It’s official. Training camps are open, position battles are being fought and mock draft season is in full swing. More and more mock drafts, and regular drafts for that matter, are taking place and we’re already starting to see some notable movement in the ADP rankings. Obviously because we are still in the early stages, the movement taking place is predominately found within the top 50 overall, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few early sleepers further down the list that may be good candidates for your watch list/fantasy radar. Here’s a look at the top 10 risers for PPR leagues with just over 50 leagues reporting in the past two weeks. Yes, the sample size is small, but it gives us a nice base from which to start.
Top 10 Risers -- PPR Leagues
|Current ADP||Change||1 Week Ago||Change||2 Weeks Ago||Overall Trend|
Our biggest riser might also been one of the bigger surprise for this list right now. The last thing we really heard was back in June when it was reported that the Falcons were going to reduce Roddy White’s role in the offense this year. Julio Jones was to take on a bigger role and Harry Douglas was to see an increase. So either no one believes these reports or people are still drafting on name alone. Given the relationship between Matt Ryan and White over the last two seasons, the former seems more likely as people are probably still expecting White to come up with his third consecutive 100-receptions season. It’s hard to bet against White here considering the points he’s brought his owners these last two years and that second half surge last season, but with the talents of Jones and the coaches talking about opening up the offense, it might be wise to let your competition be the ones reaching for this ADP riser.
Aaron Rodgers is on the rise? Of course he is. Even if James Starks has a career year, Rodgers is still going to put up killer numbers yet again. PPR, NFL standard, NFFC…it doesn’t matter. Someone is grabbing the super-consistent QB somewhere in the middle of the first round. Doesn’t necessarily have to be you, but someone will.
The reports from offseason training activities all gushed about Jimmy Graham’s abilities, so it’s no wonder his ADP rank is up 13.9% this early. And it will probably continue to climb here in PPR leagues. The runs great routes, has phenomenal hand, and the size and speed coaches dream about when it comes to tight ends and wide receivers. You’re not really getting a crazy value here though as he’s now up to the second round in 12-team leagues, but you are getting the number one guy at a thin position who happens to be one of the top overall scorers in the game.
Given the 211.30 ADP for Taiwan Jones, you know that he’s barely being looked at in shallow leagues. But while most are expecting Mike Goodson to be the primary back-up for Darren McFadden, it could actually be Jones who gets the most work if D-Mac goes down. He had a fantastic mini-camp, has great hands and is extremely strong when running out in space. He’s still far enough down that you can wait until the end to grab him, but just don’t forget about him or you could be missing out.
Similarly to Rodgers, people are going for the high-scoring consistency of a top quarterback more than they are willing to chance it with an unproven running back or a even a wide receiver with upside. Having a guy like Tom Brady can be like being wrapped in a warm blanket on a cold winter’s day. Adding Brandon Lloyd and a more established running game is like someone also handing you a mug of hot chocolate with some mini-marshmallows on top.
Larry Fitzgerald’s 12.5% increase moves him into the top 20 overall for PPR leagues and based on the steady 6.0% increase in each of the last two weeks, there’s a strong chance that he continues to move up, possibly into the top 15 if reports from camp are positive. Fitzgerald finished the season with three 100-plus yard games in his last four starts, had six touchdowns from week nine on and will hopefully have a healthy Kevin Kolb for the first time.
Watching Darren Sproles climb 12.5% and into the third round of a standard 12-team draft has been no surprise whatsoever. The Saints offensive scheme should be roughly the same as it was last year and that puts the ball in Sproles’ hands plenty. He’s even more valuable here in a PPR league as he led all running backs in targets, receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns last year. The only reason he’s being drafted as low as he is going is because he splits carries with three other guys in the backfield.
The 11.5% increase for Calvin Johnson means that some people are taking him as high as fourth or fifth overall in a PPR league and while it’s this scribe’s belief you have to solidify your ground game even when you’re getting points just for making the catch, there are several out there that ignore the “position scarcity” reasoning and just go for the biggest point producer. And that would be Johnson last year.
His 165.24 ADP obviously tells you that he’s not a primary target for your starting roster, but David Nelson was probably one of the best bye-week replacements out there last season. He averaged just over six targets per game, caught four of his five touchdowns between weeks 5 and 12, and averaged 10 or more yards per reception in his last five games. He’s seen a gradual increase in targets, receptions and total yards over the last two seasons and could be in line for a breakout third year.
Rounding out our top 10 is Bears running back Matt Forte whose increase in an NFL standard league might be questioned with Michael Bush in house, but in a PPR league, it’s easily justified given the course of attack the Bears offense will take. What Forte may lose in points from goal-line touches going to Bush, he’ll easily make up for with the number of catches he’ll make throughout the game. He’ll he a huge asset between the 20’s and will see a lot of dump-offs from Jay Cutler. His ADP increase may not be the biggest, but it’s consistent from week to week which means that if you want him, you’re going to have to pay for him. And that won’t come cheap.
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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