Fantasy Football Best Ball Draft Targets in 2022: Gabriel Davis, Jameis Winston, A.J. Dillon, More
Bryan Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Gabriel Davis.
- Best Ball leagues in fantasy football require a different strategy from normal leagues.
- Check out players our experts are targeting in Best Ball formats this season.
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling
MVS’s combination of downfield acumen and a rocket-armed QB makes him the best and most obvious best-ball-specific target in 2022. The former Packer had an 18.2 aDOT last season, most among 100 WRs with at least 37 targets, according to PFF. A high aDOT tends to lead to long TD catches, but also inconsistency, which is perfect for best-ball formats where low scores don’t matter.
To get a better sense of what makes MVS perfectly suited to this format, consider that in his four-year career, he is averaging 17.6 half-PPR points when he scores a TD, but just 3.3 when he doesn’t. I’m projecting MVS for career highs in catches (45) and yards (771) with 5-6 TDs.
WR Gabriel Davis
I was probably a year early touting Davis as a sleeper in 2021 – unless you played in a postseason league, that is. While he has now ascended into bona fide fantasy starter territory following the departures of Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley, he could still struggle for consistency given his high-leverage target profile that mainly consists of deep targets and red-zone looks.
But that’s why we love him – it gives him a massive ceiling. Among his 120 career regular-season targets, a whopping 52% have either come on 20-plus-yard deep balls (29%) or in the red zone (23%). This kind of usage gives him the upside to go 8/201/4, as he did in the Divisional Round, but it can also lead to some ugly games, such as the eight times he failed to crack six half-PPR points last season.
I’m projecting Davis for career highs in catches (53) and yards (836) with 6-7 TDs – and upside for much more.
RB AJ Dillon
Dillon was the RB23 last year despite Aaron Jones playing 15 games and Davante Adams hogging red-zone usage. Impressive, but Dillon still had nine games with fewer than eight half-PPR points. While he should become more consistent, it’s still going to be a headache to predict his big games while operating in a 50/50 split with Jones.
An added bonus is Dillon becomes a high-end RB1 if Jones misses time. I'm projecting Dillon for 1,129 scrimmage yards and eight TDs.
RB Nyheim Hines
Frank Reich lamented not getting Hines enough touches (96 total) last year, so I expect him to be closer to the 152 he had in 2020. That year, Hines totaled 864 yards from scrimmage and 7 TDs, finishing as the RB20 overall and RB33 in per-game scoring while tallying three games in the 19-26 point range. A similar campaign would be useful at his RB44 ADP.
I have Hines projected at RB40 with roughly 750 scrimmage yards and 4-5 TDs, but as I mentioned, his ceiling is closer to the 864/7 he posted in 2020.
QB Jared Goff
Since you obviously can’t stream QBs in best ball, the best way to find value is in cheap pocket passers with job security. Goff fits the bill to a T and tends to go outside the top 20. While he didn’t show much last year, this is now a completely different Lions offense he has to work with. They have plus pass catchers at every position in WRs Amon-Ra St. Brown, D.J. Chark, Jameson Williams and Josh Reynolds, plus TE T.J. Hockenson and RB D’Andre Swift. They also have a top-flight offensive line that PFF rates third in the league.
And to top it off, they have what looks to be one of the worst secondaries. Bold call: The Lions morph into a shootout team this season.
Remember, Goff has thrown for over 4,600 yards and at least 28 TDs twice in his career. I’m projecting Goff to throw for 4,197 yards with 25 TDs.
TE Dawson Knox
Josh Allen is the second-leading favorite to lead the league in TD passes and Knox was one of 19 players league wide with at least 18 red-zone targets, of which he converted six into scores. Knox tied for the lead at his position with nine TDs, but was just 18th in receptions and 20th in targets. Among 15 games played, he had four with 15 or more half-PPR points (tied for fourth among TEs), but nine with single digits.
I’m projecting Knox to have the fourth-most TDs (5.6) but only 11th in yards (568) and 19th in catches (48).
TE Hunter Henry
Henry led the Patriots with a 24.3% red-zone target share, which was 10th in the league among all pass catchers. He hauled in nine scores in his first year in New England, which was tied for the league lead among TEs. Still, Henry is part of a logjam of pass catchers for a Pats offense that will likely trend toward the run.
Henry averaged 13.7 half-PPR points in the seven games he scored a TD, but just 4.8 in the nine he didn’t. I project Henry to finish in the top five among TEs in TDs (5.3), but outside the top 15 in catches (45) and yards (530).
QB Jameis Winston
Winston is one of my favorite sleepers and best ball targets this season.
Winston, a former No. 1 overall pick well known for his time in Tampa Bay, infamously threw for 5,109 yards, 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in his final season for the Bucs in 2019 and finished as the QB4.
The 28-year-old enters the season in a great situation as the Saints’ incumbent starting quarterback. Although New Orleans deployed a more conservative version of Winston last season, he was still effective for fantasy before suffering a torn ACL. He started seven games and was QB14 on a per-game basis. Winston should have significantly upgraded weapons this season as well. Michael Thomas, who we haven’t really seen since 2019, is on track to make his return this year. Thomas will join Chris Olave, the Saints’ 2022 first-round pick from Ohio State, and running back Alvin Kamara on the pass-catching depth chart.
Winston is being drafted as the QB20 in best ball formats according to FantasyPros, which feels more like his floor than median outcome. Sure, he’ll have multi-interception games, but that’s the beauty of best ball.
Henry joined the Patriots during their 2021 free-agency frenzy and quietly had another solid fantasy year.
He quickly built a rapport with quarterback Mac Jones and tallied 50 receptions for 603 yards and nine touchdowns – good enough to be TE9 in half PPR. It was his fourth consecutive top-12 finish (excluding 2018 when he didn’t play due to injury) in fantasy in his six-year career, a trend I expect to continue given the Patriots’ shallow pass-catching depth chart.
Henry isn’t as flashy as some of his other tight end counterparts and draws criticism for being touchdown dependent. That risk is at least somewhat mitigated in best ball formats, however. He is being drafted as the TE15 in best ball according to FantasyPros (three spots higher than his redraft ADP), which feels very low for a player I expect to finish top 10 at the position.