in 2021. There will be some massive weeks for this offense. Daniel Jones isn’t sexy, but he has rushing upside and has some good pieces around him. He could have a few exceptional weeks. Goff, as the very last QB on the board, is in a better spot than the recent media hate would have you believe. The Lions have a fantastic line, some good deep threats, and a terrible defense. There will be the opportunity for spiked weeks in Detroit. Ultimately, we’re not asking for every-week starts from our QB3. However, these guys can really give us occasional upside to cover our byes and bad weeks from our top QBs. 

Running back

Here’s where things get really fun. Typically, if I take three RB’s in the first few rounds, I will draft four RB’s total. Depending on the circumstances though, I may draft five and potentially even six RB’s (in rare cases). 

-Gus Edwards- I was at almost 45% exposure through the first two-thirds of my entries. I LOVE Gus. He has a solid role on the best rushing team in the NFL. He also has been mentioned as the potential lead for the goal-line back role. Additionally, if Dobbins were to get hurt, there is clear lead dog upside for someone I have been taking in the 10-13th round.

-Jamaal Williams- I was around roughly 35% Jamaal Williams through two-thirds of my entries, being that his ADP was a 14-16th round pick earlier in draft season. Easy smash pick, as he will have a valuable role. Swift is not a 3-down-back, and Jamaal is the perfect real-life complement and fantasy headache for Swift owners. Once Anthony Lynn mentioned Williams as being a potential lead back, his ADP rose sharply. He is still an excellent pick given ADP due to his standalone value with lead dog upside. 

-Kenyan Drake- Does anyone in the NFL have a more variant ADP year over year? One year he is a 5/6th round pick, then a 2nd round pick, and now he has settled in the 10-12 round range this year. We know Drake has a ton of talent, and the Raiders are talking up using him as a receiver. He is another excellent example of a guy who has standalone value but upside for much more. It’s also very likely he and Josh Jacobs are negatively correlated and will provide spike weeks on different weeks. 

-Najee Harris- Polarizing topic on Twitter. For me, it is simple. An RB that went in the first round (of the real NFL draft), Mike Tomlin is a coach who wants a lead back, and there are 300 touches up for grabs. Getting Harris to slip to the 3rd round is robbery. 

Alvin Kamara- I have been cursed with an obscene amount of fourth and fifth-round picks for some reason, but I am not that mad. Kamara should have massive usage this year. He has smashed without Thomas, and I don’t see how the volume isn’t there.

-Josh Jacobs, David Montgomery-  Ah, here’s the fun. For some reason, Twitter hates these two guys. DMO and Jacobs consistently fall a half to a full round past ADP, and I am here to gobble it up. Imagine fading 200 (conservatively for the sake of argument) touches from a 6th round running back? Jacobs will have some negative game script outings, but that is baked into ADP in the sixth round. On Montgomery, if any other running back had the end of a season than he did last year, they would be second-rounders. But really, because of a meme, he is one of the most hated running back values. 

-AJ Dillon, James Conner, Latavius Murray- Another example of guys who have standalone values in their committees but have upside for lead-dog roles. Dillon and Conner have significantly risen in ADP given all the hype around them, and for good reason. These are 1B backs on good offenses. Murray’s ADP has slipped recently due to some beat writer saying he could get cut, but I wouldn’t listen to that. The lead beat has already said he won’t be cut. All 3 guys will give you tremendous upside along with a solid floor. 

-Darrell Henderson- You might notice a theme here. I love over-investing in running backs who have standalone value but also upside for more significant roles. Henderson is a perfect example of this strategy working. I have not drafted any Henderson since the Akers injury, but I was at roughly 20% at that time. I definitely got a bit lucky, but I try to consistently put myself in a position to get lucky. You want to invest in the correct profile for a back. If Joe Mixon were to get hurt, I don’t see how Samaje Perine or Chris Evans would turn into top 5 round picks. 

-Aaron Jones, Austin Ekeler, Jonathan Taylor- These are 3 guys I love who have all fallen into the second rounds at some point in the offseason, and I am here to gobble them up. All three guys will have massive roles and are all in fantastic positions. Not much really needs to be said here. 

-Clyde Edwards-Helaire- Typical ADP is in the 2nd round. Sometimes he will go in the late second and sometimes slips to the third. I am taking CEH every time in the third. He has the opportunity to destroy ADP. I value him in the Jones, Ekeler, Taylor tier at a massive discount.

-Nyheim Hines- he’s most beneficial in full PPR, but the Colts’ pass catchers are less than inspiring, and he is one of the best pass-catching backs in the NFL. He will have a significant role in this offense, and 12-14 round ADP is an incredible value. Usually, someone with his skill set (like Tarik Cohen or James White) would consistently go in the top 10.

Wide receiver

WR is a spot where I love to take advantage of ADP shifting throughout the offseason, given that new WR value often surfaces at a moment’s notice. I am ideally taking eight WR’s, but love it when I can make nine WR’s work. 

-Nico Collins- Incredible athlete. The Texans have no talent in the WR room outside of Cooks, so they traded up for Collins. I love attacking rookies late in Best Ball, and Nico checks all the boxes. 

-Jakobi Meyers- Meyers was basically all 17/18th round as he was free in the early part of the offseason. He balled out last year and should have never been this cheap, to begin with. It’s tough to buy in the 12th round now.

-Curtis Samuel- Explosive athlete, can run the ball as well. Reunited with Rivera, which is a great fit. I’m hoping his groin injury is okay. If healthy, his price has been way too low. He’s been consistently going lower than Juju Smith-Schuster, Will Fuller, etc. 

-Devontae Smith- Heisman WR, I repeat Heisman WR. An elite route runner on a team with literally no WR talent. Easy bet for 150 targets at a sixth to eighth round price.

-Michael Gallup- He was going in the eighth to ninth round at one point. I am still buying. One of the top guys in my portfolio every year. I am high on the Cowboys, and this is easy, cheap exposure to an explosive athlete. He’s also significantly increased his snaps from the slot, giving him a more dynamic role as opposed to being only a deep threat. 

-Keelan Cole- Another guy I was pounding for a time in the 18th round. I’ve seen reports saying that Saleh loves Keelan Cole and tried to get him to SF at one point. Cole had 5 spiked weeks last year. He may not be a full-time player to start, but he will be on the field a bunch, and the opportunities are there. It’s not wild to consider that the Jets could run more 4WR sets since they have basically nothing at TE.

-Brandon Aiyuk- A perfect target in the fourth to eighth round that could break out. Had a huge rookie year, and Deebo Samuel is extremely fragile. Aiyuk has the tools to be a star and have that Calvin Ridley/Stefon Diggs-esque breakout

-Tyrell Williams, Nelson Agholor- A team’s potential WR1 going in the 15-18th round for the first half of the offseason? Yes, please! Just like Jakobi Meyers, these are players we confidently expect to rise in ADP once training camp starts. At this point, Agholor has risen to a 10th rounder, and I am off at that price. Tyrell still remains a great value in the 14/15th. I love pairing these guys with their teammates (Bourne/Meyers & Perriman/St. Brown)

-Marquez Valdez-Scantling- Rodger’s WR2 has been going in the 15th-18th round all offseason. Performed in the playoffs last year. Price makes no sense. 

-Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, JuJu Smith-Schuster- I love the Steelers offense this year. I ideally would take two out of the three on my teams if I take a Steeler. There’s a narrative that Big Ben is finished, but despite getting hurt, he finished QB12, and all three of these WR’s scored at least 175 points. This offense is a smash, with Ben reportedly healthy. 

-Sterling Shephard, Darius Slayton- If you have followed my podcasts, I am sure you know how much I love this stack. This is the easiest and cheapest way to get WR2 production by drafting both of these guys. Shephard has risen in ADP but is still worth a buy as well as Slayton. Both guys have been killing camp.

-Van Jefferson- Second-round pick last year. I won’t hold a bad rookie year against him. He’s cheap, and he’s on a pass-heavy offense. This is a bet-on opportunity.

Tight end

Of all my exposures, I am most confident in my TE’s. I feel that this year, TE was relatively straightforward. I typically will take a max of three TE’s.

-Jared Cook- Imagine drafting Donald Parham when Joe Lombardi brought Cook with him from New Orleans. He is an elite red-zone target and can catch those big passes on seam routes up the middle. This is such a fantastic fit that I do not understand his price even now at ~14th round. If he stays healthy, he can legitimately be a top 8 TE. 

-Rob Gronkowski- Too cheap and scored 126 points coming out of retirement last year. This year, Gronk will be in better shape and is priced to smash his “inside the 20s role” price. 

-Darren Waller, Travis Kelce, George Kittle- If I have the opportunity to take these guys, I almost always will. Typically, I will draft Kittle or Waller if they are available in the third round unless a RB falls. I will never draft a WR over Kittle or Waller. An elite TE not only gives you potentially the top scorer but opens another roster spot for a WR.

-Noah Fant- Dude is such an athlete. All reports show he’s healthy, and he is always going to be on the field. If he is healthy, he can be the next breakout TE. 

-Gerald Everett- Not someone I draft anymore, but I was all in when he was going a couple rounds later early in the offseason. He still has an excellent opportunity to produce and could smash ADP.

-Hunter Henry- Honestly wish I had less, but in the 14/15th round, I couldn’t resist, and he can beat his ADP.

-Austin Hooper, Eric Ebron- My favorite TE3’s. Ebron has a substantial role as a pass-catcher for the Steelers, plus a red-zone role. Hooper is in his second year in Cleveland, and I expect him to take a second-year jump. TE’s tend to adapt more slowly.

-Cole Kmet, Anthony Firkser- Two guys who have the opportunity for important roles. Firsker played a bunch in the slot last year, and if Julio and AJ struggle with injuries, he could see more targets. Kmet flashed at the end of the year and is a young guy with opportunity. There are worse fliers.

-Logan Thomas- Love the player, don’t love the price. I wish I bought more early in the offseason, but I took Fant or a WR in that range instead.

Hopefully, one of these 150 can yield me a million! Hope my thoughts here will help you make an optimal decision when drafting. Best of luck!

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