With training camps opening up in the NFL this week, it’s a good time to look at some of the recent ADP trends just before actual practices start up. Up until now, the trends have been fluctuating based on reports, rookie camps and general speculation. From this point forth, they’re going to be about actual performance. Sure, things will start off slowly as teams ease their players in, but much of the action we’re about to witness could dramatically change the landscape of fantasy football drafts everywhere.
It’s been nearly two weeks since we last looked at the QB ADP ranks for NFL Standard leagues and in that time we’ve seen some interesting movement amongst the top quarterbacks. Five of the top six quarterbacks have all seen an increase in their ADP in that time and it appears as if more fantasy owners are banking on strong QB production to make up the difference for the lack of depth and production from the other skill positions.
|Current ADP||Change||1 Week Ago||Change||2 Weeks Ago||Overall Trend|
The 9.0% increase for Aaron Rodgers is the equivalent of two draft slots here in the first round. In the last two weeks, fantasy owners have shown the inclination to taking him over the likes of both Trent Richardson and Chris Johnson. In years past, this would be a move frowned upon by most owners, but given Rodgers’ consistency and point production over the last few seasons, he’s considered money in the bank over a rookie running back and a once top producer who is coming off back-to-back disappointing seasons.
Drew Brees' 2.4%’increase pulls him just past Adrian Peterson and into the first round of a 12-team league. It’s not a huge move, but one that is obviously understandable. His production level is top-notch and even with the coaching changes the Saints have undergone; he still has all of his weapons at his disposal. That, coupled with the news that Peterson was placed on the active/PUP list is good enough for many owners to lock in a top QB who is as close to a no-brainer as you can get as opposed to a running back who may have a few question marks.
The biggest rise we’ve seen here is the 15.2% increase for Tom Brady. Not only have we seen him leapfrog Jamaal Charles in the ADP ranks, but he also took a step over last year’s rookie sensation Cam Newton. Watching a consistent high-scorer like Brady pass a questionable, rebounding off an injury Charles doesn’t really surprise anyone, but the move over Newton certainly brings up some questions. Does the addition of Mike Tolbert, along with word that Jonathan Stewart (in a contract year) will not be traded, affect the number of goal-line carries Newton will take for himself this year? One of his strongest assets as a fantasy player last season was the number of rushing touchdowns he punched in. If that number goes down, then obviously a more prolific passer like Brady will have more value. Newton’s potential drop is certainly one to watch during mini-camps.
Matthew Stafford’s 6.2% increase is a clear example of consistent QB production over questionable second (possibly even third) tier production from the running backs. Reggie Bush, Chris Wells and Isaac Redman are all considered the RB1 for their respective teams, but each one of them has atleast one other running back in the system that has the potential to poach more than just a few carries. And in actuality, a jump over Brandon Marshall isn’t all that surprising either. Too much of Marshall’s value is tied to the performance of Jay Cutler and given where Cutler goes in most drafts, fantasy owners don’t think all that highly of his ability to get the ball to Marshall enough.
As for the increase for Michael Vick, he jumps over just Mark Ingram and the aforementioned Stewart. Is the risk of injury enough to scare fantasy owners away from taking a potentially massive point producer and settling for two members of the RBBCC (Running Back By Committee Coalition)? It would not appear to be so.
Ray Rice, BAL (+2.0%) – He’s the only running back in the top 10 of the position that has seen a positive movement in his ADP ranking. Granted, a 2.0% movement this high up in the ranks doesn’t amount to a whole lot, but it’s telling you that a good number of owners actually prefer him to LeSean McCoy and even in some cases, Arian Foster.
Ryan Mathews, SD (-6.7%) – Numerous owners jumped on the bandwagon when the team let Tolbert go and gave Mathews the vote of confidence as the number one, but have quickly jumped off with the addition of Ronnie Brown and, more recently, Jackie Battle. Apparently Mathews has had enough and is ready to “shut everyone up.” If he stays healthy in camp and look strong, he could see a climb in ADP as owners take a chance on a breakout as opposed to the potential fall of say, disgruntled holdout Maurice Jones-Drew.
Matt Forte, CHI (+6.2%) – The increase in ADP is a bit of a head-scratcher here and perhaps those participating in mock drafts reporting from Chicago know something that the rest of the fantasy world doesn’t. Despite the fact that Forte has seen an increase in his yards-per-carry-average, the fact that Michael Bush is a superior short-yardage/goal-line back has to devalue him. Sure he’s a solid pass-catching back and should see the bulk of the touches, but how many times have we seen a guy who does great between the 20’s get outscored in fantasy by his complementary back? Doesn’t anyone remember the Fred Taylor/Stacey Mack situation that started this whole trend?
Darren Sproles, NO (+4.0%) – The three-headed running back monster is alive and well in New Orleans, but given Sproles’ incredible ability to catch out of the backfield and run in space, he’s easily the guy who will see the most touches. Mark Ingram will handle the goal-line duties (and likely split some of them with Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory), but they have to get to the goal-line first. How many times did we see Sproles take it to the house from 10 yards out or more? The answer is eight….out of nine touchdowns. The shortest distance he went was nine yards for a TD and that was on a screen pass.
Toby Gerhart, MIN (+3.7%) – His ADP is currently sitting at 96.43 right now and is likely to climb steadily. The Vikings are understandably taking a very cautious approach with Peterson’s receiver (just seven months removed from ACL surgery) which means that Gerhart will see plenty of extra work in training camp. How that translates to the regular season will obviously be up to Peterson’s knee.
Andre Johnson, HOU (+2.4%) – He declares himself 100-percent healthy and can catch 100 balls for 1,500 yards this season. Confidence is high, “best shape of my life” cliché is intact. Who’s buying?
Wes Welker, NE (+4.7%) – With the rise of the tight ends in New England coupled with the addition of Brandon Lloyd and the supposed rise of the ground game, will Welker still be Brady’s favorite target? PPR leagues aside, will he be worth the 46.16 ADP?
Marques Colston, NO (-0.1%) – Yes, the Saint shave a ton of weapons, but Colston missed two games last season and still put up over 1,100 yards with eight touchdowns. Jimmy Graham might be stealing some of his thunder but in an offense this potent, there’s plenty to go around.
Vincent Jackson, TB (-1.4%) – Was it because defenses were double-teaming Mike Williams last year that the production for Tampa Bay receivers was down so heavily or was it because Josh Freeman was just so massively overrated after posting one good season? The addition of VJax will certainly help answer the question, but how many fantasy owners will wait to find out?
Eric Decker, DEN (+4.7%) – Sleeper alert! Sleeper alert! OK, so everyone knows who Decker is, but with so many people yapping about Peyton Manning to Demaryius Thomas, too many folks are forgetting about one of the top possession receivers out there. Is Thomas good enough to be the next Reggie Wayne or will Peyton and his surgically repaired neck be happier dumping the ball off quickly to a guy like Decker who has strong catch-and-run abilities?
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for questions, thoughts or comments, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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