With the upcoming fantasy football season drawing near, best ball leagues have increasingly become a popular format for players to partake in. The concept is simple: draft your team but with the caveat of no in-season management, waiver wire, trades, or setting lineups on the weekly. Instead, your highest-scoring players are optimized to form your starting lineup.
Whether you’re a pro or a newcomer to the rules, we have our recommended names for you to be wary of as you assess who to draft based on their average draft position (ADP).
2023 NFL Best Ball: Players to Fade Based on ADP
Derek Carr, QB, New Orleans Saints
ADP: 136.5 / QB19
Carr steps into a new offense with no shortage of weapons on the outside and in the backfield, but his track record in fantasy doesn’t exactly spell confidence for best ball fantasy players. The new Saints signal-caller averaged just 14.6 fantasy points per game last season and topped the 20 fantasy point mark just twice all year. His struggles last season were well-documented after he averaged the fewest passing yards per game of his career (234.8). Simply put, he brings a low weekly floor and not much potential for spike weeks when it comes to setting up a best ball lineup.
Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
ADP: 33.0 / RB11
Harris finished as the overall RB14 and the RB20 in fantasy points per game in 2022, and those who rostered the Steelers tailback understand full well how much of a fantasy conundrum he was. He topped more than 16 fantasy points in a game just twice, which was the equal amount of times he surpassed the century mark in rushing in a game. For someone that has been projected as one of the early picks off the board in Round 1, Harris has plenty to prove to warrant such consideration.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, New England Patriots
ADP: 118.8 / WR52
Smith-Schuster’s name alone will always warrant consideration in fantasy drafts, but the real-life production on the field has failed to equate to fantasy relevance for much of the last few seasons. Now the former Pro Bowl receiver heads to New England where he’ll get both a quarterback downgrade in Mac Jones, as well as a play caller downgrade in Bill O’Brien. Even as a WR3 in Kansas City he proved unreliable on a weekly basis, so don’t expect him to suddenly be good for a few spike weeks throughout best ball.
Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota Vikings
ADP: 59.5 / RB19
I expect Mattison to get plenty of consideration given his ascended role to RB1 in Minnesota but don’t be easily fooled as others will. The former Vikings backup by no means has the breakaway speed that Dalvin Cook has, and it’s not as if he’s been one of the league’s most prolific pass-catchers over the last few seasons. He’s topped 20 targets in a game just once over his last four seasons, and if anything I predict the likes of Justin Jefferson and T.J. Hockenson to benefit more from Cook’s absence.