You don’t need me to tell you how big the news of the Julio Jones trade to the Titans is. And honestly, you don’t need another person telling you their opinion on how it impacts all these individual players for fantasy. That’s really not the important part anyway.
At the end of the day, exactly where all these Titans and Falcons players were ranked and where they were being drafted isn’t going to change that much. Maybe a few picks in either direction, and maybe a bit more for Ryan Tannehill, but from a high level view, it’s nothing groundbreaking. We were already talking about a bunch of 2nd-5th round players that will still be going in that same range. Whether you would now take Julio over DJ Moore or you’re dropping down AJ Brown 3 spots doesn’t really matter.
And that’s because not only is the difference between your WR5 and WR8 so minimal in terms of impact, but also because we actually aren’t in the business of predicting outcomes. We are in the business of trying to win these best ball tournaments, and there’s actually a big difference.
Obviously, we do have to pick players, so we all have to have our preferences on which players we rank over one another. But when we are playing in these huge field tournaments, it’s not as simple as just drafting the players we have ranked the highest, even if we are being smart about roster construction and stacking.
In these huge field tournaments, it’s very unique in terms of what we need to happen in our favor in order to win. And it has nothing to do with whether or not you are right about your ranking of Julio Jones amongst WRs. First, we have to place in the top 2 of our 12 team league in the regular season (weeks 1-14). Then, we have to advance in larger groups each individual round in weeks 14 and 15. And finally, we have to put up the highest score in the final round in week 17 in order to bring home a million bucks.
Obviously, you already knew that, and I’m just annoying you by spouting off the rules, but it’s oddly important to reiterate, especially as it relates to Julio on the Titans.
Clearly, to win in week 17 (and really all the playoff rounds), we need spike weeks from our players. I feel like everyone knows that, but then we get a situation like this and all anyone wants to do is talk about whose stock went up, whose went down, and precisely where you should have these players ranked amongst your top WRs. You have to put them in your rankings somewhere, but that’s not really the best way to approach it specific to these large field best ball tournaments, like Best Ball Mania II on Underdog or the Milly Maker on DraftKings.
In those contests, we need to find situations that give us paths to winning first place in these contests. And while we are all going to probably disagree on all the exact situations that fit that criteria, the Titans pretty clearly represent a stack that offers the exact type of upside that gives us a path to first place.
Even with Julio Jones, the Titans are going to be a run first team. They still have the Big Dog, Derrick Henry, and Mike Vrabel as their Head Coach. When they’re playing with a lead, the ceiling is lowered for the pass game trio of Tannehill, Julio and AJ. There’s proven to be enough of a condensed target share and efficiency in those game scripts to keep us afloat in best ball, plus we have the rest of our roster to pick up the slack in those weeks. However, the Titans defense has been prone to giving up plenty of points over the years, and with some very key losses (especially in the secondary) it’s very possible they take another step back defensively. In those negative game script weeks, where they’re having to get into a shootout with their opponent, the ceiling is on a truly elite level for this pass game. You have two superstar wide receivers that will eat up nearly all of the target share and offer big play potential combined with a QB who has proven to be efficient passing and offers more rushing upside than most think. The spike weeks have the potential to break fantasy, and those are the outcomes that win us a cool $1 Million Dollars.
So when we get these situations… situations where there’s a clear path to first place and winning this game we are playing in these large field tournaments… we have to pick our head up out of our rankings, out of our projections and realize that we need to take advantage of these spots. I’m not saying we need to go all in on Titans stacks. That would be silly.
But even if we don’t love where these guys – Ryan Tannehill, AJ Brown and Julio Jones – end up settling in ADP wise, I think it would be foolish not to draft some Titans stacks. It’s up to all of us to determine exactly how much is the right amount for us, and it also simply won’t be possible in every draft we do given that AJ and Julio are still top 4 round picks. That difficulty, however, will make the stacks rarer in these tournaments, which only increases the appeal.
All these factors simply add up to a situation that, at least in my opinion, deserves very real exposure in our best ball tournament portfolios. And in order for us to get that exposure, we have to stop worrying about exactly where we would rank each of the individual players because ultimately that doesn’t matter. Maybe you like Mike Evans and CeeDee Lamb more than Julio Jones, but AJ Brown fell to you in the late 2nd round or you simply don’t have any exposure to Titans stacks yet. Venture away from your exact rankings or feelings about each specific player and focus on building your portfolio of teams with paths to first place in this silly little game we are playing.
A silly little game with millions of dollars up for grabs.