Welcome to the Underdog 2023 Football Best Ball Underrated Players article, the pre-draft version!
With the Underdog Big Board at 90% filled, this will be a great time to talk about value players for when Bestballmania IV opens. Disclosure, ADPs will change when the NFL draft occurs. Still, the players listed here are people I am currently drafting.
The tournament's opening is my favorite time to draft, as values aren't set and will rapidly change through the off-season. This list of players will give you a leg up on the competition as it will identify a few players and my opinions on them.
I am a big proponent of Best Ball Football tournaments. I do all my championship drafts/tournaments on Underdog Fantasy and RTSports. Drafting hundreds of teams every season. I have had a lot of success advancing to the finals in multiple tournaments and finishing at the top of RTSports, among other contests.
So please join in on our Best Ball Football articles through the season, as we're here to give sound advice that can help you win life-changing money.
Let's start with what you are here for--I will give you some Underdog 2023 Fantasy Football Best Ball Underrated Players.
Underdog 2023 Football Best Ball Underrated Players
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Derek Carr, QB, New Orleans Saints (QB19)
This one will sound confusing, but Carr was pretty decent last season. He got an upgrade at his WR corps with Davante Adams and didn't take a step forward like we hoped he would. But the fact of the matter is that Carr didn't take a step back from his 2021 season from a fantasy standpoint.
In 2021 Derek Carr averaged 15.9 PPG, and in 2022 he averaged 15.7. While also providing nearly the same amount of contribution points to Bestball teams. 2021 Carr provided six contribution games vs. five in his 2022 season. To top it off, he did this while playing fewer games in 2022.
Derek Carr was being taken as the QB12/13 in 2022. This means the average drafter was taking Carr as a possible leading quarterback on the season. The significant change this year is he is now QB19 on a new team and away from Josh McDaniels. This time, he is being drafted as a back-end QB2 with a proven record of five or more contribution games every year in the last three seasons, with a much more balanced cast at the receiving role with Chris Olave, Michael Thomas, Rasheed Shaheed, and Juwan Johnson.
The quarterbacks after Carr end up being a massive fall-off. You get your pick of Kyler Murray, who will likely be a different player with the return from his ACL tear, followed by rookie quarterbacks, and players with very minimal contribution weeks, let alone spike weeks. Regarding my take on rookie quarterbacks in Bestball formats, reference my 2021 Overrated Quarterback Article.
Sam Howell/Jacoby Brissett, QB, (QB29/36)
The Washington Commanders are coming into the season with a quarterback competition in Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett. Howell is unproven, with only one starting game in his rookie season. That one start did have a finish of 19.3 points, though. The Commanders have shown that they like Howell enough to only add Brissett as his competition and let Taylor Heinicke leave the team.
Much will ride on this off-season with the NFL draft and the Lamar Jackson rumors. But suppose the contest remains between the two. In that case, I expect Howell to be a value buy and Brissett an interesting handcuff.
As of right now, the Commanders have one of the better-receiving corps in the league. They are led by Terry Mclaurin, Curtis Samuel, and break-out receiver Jahan Dotson. All three finished with respectable numbers by the end of the year. This doesn't include their other skill positions of TE/RB, which are at least league average or better.
In 2022 both Heinicke and Wentz had multiple usable games in Best ball formats, with much of it due to the weapons on the team. Throw in a proven offensive coordinator in Eric Bienemy. You have yourself a full-on gamble worth taking.
With quarterback ADPs being pushed up this season, there are scenarios where fitting Howell as your QB3 will pay off his current price. Additionally, in some roster situations, it could be fruitful to handcuff Howell with Brissett if he wins the job mid-season or Howell gets hurt. Brissett had a solid floor with six usable games out of his eleven starts as a Cleveland Brown.
Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (WR35)
Tampa Bay's WR1 (1A) Mike Evans is currently going as WR35, which makes no sense. He has had nine straight seasons of 1,000+ yards, and I am sure he is getting his 10th if he plays all 17 games. The Buccaneers were a hot mess last year, and Evans looked out of sync with Tom Brady. Brady still went to him every game numerous times. He finished with 127 targets on the season in just 15 games.
The quarterback situation looks abysmal in Florida, but it was generally bad outside of the years with Brady. Evans had had Mike Glennon, Josh McCowan, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Jameis Winston throwing to him before Brady got there and never missed a beat. Evans is QB-proof, but that has been forgotten with the GOAT's short tenure there.
Allen Lazard, WR, New York Jets (WR57)
The Allen Lazard WR1 experiment could have been better for him and quarterback Aaron Rodgers last season. But with the change of scenery for Lazard and, hopefully, Rodgers, I expect that to change.
Lazard was never meant to be a WR1 for any team. Not every NFL player is capable of being "the guy." Some work better as WR2s or even WR3s, and Lazard fits this category rather well. He has vaulted himself into an uncompromised role as Elijah Moore was traded to the Cleveland Browns. Corey Davis has yet to finish an entire season since 2018.
Lazard's numbers have improved every year he has been in the league, and he is a threatening player in the red zone due to his size as a 6"5 WR and his chemistry with Rodgers. Fortunately, Lazard finished with six contribution weeks in 2022. Being drafted at the end of the WR5 range, there are few players with Lazard's upside at his going price.
Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (RB13)
Currently one of my highest-owned RBs, few values are as excellent as Najee Harris. Harris might be my favorite of all the 2023 Fantasy Football Best Ball Underrated Players on Underdog. I get it; he looked terrible last year. But can you confidently say that any offensive weapon on the Pittsburgh Steelers performed well, let alone pay off at the ADP/hype level in 2022?
There are a few things to point out regarding Harris in 2022. First, he came into the 2022 season with a Lisfranc injury and was able to play the entire season and finished RB14. Although he fell short of his actual ADP, he still finished within range of the lower-end RB1s.
I know people like to point to Jaylen Warren's "fantastic season" and how he took away Najee's snaps. Let us debunk this immediately. Warren had 77 rushing attempts and 28 receptions for 105 touches on the season. That is an average of 6 touches per game.
Compare that to Najee's 313 touches on the season. In the games Warren had "extra touches," Najee out-touched him in every one of those games. In games such as Week 17, where Warren had his career-high 15 total touches, Najee had 25. Warren only had one touchdown on the season, while Harris finished with ten touchdowns.
"Well, didn't Warren perform better by averaging more yards?" Warren did have higher yards per carry on the season. There are numerous reasons, such as scheming and what down someone plays. Also, the running back they are, which is usually complemental to their counterpart. Warren is a 5"8, 215-pound player, versus Najee 6"1 and 232 pounds.
There are few games in which Warren had many rushing attempts but this is their stat comparison. Warren had a 4.1 YPC with nine carries against New Orleans, but Harris was at 5 YPC on 20 carries. Against Carolina, Warren had 11 carries at 3.5 YPC, but Harris had 24 carries for 3.6 YPC. "Warren is a better RB than Harris" is a myth overall. However, Warren is valuable as he is a direct handcuff to Harris.
J.K Dobbins, RB, Baltimore Ravens (RB20)
The Baltimore Ravens have suffered at the running back position since J.K Dobbins's injury in 2021. Dobbins was slated to return in 2022, which was a terrible idea as he needed to be more prepared. Upon his initial return, he had 120 rushing attempts for 3.42 YPC. However, the Ravens decided to continue with the rehab. So they had him return at the end of the season, where he had 57 rushing attempts for 7.1 YPC over his last four games.
Dobbins has a polarizing career, but if he does return to form, you're looking at a low-end RB2 that is likely an every-week flex or better player in Bestball. Dobbins is a pure runner with most of his upside through touchdowns. He is worth his price tag, as the last time he was fully healthy was in 2020. Then, he had nine touchdowns in just 134 rushing attempts. I expect those numbers to come backward, but Dobbins is in a situation where he could be a double-digit touchdown scorer.
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