The NFL preseason games have finished, which means the time is ripe for fantasy football drafts. Michael Beller has our final ADP watch of the preseason.
One week from now, the first game of the 2015 NFL season will be in the books. That makes this the final weekend of fantasy draft season. If you still have drafts or auctions on the docket, you’ll want to know how players’ stock has shifted over the last week. Find out some of the most interesting changes with the final version of our ADP Watch for the 2015 season.
All ADP data is courtesy of fantasyfootballcalculator.com
Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers
Hyde’s draft-day value fell steadily through most of August, reaching its nadir of 4.06 about two weeks ago. Since then, however, it his climbed about half a spot per day. Fantasy owners wanting to land Hyde in drafts this weekend will likely have to use a late-third or early fourth-round pick to secure his services. His current ADP sits at 36.7 overall.
The second-year player out of Ohio State was one of the most popular breakout picks when fantasy conversations first started percolating back in May and June. He seemed to lose favor throughout the summer, owing mostly to the fact that no one wants to invest in the San Francisco offense (which I believe is a mistake). Here are the facts on Hyde: He has the right pedigree, going straight from Columbus to the second round of the draft in 2014. He didn’t get much of a chance to play behind Frank Gore last year, but the little pieces we saw were impressive.
Reggie Bush will have a role as a pass-catching back, but the San Francisco backfield is Hyde’s show and he’ll touch the ball at least 250 times this year. The Niners will figure out creative ways to confuse defenses with him and Colin Kaepernick as running options on the same play. His ADP isn’t a steal, but it is a perfectly appropriate price. He should be a rock-solid RB2.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans
The Hard Knocks effect is at it again. Every year, the spotlight provided by the HBO show seems to increase the draft-day price of one specific player. Given that Arian Foster is injured and Brian Hoyer isn’t all that attractive for fantasy purposes, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the honor went to Hopkins this season. Attributing his rise solely to Hard Knocks, however, would sell short a receiver who is turning into one of the best in the league.
I’ve had Hopkins comfortably inside my target zone all summer. While the receiver position, as a whole, is as deep as ever, there’s still a significant dropoff after the first 13 are selected. Hopkins is my 13th receiver, though he’s a lot closer to the players ranked just in front of him than the ones just behind him. The third-year receiver out of Clemson had a phenomenal second season, hauling in 76 receptions for 1,210 yards and six touchdowns.
You may be understandably concerned about his quarterback play, but it’s not like he was catching passes from John Elway Jr. last year. If he can put up that kind of season with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett and Case Keenum, he can do the same, if not better, with Hoyer.
Hopkins had 120 targets last season, and you can expect that to jump by at least 30 now that Andre Johnson is in Indianapolis. Most importantly, Hopkins had just 14 red-zone targets last year to Johnson’s 29. Expect Hopkins’ red-zone looks to double in 2015. In addition, 27 of his total targets traveled at least 20 yards in the air, and Hopkins caught 12 of them for 458 yards and four touchdowns. In 2013, he caught nine of his 10 catchable deep targets for 306 yards and a score. Hopkins does everything you look for in a receiver.
Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles
The dramatic rise in Agholor’s price isn’t a shock because everyone wants a piece of the Philadelphia offense. Still, seeing how much his popularity increased in the month of August in graph form shows you just how much hype is associated with Chip Kelly’s bunch.
Once upon a time, you could get Agholor in the middle of the seventh round of a 12-team draft. Now, chances are you’ll need to use a top-65 pick to satisfy his 59.7 ADP. He has had an impressive preseason, catching nine passes for 117 yards and a touchdown. While preseason numbers don’t mean very much, even for rookies, the big takeaway is that Agholor has quickly learned Kelly’s up-tempo, occasionally confusing offense. His one touchdown also flashed what he brings to the offense.
If the corner plays it straight and doesn’t go for the pick, he almost certainly keeps Agholor in front of him. However, look at the way he goes up for this catch, and then pivots and turns up field within half a second of making the grab. That sort of athleticism will play well in Philadelphia. I’m a little concerned, however, because his ADP assumes WR2 production, and that just might not be in the cards for him his rookie year. Some players with lower ADPs who I’d rather have, even up at Agholor’s price, include Allen Robinson and DeSean Jackson.
Bishop Sankey, RB, Titans
Sankey has had one of the most interesting months, as far as ADP goes, in the league this summer. I could tell you about it, but showing you gives it greater impact.
Sankey’s ADP chart looks like a crude children’s drawing of the mountains. For my money, the peaks, one of which we’re at now with Sankey’s ADP sitting at 93.7, are more accurate than the valleys. Sankey was a disappointment last year, but the fantasy community saddled him with unrealistic expectations. It’s nearly impossible for a running back to have a good year on a 2–14 team, especially a rookie running back who’s adapting to the NFL game and learning an entirely new offense. Sankey didn’t run all that well last year, but neither did anyone else who got a chance to run behind the Titans’ line.
The Titans may not be a playoff contender this year, but they aren’t going 2–14 again. They did bring in David Cobb, but it looks like Sankey will lead a timeshare at the start of the season. He had one very good preseason game sandwiched between two disappointing ones, and that could ultimately serve as a microcosm for his entire season.
You won’t be thinking about Sankey until you’re looking for depth at running back, and that’s typically when you want to start shooting for some upside. There’s no doubt that he has it, but the Titans’ offense, combined with Cobb’s presence may keep him from reaching his potential heights. It’s hard to say he’s a player to avoid with an ADP just inside the top 100, but he’s not someone to make a priority when your draft starts to reach the late-middle rounds.
Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins
Landry has impressed this preseason. Kenny Stills has not. It’s no surprise that the former is rising, while the latter is sliding, as we inch closer to the start of the season. Landry’s ADP is all the way up to 47.3 overall, which lands him right at the end of the fourth round in 12-team leagues.
In the ever-important third preseason game, which often serves as a facsimile for Week 1, Landry played on nearly every first-team snap. He led the first-team offense with six targets, catching five of them for 84 yards, including a long of 46 yards. Landry was already going to be PPR monster this year after reeling in 84 passes for 758 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie. He clearly has the trust of Ryan Tannehill, who also looks like a legitimate breakout player for the 2015 campaign. If Tannehill and the Miami offense makes the leap this year, something many pundits, myself included, expect, Landry won’t just be along for the ride. He’ll also spend some time in the driver’s seat.
His touchdown upside may be limited, and that could make the fourth-round price tag a bit steep. He does, however, appear to be one of Tannehill’s top targets, along with new tight end Jordan Cameron. Landry is doubtlessly a WR3, but he has the upside to get into the top 20 at the position this season.
Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins
For most of the summer, Morris’ price hovered steadily around pick No. 30 or so. It took its first downturn about two weeks ago, and hasn’t stopped falling since. Morris’ ADP now sits at 34.3, and could get even lower depending on what happens during the final big draft weekend of the 2015 season.
I was once one of those people who would have been happy to land Morris in the middle of the third round, depending on my first two picks. Thanks to all the turmoil in Washington, that has changed. In our most recent top 300, I moved him all the way down to No. 51, which makes him my No. 22 running back.
Put simply, there’s a debacle unfolding in the nation’s capital right now, and it’s hard for fantasy owners to want to invest in that. Washington could very well have the league’s worst team this season, and that’s a bad spot for a running back. Typically, running backs thrive on good teams that are winning games and putting teams away in the fourth quarter. Teams that only win three or four games, which is where I believe Washington will be this season, generally do not produce running backs with a ton of fantasy value. Morris already starts the year behind the eight ball.
The team also drafted Matt Jones out of Florida, and he will have a significant role in the offense. Morris has typically split time during his first three years in the league, but more often than not it was with Roy Helu, who did nearly all of his damage as a receiver. Jones is a pure runner, and will take away more carries than Helu ever did. Morris has survived the carnage in D.C. each of the last two seasons, but it has to catch up to him eventually. My bet is that happens this year.
Joseph Randle, RB, Cowboys
Randle began the summer as the darling of the fantasy community, garnering praise from far and wide and generally ranking inside the top 15 at running back in some places. You could even find some people making the argument that he could be an RB1, if all things went correctly. Well, all things haven’t gone correctly. It appears that we will have a timeshare on our hands in Dallas. Unsurprisingly, Randle’s ADP has dropped to 42.2 from a high of 31 just two weeks ago.
Darren McFadden’s presence in the offense doesn’t completely sabotage Randle’s value. However, unlike, say, Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard in Cincinnati, the running-back production in Dallas is a zero-sum game. Hill and Bernard complement each other and can be on the field together. The same is not true of Randle and McFadden. Any touch that McFadden gets directly cannibalizes Randle’s numbers. The line may be great, but a big part of the reason DeMarco Murray was so productive last year was because he was the only show in town. Neither Randle nor McFadden is approaching the 392 carries Murray got last year. Randle still has his virtues, but I wouldn’t trust him as anything more than my third running back.
Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots
Edelman appears in the fallers section mainly as a public service announcement. While his ADP did indeed drop to the end of the fifth round from the beginning last week, it has already started to creep back in positive direction. After Thursday’s repeal of Tom Brady’s suspension, it will likely only continue to rise.
The key now for fantasy owners drafting this weekend is to figure out how to appropriately price Edelman. Had Edelman played all 16 games last year (he missed two), he almost certainly would have surpassed 1,000 yards for the second straight season. Edelman is a receptions machine who has Brady’s full trust, and is a crucial weapon in what should once again be one of the best offenses in the league. At the same time, we can safely say that getting into the end zone just isn’t a strength of his. Edelman has 197 catches over the last two seasons, and has hit pay dirt just 10 times. Of the six other players who have had at least 180 receptions the last two years, only Pierre Garcon and Andre Johnson had fewer touchdowns (eight). The other four were Dez Bryant (29), Demaryius Thomas (25), Jordy Nelson (23) and Antonio Brown (21).
Fantasy owners can bet on 100 catches and 1,000 yards out of Edelman, but anything more than six touchdowns feels like a stretch. That would likely place him just inside the top-20 receivers.
Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons
Coleman’s fall has mirrored Randle’s, though he began the summer at a much lower point than the assumed starter in Dallas. After the Falcons selected Coleman in the third round of the NFL draft, the fantasy community was immediately set to anoint him the starter. Unfortunately, new head coach Dan Quinn and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan aren’t part of that community. While Coleman will have a large role in the offense, he will split time with second-year man Devonta Freeman. As such, Coleman’s ADP has slipped all the way to 83.5.
Now, the rookie out of Indiana still has plenty of value at that spot. He and Freeman are likely to share the backfield all season, but both can still turn a profit at their respective ADPs. Coleman got the start in the team’s third preseason game, so clearly he’s ahead in the backfield split. The Atlanta offense can be back among the league’s best this year, and the fast track of the Georgia Dome should play to Coleman’s strengths. Remember, too, that the Falcons had Freeman in their building for a full year, and still decided to use a third-round pick on Coleman. Clearly, they aren’t sold on the Florida State product.
Coleman’s ADP may have taken a hit over the last few weeks, but that just makes him a potential bargain. Be sure to have him on your mind on draft day.
Mike Wallace, WR, Vikings
Seemingly everyone believes in Teddy Bridgewater and the Minnesota Vikings this year. Anyone who does buy Bridgewater must also buy into at least one of his receivers. With each passing day, it’s becoming more apparent that receiver is Charles Johnson, not Wallace.
The new Viking’s draft stock has cratered, hitting a low of 85.7, which has him off the board early in the eighth round in a 12-team league. While both Wallace and Johnson are deep threats, and the one question surrounding Bridgewater’s game is his ability to consistently hook up with his receivers deep down the field, they both also Johnson bring other elements to the table. He’s 6’2” and 216 pounds, making him a significant weapon for Bridgewater once the Vikings reach the red zone. He’s also just 26 years old, and didn’t get a real shot until last season, meaning he’s likely still growing as a receiver.
Meanwhile, Wallace is widely seen as a straight-line route runner who does a lot of his damage down the field. That’s not exactly the case. Wallace was actually a terror in the red zone last season, catching 13 of his 21 targets for nine touchdowns. If Bridgewater does take a step forward this year, which could very well happen with Adrian Peterson alongside him in the backfield, the rising tide will lift all ships. I wouldn’t want to count on Wallace as a regular starter, and I do think his ADP is fair, if not a little high. However, just because he’s falling doesn’t mean you should ignore him. He can be a very effective depth receiver in typical fantasy leagues.