Best ball drafts on Underdog Fantasy have really picked up steam over the last three weeks. We’re a little under a month out from the 2023 NFL Draft, but already, we’ve seen some movement in certain players’ ADP as fantasy managers have leaned towards or away from them at cost (and no, I’m not talking about the rookies you’ve drafted in your dynasty leagues). A lot of the top picks have remained steady, like Justin Jefferson solidly locked in as the number one pick, followed by Ja’Marr Chase and Christian McCaffrey, but we’ve seen some dramatic shifts up and down in later rounds, due to either recent news or the rookie hype reaching a full-on fever pitch. We’ll go through some of these players who are the biggest ADP risers and discuss what’s causing the movement, whether they are a value or a fade, and whether we can expect future movement as the draft process marches on.
*Data is courtesy of 4for4.com and reflects ADP movement from May 9-May 23. Underdog calculates their ADP on a two day rolling average.*
Fantasy Football Best Ball ADP Risers:
Van Jefferson: Starting ADP of 187.3/Current ADP 164.9
Change of -22.4
I’m not quite sure what’s going on here with Jefferson’s rise in ADP. There hasn’t been any news regarding a change in his role, but what I think is going on is just the pure lack of target competition after the Rams traded Allen Robinson to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tyler Higbee will surely command his fair share of targets, but Jefferson has a clear path as the WR2 behind Cooper Kupp with only Ben Skowronek, Tutu Atwell, and Puka Nacua rounding out the depth chart. When Jefferson gets the ball, he has been effective, finishing 2022 with an aDOT of 15.6, good for number one in the entire league. He also has a decently high route participation, finishing 2022 running 89.4% of the Rams’ routes, so if the Rams’ quarterback situation gets back on track, Jefferson could be a high upside late round dart throw. Just keep an eye on his ADP as the weeks go on; if it goes much higher, you may be asking for more than he can deliver.
Alexander Mattison: Starting ADP of 104/Current ADP of 83.1
Change of -20.9
After the Minnesota Vikings replaced Dalvin Cook with a picture of Mattison as their Twitter banner, there should be no questions as to whether they are moving on from their RB1. Cook is all but gone, and this leaves Mattison as the de facto RB1 on their offense. My problem with that is Mattison’s lack of efficiency throughout the course of his career. As Cook’s backup, Mattison has never finished better than RB42 in fantasy points per game, and over the past two seasons, he’s put up an underwhelming 3.75 yards per carry average. Even if he gets Cook’s volume, I’m hard pressed to convince myself that he can produce at a level to pay off his late sixth-round ADP. This is one riser I’m inclined to pass up.
Jayden Reed: Starting ADP of 183/Current ADP of 163
Change of -20
The second-round rookie out of Michigan State has gotten a considerable amount of juice in best ball drafts over the past few weeks, but can he produce with a quarterback who hasn’t started more than three games in his three year career? Head coach Matt LaFleur says that Reed checks all the boxes in terms of his speed, his return ability, and his dawg mentality, but I don’t know that necessarily translates to a fantasy payday. Green Bay ran 12-personnel at the second-highest rate in the league last season, and drafting Luke Musgrave and Tucker Craft doesn’t make me think they’re going away from that anytime soon. Admittedly, there aren’t a ton of pass catchers on Green Bay’s depth chart, so Reed may get his chance. As a mid-13th round pick, he’s not a bad choice if you’re looking for a dart throw.
Jerome Ford: Starting ADP of 207.5/Current ADP of 194
Change of -13.5
This one should come as no surprise. After the departure of Kareem Hunt and De’Ernest Johnson, Ford is the clear RB2 behind Nick Chubb. If Ford can carve out a role as the pass-catching back in this offense, he has a huge ceiling. Chubb has also experienced a few injuries over the past couple of seasons, and if he goes down, expect Ford to produce at a high level. He hasn’t played much in the NFL, but in his final year at Cincinnati, Ford finished the year with over 1,300 rushing yards and a mind-blowing 19 touchdowns. He has one of the highest ceilings as an RB2 of anyone in fantasy right now if he manages to find his groove as a pass-catcher or take over for Chubb. Watch his ADP continue to rise as more people catch on to this upside, but as a current 16th round pick, Ford is someone you need on your roster.
Sam Laporta: Starting ADP of 174.6/Current ADP of 161.2
Change of -13.4
While some people have shied away from drafting rookie tight ends, Sam LaPorta could be this year’s Pat Freiermuth for your best ball teams. The number of suspensions that rocked Detroit’s receiving corps gives him a clear path to targets that most other rookies (or even veteran tight ends for that matter) see. With TJ Hockenson on their roster last season, Detroit targeted their tight ends at an above average rate, and they set a single-season franchise record with tight end touchdowns with the likes of Brock Wright and Shane Zylstra. With DJ Chark now in Carolina and Jameson Williams suspended six games, LaPorta should have an immediate impact on this team. As a late-round selection, he could provide extreme upside in an uncertain tight end landscape.
Tank Bigsby: Starting ADP of 173.7/Current ADP of 161.2
Change of -12.5
You’ve got to love the hype around rookies before a full training camp session has even started, and Tank Bigsby is certainly one of these players whose stock has risen dramatically. Despite not even taking snaps with the veterans, Bigsby is already listed as the RB2 on the Jaguars’ depth chart in front of JaMycal Hasty. He offers a prototypical running back build at 6’ and 210 pounds, and if Jacksonville runs a similar snap share as they did last year, Bigsby could see around 20% of the snaps. This doesn’t sound great, but in a best ball format, you don’t need him to be in your lineup every week. You just need him to have a few spike weeks, and with games against the Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans, and Tennessee Titans, those spikes are certainly possible. Etienne has also dealt with his fair share of injuries, so he could be one of those late-round zero-RB heroes we love to see. In the 13th round, you can definitely do worse.