🌓 The Great Redraft / Best Ball Divide

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T.J. Hockenson and Tua Tagovailoa, forever linked…

In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Underdog Fantasy:

  • 2024 fantasy is built different

  • Watercooler: Rhamondre gets paid

  • WR Sleepers: Opportunity in Green Bay

  • It’s 6/24. Take it away, Peter Overzet

We are getting very close to redraft season.

Magazines are being purchased, draft dates are being set, and sleepers are being searched for (more on a Green Bay WR to target below).

Meanwhile, we are already deep into the heart of best ball season. Sickos have literally been drafting since before the Super Bowl.

I’ve drafted hundreds of teams over the past couple of months. I’ve written about tournament strategy, game selection, portfolio management, and my favorite players to draft. And it’s not even July 1. 

And while there is plenty of overlap between what we are trying to do in both redraft and best ball—drafting the best players, namely—the divide between the two formats has never been more stark than in 2024.

A redraft player logging on for the first time will likely need to be resuscitated after seeing the prices on starting RBs like Joe Mixon, Zamir White, James Conner

Meanwhile, the WR-friendly roster settings on Underdog demand that drafters push these RBs down the board in favor of high-ceiling pass catchers or risk getting buried in a WR avalanche with a sub-optimal squad. 

Your buddy Tony who sends one egregious trade offer a week will let out a shriek when they see that Marvin Harrison Jr., who has never played a down in the NFL, is going ahead of perennial all-stars Davante Adams and Mike Evans at the 1/2 turn.

And yet rookies, and their back-weighted production, are key strategic lynchpins in these top-heavy tournaments where the playoff weeks are all that matter.

The examples are endless. 

Good luck trying to explain to the young folks on the dance floor why Raheem Mostert, who scored 21 TDs last year, goes 70 picks later than De’Von Achane in your best ball drafts.

As we get closer to the start of the season, we’ll begin highlighting the strategic shifts we need to make in our managed redraft leagues, but don’t dismiss best ball content simply because it’s not the exact settings as your home league. 

Best ball drafters have skin in the game, which means they are putting their money where their mouth is over and over again. And the resulting data (ADP, positional trends, etc.) can greatly inform how to best attack our redraft leagues.

The most terrifying redraft player is the one who has cut their teeth drafting all summer long. 

Jump in with us on Underdog Fantasy—we got a promo for you below—and run circles around your league mates in August.

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Around the Watercooler (August 2022)

🍔 Guys naming random NFL players. A tradition like none other.

🤔 The real Elijah Moore? We were too early.

💍 Another ring for Tom Brady. Do you take it off while swimming?

🤯 Now that’s a blowout. Sorry, Brazil.

📸 Poor Bryce Young. He needs to stop taking photos.

🙏 An update on Barry Sanders. He had a scare last week.

📽️ 135 seconds of Deebo Samuel making dudes miss. Time well spent.

📣 Le’Veon Bell has been going hard on X. Jets on blast.

💰️ Rhamondre gets paid. Nice deal for him.

It’s hard finding WR sleepers these days with the WR-thirst at an all-time high. Today, Chris Allen identifies one cheap WR to target in Green Bay…

Wide receiver is arguably the most difficult skill position to evaluate and project for fantasy purposes.

Think about what it takes to be a top-tier receiver. Being a WR1 already means the ball is coming a player's way often. However, the receiver's footwork, release technique or alignment has allowed him to gain separation before the QB makes the throw. Then there's the burst, long speed and/or power to propel through (or around) defenders after securing the ball. In other words, a WR’s inherent traits help him stand out.

But sometimes they’re not enough.

A pass-catcher’s surroundings can undercut their talent. Smooth routes aren’t as useful when the QB tucks the ball and runs at the first sign of pressure. Good WR play exists at the intersection of talent and situation — and I’ve got a process to find a few examples for the 2024 season.

🧀 Dontayvion Wicks, Green Bay Packers

Dontayvion Wicks currently sits at WR4 for the Packers. His value makes sense. Wicks saw only 58 targets last year, and now — with Christian Watson healthy, Romeo Doubs coming off statement games in the back half of last season and Jayden Reed establishing himself as the team's do-it-all pass-catching option — Wicks should be behind their primary trio. But he showed last year he can force a WR3B situation.

Subjectively, Green Bay needs to develop other weapons for QB Jordan Love. Each member of the receiving triumvirate missed time due to injury. Watson alone sat out eight games with hamstring issues.

Objectively, Wicks’ contextualized workload emphasizes he has more value than his ADP suggests.

  • Play-Action Targets: 2nd (team target share), 1st (targets per route run)

  • Third-/Fourth-Down Targets: 3rd, 1st 

  • YPRR: 2nd

  • First Downs per Target: 1st 

These are all good metrics for a developing WR. However, the one that caught my eye was his usage in two-WR sets. Green Bay ran concepts with two receivers on the field at the seventh-highest rate in 2023. In those sets, Wicks had the highest TPRR rate, even with Watson and Doubs active. His 3.81 YPRR was more than the other two combined (1.19, 1.80). Meanwhile, Reed barely saw the field, touching the ball just once in this personnel grouping. 

Wicks ran a route on only 45% of Love’s dropbacks in ’23, but the Virginia product has clearly earned more playing time. So while we’re excited about the Packers’ passing game after a strong finish, Wicks taking on a larger role isn’t out of the question.

Cooterdoodle's Favorite Tweets (Aug 2022)
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