In the 2020 content hub, you can find best ball strategy and optimal roster construction per position as well as player rankings that are updated through the offseason. Throughout the offseason, we want to provide updates on player movement in best ball drafts. This allows us to maintain a more current pulse for where players are now being valued that were impacted by recent news.
Of course, the most recent news is which players have made the most positive jump post the opening of free agency.
*ADP From 3/21-4/8
As far as early-round risers, only Adam Thielen made a significant move after the Vikings traded Stefon Diggs to the Bills. rising up a full round over at Fanball while sliding up from a pick at the fifth-sixth round turn at FFPC up into the early fifth regularly. Diggs leaves behind 20.2% of the Minnesota targets from 2019 and a gaudy 41.3% of their intended air yards via Next Gen Stats open for business. In only a small three-game sample without Diggs active over the 2017-2019 seasons, Thielen had lines of 9-97-0, 5-41-0, and 4-22-1 while averaging 10.7 targets per game.
The Rams backfield was shaken up after the team released Todd Gurley. Darrell Henderson has climbed up to the sixth-seventh round turn as the average RB32 in drafts and Malcolm Brown has spiked as a late-round option, jumping nearly two full rounds at Fanball and several rounds in FFPC formats to the RB56. There are still questions on the Rams offensive climate regarding their offensive line, involvement of the backs in the passing game, and who will carry the ball the near goal line. The Rams only have six draft picks this year and just two in the top-100 (since then they have added pick No. 57 in the trade of Brandin Cooks), so the odds of them adding a back with significant draft capital can be questioned given their overall needs as a team. Henderson jumped to RB35 in our early offseason rankings and Brown to RB51, making Brown a slightly better option to try and squeeze value from at current cost.
No player has made a bigger climb post-free agency on both sites than Hayden Hurst. Hurst goes from the TE2 on the team that ran the fewest amount of pass plays in the NFL last season (467) to the TE1 on the team that called the most passing plays in the league (735). On his limited use, Hurst’s 1.69 yards per route run ranked 12th among all tight ends with over 100 pass routes on the season.
With the trade of DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals, Will Fuller is now the de facto WR1 for the Houston Texans. Over the past three seasons, Fuller has secured 94-of-138 targets (68.1%) for 1,452 yards (15.4 Y/R) and 14 touchdowns from Deshaun Watson, averaging 14.7 PPR points per game. Fuller has missed 22 games over his four-year career with multiple missed games in each season. With the addition of Brandin Cooks, we should Fuller’s draft cost stabilize as there will a question now on if the team will have a true WR1 over everyone getting their hands in the cookie jar.
A couple of backs making a climb have been Jordan Howard and Nyheim Hines. In signing with the Dolphins, Howard still carries touchdown appeal, even if the Dolphins select a rookie runner in this month’s draft. The 25-year-old power back tallied 525 rushing yards in 10 games with the Eagles last season, and scored seven touchdowns in his opening nine games of the season prior to a shoulder injury. The best ball format helps a touchdown-dependent player in Howard.
Hines got a bump from the Colts adding Philip Rivers, who has peppered backs with targets over his career. The Chargers ranked first, third, and 11th in backfield targets over the past three seasons, but Hines still has a lot to prove for us to just hold in the same light as Darren Sproles, Danny Woodhead, and Austin Ekeler. Hines had his snap share significantly reduced last season (32%) from 2018 (44%), but he did manage to catch another 44 passes a year ago, giving him 107 receptions through two years in the NFL. The downside is that he’s averaged just 7.0 yards per catch and 5.2 yards per target on those passing game opportunities. He’s worth an add as an RB4 or RB5 at this time, but the Colts could also be in the market for backfield competition with one of their eight draft picks.
A couple of vertical playmakers who have changed teams made a jump in cost in Emmanuel Sanders and Breshad Perriman. Returning from an Achilles injury, Sanders caught a combined 66-of-97 targets for 869 yards and five touchdowns for the Broncos and 49ers in 2019. New Orleans has had a void at the WR2 position over the past three seasons, with Michael Thomas catching 119, 97, and 51 more passes than the next highest wide receiver in those years. Moving on to the Saints, Drew Brees is head and shoulders the best quarterback Sanders has played with since Peyton Manning. Since losing Manning, Sanders has caught passes from Trevor Siemian, Case Keenum, Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler, Joe Flacco, and Jimmy Garoppolo.
Perriman immediately jumped into the role in the Jets offense vacated by Robby Anderson. In 2019, Perriman set career highs in targets (69), receptions (36), receiving yards (645), and touchdowns (six). What got Perriman new life was the way he finished the season, catching 25-of-37 targets for 506 yards (20.2 yards per catch) and five touchdowns over his final five games of the season while Chris Godwin and Mike Evans dealt with injuries. Anderson leaves behind 18.4% of the targets from the Jets, but on only a one-year deal, the team should be expected to pursue a rookie in this draft class, potentially as early at pick No. 11.
After signing on with the Panthers, Teddy Bridgewater is the lone quarterback here to make a sizable jump in cost post-free agency. Bridgewater is secured a starting job and does offer some intrigue given his surrounding skill players, the addition of Matt Rhule and Joe Brady to the coaching staff, while paired with an objectively horrible defense on paper in a division where points scored are a prerequisite. That’s a cocktail that could yield some fantasy potential. Bridgewater has yet to have a season finishing even as a QB2 in points per game, but gets a fresh start to turn in a second act on his career.