Fantasy managers! Now is the time to prepare for your fantasy football drafts. And to help get you up to speed, I’ll break down the risers and fallers relative to Average Draft Position (ADP) every week until kickoff.
ADP is merely a tool to determine when (on average) a player is being selected in drafts. That doesn’t preclude you from "getting your guy," but it may offer some perspective on where to select certain players.
Are they in a positional battle? Are there injury concerns? What about contractual disputes?
Fantasy football is about staying in the know, and I’ll help decipher what’s driving ADPs up and down until the season officially begins on Sept. 7.
Daniel Jones - New York Giants
Preseason ADP: 102.2
ADP last seven days: 81.3
Fantasy managers must be warming up to the idea of Jones being a QB1 this season, and I don't think they’re wrong about it. Jones' movement over the past seven days is higher than any player I’ve covered over the past four weeks, moving from QB12 to QB9 over that span.
He broke out last season, finishing as the QB9 in total fantasy points and QB10 in fantasy points per game playing under head coach Brian Daboll — the coach largely responsible for the growth of Josh Allen. With a mediocre wide receiver group, Jones threw for 3,200 yards with 15 TDs and only five interceptions.
His value, however, lies in his legs.
He was one of five QBs to rush for over 700 yards last season and added another seven rushing scores. Deshaun Watson and Anthony Richardson are the only other QBs you’ll find after the eighth round who offer that much rushing potential in fantasy this season.
Rushing upside aside, the Giants added Darren Waller to improve their receiving corps, which should help open up the passing game more this season.
Yahoo Fantasy's draft analysis tool shows that despite being QB9, Watson (QB10) and Dak Prescott (QB11) are going before Jones in fantasy drafts. I prefer Jones over both, so if you can wait it out, Jones is an underrated choice in the later rounds of fantasy drafts.
First, I’ll highlight the movement from two impactful moves over the past week — Ezekiel Elliott signing with the New England Patriots and Dalvin Cook inking a deal with the Jets.
Ezekiel Elliott - New England Patriots
Preseason ADP: 122.0
ADP last seven days: 118.8
Many expected Zeke to reunite with the Dallas Cowboys, but he opted for a change of scenery, going to the New England Patriots. He projects to take over as the primary short-yardage and goal-line back, the role Damien Harris occupied last season.
Zeke’s arrival is eating into Rhamondre Stevenson’s draft stock a bit, as he’s slipped from RB10 to RB14 over the last four weeks. Even though Elliott is on the tail end of his career with a lot of tread on his tires, his presence brings considerable risk to drafting Stevenson within the first 30 picks of fantasy drafts.
I’m not saying I’m completely out on Stevenson — he excelled in a multi-back system last season and has the skill set to retain most of the touches (rushing and receiving) from the backfield.
And while I initially thought he could be due for some positive TD regression as the bell-cow back (he had 9.3 expected touchdowns last season), Elliott’s arrival will likely siphon some high-leverage scoring situations near the goal line.
Both RBs would be in the high-end RB2 range if there’s an injury, but for now, Elliott can be drafted as a touchdown-dependent backup with a path to more if Stevenson were to miss any time.
Dalvin Cook - New York Jets
Preseason ADP: 73.2
ADP Last seven days: 77.5
The Jets activated Breece Hall off the PUP list, throwing another wrench into fantasy managers expecting Cook to "cook." He is nearing the age of RB decline (he’s 27), but he’s coming off his fourth consecutive season with at least 1,300 scrimmage yards. Plus, he’s scored at least 10 total touchdowns in three of the last four seasons, too. The advanced metrics aren’t too kind on him, but Cook is still an effective fantasy back, drawing the sixth-most red-zone touches and fifth-highest snap share. He's also 10th in expected fantasy points per game among RBs last year, per Player Profiler.
But I have some concerns about his outlook throughout a full NFL season. The Jets said they’d bring Hall along slowly, so early on, Cook projects to be a major factor in the Jets' offensive scheme.
"The Jets' plan is to limit Breece Hall's workload early in the season, leaning on Dalvin Cook as the primary ball carrier, according to a source." https://t.co/F3PlKo6SjP
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) August 15, 2023
But what happens when Hall returns to near full capacity? He was one of the most explosive runners last year before his injury, and he’s already getting integrated with the 1’s in practice:
— JetsTalk24/7 (@JetsTalk247) August 17, 2023
Hall’s ADP fell from 25 to 35 over the past month, largely due to the Jets openly saying they will be cautious with their highly touted second-year RB. But it begs the question, which back is more valuable at cost? Considering his opportunity early on, Cook in the seventh round looks solid, but Hall falling to the end of the third, or possibly fourth, is also interesting.
Either way, the Jets' offensive line needs to play better — as evidenced in the last episode of "Hard Knocks" — but this is likely a timeshare I’m avoiding in fantasy this season.
Rashaad Penny - Philadelphia Eagles
Preseason ADP: 100.6
ADP Last 7 days: 115
Attempting to get a read on the Eagles' backfield situation is maddening. Even though D’Andre Swift carries the highest ADP (84.8), Kenneth Gainwell is gaining the most steam while Penny is falling faster than any skill position player in fantasy.
What’s most alarming about Penny is the potential he gets cut. He’s owed $600,000 in salary this season, less than longtime Eagle vet Boston Scott, so it’s not like he's not expendable.
Random #Eagles Running Back thoughts:
*** Kenny Gainwell has 31 carries with the 1st-team offense in training camp. Nobody else has more than 14.
** I think Eagles top 3 running backs are, in some order, Gainwell, Swift and Boston Scott. They are the only three with 10+…
— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) August 19, 2023
Even if he remains on the Eagles' roster, his appeal is dwindling by the day if he’s actually behind Swift, Gainwell and Scott in the pecking order. Penny’s shown that when healthy, he can be one of the most productive backs in the league. But with so much competition in front of him and him visibly lacking the burst to get to the second level (where he previously excelled), I'd rather go for Zach Charbonnet (121.9), Antonio Gibson (114.8) and Gainwell (122.4), who are all going around the 110-120 range in fantasy drafts.
I thought it was worth noting that for the third consecutive week, Kadarius Toney's (127.3), Treylon Burks' (120.7) and DeAndre Hopkins’ (61.5) ADPs have fallen the most of any wideout in fantasy football.
I’ll continue to monitor this trend because, in Burks' and Toney’s cases, they’re dealing with injuries, but I haven’t been able to pinpoint why Hopkins' value is declining with no notable injuries or performance concerns. Perhaps DHop is sliding merely off the strength of the Titans' run-heavy approach and having Ryan Tannehill at QB. But whatever it is, DHop has slid at least three spots every week over the past month.