This year, we’re trying a little something different and incorporating position tiers in the best ball rankings. This method of setup allows for more flexibility in evaluating a player’s actual worth vs ADP on the fly. Breaking 250 players into 40 separate tiers also helps to keep the players in line with their ADP, so that you never make too much of a reach, even when auto-picking. Just be sure to set your position limits to the desired setup and you’re safe even if you need to step away from a fast-draft. Let’s get into today’s NFL Fantasy tier rankings for DRAFT Best Ball.
Tier One: Running Backs
There’s no reason to outsmart yourself and rank Saquon Barkley any lower than 1.01. Yes, he’s in a terrible offense built around a dead-armed QB, but his O-line is improved and the Giants were awful last year, too.
Tier Two: Tight End
Travis Kelce is the only one of last year’s top three tight ends who is in a position to replicate last season’s performance. With Tyreek Hill’s suspension and a lack of depth at TE, Kelce should be in for another 80+ catch season.
Tier Three: Wide Receivers
The bottom half of the first round and the top half of the second round are great places to pick up an elite WR over the questionable RBs in the next tier. Odell Beckham Jr. gets a major upgrade at QB and JuJu Smith-Shuster will be the top receiver on the Steelers now that Antonio Brown has been sent to Wide Receiver Siberia to toil under Derek Carr.
Tier Four: Running Backs
The second wave of RB’s is loaded with more questions than answers. Will Le’Veon Bell thrive in a new environment? Will James Conner really see decreased workload and by how much? Will Todd Gurley’s knee hold up? Is Damien Williams a bell-cow? Every single player in this tier has a major question mark that will impact their fantasy performance.
Tier Five: Wide Receivers
Antonio Brown is in for a rough transition from an above average NFL QB to… wherever you want to rank Derek Carr. Either he’ll make Carr a better QB or he’ll look like a pre-Dallas Amari Cooper. Adam Thielen may not have the ceiling of the other WRs on this group, but he is a steady producer and a good choice to build a WR corps around, especially when going with cheaper, high-volatility players later in the draft.
Tier Six: Tight Ends
Zach Ertz and George Kittle are in for regression from last year’s performances. Both players are on teams that have added weapons on offense and are getting their starting QBs back after injuries.
Tier Seven: Running Backs
I’m not seeing where all of the love for Leonard Fournette is coming from considering how brittle he has proven to be. Josh Jacobs is coming into a high-volume rushing role with very little expectation of performance in the passing game; consider him “Derrick Henry-lite”.
Tier Eight: Wide Receivers
This group consists of four safe options at WR. Which one you go with is largely dependent on your bye-week exposure or stacking needs.
Tier Nine: Running Backs
Kenyan Drake should lead a thin Miami backfield and he’s a threat in the passing game (477 rec. yds. and 5 TD’s). Sony Michel’s ADP is taking a hit with news that he had his knee scoped, but James White is the back to target in New England anyway. His 902 rec. yds. aren’t likely to go anywhere with a Gronk sized hole in the short passing game.
Tier Ten: Quarterback
Pat Mahomes is the second Chief to get a tier to himself, and for a good reason: Andy Reid loves your fantasy team. Sure, he’s going to regress, but what does that look like after a 53 TD season? He possesses the highest floor potential of any QB in your draft. I’m not saying that he’s not a reach on the fourth round, but he’s one of the safer players to make a reach for.
Tier Eleven: Wide Receivers
The Rams will have their three-headed monster back at WR next season so it’s a toss-up between Brandin Cooks’ concussion history or Robert Woods’ lack of capital with the team? Cooper Kupp looks to be taking touches away from one or both of them once his knee is healed. Tyreek Hill is a risky pick in the fourth round but looks to be headed for a shorter suspension than expected. Tyler Lockett should flourish as the top option for the Seahawks.
Tier Twelve: Tight Ends
O.J. Howard has breakout potential, but he’s been creeping up in ADP into “better perform” territory instead of a being good value pick. Even Engram should be in good shape as long as Eli Manning is throwing him the ball as he loves his TEs to the detriment of his second and third WR options.
Tier Thirteen: Running Backs
Chris Carson has a solid rushing role with Seattle, but next to nothing in the passing game. Tarik Cohen is more of a slot receiver than an RB, so while he will experience regression, his production isn’t expected to fall right off of a cliff. You’re betting on Gurley’s role with the Rams to change significantly if you’re taking Darrell Henderson anywhere near his ADP. Tevin Coleman is looking at a larger role with the Niners offense than originally intended when he was signed due to injuries in the running game.
Tier Fourteen: Wide Receivers
The smaller Tyreek Hill’s suspension looks like, the less attractive Sammy Watkins gets. Cooper Kupp needs to get some full practices in on his surgically repaired knee before anyone should fully invest in him.
Tier Fifteen: Quarterbacks
Round 7 has some interesting options at QB this season. Mahomes has effectively pushed the rest of the top tier QBs into the value range.
Tier Sixteen: Tight Ends
This might actually be a good tier to skip. Cooks benefited from a depleted passing game, as did Ebron and his 14 TD season. David Njoku hasn’t hit his potential yet and Vance McDonald is as fragile as they come. There’s an awful lot of risk here, and scant reward.
Tier Seventeen: Running Backs
I love an underdog and unsigned free agent success stories are nice, but the reality is that with a new coach, an injury and no draft capital Phillip Lindsay will not repeat last season’s numbers. Derrius Guice is a high-risk pick, but the reward is a workhorse back so I’m on board. If James Connor is going to lose touches, then Jaylen Samuels is in a great place to pick some up. His college TE coach is now his position coach, which could be a sign that he’s in for more of a role in the passing game.
Tier Eighteen: Wide Receivers
Marvin Jones could be the WR2 on the Lions, or he could get cut by a power-mad coach. I lean toward him sticking around and having a productive year. Christian Kirk and Dante Pettis need to find their places in their respective offenses, so they will have lower floors than Jones. Will Fuller is a best-ball beast, but also an injury waiting to happen.
Tier Nineteen: Quarterbacks
I’m going with the young guns in this tier and ranking Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray over the vets Matt Ryan and Carson Wentz. I expect a lot of chuck and duck in the Browns’ and Cardinals’ offenses and the volatility that goes with that approach is perfect for best balls – you don’t have to guess which week they will go off.
Tier Twenty: Wide Receivers
I’m just going to say it: I really don’t get Keke Coutee having an ADP in the low 90s when there are still so many WRs in a better position on the board. Sterling Shepard is in for an upswing in targets with OBJ out of the picture. Geronimo Allison could be looking at a very productive slot role with Green Bay.
Tier Twenty-One: Running Backs
What we have here is, essentially, a mid-draft junk drawer for running backs. Damien Harris is someone I like to take a little early because the Patriots backfield tends to be boom-or-bust and having a cheap piece can pay off in multiple-TD performances.
Tier Twenty-Two: Wide Receivers
More than 100 picks into the draft and we’re still getting some teams’ No. 1 option. Dede Westbrook and Larry Fitzgerald are great finds this late.
Tier Twenty-Three: Tight Ends
These TEs are worth taking earlier than their ADP would suggest. Herndon’s two-game suspension isn’t a big deal and Trey Burton figures to be back from hernia surgery by training camp. Mark Andrews is the clear No. 1 TE in Baltimore despite Hayden Hurst’s first-round pedigree.
Tier Twenty- Four: Quarterbacks
Drew Brees is showing his age and this could be his last season, but his home-turf performances are still worth a slot on your best ball team. Ben Roethlisberger airs it out far more than Russell Westbrook and finished as QB-3 last season, so his ADP being 16 spots deeper doesn’t add up even with Antonio Brown gone. Dak Prescott is one of the more underrated fantasy QBs and gets a full season with Amari Cooper to work with.
Tier Twenty-Five: Running backs
Peyton Barber is still the starting RB for the Buccaneers, but their backfield options are so poor overall that a free-agent signing could end up starting over what they currently have. Jerick McKinnon still isn’t running at full speed and looks to be having a slower than expected recovery from knee surgery
Tier Twenty-Six: Wide Receivers
Donte Moncrief may have a short run as the Steelers WR2, but, in the long run, James Washington looks to be the man for the job. Parris Campbell is in a better situation than DK Metcalf and is probably the better overall player.
Tier Twenty-Seven: Tight Ends
Kyle Rudolph, surprisingly, re-signed with the Vikings and figures to retain his role while Irv Smith Jr. sees time as an H-back. Noah Fant is in a better spot than T.J. Hockenson with a QB known for leaning on his TEs. Jordan Reed has been shockingly healthy.
Tier Twenty-Eight: Quarterbacks
The “bargain two-way threat” tier. Trubisky, Allen and Jackson are high-volatility options who make for a good value in best balls. Rivers and Cousins are better options for builds based on consistency.
Tier Twenty-Nine: Running Backs
Two rookies of note in this tier, but no one projects as a starter. Matt Breida will get most of the looks between the tackles for the Niners and Adrian Peterson will see significant touches again if Guice’s knee injury keeps him off of the field. Ballage is a passing down threat who could challenge Kenyon Drake for the starting job.
Tier Thirty: Wide Receivers
This tier is an opportunity to get a little ahead of ADP on DeVante Parker and Emmanuel Sanders. If his training camp performance holds up, Parker will be a steal in this range. Sanders is recovering from an Achilles tear but looks to be ahead of schedule in his comeback attempt. If he is fully recovered, he will be a sneaky pick with more upside than DaeSean Hamilton. Mecole Hardman has no real path to touches if Tyreek Hill gets a shorter-than-expected suspension.
Tier Thirty-One: Quarterbacks
Tom Brady just doesn’t sling the ball downfield enough to take very seriously in best balls, but he’s a solid floor guy for teams that have missed the boat on better options. Derek Carr could see a bump from working with Antonio Brown, but the safe bet is that he will drag AB down more than AB will lift him up.
Tier Thirty-Two: Tight Ends
This is where to target veteran TEs coming back from injuries. Greg Olsen and Tyler Eifert are favorites of their respective QBs but are coming off of injuries that are driving down their ADP. Darren Waller is the Raiders starting TE, but won’t see the same volume as Jared Cook did last year.
Tier Thirty-Three: Running backs
Green Bay looks to be going with RBBC so Jamaal Williams is a good late-round RB to pool in six or seven RB setups. Chase Edmonds should be on the radar of anyone who has drafted David Johnson. Devin Singletary and Ryquell Armstead are longshots to see meaningful touches with their new teams.
Tier Thirty-Four: Wide Receivers
A larger than usual tier comprised of my favorite 17th and 18th round picks at WR. Jalen Hurd and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside are boom-or-bust rookies with exceptional performance metric from college. Adam Humphries is being written off as a possession receiver on a terrible offense but is talented enough make a name for himself in the slot in an offense that strives to emulate the Patriots. Josh Gordon is a good stash on teams with seven or eight wideouts.
Tier Thirty-Five: Quarter Backs
This is the last tier of QBs that I’m interested in rostering. Each is facing either new coaching or being pushed by options on the bench. Dalton is the safest bet of the bunch and Fitzpatrick is the most exciting. These players are best used in three-QB setups.
Tier Thirty-Six: Tight Ends
The “flier” tier of TEs are intended for three and four tight end setups. Ricky Seals-Jones has intriguing potential based on having been coached by Kliff Kingsbury in college. Oliver, Warring and Knox all have the potential to start for their teams this season.
Tier Thirty-Seven: Running Backs
Interesting longshots for tournaments but not where I’d be looking to put my money in standard leagues. Jalen Richard still projects as the passing down back in Oakland and Rex Burkhead can be dangerous when healthy. Rookies Benny Snell, Dexter Williams and Qadree Ollison could challenge for backup roles and maybe more if an injury/suspension/cut moves them up the food chain.
Tier Thirty-Eight: Wide Receivers
The last tier of WRs is a large group of tournament “fliers” and late stacking options. Cole Beasley should carve out a comfortable role on the Bills, but TDs will be tough to come by. Jake Kumerow has been getting publicly praised by Aaron Rodgers, so he might be worth a shot. Ted Ginn is aging out of his role as a deep threat just as his QB is aging out of being able to utilize one.
|Ted Ginn Jr.||WR||NOS|
Tier Thirty-Nine: Quarter Backs
The bottom of the barrel at QB. Joe Flacco has a case for being a tournament dark horse in large GPPs, but shouldn’t be touched in standard cash leagues. Eli Manning is terrible but has the starting job for now. Daniel Jones is the better “flier” option between him and Eli in three-QB setups.
Tier Forty: Running Backs
The absolutely last running backs you should still consider using. Frank Gore is a TD vampire, but not much else at this point in his career. Ty Montgomery may still be able to break the occasional big play, but is on a throwaway contract with the Jets. Jordan Scarlett is a deep handcuff option for CMC. Darwin Thompson and Bruce Anderson are in the mix for a backup role on teams with thin backfields. T.J. Yeldon may need a change of scenery to find a productive role, the Bills are stocked at RB.
Brad Reyes is a snake-draft and auction specialist, coach and the co-host of two podcasts devoted to the subject: “DRAFT Strategy” on TQE and “Best Ball Owners Manual”. He has a combined ROI of over 125% on the DRAFT site in baseball, football, and basketball. Hit him up for draft advice in the chat and check him out on twitter @MeanMrMode.