Hello everyone, and welcome back to the second post in my ADP Preview series, where I’ll be taking a look at many different players and their subsequent ADP data to give Razzball readers a sense of which players I like at their price, which players I do not like at their price, and other draft strategy that I believe is essential for drafts this fall.
We are almost in July, and while we still have between 5 to 6 weeks before Training Camp officially begins, it’s still a great idea to figure out our draft strategies and what players we’ll be targeting in each round.
So let’s get to it!
Players That I Love at Their Current Prices
While being the 4th pick in drafts isn’t incredible value, I think that David Johnson can easily finish as the best player in fantasy, but is being drafted as the 4th-best running back in drafts, behind Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell, and Ezekiel Elliott. And while you can’t go wrong with any of these running backs, I think Johnson comes at a better value than his counterparts. There seems to be a growing sense among casual fantasy players that Johnson is an injury-prone running back, and while he has suffered some injuries, they have all been pretty minor. In 2016, Johnson sprained his MCL during Week 17, and didn’t need to have surgery, and while he did miss the entirety of the season in 2017, it was only a dislocated wrist, and not a dreaded MCL or ACL tear. In fact, if the Cardinals were a more competitive team last year, then Johnson would have played a few weeks, but Arizona did not want to risk it with their star rusher. Johnson has had a year to rest and get ready for 2018, and can easily finish as the best player in fantasy thanks to his work as a bellcow rusher and serious threat out of the backfield on passing downs. And with Johnson at 1.04, you have your choice of Keenan Allen, Mike Evans, or Doug Baldwin to start off your team. You could do worse!
I talked about him during the previous ADP article back in May, however I really do love him so much this year in fantasy that he makes this list again. Gronk’s current ADP is the lowest it’s ever been in the past 5 seasons, currently sitting in the beginning of the 3rd round. However, Gronk is still the best TE in the league, at a position that is very top heavy in fantasy. There are only about 4 or 5 TE’s that I would really want this year, and Gronk definitely falls into a tier of his own. Especially with the departure of Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola, and the 4-game suspension of Julian Edelman, Gronk will be having a massive target share in this offense this season as he’ll likely be Tom Brady’s feature option. Gronk no longer carries a 1st-round price tag that he’s had these past few seasons, and we should all be jumping on this buy low opportunity.
While a part of me wishes he was the only running back in this backfield, I still don’t think that Frank Gore and Kalen Ballage will seriously challenge Drake and take away legitimate workload. While the 24 year-old back got off to a bumpy start in 2017, largely due to Jay Ajayi’s presence in South Beach, but when Ajayi left for Philadelphia halfway through the season, it was all systems go. Especially during the final 4 weeks of the regular season, Drake was white-hot, playing 86% of snaps with the most rushing yards in the league, and the 8th-best fantasy player during that stretch. He should be able to pick up right where he left off, and won’t cost fantasy owners an arm and a leg with a 4th-round price tag, meaning that for a lot of teams, he’ll be their RB2. Drake has Top-12 upside, and that’s what you want with your RB2.
This Chicago Bears team, and offense especially, is starting to make the rounds in the fantasy and NFL communities, and I am on-board. Newly hired HC Matt Nagy is getting a lot of people excited, and for good reason. The 40 year-old spent the past two seasons as the Offensive Coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs, where he had some pretty great success. Now, he will be installing an offensive identity in Chicago that is very similar to that of both Kansas City, and Philadelphia (who also found success with Doug Pedersen, another former Chiefs OC, whom Nagy worked under as the QB’s coach), which should be music to the ears of any fantasy football owner. While I am not saying that the Bears will have the exact success of the Chiefs and Eagles these past few seasons, but it is refreshing to see that Chicago will be given a new offensive identity that should better play to the strengths of its players. Allen Robinson is one of these players that should benefit from the coaching change, and his own move from Jacksonville to Chicago. People forget that Robinson is still only 24 years old, and while he has had his struggles and injuries in the past, he is still only a few years removed from when he torched up the league for close to 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns. He may never repeat those numbers, but he’s still the clear-cut #1 WR in Chicago, and should pay off his 5th-round price tag very easily. I will gladly take ARob as my 2nd or 3rd wideout, especially in PPR leagues.
I already wrote about Lewis here, so I’ll make this brief, but again, I believe the price is just right for Lewis. His ADP is currently in the 6th round, which is incredible value. If Lewis has a standout Training Camp and preseason, his ADP will certainly climb, but as for now, if we believe OC LeFleur, we could potentially get a team’s RB1″B option” in the 6th round of drafts, and as our RB3 or 4, depending on how we attack the draft. Obviously I feel better about Lewis in PPR drafts more than standard leagues, but the price tag is pretty low for someone who could have a very good workload during the NFL season this year.
If you put a gun to my head (who wouldn’t love that?) and I only had to choose one QB to have in every single one of my leagues, Newton is my guy. Remember the days where I really did believe that Cam would transition to a pocket-passer QB due to his multiple concussions? Well, that hasn’t been the case, as Ron Rivera seemed to let Cam run wild last year, as he totaled a career-high 139 rushing attempts. Well it’s common knowledge that dual-threat QB’s are absolute money in fantasy, and Cam is no different. While it may be hard for Newton to repeat his 2017 season, as he finished 2nd in fantasy with 3,300 passing yards, 22 TD’s, and 6 rushing TD’s, this year he’ll get a revamped O-Line, a full season of Greg Olsen, and a new offensive weapon in D.J. Moore, the rookie wideout from Maryland. What’s not to love? His current ADP is currently in the late 6th round, but I believe that he could slip even further in casual leagues.
Another QB I’m really diggin’ this year is Matt Ryan. Last year was a big bummer for Ryan, as just after a career year in 2016, he finished as the 15th-best QB in fantasy. As I spoke about in this article, Ryan did everything right in 2017, except for score TD’s. But it was still good to see that he did very well when taking a look at his accuracy, yards/attempt, and completion rate. The TD’s will regress back for Ryan, as he should still be able to produce, and continue learning and getting better in his 2nd year under Sarkisian.
I’ve talked about Shepard a lot and I will continue talking about him, because I believe Shepard poses some serious value as a WR4 or 5 for most fantasy teams. In fact, his ADP keeps falling! Even a little over a month ago, Shepard’s ADP was in the 9th round, now it’s two rounds later. This offense could be pretty loaded and dangerous with the addition of Barkley, a fully healthy OBJ, enough to draw the attention away from Shepard. If he even puts up numbers close to that of his rookie year (65 receptions, 683 yards, 8 TD’s) before his injury last year, he will absolutely smash his current value at 128th overall.
Players That I Don’t Like at Their Current Prices
I don’t have any strong feelings towards McCoy this year, but I don’t see myself drafting him at his current range in the middle second round. He’s right in the same range as other, more appealing running backs like Jordan Howard and Devonta Freeman, and I would rather take those options. The 30 year-old to be will be entering his 10th NFL season, and will be running in an offense that boasts almost no serious threats besides maybe Kelvin Benjamin, and behind an offensive line that shouldn’t inspire confidence in anyone. There’s a lot of mileage on McCoy’s legs, and I would just rather have a different HB in the second round.
Matt has already given his own opinion about Evans, so if you want more evidence on why you shouldn’t draft him, go check out his fantastic piece on Evans and other wideouts this year that MB won’t be having, but simply put, a 2nd round pick might be a little too high. Sure, he’s been dominating the target share in the past few seasons, but the TB receiving corps is arguably the best its been in the past few seasons, and especially with an increased running game, and the fact that Jameis will be suspended for the first 3 games (as of now), I don’t think Evans is worth the price of admission. Especially when you consider the fact that you can get Keenan Allen or Doug Baldwin in that similar range.
I can’t hate on running backs almost taken in the 7th round, because there is a reason why they’re going this late, but even though it isn’t a super risky pick, I don’t see myself interested in Mack this year. Sure, his name is easy to rhyme with in freestyle sessions with your best friends, but that’s the only thing really going for him. He’s been very inconsistent for the Colts thus far, and it’s troubling that there are so many other RB’s in the Indy backfield. Mack may be more talented than the rest of the backs on the team, but Head Coach Frank Reich has a track record of using multiple backs in his offense, and will likely do the same in Indy. I don’t think this pick is worth it.
Well, as you can see, there aren’t a lot of players that I absolutely despise, so that will be about it for me today. Thank you so much for reading, and as always, if you have a question or comment, don’t hesitate to drop a comment below! We’re still in the dog days of summer, but keep your eyes peeled for some more content from myself, Matt, Rudy, and the rest of the Razzball team!
You Can Follow Zach on Twitter @razzball_zach.