2014 Draft Prep: ADP review, 4.0
What does our final Average Draft Position analysis tell us with just a few days left in draft season? Our Jamey Eisenberg shares his final observations.
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Averages | Rankings
Fantasy drafts are wrapping up this weekend and into the first few days of next week as we rapidly approach the start of the regular season. It's been interesting to see how the Average Draft Position has changed over the past month.
We started with Arian Foster as a first-round pick and Doug Martin fading, but those two running backs are now going in different directions. Foster is being drafted in Round 3, and Martin has moved back into Round 2.
Nick Foles and Colin Kaepernick were being drafted ahead of Andrew Luck and Matt Ryan , but thankfully Fantasy owners have corrected that mistake. I still like Tony Romo better than both, but we'll let the season play out to see if I'm right.
Emmanuel Sanders is on a rocket ship up the ADP ranks to the fifth round with Wes Welker suffering another concussion, and Welker is free-falling from Round 5 to likely Round 7 after Labor Day. He could end up as a tremendous value pick if he's able to play 10-plus games, which would impact those owners who reached for Sanders.
Eric Ebron was considered a Top 12 tight end when training camp started, but he's been passed by the old faithful of Martellus Bennett , Heath Miller and Antonio Gates . Of that group, Miller is my favorite one, and he's a steal in Round 11.
We'll get to other examples at each position below, and for those of you drafting between now and Thursday when Week 1 kicks off, use the ADP as a guide for your leagues. You can also check back on the ADP after this weekend to see if any of your players have moved up or down since your Draft Day.
The first round looks like this ...
, RB, Chiefs
2. LeSean McCoy , RB, Eagles
3. Adrian Peterson , RB, Vikings
4. Peyton Manning , QB, Broncos
5. Matt Forte , RB, Bears
6. Calvin Johnson , WR, Lions
7. Eddie Lacy , RB, Packers
8. Demaryius Thomas , WR, Broncos
9. Jimmy Graham , TE, Saints
10. Drew Brees , QB, Saints
11. Aaron Rodgers , QB, Packers
12. DeMarco Murray , RB, Cowboys
The one difference from last week has been Thomas moving ahead of Graham to No. 8. I don't quite understand that. While Thomas should be awesome, he's in a tier with other receivers of his caliber in Dez Bryant , Julio Jones , A.J. Green and Brandon Marshall . Graham, if Rob Gronkowski (knee) doesn't return at 100 percent, could be the biggest difference maker at any position.
I also don't understand the quarterbacks going so early in Round 1. I hope to hear from Manning owners if he doesn't finish as the top quarterback and how they would feel drafting him at No. 4 overall. Just remember, the last time he set the passing touchdown record with 49 in 2004 he suffered a 21-touchdown decline the following season. Regression is inevitable.
If you remove the quarterbacks from Round 1, the next three players in would be Montee Ball , Dez Bryant and Giovani Bernard . I'm totally on board with Ball and Bryant in Round 1, and I actually would go with Julio Jones at No. 12 overall. Bernard is still a standout talent, but he should be drafted toward the middle of Round 2, especially with rookie Jeremy Hill having a strong preseason.
Nick Foles , overrated: I like Foles as a Top 12 quarterback, but I don't expect him to finish in the Top 10. His ADP is No. 58 overall, and he's being drafted as the No. 8 quarterback ahead of guys like Kaepernick, Romo and Jay Cutler , which is a mistake.
Foles will definitely have his moments this season, but a tougher schedule along with DeSean Jackson being gone make him too risky at that ADP. Someone else can him there, and I'll draft Cutler at No. 82 and get similar production.
Tony Romo , underrated: You know the drill by now. Romo has a terrible defense, a pass-happy play-caller in Scott Linehan and a great receiving corps. He should be in line for an amazing season, and his ADP is No. 70 overall. He's being drafted as the No. 10 quarterback.
Not only do I like Romo better than Foles, but I would also take him ahead of Tom Brady and Kaepernick. I love letting Romo land in my lap in Round 6 or later.
Russell Wilson on the rise: I wish I could find a way to rank Wilson in my Top 12, but he's No. 14 just because I like a few guys better. But he's had a solid preseason, and he's been the No. 9 Fantasy quarterback each of the past two seasons.
If you can pair Wilson with another quarterback in his tier like Robert Griffin III , Foles, Ben Roethlisberger , Carson Palmer , Cam Newton or Philip Rivers then you should be in great shape. Wilson has been consistent at home and indoors, so use him in those spots.
Robert Griffin III on the decline: Kaepernick and Griffin have battled for having the worst preseason among the Top 12 quarterbacks, but Kaepernick still remains a Top 10 option. Griffin, meanwhile, has dropped to No. 93 overall as the No. 13 quarterback. Even Newton is ahead of him with all his woes.
I like that Griffin has fallen to this spot because it means I can draft him at a bargain. I'm still expecting a rebound year with his knee at 100 percent and the addition of coach Jay Gruden and Jackson.
Running back breakdown
Marshawn Lynch , overrated: I'm glad Lynch has fallen to Round 2 at No. 17 overall, and I would draft him toward the end of the second round. But I don't like who Lynch is being drafted ahead of based on his expected decline this season.
He's currently going ahead of Martin, Le'Veon Bell , Alfred Morris , Arian Foster and Zac Stacy . I would rather have Martin, Morris and Stacy based on what could happen to Lynch coming off a 400-touch campaign.
Joique Bell , underrated: Bell is being drafted at No. 53 overall, which is Round 5 in a 12-team league. He's going 13 spots after Reggie Bush , and I'd rather have Bell in a standard league.
Bush is still the better option in PPR formats, but Bell could be the workhorse running back for the Lions this year. He's a Top 20 Fantasy option coming into the season at his position. I also like him better than C.J. Spiller, Bishop Sankey and Ryan Mathews , who all have a higher ADP.
Knowshon Moreno on the rise: All it took was Moreno getting on the field to raise his ADP to No. 100 overall. He's now just four spots behind Lamar Miller , and it's a tossup who will be the better Miami running back this year.
Miller is the safer option based on Moreno having knee surgery this offseason, but Moreno has an edge in pass protection, which could keep him on the field. I'll still take Miller on Draft Day, but Moreno has closed the gap after playing in the third preseason game against the Cowboys.
Bishop Sankey on the decline: Sankey was expected to be the No. 1 rookie running back, but he's played behind Shonn Greene all preseason and has rarely worked with the starters in Tennessee. Sankey should still have his moments this season, but his ADP has dropped to No. 50 overall.
Look for Sankey to fall farther than Round 5, and I consider him a great value pick in Round 6 or later. Consider him this year's Stacy as a rookie who might not play much in the first few weeks but could shine once Greene struggles or gets hurt.
Wide receiver breakdown
Larry Fitzgerald , overrated: Fitzgerald had a solid season in 2013 with 82 catches for 954 yards and 10 touchdowns, but he finished as just the No. 16 receiver in standard leagues. But his ADP is No. 38 overall, and he's the No. 11 receiver off the board.
I'm OK with Fitzgerald as my No. 2 receiver, but I'd rather have Keenan Allen , Roddy White , Vincent Jackson and Cordarrelle Patterson , who are all going after Fitzgerald. There's more upside with those other guys compared to Fitzgerald, who could lose targets to the emerging Michael Floyd .
Eric Decker , underrated: I had Decker listed as a bust in March when I expected Fantasy owners to draft him as a must-start receiver. But his ADP is No. 98 overall, which suggests everyone is aware the move from the Broncos to the Jets will hamper his production.
That said, he won't be this bad. Geno Smith has played OK this preseason, and Decker will be the No. 1 target in the passing attack for a team likely trailing in a lot of games. He's a better flier in Round 9 then guys going ahead of him like T.Y. Hilton , Jeremy Maclin , Mike Wallace and Brandin Cooks .
Marques Colston on the rise: Colston is also being drafted ahead of Decker, but I'm fine with that. When healthy, Colston could be solid, and his ADP is No. 79 overall.
He's an excellent No. 3 receiver with the chance to be a Top 20 option if he can play 16 games at 100 percent, which is a stretch. Still, with Darren Sproles and Lance Moore gone, Brees will rely on Graham and Colston even more, especially if Kenny Stills (quad) is out and Cooks struggles as a rookie.
Sammy Watkins on the decline: Injured ribs and bad quarterback play have caused Fantasy owners to run away from Watkins. His ADP is No. 99 overall.
Once he gets healthy, Watkins could have some productive games, but EJ Manuel is going to have to dramatically improve for Watkins to be considered a Fantasy starter. I'd only want him as a No. 4 receiver to stash for later in the year in re-draft leagues.
Tight end breakdown
Vernon Davis , overrated: Davis has remained the No. 4 tight end on ADP throughout the preseason, and his ADP is No. 53 overall. I don't want Davis in Round 5, and I might even pass on him in Round 6.
If his touchdowns decline this season he could finish closer to the No. 10 Fantasy tight end then No. 2 like he did last year. I'd rather pass on Davis for Dennis Pitta or Jason Witten , or I could get similar value from the group of Jordan Reed , Kyle Rudolph and Zach Ertz , who are being drafted in Round 8.
Dennis Pitta , underrated: Pitta is the No. 7 tight end off the board, and I expect him to have a tremendous year. He's my favorite tight end this season in Gary Kubiak's offense.
When Kubiak was the coach of the Texans, he featured his tight ends, and Pitta is the apple of Joe Flacco eye. I consider him a Top 5 tight end in 2014, and I love his ADP at No. 76 overall.
Heath Miller on the rise: I'm glad Fantasy owners are buying into Miller, and he has moved up to No. 122 overall. He's the No. 13 tight end being drafted, and I think he has Top 10 potential.
In 2012, Miller was a Top 5 tight end before suffering a torn ACL, and he should return to playing at a high level with the Steelers having to replace Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery .
Greg Olsen on the decline: Olsen has fallen behind Reed, but he remains ahead of Rudolph and Ertz heading into this weekend. I expect that to change.
The Panthers have looked out of sorts in the preseason, and Fantasy owners are settling for Olsen instead of targeting him. I get it, but Olsen can fall to a spot where he becomes good value, with his ADP at No. 89 overall. If he slips from Round 8 to Round 9 he could end up being a great pick as one of the last Top-10 caliber tight ends this year.
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