5 Players to Fade in FFPC Best-Ball Contests | 2024 Fantasy Football

Much virtual ink has been spilled on which players to target in Best Ball Fantasy Football Tournament drafts. However, there’s much less written about the landmines we need to avoid. Today we’ll look at five players that can sink our battleships for a variety of reasons. I’m going to be referencing ADP from the FFPC Best Ball Fantasy Football Tournament with a $300,000 Grand Prize. Although, this information will be equally actionable for the FFPC SuperFlex Tournament. Admittedly, the ADPs will differ somewhat. I’ll even put my stamp of approval on fading these players in Underdog’s BBMV as well.

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What is a Best Ball Tournament Fade?

So, what exactly constitutes a fade in a Best Ball Fantasy Football Tournament? Let’s look at this question from several angles:  

First, if the player’s situation has changed from previous years due to increased competition, or a worse overall offensive environment, we shouldn’t just blindly rely on previous performance within the offense. For example, Jaylen Waddle was the WR11 in ADP last year based on the strength of his previous two year’s finishes as the WR12 and WR8. This would have been a perfectly reasonable ADP except for the fact that the Dolphins were clearly focused on improving their rushing attack. They accomplished this in spades with a healthy Mostert and the lightning-in-a-bottle Devon Achane. The result was a further erosion of targets for Waddle.

Second, a player might be mispriced relative to the other players available at his position. When Darren Waller was traded to the Giants, enthusiasm ran high for his potential to lead all Giant receivers and to once again be a TE worthy of a lofty ADP. The problem was that he was being priced at his ceiling. There were many other TEs with similar ceilings that were much cheaper. Evan Engram and David Njoku were two examples who fulfilled their promise. Kyle Pitts was an example who actually failed to achieve greatness. He was at least a cheaper mistake to make than Waller.

Opportunity Cost

Third, a player might be a decent enough option, but the opportunity cost of taking that player might cause you to miss on much better values available at other positions. Last year, Justin Herbert and Trevor Lawrence were being taken as the QB7 and QB8 in drafts. These rankings were certainly defensible within the QB position as a whole. However, there were other QBs that could be reasonably expected to score similarly that came at a much cheaper price relative to the other positions. Dak Prescott and Kirk Cousins had track records that indicated they should be similar in value to our Best Ball Fantasy Football teams. However, they were available in drafts a full five rounds later.

Now that we know what we’re looking for in fades, let’s see if we can identify a few for 2024!

Dalton Kincaid (ADP 23, TE4)

Kincaid is your Darren Waller of 2024 drafts. In the TE-Premium world of the FFPC, you have to take him at the tail end of the second round or the start of the third round. This is very lofty draft capital for a player who finished as the TE11 last year. The case for Kincaid is that we should expect him to improve as a second-year player. Additionally, with Diggs gone, there is a lot more available opportunity in this offense. I won’t deny that we should expect him to improve as a player. However, that doesn’t always mean we should expect an explosion in fantasy points.

Realistic Expectations

To set expectations for Kincaid, we need to dive a little deeper into snap totals. Diggs vacates 1075 snaps. 67-percent of those snaps came when split out wide. Kincaid, on the other hand, played only 18-percent of his snaps split out wide. Therefore, unless the Bills abandon throws that are deep and/or outside the hashes, there’s not a lot that Kincaid can pick up in the way of targets. Keon Coleman is much more likely to be the main beneficiary of Diggs’ departure. Additionally, the Bills added Curtis Samuel. Samuel averaged over 70-percent slot snaps over his past four years. They also have Khalil Shakir. Shakir is another slot maven with over 70-percent slot snaps for his career. Moving inline, Dawson Knox is the primary TE. Given his contract and run-blocking prowess, he’s unlikely to cede many snaps inline to Kincaid.

Add it all together and the bullish case for Kincaid is suddenly much harder to see. Certainly, TE4 is within his range of outcomes. However, the path to it is quite narrow. The rampant enthusiasm for Kincaid just screams of lazy analysis and wish-casting. I’d feel a lot more comfortable taking him at the 5 /6 turn, but I can’t imagine his price is ever going to drop that low. At his current price, I’m willing to gamble that a 100-percent fade won’t be fatal to any of my teams.

Jaylen Waddle (ADP 35, WR17)

Waddle’s ADP has adjusted from last year. However, I still don’t think it’s moved far enough. I’m always nervous drafting anyone who’s a WR2 on his own offense when there are still WR1’s on good offenses still on the board. We’ve seen the Mike McDaniel version of the Shanahan offense for two years now. It’s clear the RBs will continue to be heavily featured at the expense of the TE and WRs not named Tyreek Hill. Waddle’s value would absolutely skyrocket if anything were to happen to Tyreek. The problem is it’s hard to draft with that outcome in mind when spending a third-round pick.

There are certainly scenarios where Waddle meets or even slightly exceeds his ADP cost. However, he’s being drafted at near ceiling prices. I’d much rather place bets on Mike Evans, D.J. Moore, Deebo Samuel, or even Stefon Diggs. All of them are capable of delivering more and bigger spike weeks than a Waddle playing next to a healthy Tyreek Hill. As we know, these spike weeks are what drive Best Ball Fantasy Football value.  Betting on Waddle is betting on setting a solid floor in a place in the draft where I’d rather continue to make bets on ceiling outcomes.

C.J. Stroud (ADP 56, QB6)

The thesis for fading Stroud is exactly the same as that for fading Herbert and Lawrence last year. It’s not that QB6 is unattainable for 2024, it’s the gulf in PPG between the truly elite running QBs and Stroud will probably be significant in 2024, just as it was in 2023. Meanwhile, the gap in PPG between Stroud and at least half a dozen other passers is likely quite small. Additionally, many of those other QBs are at least a couple rounds cheaper in ADP.

Stroud scored 21.5 PPG in his rookie season. If he doesn’t use his legs to score points significantly more than he did last year, it will be hard for him to improve much on that total. His history in college says he’ll continue to use his mobility more to buy time to throw rather than to rush for yardage and TDs. For example, last year Dak Prescott threw for 4,516 years and 36 TDs. Prescott did so with a similar rushing output to Stroud. Prescott only averaged 23.2 PPG. More to the point, Dak can be had 2 ½ rounds later than Stroud.

It’s not hard to see QBs like Kyler Murray, Jordan Love, Prescott, Brock Purdy, Trevor Lawrence, or Kirk Cousins (just to name a few) scoring similarly to Stroud. These QBs range from two to six rounds cheaper. Unless you’re building a Texans stack, there’s just no reason to target Stroud at this lofty price.

David Montgomery (ADP 69, RB19)

Despite the nice ADP, Montgomery is a trap play for Best Ball Fantasy Football gamers. He’s being drafted at his historical ceiling as he’s finished between RB17 and RB24 for four of the past five years, but that’s still only part of the story behind the fade. Clearly, though, we don’t want to draft players with limited room to run on the upside but plenty of room to fall on the downside.

The deeper issue with Montgomery is that he’s a high-floor, low-ceiling play at a spot on the draft board where we can still find RBs who offer better ceiling on both a weekly and season-long basis. Last year, he was a RB1 only three of the 14 weeks he played. Now, he’s going to be contending with Jahmyr Gibbs who’s ready to take a second-year jump in productivity. Things are likely to only get worse for Montgomery’s ceiling. Then when we consider he’s flanked in ADP by D’Andre Swift and Zamir White, players with much better paths to both volume and ceiling weeks, it becomes very clear why Montgomery is a trap. Don’t fall for it.

Rashee Rice (ADP 80, WR38)

Don’t race to take Rice based on his off-the-field issues making him a discount star. He’s got 99 problems, and an utter lack of sound judgment is only one. Even though his price is continuing to fall (by the time you read this I’d expect his ADP to sag even further, perhaps to the 100-110 range), he’s still a pretty poor bet for Best Ballers. We can be certain there will be touts pushing narratives such as “he won’t get a long suspension,” “he won’t be suspended until 2025,” or “you’ll want him in the money weeks.”  So, let’s address those narratives. 

The optics around his off-field issues are really bad. Street racing and causing a multi-car pileup is bad enough. However, leaving the scene of the accident compounds the egregiousness of the initial lapse in judgment. I think there’s a good chance he’s placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List (much like Adrian Peterson) until there’s some legal resolution. Even if he avoids this fate, the Chiefs could still choose to leave Rice inactive, just as the Texans did with Watson in order to avoid the inevitable public outcry if he is allowed to play until the legal system runs its course. Whenever the NFL finally does rule on a punishment, I’d put the over/under on any suspension at 6-8 games with credit for time served.

A Suspension Looms

Assuming Rice misses a minimum of six games with the potential to lose as much as the full 2024 season (whether paid or unpaid matters not at all for our purposes), this makes him a risky investment already. Then we must consider that the Chiefs WR situation looks to be far less dire than in 2023 when Rice broke out at least partly because the Chiefs had no other viable options. They added Hollywood Brown, who is at least far more competent than any of their 2023 WRs not named Rashee Rice.

They also drafted Xavier Worthy in the first round of the NFL Draft. Rice must then work his way back into an offense that’s been running for a large chunk of the season without him and then somehow regain his fantasy-scoring mojo despite facing much stiffer competition for touches. Meanwhile, the teams we draft him on must also survive this absence.

Bottom line, it’s very difficult to see the path where Rashee Rice makes us pay for fading him completely in 2024. I’ll be letting others scoop the fake “value” on his depressed ADP while I take players like Christian Watson or Diontae Johnson in the same range who have similar upside but much easier roads to being difference-makers for my squad.

For more from PlayerProfiler, check out this article – Underdog Fantasy Football Best Ball Targets (playerprofiler.com)