It's fun to watch the CBS Sports Average Draft Position data start to reflect what most drafts can look like this season. That must mean many of you are starting to get serious about your Fantasy leagues. And that's exciting.
You can view the CBS Sports ADP data right here. And we're going to spend the next few Mondays leading up to Week 1 checking in on the ADP to see what changed following every week of preseason action.
Some players who I expect to rise in ADP following the first full week of preseason games include Trey Lance, Dameon Pierce, Nyheim Hines, Isiah Pacheco, George Pickens and Romeo Doubs. All of them stood out or had increased playing time, and that should get Fantasy managers interested in them.
On the flip side, some players who could see a decline in ADP include Antonio Gibson, Elijah Mitchell, Ronald Jones, Treylon Burks and Mike Gesicki. These guys struggled or are dealing with injuries, and we could see Fantasy managers start to avoid them unless the price is right.
And that's what the ADP data does -- shows you the price you might have to pay on Draft Day in your league. We don't recommend you stick to the ADP when you draft. It's just another guide to help you determine when players might be coming off the board, and it's a good way to plan for your league.
The CBS Sports ADP data is still in the early stages for redraft leagues. But we'll use it to find early values -- and players you might want to avoid -- based on the drafts (real and mocks) happening in the middle of August on CBS.
Lance has been a top-10 quarterback in my rankings for weeks, and I expect to see his value rise following his performance against the Packers in the first preseason game. In limited action, Lance was 4-of-5 passing for 92 yards and a touchdown (76 yards to Danny Gray), as well as one carry for 7 yards. Lance has the dual-threat ability we love, and he's my favorite breakout quarterback this year. If he stays as QB15 then he's the best steal at quarterback this year.
Stafford can still be a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback this season, and hopefully he's fine with the elbow injury he's dealing with in training camp. But with the risk of his elbow, as well as many quality quarterbacks being drafted after him, this is just too soon for Stafford right now. I would much rather have Joe Burrow (ADP 63.7, QB11), Russell Wilson (ADP 64.5, QB12) and Lance over Stafford, and I have no problem with anyone drafting Cousins, Carr and Aaron Rodgers (ADP 61.2, QB10) ahead of Stafford as well.
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In non-PPR leagues, you can make a case that this is the right range for Etienne, although I would draft him higher. But in 0.5- or full PPR leagues, Etienne should be drafted as early as the end of Round 3. I expect him to be a star, even with James Robinson trending in the right direction following last year's Achilles injury. In Jacksonville's second preseason game against Cleveland, Etienne saw his first action following last year's foot injury, and he had nine carries for 23 yards, along with one catch for 10 yards on three targets. Robinson didn't play, but Etienne should split rushing work with Robinson during the season, with a huge edge in the passing game. I love Etienne as a breakout candidate.
Pierce had one of the more impressive performances of the weekend in his first game against the Saints. He didn't play with the starters, but he averaged 9.8 yards per carry on five carries. He didn't catch the ball on one target, but you saw the upside, especially with his 20-yard run. Marlon Mack and potentially Rex Burkhead stand in Pierce's way for touches, but the Texans should make Pierce their featured running back as soon as possible. I plan to draft him as a borderline starter in all leagues as early as Round 6 in non- or 0.5-PPR leagues and Round 7 in PPR.
I love Hines this season, and I expect him to be heavily involved in the passing game in tandem with Jonathan Taylor. But I wasn't sure what the Colts would do if Taylor had to miss any time this season, and we got a glimpse of that in the first preseason game against the Bills. Hines started with the first-team offense and got eight carries for 26 yards and two catches for 13 yards on two targets. He's a candidate for 70-plus catches this season (he had 63 receptions twice in 2018 and 2020), and he should be second on the team in targets behind Michael Pittman. And Hines could be a top-20 talent if Taylor misses any significant time this year.
I was concerned about Gibson this offseason, and he already dealt with a hamstring injury at the start of training camp. That allowed Brian Robinson to get first-team reps, and Robinson might be on the verge of replacing Gibson as the starter. In Washington's first preseason game against the Panthers, Gibson struggled (four carries for 2 yards and one catch for 2 yards on one target) and lost a fumble. Robinson replaced Gibson after the fumble, and Gibson also came off the field on passing downs for J.D. McKissic. This could be the beginning of Robinson taking over, and he did well with six carries for 26 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 15 yards on two targets. There's no way I would draft Gibson at this ADP.
Harris didn't play in the preseason opener against the Giants, so this listing has nothing to do with performance so far. I'm more concerned about him being the lead back for the Patriots ahead of Rhamondre Stevenson (ADP 103.2, RB37), who is one of my favorite targets on Draft Day, and we know Harris is going to be touchdown dependent. Harris isn't expected to have a big role in the passing game, even with James White now retired, and I don't trust Harris as a Fantasy starter, especially in PPR. In leagues where receptions count, the earliest I would draft Harris is Round 7.
Mitchell has been ruled out for the remainder of the preseason with a hamstring injury, and that's not a good sign based on his track record from last year when he missed six games. The 49ers have plenty of bodies to replace Mitchell with Tyrion Davis-Price, Trey Sermon and Jeff Wilson, as well as Deebo Samuel getting carries in his dual role. The pecking order now is Wilson, Sermon and Davis-Price, but Kyle Shanahan could always surprise us with Mitchell's replacement, much like he did last year with Mitchell when Raheem Mostert hurt his knee in Week 1. I hope Mitchell is OK following this injury, but I'm not drafting him in Round 5 in PPR.
Another year, another season of Cooks being undervalued on Draft Day. While Nico Collins has the chance to be a solid player, Cooks should easily lead the Texans in targets and once again be a top 20 Fantasy receiver. He was No. 20 in PPR last year at 14.4 points per game, and he was No. 12 among wide receivers in targets at 134. I would draft Cooks as early as Round 4, and if you can get him in Round 6 then that's amazing value, especially in PPR.
I start to look for Robinson as early as Round 3, and he has top-15 upside this season with the Rams. Now, clearly Stafford has to stay healthy with his elbow injury, otherwise Robinson's current ADP might be too high. But Stafford is the best quarterback Robinson will ever play with, and Sean McVay's offense should help Robinson get back to the level we saw during his best years in Jacksonville and Chicago (three seasons with at least 15.9 PPR points per game). That might be optimistic given the way Robinson looked last year with the Bears (7.3 PPR points per game), but I expect the Rams car wash to help Robinson become a star once again.
Bateman is one of my favorite breakout candidates this year now that Marquise Brown is in Arizona. Bateman will be the No. 1 receiver for Lamar Jackson (the No. 2 target behind Mark Andrews), and Bateman could be a top-20 Fantasy receiver this season. He's having a strong training camp by all accounts, and I look for Bateman as early as Round 5. I wish there was a scenario where Bateman would be available in Round 8 based on his ADP, but I don't see that happening by the end of the month.
Others of note: Michael Thomas (ADP 65.1, WR22), Amon-Ra St. Brown (ADP 109.9, WR38), Drake London (ADP 113.5, WR41), Robert Woods (ADP 117.7, WR43), Christian Kirk (ADP 120.7, WR47), Brandon Aiyuk (ADP 124.5, WR50) and Romeo Doubs (no ADP data)
I don't mind the cost of Waddle in Round 5 in any format, but I can't draft him as WR16. There are several guys being drafted after him that I like better, including Chris Godwin (ADP 57.2, WR17), Terry McLaurin (ADP 62.8, WR20), Thomas, Courtland Sutton (ADP 65.8, WR23), Cooks and Robinson. Waddle should be a solid Fantasy receiver this season, but the addition of Tyreek Hill in Miami should cap Waddle's ceiling.
I'm excited about the Vikings offense this season with the addition of new coach Kevin O'Connell, but this is too soon for Thielen. Like Waddle, it's not so much about the cost in early Round 6, which is fine. But I'd rather draft many receivers ahead of Thielen, and he's closer to WR30 than he is WR15 in my rankings. I'm concerned that Justin Jefferson is going to dominate targets in Minnesota, and guys like K.J. Osborn and Irv Smith will cut into Thielen's production, especially in the red zone. Thielen should be solid when healthy, but don't reach for him on Draft Day.
Like Waddle and Thielen, I don't mind drafting Metcalf in Round 6. But I don't want to draft him as WR19 given Seattle's quarterback situation. I'm worried that whoever starts out of Geno Smith or Drew Lock isn't going to enhance Metcalf's production, and he could be a bust. The same goes for Tyler Lockett, only the difference is Lockett is much cheaper (ADP 117.6, WR42). I'm not suggesting Metcalf be downgraded like that, but he's more of a No. 3 Fantasy receiver for me this season and not a top-20 option on Draft Day.
I like Kmet as a breakout candidate, and I expect him to be a top 10 PPR tight end this season. He should be second on the Bears in targets behind Darnell Mooney, and he could be a special talent if he takes a huge leap in touchdowns. Now, that would mean he has to score after not finding the end zone in 2021, and he only had two touchdowns as a rookie in 2020. But Justin Fields needs weapons, and Kmet should be popular, along with Mooney. I would draft Kmet as early as Round 9.
Others of note: Irv Smith (ADP 163.7, TE24)
Gesicki played in Saturday's preseason game at Tampa Bay despite the Dolphins resting several starters. While that's not terrible since he could still be adjusting to Mike McDaniel's new offense, Gesicki is going to struggle for targets behind Waddle and Hill. Gesicki could still be productive, but you're likely drafting him close to his ceiling at this ADP. I'd rather have Kmet, among others, and Gesicki is closer to TE20 than he is TE10 in my rankings.