2023 FFPC High-Stakes Best Value Picks


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2023 FFPC High-Stakes Best Value Picks

FFPC’s FantasyPros Championship and Main Event tournament-style redraft leagues are by far my favorite leagues to play in.

If you’re new to the format, here are the basic points differentiating it from all other formats:

1) These are tournament-style leagues, where the grand prize winner will walk home with $1 million. Two teams from each 12-team league will advance to the tournament rounds – the team with the best regular season record and the remaining team with the highest point total during the regular season. In addition to tournament payouts, your 12-team league’s championship winner will take home either $1,500 (FantasyPros) or $2,500 (Main Event).

2) Playoff weeks in your 12-team league are Weeks 13 and 14. Tournament rounds are Weeks 15 thru 17. You may want to devalue players on teams with bye weeks during that stretch.

3) In this league, you’re starting 1 QB, 2-4 RBs, 2-4 WRs, 1-3 TEs, 1 K, and 1 DST each week. So, note that WRs are slightly devalued in this format.

4) This is a TE Premium format which means TEs are more valuable. Although, keep in mind that some TEs (the ones who catch a lot of passes) get a larger boost than others. For instance, Pat Freiermuth was 21% more valuable in TE premium formats last year, but George Kittle received only a 14% bump.

Here are my favorite values based on current FFPC ADP:

Mid-Round 1 Picks

Unlike in most years, I really don’t see too much of an edge in holding the 1.01 pick. Instead, I’d much prefer drafting anywhere from the 1.03 to the 1.07.

Justin Jefferson is your current 1.01. Last season he finished as the overall WR1, averaging 21.7 FPG.

Ja’Marr Chase (1.02) led the league in targets per game (11.2) and ranked 4th in FPG (20.2). For perspective, that was +0.8 more FPG than what Jefferson averaged in his sophomore campaign, and Chase accomplished this feat despite playing through a hairline fracture in his hip. Needless to say, it’s not unreasonable to expect an improvement on his 2022 results this year.

In 10 full games with the 49ers last year, Christian McCaffrey (1.03) averaged 22.5 FPG (+0.8 more than Jefferson). When healthy, he’s only ever been the closest thing we’ve ever seen to peak LaDainian Tomlinson.

Last season, Travis Kelce (1.04) bested Jefferson in FFPC’s TE Premium format, averaging 21.8 FPG. If we viewed Kelce as a WR instead of as a TE, than he’s finished as a top-5 WR in this format for six straight seasons – 2nd-best (21.8), 5th-best (19.3), 2nd-best (24.4), 3rd-best (18.9), 2nd-best (21.6), and 4th-best (18.3).

Austin Ekeler (1.05) averages 21.7 FPG over the past two seasons (+0.2 more than Jefferson’s 2022). Los Angeles hasn’t added any competition to their backfield, and, given Ekeler’s contract situation, they’re heavily incentivized to run him into the ground in 2023.

Cooper Kupp (1.06) bested Jefferson’s 21.7 FPG last year (22.4) and the year before (25.9; the 5th-most by any WR in NFL history). Impossibly, he’s exceeded 16.0 fantasy points in 28 of his last 29 healthy games, averaging 25.6 FPG over this span.

Last season Tyreek Hill (1.07) averaged 3.07 YPRR, which ranks 4th-best since at least 2014. He averaged 23.0 FPG (+1.3 FPG more than Jefferson’s 2022) in full games Tua Tagovailoa played without a concussion.

I like Justin Jefferson! I just don’t think he gives you a significant edge over any of these other names.

Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

ADP: RB9, Round 2

Over the last four seasons, Henry has finished 4th (19.0), 1st (23.4), 3rd (20.9), and 3rd (20.0) in FPG. There are a number of reasons why we should be skeptical of Henry finishing top-5 for the fifth season in a row, but that also all feels more than priced in. And there is a key argument in his favor that isn’t getting quite enough attention…

Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

ADP: RB15, Round 4

Last season Mixon finished as the RB6, averaging 17.1 FPG. Absurdly, if we remove just one game, he falls to RB13 (14.2). Still, that’s more than baked into his current ADP (RB15). And the bottom line is this – he ranked 2nd among all RBs in XFP/G (18.8), with that number nearly matching Austin Ekeler’s league-high 19.9 if we exclude the one game he left early due to injury (19.6).

Samaje Perine (8.1 XFP/G) is no longer with the team. And Cincinnati’s decision to wait until Round 5 to add another RB to the room signals to me that Mixon will be the bell cow again in 2023. So, as it stands, Mixon appears to be the single best value – at any position – in current FFPC drafts.

Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

ADP: WR19, Round 4

Allen has finished top-12 in FPG in each of the last six seasons. If excluding the two games he left early due to injury, Allen averaged 10.4 targets per game (WR6) and 19.0 FPG (WR7) last year. Why is he being drafted as just a mid-range WR2, rather than as a low-end WR1? I have no idea.

Darren Waller, TE, New York Giants

ADP: TE7, Round 5

Waller is easily my favorite target at the TE position. I don’t have many hard-hitting stats to justify this position – I simply think the Giants are viewing him as their WR1, that he’s easily the best WR1 Daniel Jones has ever had, and that Jones will be peppering him with targets to that effect.

Sure, Waller underwhelmed the past two seasons (mostly due to multiple injuries), but in the two seasons prior to that, he averaged 18.7 FPG in TE Premium formats (would have been 21% better than last year’s TE2).

Marquise Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals

ADP: WR32, Round 6

Without DeAndre Hopkins last year and before hitting I.R. with a foot injury, Brown averaged 10.7 targets per game (WR5) and 18.3 FPG (WR7). Sure, QB play is a concern (Kyler Murray had ACL surgery in January), but the Cardinals also don’t really have anyone else to throw the ball to (Hopkins and his 10.7 targets per game are no longer with the team), and this is a team that’s going to need to be throwing a lot.

James Conner, RB, Arizona Cardinals

ADP: RB27, Round 7

Over the last two seasons, Conner averages 15.9 carries, 5.1 targets, and 21.4 FPG (would have ranked 2nd-best last year) when playing on at least 60% of the team’s snaps. Ty’Son Williams, Keaontay Ingram, Corey Clement, and someone named Emari Demercado currently represent his only competition for backfield touches.

Sure, Kyler Murray will be out for a while, and this offense looks like a mess. I just don’t think it really matters – Conner has been more productive in losses than wins over the last two seasons (17.2 FPG vs. 15.4), and also without Kyler Murray. Conner averages 21.6 FPG (would have ranked 2nd-best last year) in games Murray either sat out or attempted fewer than 2 passes.

Conner rivals Joe Mixon as the best overall value at his position.

Kadarius Toney, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

ADP: WR33, Round 7

It may feel as though there’s a 50% chance Toney is a bust and a 10% chance he’s a top-10 fantasy WR. But even if that’s true – in accordance with our Upside Wins Championships draft philosophy – that also means he’s a terrific draft pick at current ADP, and especially in FFPC tournament-style leagues.

As a rookie, Toney ranked 12th among all WRs in YPRR (2.14), despite battling through a litany of injuries (ankle, hamstring, quad, oblique, thumb, shoulder, and knee.) He recorded 196 YFS in Week 5 (the 13th-most by any rookie WR ever), despite playing on only 54% of the team’s snaps (he exceeded a snap-share of 60% only twice the entire season). And, from Week 4 on, he led all receivers in targets per route run (0.37).

Last season, from Week 9 until the Super Bowl, Toney led all WRs in targets per route run (0.29). Okay, granted, Toney barely saw the field – usage akin to a poor man’s Mecole Hardman. But, I suppose, he did score a touchdown in the Super Bowl. And that he’s best suited for the slot, while Kansas City is currently missing 300 slot routes following the departures of JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman.

Heading into 2018, GM Brett Veach had this to say of Patrick Mahomes (when he had thrown only 35 passes at the NFL level) – “He is [already] one of the best players I’ve ever seen.” Veach definitely called that breakout, and maybe he’s doing it again with Toney. In May, Veach had this to say, “I don’t know if there is a limit on [Toney’s] game because he has a vertical game… We have a lot of high hopes for him. He was a first-round pick for a reason. There’s a reason why we traded for him, and we felt like he was first-round talent.” ESPN’s Adam Teicher added, “[T]he Chiefs believe Toney is first in line to be their next No. 1 wide receiver.”

And, obviously, there’s massive upside to that role – Tyreek Hill finished top-6 in FPG in five seasons with the Chiefs. Even last year, in somewhat disappointing campaigns, both Smith-Schuster and Hardman beat Toney’s current ADP by FPG rank. Like Hill, Toney brings an added element on the ground with his legs (career: 11-102-1 rushing) thanks to a rare tackle-breaking ability (he led all WRs in missed tackles forced per reception as a rookie). And all this means he may be the team’s preferred target on shovel passes, implying massive touchdown potential within this offense – over the last two seasons, Mahomes has scored 24 touchdowns on <1 aDOT throws inside the 10-yard-line.

Gabe Davis, WR, Buffalo Bills

ADP: WR43, Round 8

Davis suffered a high ankle sprain heading into Week 2 (according to HC Sean McDermott) of last season. Before that injury, he averaged 20.4 FPG over his previous six games. High ankle sprains – even mild Grade 1-level high ankle sprains – often take 3-4 months to heal fully. I was lower than the rest of the staff on Davis last year when he was being drafted as the WR17, but I love him now at a far more palatable ADP (WR43; 8 spots below where he finished last season).

Elijah Moore, WR, Cleveland Browns

ADP: WR45, Round 9

Oh shit, are we doing this again?

That’s right… Run it back, bitches!

Chigoziem Okonkwo, TE, Tennessee Titans

ADP: TE12, Round 9

Last season, Okonkwo out-gained Treylon Burks — a first-round WR — by 8 receiving yards on 79 fewer routes. Among all receivers to run at least 150 routes, Okonkwo ranked 3rd in YPRR (2.80), behind only Tyreek Hill (3.26) and A.J. Brown (2.91).

There are obvious usage-based concerns with Okonkwo – he cleared a 50% route share only once last year. So, a sophomore breakout isn’t quite a guarantee. But I definitely do want to chase his upside at this ADP, given the absurdly impressive efficiency metrics he posted as a rookie and the fact that Austin Hooper is no longer with the team (replaced by no one of note).

Greg Dulcich, TE, Denver Broncos

ADP: TE16, Round 11

I like targeting sophomore TEs because TEs tend to improve dramatically from Year 1 to Year 2 – on average, we see a jump from 62.8% of a TE’s career baseline average as a rookie to 95.5% in Year 2. And Dulcich was already (very quietly) historically great as a rookie TE.

The regime change (Nathaniel Hackett to Sean Payton) somewhat muddies any projection over usage and role. But Payton seems very high on Dulcich, and perhaps not at all high on his WRs. (He’s spent all offseason trying to trade Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy, and then drafted WR Marvin Mims in Round 2. Earlier this month, Payton gushed over Dulcich and his TE Premium-friendly “Joker” role in this offense.)

Allen Lazard, WR, New York Jets

ADP: WR53, Round 11

Lazard just barely finished as a low-end WR3 last season (36th in FPG), while Aaron Rodgers played with a broken thumb for over 75% of the season. (And Lazard also battled through ankle and shoulder injuries.) Sure, Garrett Wilson is probably the alpha in New York. But Rodgers himself has always spoken ad nauseam about the importance of QB-to-WR rapport, practice time, and having receivers he can trust – surely Lazard fits the bill in Rodgers’ eyes. And even if Lazard is just the Jets’ WR2, there’s more upside to that role than his WR53 ADP implies – since entering the league, Aaron Rodgers has supported 14 fantasy WR1 seasons, 7 fantasy WR2 seasons, and 4 fantasy WR3 seasons in 14 career seasons.

Aaron Rodgers, QB, New York Jets

ADP: QB16, Round 13

Rodgers struggled last season while playing with a broken thumb from Week 5 on, but is now reunited with OC Nathaniel Hackett, who helped him win back-to-back MVP awards in the two seasons prior to that. From 2020-2021, Rodgers ranked as the QB6 in FPG (22.6), less than 1.0 FPG away from Patrick Mahomes for QB2 status. And the Jets offense – replete with talented young pass-catchers and trusted weapons – seems ripe for fantasy potential.

I somewhat question Rodgers’ upside, but he’s undoubtedly a tremendous value in Round 13.

Late-Round Dart-Throw Tight Ends

In FFPC’s TE Premium format, I love throwing darts at late-round TEs. A league-winning ceiling is hard to find within this range, but you’re far more likely to find a reliable back-end starter from the TE position than from the other flex-eligible positions.

I loved Trey McBride (ADP: TE23) as a prospect. And, granted, he was really bad as a rookie, but there’s definitely some upside here. DeAndre Hopkins leaves behind 10.7 targets per game, and Zach Ertz (age: 33) is still rehabbing from ACL and MCL surgery (November). Minus the Week 10 game in which he suffered that injury, Ertz averaged 7.5 targets per game (~TE3) and 14.6 TE Premium FPG (~TE5) while wearing a Cardinals uniform.

I think there’s some upside for Hayden Hurst (ADP: TE28) in this Frank Reich-led Panthers offense. Reich typically favors a TE-by-committee approach, but Hurst offers massive potential if that’s not the case – in 9 career seasons as a HC or OC, Reich's teams have ranked top-5 5 times and top-12 7 times by team TE FPG.

Conversely, with Reich out of Indianapolis, it’s possible Jelani Woods (ADP: TE32) can become the Colts’ featured TE, no longer part of a frustrating 3-way committee. Woods is a freak athlete (88.4 SPORQ) who caught 8 of 9 targets for 98 yards in the one game he cleared a 60% route share last year.

Late-Round Dart-Throw Wide Receivers

Justyn Ross was an elite prospect prior to injuries. By all reports, he’s looked great and has earned the trust of Patrick Mahomes in training camp. I definitely want to be betting on his upside at his current cost (ADP: WR90).

John Metchie is back to full health after missing all of his rookie season. I’m pretty confident he’s the most talented WR on this team, so of course I like him at his WR69 ADP.

Rashid Shaheed very quietly posted one of the most efficient rookie seasons in recent memory. He’s a great value at his current WR70 ADP.

I was higher than most on Tyquan Thornton when he was coming out, and I do expect New England’s passing game to improve under Bill O’Brien. I don’t think he has as much upside as the other names we’ve discussed, but he’s a fine value at his WR75 ADP.

Scott Barrett combines a unique background in philosophy and investing alongside a lifelong love of football and spreadsheets to serve as Fantasy Points’ Chief Executive Officer.