Best ball season is in full swing, and degenerates everywhere are flocking to max-enter Best Ball Mania V (BBMV). By comparing the Fantasy Life expert rankings with Underdog ADP, we can find players our experts are higher or lower on than the best ball masses.  

In each of the following four situations, there is at least a full round separating the player's Fantasy Life consensus ranking and Underdog ADP.

Players to Target on Underdog Fantasy at ADP

Joe Mixon, RB - Texans

  • Fantasy Life Ranking: 46.3
  • Underdog ADP: 59.3

Arguably one of the biggest non-QB free agent winners, Joe Mixon, signed a three-year, $25.5 million contract with the Houston Texans that included $13 million guaranteed. The landing spot couldn't have been better. In his first season, C.J. Stroud led the team to a division title and a playoff victory. This offseason, they went out and added Mixon and Stefon Diggs, then re-signed Nico Collins to a nice contract.

This team is going to be a fantasy goldmine for the foreseeable future.

After an injury-shortened 2020, Mixon has seemingly gotten better with age. He has finished inside the top 10 in three straight seasons, appearing in at least 15 games each year. Here are his season averages since 2021:

  • 253 rushing attempts
  • 1,021 rushing yards
  • 9.6 rushing TDs
  • 51 receptions
  • 317 receiving yards
  • 2.6 receiving TDs

He joins a team that averaged 22-plus points per game last season and could/should be even better in Stroud's second year.

The Fantasy Life team has Mixon ranked near the back-half of Round 4, while Underdog ADP has him coming off the board near the end of Round 5. So what's with the 13-pick difference?

On one hand, he's an aging RB who will turn 28 years old this summer. He has certainly reached the tipping point of the RB age cliff and will now have to adjust to a new team for the first time in his professional career. In addition, head coach DeMeco Ryans recently stated he believes Mixon and Dameon Pierce will serve as a 1-2 punch.

Please, no. Just let Mixon run wild.

I understand why it might be in the best interest of the team to pace Mixon throughout the season and keep him fresh for a potentially deep playoff run, but this is fantasy and we selfishly just want points, no matter how they come.

Here's where the stark difference comes into play. The Fantasy Life projections tool projects Mixon to finish as the RB7 using Underdog scoring. Notice the massive discrepancy in his Underdog ADP compared to the rest of the projected top-12.

RB Rankings

He has the lowest Underdog ADP by a full round of any projected top-12 RB. This tells me that Mixon is currently a screaming value in best ball formats.

Despite the concerns about age and team change, Mixon is objectively the most talented RB on the Texans and it isn't particularly close. Also, this offense has the necessary firepower to put up a ton of points this season. That means, A) ample scoring opportunities will be there; and B) positive game scripts should be the norm more often than not. Both of those bode well for Mixon and his fantasy potential this season.

Draft Mixon with confidence at or above his current Underdog ADP.

Alvin Kamara, RB - Saints

  • Fantasy Life Ranking: 53.5
  • Underdog ADP: 68.0

Here's another veteran RB the Fantasy Life team appears to like more than the general masses at this stage of the offseason.

Alvin Kamara was such an interesting case study last year. He posted his:

  • Fewest rushing attempts since 2019
  • Most rushing TDs since 2020
  • Most targets since 2020
  • Most receptions since 2020
  • Fewest receiving TDs since 2019

Ultimately, he finished as a low-end RB1 and averaged 3.8 yards per carry. He'll turn 29 this summer, so the question remains: What does he have left in the tank? Apparently we're a bit more optimistic than the community on this one.

On paper, the start of his 2023 season was excellent, and then he tailed off over the second half. However, in four of his first five games, he had either 10 receptions or a rushing TD. You read that right… 10 receptions as an RB.

His route participation and target share certainly jump off the screen for someone of his position, but he also saw 67% of attempts inside the 5-yard line. He might not have converted as many of those as fantasy managers would have liked, but it's still promising to see him getting those looks despite sharing the field with known TD vulture Jamaal Williams.

The backfield is unchanged from a year ago, so it should be assumed that this backfield belongs to Kamara barring injury. The Saints have ample weapons in Derek Carr and Chris Olave, and their division is arguably the weakest in the NFL top to bottom.

Kamara doesn't necessarily have to be efficient — he just needs to keep seeing those high-value opportunities like targets and rushing attempts near the goal line. If those keep coming his way, there's no way he should be going near the end of Round 6 in best ball drafts.

Players to Fade on Underdog Fantasy at ADP

Ladd McConkey, WR - Chargers

  • Fantasy Life Ranking: 87.8
  • Underdog ADP: 69.9

Conversely, one the biggest discrepancies resides with rookie WR Ladd McConkey of the Chargers. Selected 34th overall, he steps into an environment where he could technically be the No. 1 wideout from the beginning.

The Chargers have the most available targets and percent of targets from last season to go along with  the third-most available air yards and air yards rate. It really comes down to how involved you think McConkey will be in his new-look Chargers offense. Let's take a closer look.

Jonathan Fuller wrote an excellent prospect profile on McConkey, highlighting his strengths (efficiency/route running) while also keying in on his weaknesses (part-time player/size and strength). At the end of the day, regardless of what we might think of him as a player, the Chargers spent a near-first round pick on him, so that certainly means something.

McConkey does come in at WR7 in our Rookie WR Model, so there's some appeal from a dynasty perspective. But the general community is much, much higher on him this season than we are. There's a difference of over 20 picks between our rankings and the Underdog ADP.

Coincidentally, we have McConkey projected to finish right next to former Charger wideout Keenan Allen. Here's the cohort McConkey finds himself in via our projections.

Relative to this group, he's a bit of a value based on his ADP. (As a side note, it looks like Tyler Lockett will once again be underdrafted compared to his end-of-season finish.)

The hiring of Jim Harbaugh as the new head coach of the Chargers, coupled with the hiring of Greg Roman as offensive coordinator, signifies a massive shift in philosophy for this offense. They are undoubtedly going to #EstablishIt like we've never seen before. That ultimately means more of a game-manager style role for Justin Herbert, which caps the fantasy upside for McConkey and the rest of the pass-catchers.

I love McConkey in dynasty formats, but based on his rise up the draft boards in best ball, I am fine staying away in single-season leagues. I'll let someone else take the swing.

Jake Ferguson, TE - Cowboys

  • Fantasy Life Ranking: 101.0
  • Underdog ADP: 85.6

I better be careful. Jake Ferguson has quickly become one of my most-written about players this offseason, but seeing these respective rankings has certainly poured some cold water on my optimism. Still, it's always healthy to have our priors questions and to be willing to revisit previous takes when we encounter new information.

My reason for being high on Ferguson comes down to two things: past production and future opportunity. Let me explain.

In his first season as the starting option, Ferguson went 71/761/5 on 102 targets. He was second in targets behind only CeeDee Lamb (181) and earned 20-plus more targets than the next-closest player (Brandin Cooks).

To further put Ferguson’s season in perspective, he finished inside the top 10 among all TEs in the following categories:

  • Targets
  • Receptions
  • Receiving yards
  • Receiving TDs
  • PPG & PPR

Both Tony Pollard and Michael Gallup are  gone. That frees up 124 targets from last season.

In total, Dallas is down over 24% of their targets from last year and they didn't bring in any pass-catchers to help offset that loss. With no real rushing attack, it might literally be just Lamb and Ferguson.

However, despite my optimism, the Fantasy Life rankers are 15-plus spots lower on him than the masses. But here's where it pays to pay attention. We have him projected as the TE9 this season. Underdog ADP has him as… the TE9. That means there are more players we have ranked ahead of Ferguson compared to Underdog.

I still love Ferguson, and he'll probably wind up being a "my guy" for this season. Still, it's important to practice safe roster-building strategies and to avoid reaching too far for your guy. Let the draft come to you, but if you have the chance don't be afraid to draft Ferguson.

Sam Wallace
Sam Wallace
Sam Wallace has contributed to Dynasty Football Factory, RotoViz, FTN, and the Fantasy Life Newsletter with a primary focus being on dynasty fantasy football. He has a Masters Degree in Educational Administration and Curriculum and is currently a high school teacher. When not writing about fantasy football (or teaching), he loves spending time with his beautiful wife and two wonderful children.