5 Players I Love in Early-Season Best Ball


With over 20 best ball drafts in the books, it’s time to reveal the 2024 “My Guys” fantasy football list. 

These are five players I have gained substantial exposure to after building my first 20 rosters on UnderdogFantasy. This list is fluid and based on current ADPs, which will change throughout the summer months. Players have their projected roles increase/decrease during the preseason, and injuries can always become a factor. The best fantasy values can change with the uniqueness of each draft, but having drafted over 10 of the 12 possible spots, there are certain players I have continued to identify as undervalued throughout the early part of draft season.

I assume the traditional Underdog Best Ball scoring, with 0.5-point PPR, 3 WRs and one Flex player starting each week. 

George Pickens, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Let’s review George Pickens’ profile. He is 6-foot-3, 220 pounds with 4.47 speed. He has seen an increase in his targets, receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns over his first two NFL seasons, despite dealing with horrific quarterback play in 2023. Per our FTN Splits Tool, the more Pickens gets involved in the offense, the better the Pittsburgh offense functions as a whole. The Steelers averaged more points, passing yards, touchdowns, passing touchdowns and offensive drives when Pickens reached 70 receiving yards or more over the last two seasons. 

There are 140 available targets from last year, including the departure of Diontae Johnson to Carolina (87 targets). There is minimal competition for Pickens in the passing game, as Pittsburgh only added journeymen Van Jefferson, Scotty Miller and Quez Watkins, while drafting  5-foot-11 Roman Wilson in Round 3 of the NFL Draft. None of those players will threaten Pickens’ role as alpha receiver in this offensive attack. The Steelers also upgraded their quarterback room with veteran Russell Wilson and the versatile Justin Fields. 

Pickens led all wide receivers in yards per reception last season, while posting superior performances during the critical fantasy playoffs, finishing as overall WR2 and WR9 in Weeks 16 and 17. Currently going as a microscopic WR28, Pickens is being drafted behind Tank Dell (Texans WR3), the brittle Tee Higgins and rookie Malik Nabers. I have loved selecting Pickens in Round 4 of almost every draft, a wide receiver with top-10 upside at a bargain cost. 

Jordan Love, QB, Green Bay Packers

Romeo Doubs, WR, Green Bay Packers

Let’s think back to the end of Week 10 last season. The Packers were just 3-6 overall and coming off a 23-19 loss at Pittsburgh. Fantasy drafters were starting to wonder if third-year quarterback Jordan Love was actually droppable, as the 25-year-old signal-caller ranked just 17th in FPPG, trailing the uninspiring Joshua Dobbs of Arizona/Minnesota. 

But then? Everything changed. 

From Weeks 11-18, Love was the overall QB2 at 21.2 FPPG, trailing only Buffalo’s Josh Allen. He threw 18 touchdowns and just one interception and led the Packers to a road playoff win at Dallas and a close 24-21 loss in the Divisional Round at San Francisco. 

Despite finishing as the overall QB6 in fantasy points per game, Love is being drafted as the overall QB10, barely ahead of Chicago rookie Caleb Williams. Critics will cite his lack of rushing ability but completely ignore the upside of a quarterback with 4.74 speed who scored four times on the ground last season. Love’s first 10 weeks were brutal, which is also suppressing the ADP of a player who has the 2024 MVP within his range of outcomes. Green Bay has a reasonable schedule given its playoff success and has every opportunity to get off to a great start with winnable matchups at home against Indianapolis, at Tennessee and home to Minnesota and Arizona. 

I always try to stack Love with multiple pass-catchers but have the most exposure to third-year wideout Romeo Doubs. Green Bay is hoping Christian Watson can finally stay healthy after battling extensive hamstring issues the last two years, but if he fails, Doubs could set a career-high in targets, receptions and receiving yards. He posted five or more receptions in six of the eight games between Weeks 10-17 and balanced that production with seven touchdowns in the first 10 weeks of the season. 

Even if Watson returns to his productive level, Doubs can still easily outproduce his current WR53 ADP. He’s consistently available in Rounds 9-10 of all my best ball drafts. 

Ray Davis, RB, Buffalo Bills

Last year, I was well-above consensus on Buffalo running back James Cook, and this year I return to the Bills to back another rusher, rookie Ray Davis. 

Davis was the Bills’ fourth-round pick in the draft and has already ascended to the No. 2 spot behind Cook on the depth chart. He is a compact 5-foot-8, 220 pounds and was compared to Frank Gore by Daniel Jeremiah. Davis posted almost 1,400 total yards at Kentucky last year with 29 receptions and 20 total touchdowns. He is the only player in SEC history to have a 1,000-yard rushing season at two different conference schools (Kentucky, Vanderbilt). 

The Bills jettisoned leading wide receiver Stefon Diggs, which could signal more rushing opportunities. Cook is the team’s RB1 but only saw 55% of the backfield touches last year, opening up the opportunity for Davis to have one of the largest opportunity shares among rookie running backs. 

Buffalo ranked third in team rushing attempts last season, and its offseason moves indicate that number will not decrease. Davis is being drafted as the RB58 and has been available after Round 12 in each of my 20 best ball drafts. He carries my highest exposure at the running back position. 

Rashid Shaheed, WR, New Orleans Saints

I have been gobbling up Shaheed shares as much as possible during the early part of best ball season. The 2022 UDFA from Weber State is a big-play target for quarterback Derek Carr, ranking top 15 in yards per reception (15.6). He almost doubled every significant offensive category from his rookie campaign, including finding his way to the end zone on five scores. 

The best news for Shaheed? New Orleans failed to add a receiver of consequence, with only fifth-round pick Bub Means new to the roster. Shaheed’s role is securely ahead of 2023 sixth-round pick A.T. Perry, and the Saints have a significant amount (108) of targets available from last season. 

New offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak has already stated he wants to change the Saints offense, moving to a run-heavy attack that will set up Carr for big gains off play-action passes. That should give Shaheed even more big-play opportunities as the WR2, which should lead to eviscerating his current WR56 ADP. 

Shaheed was WR45 in FPPG last season and has seen his role increase on the depth chart. He is the perfect late-round wide receiver dart throw with low-cost and a big chance for best-ball spike weeks.

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