Fantasy Football Draft Values – Expert Ranks vs. ADP
By Ha Kung Wong
The NFL season is getting closer, and so long as COVID-19 doesn’t kibosh the entire thing, we may finally get a look at our favorite teams on the turf. And that means everyone who intelligently waited to draft their fantasy football teams until the last minute, since there were no preseason games to analyze player roles, strengths or weakness on their respective teams, probably have a ton of drafts over the next week.
No worries, we got you covered.
Here are our picks for fantasy football draft day values comparing consensus expert rankings to Average Draft Position (“ADP”) in both Half Points-Per-Reception (“Half PPR”) and Points-Per-Reception (“PPR”) leagues. Note that consensus rankings for Half PPR include 118 experts compiled by Fantasy Pros as compared to ADP on Yahoo and Fantrax, while consensus rankings for PPR include 122 experts compiled by Fantasy Pros vs. ADP on ESPN, RTSports and Fantrax, both as of August 30, 2020.
UPDATED (August 31, 2020)
RB – Jacksonville Jaguars
Half PPR Rank 95 vs. ADP 226 / PPR Rank 119 vs. ADP 228
Wow. The Jaguars waived Leonard Fournette, one of the highest usage backs in all of football leaving a huge gaping hole in their backfield. Ryquell Armstead, the Jags 5th round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, isn’t a bad back, but hardly saw the field in 2019 with just 35 carries for 108 yards across 16 games for an uninspiring 3.1 yards per carry. Arguably he did better in the passing game with 14 receptions for 144 receiving yards, but the Jags also just signed pass catching back Chris Thompson. Armstead is now the presumed starting running back in Jacksonville, and should see the majority of the early down work. His long term appeal is yet to be determined, but at his current ADP in both Half PPR and PPR of 226 and 228 respectively (which is sure to rise quick), he’s a steal. Taking him in one of the last 3 or 4 rounds of the draft seems like a no-brainer, but I might even reach a little to grab him in 10th or 11th round if you invested on only 2 top end running backs and went heavy at other positions after that.
RB – Jacksonville Jaguars
Half PPR Rank 145 vs. ADP 267 / PPR Rank 149 vs. ADP 247
Chris Thompson didn’t make huge news signing a one year contract with the Jaguars this off season, but with Fournette gone, and Armstead a question mark, he’s sure to pick up some work. Remember that Thompson is only a few years removed from 510 receiving yards in just 10 games in 2017. That tracks for 816 receiving yards over a full season, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get near that this year with the Jaguars likely to trail games a lot. I’d assume he’s looking at 5-8 targets and 3-5 carries per game, which is pretty good for a late round flier in Half PPR and PPR leagues.
RB – Kansas City Chiefs
Half PPR Rank 9 vs. ADP 19 / PPR Rank 9 vs. ADP 17
With Damien Williams taking the COVID-19 opt out, the hype train on Clyde Edwards-Hilaire took on life of its own. Strangely enough, even with his stellar play at LSU, draft pundits all in during the draft and stepping in as the lead back in the high powered offense of the defending Super Bowl Champs with otherworldly Patrick Mahomes behind center, he’s still being undervalued in drafts.
His college pedigree has him pegged an every down back that can operate in every stage of the game, whether on the ground or through the air. Andy Reid loves his bell cow backs and has already said he thinks Edwards-Helaire is better than his beloved Brian Westbrook on film. Remember what Reid did with Kareem Hunt in 2017, allowing him to rush 272 times for 1,327 rush yards with 53 receptions and 455 receiving yards and a total of 11 TDs. On top of all that, word has it that Edwards-Hilaire has been impressing in practice. Getting him at his ADP for Half PPR or PPR would be a steal.
WR – Los Angeles Rams
Half PPR Rank 37 vs. ADP 58 / PPR Rank 33 vs. ADP 46
Don’t look at just TDs for wide receivers. It’s just too speculative and isn’t consistent from week to week. Case in point? Robert Woods had 90 receptions for 1134 receiving yards yet only had 2 TDs. With Brandin Cooks now in Houston, and Woods looking for an extension next off season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see those numbers as his floor with some big TD upside. You’re basically getting an extra round of value if you nab him at his current ADP in both Half PPR and PPR.
WR – Washington Football Team
Half PPR Rank 49 vs. ADP 57 / PPR Rank 46 vs. ADP 60
Let’s face it, the Washington Football Team was not good in 2019. Terry McLaurin was one the few bright spots catching 58 of 93 targets for 919 yards and 7 receiving TDs in just 14 games during his rookie season while accounting for 37.1 percent of his team’s air yards, good for 6th best in the NFL. Interestingly, even though a lot of that production was with Case Keenum, he was also productive with current QB Dwayne Haskins catching 16 total targets for 273 yards and 2 TDs over three games. With Kelvin Harmon out with an ACL injury and Paul Richardson gone, he has minimal competition in the form of rookie Antonio Gandy-Golden and veteran Dontrelle Inman, so his target floor should be safe while he carries serious target upside. With his superior speed and route running, even going to 130 targets could make him a WR2 with upside for WR3/4 pricing.
RB – New England Patriots
Half PPR Rank 78 vs. ADP 94 / PPR Rank 77 vs. 81
Say what you will about running backs being inconsistent in Bill Belichick’s system, but James White is different. He’s been the go-to receiving back for quite some time in New England, and has thrived in Half PPR and PPR leagues. With Tom Brady out of town, regardless of who is under center, you can bet there will continue to be lots of dump offs to White in the backfield. And if Cam Newton starts, we already know how he likes to feed pass-catching running backs (see, e.g., Christian McCaffrey and his 107 receptions from Newton in 2018), so there’s only more upside there. He doesn’t have the ground game consistency, but he’s good for at least 4-6 receptions a game as a floor with upside.
RB – Chicago Bears
Half PPR Rank 90 vs. ADP 110 / PPR Rank 82 vs. ADP 85
In 2018, Tarik Cohen had 1169 total yards from scrimmage averaging and whopping 6.9 yards per touch landing him with his first Pro Bowl bid. Then 2019 came and cratered the entire Bears offense. Regardless, he still had 79 receptions in a down year, 8 more than his Pro Bowl year. With David Montgomery potentially missing a few games with a groin injury, and getting eased back in after getting healthy, Cohen could get a few additional carries early on and may hold on to a time share on the ground in addition to his pass catching work. Cohen is also heading into his final year of his rookie contract, so he’ll have extra incentive to outperform in 2020. Even if Montgomery takes over the lion share of carries, he’ll still have his electric pass catching role and makes for a solid handcuff. His current ADP in Half PPR is absolute highway robbery. Grab him and keep on walking like there’s nothing to see before someone realizes you just made off with a steal.
TE – Atlanta Falcons
Half PPR Rank 91 vs. ADP 112 / PPR Rank 95 vs. ADP 110
Remember Austin Hooper and his 97 targets in just 13 games last year in which he was involved in 75 percent of the snaps? Well, what happens when Hooper leaves Atlanta and the Falcons grab another exceptional tight end to fill the role for 16 games in 2020? I’d venture to guess that he’d be looking at around 120 targets, which is an amazing amount of opportunity for a tight end. So who did they get? The criminally underrated Hayden Hurst is who. And remember, the Falcons didn’t trade away a 2nd round draft pick to not throw him the ball. I suspect his ADP has been depressed based on his record behind top 4 tight end Mark Andrews in 2019, which was still grabbing 30 of 26 targets for 349 yards and 2 TDs. Just keep in mind that lack of opportunity is not the same as being bad. If you want a top tight end and don’t want to pay up for Travis Kelce or George Kittle, how about a little Hayden Hurst at his current ADP of 112 and 110 in Half PPR and PPR, respectively? I’ll take all the shares I can get.
WR – Arizona Cardinals
Half PPR Rank 97 vs. ADP 119 / PPR Rank 85 vs. ADP 94
So the Cardinals got DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk is going from WR1 to non-factor overnight? I don’t think so. He has a year of experience with up-and-coming Kylar Murray, drawing 107 targets in just 13 games. Head coach Cliff Kingsbury already has confidence in Kirk calling him an “ascending talent” and Kirk certainly knows the system. There’s going to be some competition for targets with Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald, but I can see this offense just continue to become more dynamic as Murray becomes more comfortable behind center, and Kirk should go as Murray goes. For the price in Half PPR, he makes for an excellent WR3/4, and while he’s pricier in PPR leagues, he’s still a value as long as he stays healthy.
RB – Buffalo Bills
Half PPR Rank 98 vs. ADP 128 / PPR Rank 118 vs. ADP 115
Yeah, I know 2019 Frank Gore was not Vintage Frank Gore. But he still had a significant and important role with the Bills averaging 12.5 carries over the first 12 weeks, finishing the year with just under 700 yards from scrimmage. Zack Moss had an impressive run at Utah (pun intended) and was selected in the 3rd round of the draft by the Bills for a reason.
Devin Singletary continues to be the primary ball carrier, but with Gore gone, Moss has a big opportunity to take Gore’s role as well as more of the tough short yardage and goal to go situations, just based on his size and power compared to Singletary. In addition, we’ve already seen Moss be used in practice passing situations, which only adds to his upside. He won’t be consistent, but you can catch lightening in a bottle here if Singletary misses any time or is Moss works himself into a 40/60 timeshare, and he’s usable as your FLEX, making his ADP on Half PPR of 128 incredibly attractive.
WR – New York Jets
Half PPR Rank 100 vs. ADP 121 / PPR Rank 86 vs. ADP 97
Jamison Crowder is the only returning starting wide receiver for the Jets and thus the only wide receiver with any rapport with Sam Darnold. In 2019, Crowder had the 16th most targets of any wide receiver in the league, clearly demonstrating how much Darnold likes him. Will he eventually have to compete with Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims for targets? Sure, but the Jets are likely going to have plenty of targets to go around as they continue to play from behind. His floor is solid and he carries some upside, which is all you can ask for in a WR4/5, particularly at his ADP in Half PPR and PPR.
WR – Chicago Bears
Half PPR Rank 115 vs. ADP 155 / PPR Rank 94 vs. ADP 142
It’s funny how much a difference one year can make. As a Bears fan, I went from hating Mitchell Trubisky when he was drafted, to loving him in 2018 to hating him again in 2019 as he completely cratered and took the entire Bears offense with him. Regardless, Anthony Miller has still managed to seen 139 targets in his first two seasons, catching 85 of them for 1,079 yards and 9 TDs. It’s not eye-popping numbers, but it’s interesting to see that he can be productive with sub-par quarterback play and a coach in Matt Nagy who refuses to properly use him. Taylor Gabriel is now gone, leaving Miller with more opportunity, regardless of quarterback. And if Nick Foles ends up starting, Miller ends up becoming even more interesting. His ADP is ridiculously low at 155 for Half PPR and 142 for PPR, making his acquisition cost minimal for some significant WR3/4 upside.