Welcome to my 2023 Best Ball Football Underrated Wide Receivers. If you still need to join Underdog, what are you waiting for? Join today by using this link, and you'll get your first deposit matched up to $100.
I do these segments annually and cover every Underdog Best Ball Format position. I aim to help you by shedding some light on the players I am currently drafting and why. You can use these for other best ball leagues, such as RTSports, as the rationale is the same, but the ADP data is from UD.
I draft hundreds of teams every season with high advance rates and deep finishes in all the Best Ball tournaments. If you want to follow my journey and how I view Best Ball, you can do so by checking out my profile. There will be past articles from previous seasons that hit the mark, rankings, and a beginner's guide to Best Ball.
Now that has been explained, let's start with what you are here for. I will give you some under-drafted 2023 Fantasy Football Best Ball Underrated Wide Receivers.
2023 Best Ball Football Underrated Wide Receivers
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Christian Kirk, Jacksonville Jaguars
"Calvin Ridley joining the Jaguars will kill Christian Kirk's value and upside." We all thought this coming into the season, and it's justifiable. Ridley was a WR1-level talent, currently looking good in camp, and has shown elite upside when given a chance. What does this mean for the Jaguar's former WR1 in Kirk? The most straightforward conclusion is that Kirk will now be the WR2 and likely have less upside than his 2021 season. What if the second part of that sentence isn't true? What if we're getting last year's WR11 numbers but at WR27? The range of outcomes for Kirk is currently unknown, but we could be exaggerating the fall for Kirk.
Trevor Lawrence Is Elite
We in the fantasy community love elite quarterbacks; they can produce multiple fantasy-relevant players on one team. That's why we draft Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, AJ Brown, and Devonta Smith in the first 24 picks. We even go as far as to take the top three receiving options on the Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Chargers, and Minnesota Vikings in the first 80 picks of Best Ball drafts. The craziest part about this is that these picks can hit and have hit in the past. With Trevor Lawrence currently being taken QB8 directly after Justin Herbert, the assumption is that he will take another step forward and once again have another high-level season. Therefore, the range of outcomes could be within low-end WR1 and high-end WR3; it's a floor-level bet with more upside than we give credit for.
The Ridley Effect
With Ridley's arrival to an overall crowded receiving room with Kirk, Zay Jones, and Evan Engram. What will be the "Ridley Effect?" The knee-jerk reaction is that the former WR1 Kirk will lose targets to the new WR1 and become less serviceable. It could be a split of Kirk's targets or the other bloated, lesser-talented players on the team. Players such as Marvin Jones (81 Targets), Zay Jones (121 Targets), and Evan Engram (98 targets). It doesn't have to be Kirk's (133 targets) role that takes a hit, as he is more versatile than his counterparts.
Here are other items we should account for:
- Jaguars were #10 in pass attempts in 2022, and the number could go higher.
- Kirk will face lighter coverages as a WR2, increasing his efficiency (he had inconsistent weeks).
- Kirk's year two chemistry with Lawrence vs. Ridley's year 1 (not including being out of football for nearly two years)
Gabriel Davis, Buffalo Bills
One player I can see myself doubling down on in 2023 is Gabe Davis.
Easy to get quickly fatigued when a breakout doesn't happen and no super obvious reason why.
"Oh, he's just not good enough / it's not happening."
But I still see the upside at a way lower ADP now.
— Michael Leone (@2Hats1Mike) April 18, 2023
The 2022 Gabe Davis hype stopped when he only provided four usable games over an entire season on his fourth-round ADP. This time, Davis is being drafted outside the WR3 zone, and it's a fair price correction. Although this is a fair price correction, Davis's value is underrated because he has the upside to win you a Best Ball tournament.
Better In Best Ball
Gabe Davis straight is out a "Better In Best Ball" player. You cannot rely on him for weekly usage but when he has produced. He is above replacement points. In 2020 and 2022, Davis's usable weeks were 5 points or more above the replacement level. It's the player you need at your WR4 spot to help your team advance in the elimination rounds. Davis' role is specific and limited, but this is precisely what you need in Best Ball; he's nailed at least four or more replacement-level games per season.
The Narrative Game
This part of the article is going to be narrative-based. We know what Gabe is, but what if everything that occurred last year and this year is true? Therefore, here is the list of narratives that signal a bounce back for Davis in 2023.
- In 2022, Davis dealt with an ankle injury early in the season that hampered his year-long.
- According to beat writers, He has an "elite" camp and is improving his consistency.
- Gave is still the clear No.2 receiver, as Khalil Shakir isn't closing the gap, and nobody else has been brought in.
- Year 4 with an elite quarterback in Josh Allen (reference the Christian Kirk section)
Pre-Season Injured Players
I originally had a spot for players such as Rashod Bateman, Allen Lazard, Michael Thomas, and JuJu Smith-Schuster (wink wink). But with BBM IV getting ready to start, I wanted to touch on this trend of letting players who aren't "ready" for Week 1 slip numerous rounds. Guys such as Jerry Jeudy, Terry Mclaurin, and possibly Jaxon Smith-Njigba, depending on his timetable.
Week 1 Doesn't Matter
One of the oldest Fantasy Football tropes is a fantasy manager who needs a full running roster in Week 1 (including their bench). Unless you're in the eliminator drafts, there isn't a reason to worry about your first few weeks of the season. It can be frightening to think of a "zero" coming from a player but remember, this is Best Ball. You aren't managing a regular team, and you will not end up with a "zero" in your positional slot, as multiple players will fill in.
You are likely wondering, "Well, if I am missing out on points, then I won't advance, right?" If you don't get enough points on the season, yes, you will not advance. But the likelihood that your team doesn't advance coming down to three weeks where you had slightly fewer points is unlikely. An example of a player who didn't hurt advance rates and finished above the standard 16.7% is Deandre Hopkins. Hopkins was drafted in the 6th/7th rounds in 2022 and finished with an 18% advance rate even while missing six games. This means your teams can sacrifice a few early weeks of upside. At the same time, you could be getting these points back later in the season or winning in the elimination weeks.
D.J. Moore, Chicago Bears
Let me know if you heard this before. "DJ Moore is being under-drafted; this year, he is playing with the best quarterback he's ever had." Jokes aside, Justin Fields is likely the best quarterback that Moore has played with. It will not be worse than what Moore stepped away from in the off-chance that Fields isn't.
Quarterback Proof/Scheme Proof
Anybody following DJ Moore's career knows that he's chasing Deandre Hopkin's record for playing with the most irrelevant quarterbacks in a career. If you have lost count, Moore has gone through 8 quarterbacks in his career and still finds a way to be fantasy-relevant season in and season out. To top it off, Moore is versatile enough to fit numerous coaching schemes and quarterback playing styles. Through Moore's five years, he has had an ADOT variety of 7 - 10 yards with a YPR of 12 - 18. To top it off, in each of the last four seasons, Moore has been in the 120+ target range per season, showing that quarterbacks do favor him. This will not change under Justin Fields, who will rely on Moore.
At current draft ADPs, DJ Moore is the last proven WR1 to be drafted in Underdog tournaments. A few WR2s, such as Tee Higgins, Devonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle, are ahead of him. Mind you, they are going as far as 20 picks earlier than Moore. After Moore, we go into a complete tier break of WR2s such as Mike Williams, Christian Kirk, Brandon Aiyuk, etc. Being a WR1 doesn't guarantee production, but given Moore's track record, player versatility, and competition for targets. I would rather grab Moore than the WR next to him or, in most cases, other skill positions such as QB/RB/TE going in the same range. He is currently being drafted as a high-end WR3 based on his ADP and never finishing worse than a mid WR2. There's little to lose here, and it can fill many, if not all, roster types.
"Moore Isn't Good In Best Ball"
One of the main arguments against Moore is that he has been a low-upside player and won't be usable in Best Ball. I understand the argument due to Moore's minimal touchdowns throughout the season. Still, even without the touchdowns, Moore has found ways to be above replacement-level points every season just due to sheer volume and efficiency once the ball is in his hands.
In the past three seasons, this is Moore's contribution games followed by his above replacement level games/points:
2020 Season - Eight contribution games and six above replacement level.
2021 Season - Nine contribution games and four above replacement level.
2022 Season -Seven contribution games and six above replacement level.
Moore has a lot of usable weeks and is capable of spike weeks, best of both worlds, and is priced rather well.
Final Rounds Wide Receivers
There is a lot of WR2/3 who are in guaranteed roster spots and that currently going in the final two rounds. Mack Hollins, Mecole Hardman, Darius Slayton, Michael Wilson, and etc. They may not be weekly usable but they have just as good odds to be weekly contributors as some of the players being drafted in rounds 12 or below. Here are some examples of what these guys did last season
- Mack Hollins - Four usable weeks in 2022
- Mecole Hardman - Four usable weeks in 2022 while only playing half the season
- Darius Slayton - Five usable weeks in 2022
Don't feel pressured to hard load in your 6th - 8th wide receivers in the other rounds as you can get usability elsewhere
More Best Ball Content
Suppose you are new to Best Ball or want to understand my thought process on how to play the game, here are my rankings and my beginner guide.