2019 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: ADP review focuses on Austin Ekeler's standout preseason showing

The main storyline coming into Thursday night's preseason game between the Chargers and Cardinals was Arizona rookie quarterback Kyler Murray making his NFL debut. And he did fine.

But Austin Ekeler stole the show. At least when it comes to Fantasy players.

Melvin Gordon is away from the team because he wants a new contract, and the Chargers may have gained some leverage in the negotiation process with how well Ekeler played. Justin Jackson also played well, and the Chargers are high on both Ekeler and Jackson, according to CBS Sports Senior NFL Writer Pete Prisco, who was in Arizona for the game.

Ekeler started Thursday and had five carries for 40 yards (8.0 yards per carry), as well as three catches for 29 yards on three targets. He did lose a fumble inside the 5-yard line on the Chargers' opening drive, which isn't ideal, but they went back to him right away on their next possession.

Jackson finished with five carries for 22 yards (4.4 yards per carry) and a touchdown, and you can expect to see these two running backs get a lot of work if Gordon misses extended time in the regular season because of his contract. It doesn't appear that a resolution is going to happen any time soon.

Gordon still has an Average Draft Position of 21.6 on CBS Sports, but he will continue to fall in drafts the longer he's away from the team. I'm not drafting Gordon before the end of Round 3 in any format.

Ekeler's ADP is at 80.9, and Jackson is at 132.5. Both will keep rising the longer Gordon remains out.

I plan to draft Ekeler in Round 6 in PPR, and he will have standalone value even when Gordon is back since both will play in tandem. Jackson is worth drafting in Round 9, but that is risky depending on when Gordon returns — if he does at all.

We'll see how Thursday's performance alters the ADP for the Chargers' running backs. And what we're doing here is continuing to look at the risers and fallers in ADP as we head into the first full weekend of preseason action.

As for Murray, who has an ADP of 97.9 as the No. 13 quarterback off the board, he was 6 of 7 passing for 44 yards, and he looked very comfortable in limited action. I like Murray as a top-10 Fantasy quarterback this season.

By Position
ADP Risers and Fallers
Quarterbacks
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BAL Baltimore • #8
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown
OVERALL RNK
134th
QB RNK
15th
PROJ PTS
308
SOS
19
ADP
133.2
2018 Stats
PAYDS
1201
RUYDS
695
TD
11
INT
3
FPTS/G
10.6
Jackson's ADP is at 133.2, and I expect him to start moving up draft boards in a hurry. He's being drafted as the No. 22 quarterback as of now, but I like him at No. 14. He did well in Thursday's preseason game against Jacksonville with 4 of 6 passing for 59 yards and a touchdown, though he did not have any rushing attempts. If he continues to impress in the preseason, I might move Jackson into my top 12.
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NE New England • #12
Age: 42 • Experience: 20 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown
OVERALL RNK
177th
QB RNK
21st
PROJ PTS
331
SOS
28
ADP
102.5
2018 Stats
PAYDS
4355
RUYDS
35
TD
31
INT
11
FPTS/G
21.1
Brady's ADP is at 102.5, and he's the No. 15 quarterback off the board. It's a fine spot for him, but I actually have him lower in my rankings at No. 21. One thing that could change Brady's draft stock would be if Josh Gordon is reinstated from his suspension prior to the season, which would give Brady a much-needed weapon. Hopefully that happens, and then I would co-sign Brady coming off the board at this point in drafts.
ADP Risers and Fallers
Running Backs
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CLE Cleveland • #24
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
16th
RB RNK
7th
PROJ PTS
193
SOS
13
ADP
21.2
2018 Stats
RUYDS
996
REC
20
REYDS
149
TD
10
FPTS/G
12.1
Chubb is on the rise following the Duke Johnson trade to Houston, and he should be considered a potential first-round pick in most leagues. His ADP is currently at 21.2, but I would draft him as early as No. 11 overall. I'm expecting him to dominate touches for the first eight games, and then we'll see what happens when Kareem Hunt comes back from his suspension in Week 10. Hopefully, Hunt doesn't get enough work to lower the value for Chubb to close the year.
SEA Seattle • #32
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
44th
RB RNK
19th
PROJ PTS
169
SOS
6
ADP
48.7
2018 Stats
RUYDS
1151
REC
20
REYDS
163
TD
9
FPTS/G
14.4
I was skeptical about Carson at the start of training camp because I thought Rashaad Penny would have a bigger role, and Carson is coming off a minor surgical procedure on his knee. But all the reports about Carson during camp have been positive, including him (and Penny) expected to see a bigger role in the passing game. That only enhances Carson's value, and he's someone to consider in Round 4 in all formats. His current ADP is at 48.7.
DEN Denver • #28
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
90th
RB RNK
36th
PROJ PTS
89
SOS
28
ADP
112.2
2018 Stats
RUYDS
521
REC
14
REYDS
72
TD
5
FPTS/G
7.2
Freeman had an interesting night Thursday at Seattle. He ripped off a 50-yard run through a huge hole against the Seahawks, but he finished with three carries for 49 yards. That means his two other carries went for minus-1 yard. He also had one catch for 1 yard on one target. Freeman will share touches with Phillip Lindsay and Theo Riddick, but I still like his value at his current ADP (112.2). I hope to get Freeman there in my leagues.
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GB Green Bay • #33
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
38th
RB RNK
18th
PROJ PTS
193
SOS
15
ADP
31.5
2018 Stats
RUYDS
728
REC
26
REYDS
206
TD
9
FPTS/G
14.2
Jones' ADP is down two spots to 31.5, and he will continue to fall the longer he's out. He's missed practice time with a hamstring injury, and he didn't play in Thursday's preseason game against the Texans. Jamaal Williams (hamstring) is also hurt, which has allowed rookie Dexter Williams to get an extended look. I'm still hopeful for Jones to have a quality season in 2019, but he needs to get back on the field and prove himself.
TEN Tennessee • #22
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
57th
RB RNK
28th
PROJ PTS
165
SOS
22
ADP
40.6
2018 Stats
RUYDS
1059
REC
15
REYDS
99
TD
12
FPTS/G
12.4
Henry's ADP is down four spots to 40.6, and he's losing value with his absence due to an injured calf. I'm worried about Henry's Fantasy value this season, but he could fall to a good enough spot where it makes it worth drafting him in most leagues. For me, that would be Round 5 in non-PPR leagues and Round 6 in PPR. I don't know if he'll fall that far, but we'll see what happens the longer he remains out.
PHI Philadelphia • #24
Age: 24 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
94th
RB RNK
41st
PROJ PTS
127
SOS
23
ADP
91.5
2018 Stats
RUYDS
935
REC
20
REYDS
145
TD
9
FPTS/G
11.2
Howard's ADP is down one spot at 91.5, which I consider a great price for him, but he's on the decline because of all the positive reports about Miles Sanders. I'm hopeful that Sanders will be the best running back in Philadelphia, but it makes sense to invest in Howard in all leagues, especially if you're drafting him in Round 8 or later.
ADP Risers and Fallers
Wide Receivers
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KC Kansas City • #10
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
12th
WR RNK
7th
PROJ PTS
272
SOS
8
ADP
20.2
2018 Stats
REC
87
TAR
137
REYDS
1479
TD
13
FPTS/G
20.4
I've been waiting to see where Hill would get to with his ADP, and he's at 20.2 right now as the No. 7 receiver off the board. I think he should be drafted toward the end of Round 1, so we'll see if he continues to climb. He started as the No. 16 receiver off the board when we first started to examine ADP in late July, but that was when there was the expectation of him facing a suspension. For anyone who drafted early this offseason, you likely got Hill at a fantastic price.
TEN Tennessee • #84
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
79th
WR RNK
37th
PROJ PTS
151
SOS
10
ADP
117.7
2018 Stats
REC
65
TAR
112
REYDS
891
TD
4
FPTS/G
11.4
The ADP for Davis is ridiculously low at 117.7, and that should continue to rise. As much as he struggled over the past two seasons, he should improve in Year 3, even with more competition for targets with Delanie Walker back and the additions of Adam Humphries and A.J. Brown. I'm not the biggest Davis fan, but you should be looking for him in the Round 8 range. However, if you get him in Round 10 like he's going here then that's a steal.
CAR Carolina • #10
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
75th
WR RNK
34th
PROJ PTS
148
SOS
24
ADP
125.4
2018 Stats
REC
39
TAR
65
REYDS
494
TD
7
FPTS/G
10.5
Oh boy, get ready for the rapid rise of Samuel, who has been among my favorite players all offseason. The reports out of Carolina have been glowing, and he could end up as the best receiver in Carolina this year, even with D.J. Moore on the roster. You can currently get Samuel at his ADP of 125.4, which is laughable. I plan to target Samuel as early as Round 6, and I'm expecting a huge campaign from him in 2019.
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OAK Oakland • #84
Age: 31 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
25th
WR RNK
13th
PROJ PTS
281
SOS
14
ADP
21.7
2018 Stats
REC
104
TAR
168
REYDS
1297
TD
15
FPTS/G
21.5
Brown's ADP is on the decline, and he's at 21.7 right now. I would not be surprised to see him fall out of Round 2 and into Round 3. He's dealing with issues with his feet, which has kept him out of practice, and who knows when he can return at 100 percent. He should be fine for the start of the year, but it's hard to justify drafting him ahead of guys like Mike Evans, Keenan Allen and T.Y. Hilton, who are all going after Brown now.
CIN Cincinnati • #18
Age: 31 • Experience: 9 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
59th
WR RNK
25th
PROJ PTS
177
SOS
3
ADP
51.9
2018 Stats
REC
46
TAR
77
REYDS
694
TD
6
FPTS/G
16.6
We're going to keep monitoring Green's ADP to see where he goes on Draft Day since he's dealing with an ankle injury that could keep him out for the start of the regular season. He's at 51.9 right now, and Round 5 is a good spot to target him. While it's unlikely he will play in Week 1, there is a chance Green can return as early as Week 2, which would be great. As long as Green plays 12-plus games, which isn't a guarantee given his recent injury woes, you could be getting a No. 1 Fantasy receiver at amazing value.
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #11
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
62nd
WR RNK
27th
PROJ PTS
173
SOS
13
ADP
82.4
2018 Stats
REC
50
TAR
93
REYDS
752
TD
6
FPTS/G
11.2
I like Anderson this year, but his ADP is on the decline for some reason. He's at 82.4 right now, and I would love to get him at that price. While Jamison Crowder was the star of the Jets receiving corps in their first preseason game against the Giants — and Crowder's ADP is fantastic at 160.2 — I still think Anderson will have a great season in 2019. He started to show a good rapport with Sam Darnold toward the end of last season, and I expect that to help Anderson become a starting Fantasy receiver this year.
ADP Risers and Fallers
Tight Ends
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TEN Tennessee • #82
Age: 35 • Experience: 14 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
120th
TE RNK
10th
PROJ PTS
141
SOS
32
ADP
123.6
2018 Stats
REC
4
TAR
7
REYDS
52
TD
0
FPTS/G
9
Walker is healthy now, and you should love his ADP of 123.6. He's a great tight end to wait for on Draft Day in all leagues. In 2018, Walker was limited to one game because of a broken ankle. But prior to that, he had four years in a row of at least 63 catches and 800 yards, including two seasons with at least six touchdowns over that span. Walker might not finish as a top-five tight end this year, but he could be a top 10 option — at an amazing value.
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CLE Cleveland • #85
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
148th
TE RNK
15th
PROJ PTS
141
SOS
12
ADP
94.1
2018 Stats
REC
56
TAR
88
REYDS
639
TD
4
FPTS/G
8.9
I'm getting a little nervous about Njoku as a top-10 Fantasy tight end, and his ADP is declining right now to 94.1. He's currently the No. 9 off the board. I would rather draft Njoku later in Round 12, but I might not get him if he stays in this range. My concern is all the mouths to feed in Cleveland with Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb and now Rashard Higgins, who had a strong first preseason game against Washington. Njoku should be good in 2019. I'm just not sure he will be great.

So which Fantasy Football busts should you avoid in your draft? And which superstar QB isn't a trustworthy QB1 option? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that called Allen Robinson's disappointing season, and find out.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Jamey Eisenberg has been a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBS Sports since 2006 with a focus on Fantasy Football. A University of Florida grad (class of '98), Jamey got his start in the newspaper business and... Full Bio

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