2022 Fantasy Football Options Who Are Better in Best Ball
FTN's Sam Choudhury highlights some players who should see a higher value in best ball than in regular fantasy football in 2022.
Aug 16, 2022, 8:35 AM EDT
Underdog Fantasy has launched the largest best ball tournament in history, featuring 451,200 entries and $10 million in total prizes. 30% of the prize pool will be split among three entries, including $2 million to first, $1 million to second, and $1 million to the highest-scoring team in the regular season (Weeks 1-14). Drafts consist of 12-person lobbies with 18 rounds.
That means you need to nail your picks. The best part about best ball is not having to make start/sit decisions while the best players on your roster automatically slot into your starting lineup. Certain players are "better in ball," possessing a low floor and high ceiling that can go off any given week. In this article, I am going to highlight some wide receivers that are better in best ball and worth targeting for their spike weeks. You can track ADPs and rankings using the Underdog tool on FTN Fantasy. Sign up for Underdog Fantasy with promo code "FTN" for a 100% deposit match up to $100.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
(ADP: 97.0, WR46)
Less than a day after trading Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins, the Chiefs signed Marquez Valdes-Scantling to a three-year deal worth up to $36 million. Valdes-Scantling is not a complete receiver like Hill, but he will take over as Patrick Mahomes’ deep threat option. Since entering the league in 2018, MVS has ranked second on the Packers in air yards, only behind Davante Adams. He was 25th in air yard share last season (31.4%) and was second on the team in targets (55), despite missing six games. MVS was a top-24 wide receiver when he saw more than five targets, averaging four receptions for 72 yards with a 50% chance of finding the end zone. However, when MVS saw five or fewer targets, he averaged just 3.6 half-PPR points per game, which would have ranked as the WR135 on the season. He will still be a volatile player in 2022 but will benefit from an up-tempo, pass-friendlier offense. In 2021 the Packers were 18th in pass attempts per game (34.6) and dead last in situational pace of play (31.3 seconds). The Chiefs, on the other hand, were top-two in pass attempts per game (39.9) and fourth in situational pace of play (27.6 seconds). They also ran more than 74 total plays on the season. Based on his contract and preseason usage, MVS is locked into two wide sets as a full-time player. He should be a more consistent player in 2022 and is in line for a career year.
Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Tyler Lockett is viewed as a boom/bust player but has actually been one of the most consistent wide receivers in the league. Since taking over the starting job in 2018, he's finished as the WR15 or better in four consecutive seasons. He was the WR13 in 2021, finishing top-10 in receiving yards (1,175) and second in receiving yards on passes thrown at least 15 yards downfield. Lockett became one of just three wide receivers to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards in each of the last three years. However, he'll have a new challenge in 2022, entering his first full season without Russell Wilson. During his seven-year career, Lockett has only played three games without Wilson, and all of them came with Geno Smith under center. Last season, he averaged more targets (7.67) and receptions (5.33) when Smith got the start. After combing for four receptions and 47 yards in his first two games without Wilson, Lockett popped off for a massive day catching 12 passes on 13 targets for 142 yards. He was the WR1 the last time he played with Smith, who is currently leading the quarterback competition in Seattle.
Chase Claypool, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Chase Claypool — the Steelers' second-round pick out of Notre Dame — hit the ground running as a rookie in 2020. Claypool finished as a top-20 wide receiver (WR19), catching 62 passes for 873 yards and nine touchdowns. He also got it done on the ground, rushing 10 times for 16 yards and two scores. Unfortunately, he took a step back as a sophomore, posting worse receiving marks across the board and failing to surpass 55 receiving yards in nine of his last 16 games. The most significant dropoff for Claypool came in the touchdown department. After scoring double-digit touchdowns as a rookie, he had just two in 2021, despite seeing 16 targets in the red zone targets and 12 in the end zone. Claypool is due for touchdown regression and should benefit from a change at quarterback. Last season, Ben Roethlisberger ranked 32nd in intended air yards per attempt (6.7) and graded 31st on throws 20 or more yards downfield. No matter who plays quarterback for the Steelers next season, it will almost certainly improve Claypool's outlook.
Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
There is a lot of excitement surrounding the Bengals' passing game after their historic Super Bowl run to close the 2021 season. The top two wide receivers (Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins) are being drafted inside the top 10 at their position, while Tyler Boyd checks in at WR50. He is being drafted outside the WR4 territory despite finishing as the WR31 last season. If the Bengals' second half of the 2021 season is any indication of what we can expect in 2022, Boyd is undervalued as the third option in a potent passing game. Coming off a torn ACL, the Bengals took a conservative approach with their franchise quarterback, ranking 22nd in pass rate (57.02%) for the first nine weeks of the season. In Weeks 10-17, however, they jumped to 13th in pass rate (59.48%), and Boyd finished as the WR21 within that span. He is bound for spike weeks tied to PFF's highest grades passer a season ago, Joe Burrow. He also benefits with more passing volume and is the clear No. 2 option if Chase or Higgins were to go down.
Rondale Moore, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Rondale Moore generated a lot of buzz last offseason after being selected by the Cardinals in the second round. At 5-foot-7 and 181 pounds, Moore was a human highlight reel, benching over 400 pounds and squatting over 600. He finished top three among all receivers in the 2021 draft class in the 40-yard dash (4.33 seconds), vertical jump (42.5 inches), and three-cone drill (6.68 seconds). Since 2011, Moore has the third-highest athleticism score among all wideouts under 5-foot-9. His game-breaking ability was on full display at the start of his rookie season. Moore hit the ground running, catching 11 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown in his first two games. Moore was unable to capitalize on his hot start, failing to eclipse 60 receiving yards or score another touchdown for the rest of the season. He was held under 60 receptions (54) and 500 receiving yards (435) while finishing dead last in average depth of target (1.3). Moore was used on special teams and as a part-time gadget player, logging less than 50% of offensive snaps. Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury has acknowledged Moore's development as a receiver and envisions a more significant role for the second-year wideout next season. He even hinted at Moore taking over for Christian Kirk as the starting slot receiver. All signs point toward Moore carving out a full-time role and favorite to operate as the WR2 in the first six games without Hopkins.
Joshua Palmer, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers' fourth-round pick out of Tennessee fared well in his rookie season. Primarily operating as a part-time player, Joshua Palmer caught 33 passes for 353 yards and four touchdowns in 2021. He started the season fourth on the depth chart but slowly carved out a larger role. When Palmer saw at least 60% of offensive snaps, he averaged 7-plus targets, 50-plus receiving yards and a touchdown in three games. Based on early reports, Palmer is the favorite to emerge as the No. 3 wide receiver passing Jaylen Guyton on the depth chart. He has high weekly upside in a Chargers offense that ranked top-three in passing attempts, passing yards, pace of play and passing touchdowns in 2021.
K.J. Osborn, WR, Minnesota Vikings
After a redshirt rookie campaign, K.J. Osborn took over the third wide receiver role in his second season in the league. He had a strong sophomore campaign posting 50 receptions for 655 yards and seven touchdowns. He finished as a top-40 wide receiver (WR38) despite playing in an offense that ran three wide receiver sets at the fifth-lowest rate in the league. Osborn should see more playing time next season with new head coach Kevin O'Connell calling plays. Last season, the Rams utilized three-wide sets at the highest rate in the league (86%). Osborn is one of the few wide receiver "handcuffs" who benefits significantly from an injury. In the five games Adam Thielen missed or exited early, Osborn was a top-25 receiver, averaging 6-plus targets and 50-plus receiving yards per game. Thielen will be 32 next season, is coming off an ankle injury and has missed 10 games in the past three seasons.
Robbie Anderson, WR, Carolina Panthers
After spending the first four years of his career with the Jets, Robbie Anderson broke out once he joined his former college head coach Matt Rhule and the Panthers in 2020. He caught a career-high 95 passes on 136 targets and 1,096 yards. Unfortunately, things got worse for Anderson after the Panthers traded for Anderson's former quarterback, Sam Darnold. Anderson was abysmal last season, catching only 53 passes on 110 targets for a career-low 519 yards. He surpassed 60 receiving yards only once last season and had a career-low 9.8 yards per reception. The Panthers made another move for a quarterback this offseason, grabbing former Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. Although Anderson has publicly displayed his displeasure for Mayfield, he was a top-24 wide receiver in his last season without Darnold.