Best ball can be attacked similarly to redraft, but we also want to accentuate upside over consistency. That means there are some players who we often avoid in redraft that we will feel better getting in best ball. Picking some of these players will go against your instincts, but usually they can be had at value. Some of these guys are akin to the big, lumbering home run hitters who strike out a ton and have a .220 average but also knock out 30-40 homers each year.
We’ll look at five running back targets below. You’ll want around six to eight running backs in DraftKings best ball leagues. The number will depend on the makeup of those backs. If you went heavy on studs early in the draft, you could probably get away with six and if you waited, you might feel better with eight.
Matt Breida, Dolphins
Upside, upside, upside! That’s what Breida has and Jordan Howard is his main competition this year. The two will likely split work, but Breida, when healthy, is by far the more explosive back. Breida is the exact kind of back we want in best ball. Injuries and playing time are concerns, but if healthy and getting touches, he have games that count on your best ball team and will challenge even the top backs in the league. Jordan Howard is safer, but not a best ball league winner.
Cohen’s big plays went down significantly in 2019 compared to to 2018. What we got from Cohen last season was his floor and there is much more upside there. David Montgomery is just another back and Cohen is explosive. One touch from Cohen can make a fantasy day while 20 touches from Montgomery might not.
Duke Johnson, Texans
Bill O’Brien might not want to use Duke as the lead back, but David Johnson hasn’t shown an ability to lead a backfield in the last couple seasons. Johnson has always been a high-upside fantasy back when looking at hit per touch numbers, but he’s never been given a big workload. He could be forced into a bigger workload this season if the other Johnson can’t bounce back and if used correctly, he could put up huge numbers with DeShaun Watson running point.
Jonathan Taylor, Colts
Taylor is currently going off the board as the 21st running back in best ball. If Marlon Mack wasn’t in Indianapolis, Taylor would likely be going in the Top-10 running backs drafted. Do you think Taylor and Mack will split touches 50-50 all season? No, that isn’t going to happen and the odds are that Taylor will be the player to win the lead job and run with it. Get the savings that Mack’s presence offers, because the upside for Taylor in the Colts offense is too good to pass on in best ball drafts.
D’Andre Swift, Lions
The Lions have no faith in Kerryon Johnson to stay healthy or catch passes. That is why they grabbed Swift early in the second round and while he’ll see a lot of playing time from the get go. I liked Johnson for fantasy the last two seasons and both times injuries and workload were a problem. And last year his yards per attempt dropped to 3.6. He’s still young, but this league is always ready for the next best thing and that’s Swift and his big play appeal.