One of the best ways to judge early ADP is to look at what is going on in best-ball leagues. While these leagues aren't perfect comps for what is going to happen in a standard redraft league, we do get a high volume of drafts from a wide variety of drafters well before we get reliable data from other sources. It's also really interesting to see how things have changed since the NFL Draft.
One player who wasn't necessarily impacted by the draft but has seen a huge shift in his ADP is Tyreek Hill. We have no information about when or if Hill will suit up again for the Kansas City Chiefs, and it's doing crazy things to his ADP. In BestBall10s, he has an ADP of 56 overall since April 28. He's been drafted as high as 21 overall and went undrafted in one of the 156 drafts on the site. In the month prior, his average ADP was 28. Hill's ADP fell even further on DRAFT, all the way to 91 overall. In a standard redraft league I wouldn't take him in the first 10 rounds, but the appeal is a stronger in the best ball format. That being said, the DRAFT ADP seems more appropriate.
Cam Newton is another player who remains somewhat of a mystery heading into the season. He's still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and reports have been mostly positive, but he still hasn't thrown a football. Since the team selected Will Grier in the draft, Newton's ADP is 115 (QB13) overall on DRAFT and 116 (QB9) in BestBall10s. These both seem like fair value for a quarterback who still has the upside to be the best at his position but could also be a shell of his former self. The one thing to take into consideration is you're probably committing to taking three quarterbacks if you draft Newton.
The first rookie off the board since the draft is Josh Jacobs. He's going 36 overall on DRAFT and 39 in BestBall10s. That's a significant jump on both sites, which is a bit troubling. Yes, we now know for sure that Jacobs will have little competition for early down work in Oakland, but the Raiders still look to be a bad team and Jacobs could lose third-down work to Jalen Richard. I actually prefer the value of David Montgomery if you want a rookie running back. He's available in the late fifth or early sixth round on both sites.
Here's a look at my favorite values on both sites since the NFL Draft concluded, as well as a few players who are overpriced:
One of the more difficult things to do this season is project the efficiency of JuJu Smith-Schuster. His first two seasons in the league he's caught 69% of his targets and averaged 13.9 yards per reception. If he matches those marks in 2019, he may just be the No. 1 receiver in Fantasy Football. The reason is the departure of Antonio Brown. Without Brown, Smith-Schuster is a legitimate contender to be the most-targeted receiver in football this season. But the departure of Brown brings challenges as well, most notably double-teams.
The rest of the Steelers' receiving corps is long on potential and short on actual production. Between Donte Moncrief, James Washington and Diontae Johnson, it's quite possible a good No. 2 option emerges, but it's far from a certainty. Even if that happens, Smith-Schuster will see more attention than he ever has. In my projections I dropped him to a 64% catch rate and 12.7 yards per reception, but I also gave him a league-leading 173 targets. That makes him my No. 3 receiver with a projected line of 111-1,405-10.
I've spent a lot of this offseason trying to normalize Kenyan Drake's projection. He's a 25-year-old back who has averaged 4.7 yards per carry over his career and caught 53 passes last year. In a timeshare with Frank Gore, he topped 1,000 total yards and scored nine touchdowns in 2018. Now Gore is gone, and maybe more importantly, so is Adam Gase. It's not difficult to get very excited about him.
I expect Drake to set career highs in touches and yards while leading the Dolphins rushing attack. Yes, this will be a bad team in negative game scripts, but Drake has excelled in the passing game. He has legitimate top-12 upside at the position as long as he can hold off Kalen Ballage.
No, Dede Westbrook's numbers from 2018 aren't that impressive. But consider that Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler were his quarterbacks and Nathaniel Hackett was his offensive coordinator. I expect a more efficient passing offense in 2019 with John DeFilippo calling plays and Nick Foles under center. I'd also expect more pass attempts. The reason I could see for passing on Westbrook at this cost is because you can get Marqise Lee (ADP: 213.3) later, but in this format I'd be thrilled to draft both.
Mitchell Trubisky is the 20th quarterback off the board on DRAFT in May. In 2018 he played 14 games and finished as the No. 15 quarterback. He also had some monster efforts on a weekly basis, which will make him more appealing in this format if that continues. Trubisky's rushing production provides a nice floor, and his upside has proven to be enormous. I'd also expect a small amount of regression from the Bears defense, which could mean the offense throws a few more passes.
Yes, I know all about Jordan Reed's injury history. But I love his upside in this format because you'll only use him when he plays. Selecting Reed probably means I'm taking three tight ends, but if I don't land one of the big three at the position, that's generally going to be my plan anyway. Reed has averaged almost five grabs per game over the past three seasons, which is much better than you're going to get from most tight ends available in the 13th round.
I can deal with injury risk at the end of the draft, especially if there's enormous upside. But at the 2/3 turn? With a running back who is all but guaranteed to be in a committee? No, thank you.
Devonta Freeman has shown us No. 1 overall upside, but that feels like a lifetime ago. Over the past two seasons he's played just 16 games combined and averaged 15 touches per game. He reached 100 total yards in four of those games and saw more than five targets just twice.
Yes, Tevin Coleman is gone, but when Freeman went down last year we still saw the Falcons chop up the running back touches between Coleman and Ito Smith. I expect more of the same in 2019. With that limitation, Freeman could still justify his draft cost, it's juts hard to imagine him exceeding it.
I could put most of the quarterbacks in this section. Unless you're going to try to get by with two quarterbacks, I'm really not fond of drafting one early in best ball. But I'm definitely not drafting Patrick Mahomes three rounds before any other quarterback gets drafted.
Mahomes had regression coming before the issues surrounding Hill popped up. He's still my No. 1 quarterback, but there's considerably more risk if oft-injured Sammy Watkins is his No. 1 receiver. More important, in best ball there's a decent chance you can draft three quarterbacks in the double-digit rounds and come close to Mahomes production on a weekly basis.
Jarvis Landry is kind of the reverse case of Smith-Schuster. You could make the case he'll be more efficient with Odell Beckham on the other side of the field but you have to wonder how many weekly touches he'll have in an offense with Beckham, Nick Chubb and David Njoku. This is especially true if you look at Landry's numbers in 2018 after Freddie Kitchens took over.
I'm also not sure how much weekly upside Landry will have. He doesn't generally make plays down the field and has one season with more than five touchdowns. It's really hard to justify a fifth-round pick on a slot receiver who may not top 125 targets and doesn't get in the end zone.
I get that we want to get excited about rookies, and I do like Miles Sanders' chances of unseating Jordan Howard. But we can't just disregard the way the Eagles have used running backs since Doug Pederson arrived in Philadelphia. No back has touched the ball even 190 times in his first three years. Now they have Sanders, Howard, Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood on the roster. Even if Sanders cracks the 200-touch mark, his upside will be severely limited by the committee approach in Philadelphia.
As with quarterback, a lot of the tight ends are going earlier than I'd prefer. None of those selections is as egregious as Jared Cook at the 6/7 turn. Cook is 32 years old and coming off a year where he set career highs in virtually every category. Now he has Drew Brees as his quarterback. I know that sounds enticing, but he's going to a team that hasn't actually been very pass-happy lately and he'll be behind Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara (at least) in the passing game. He's a fine low-end starter and a good committee member in best ball, but he should not be drafted in the first 100 picks.
Evan Engram is part of a group of young, exciting tight ends who are threatening to make the leap into the top five at the position. In his rookie year he posted 64-722-6, which is phenomenal for a rookie tight end. In 2018 he only played 11 games and only scored three touchdowns, but he actually had more catches and yards per game. Considering we don't generally expect much from young tight ends, you should consider the sky the limit for Engram. The first two years of his career compare favorably to Travis Kelce's first two active seasons, and Kelce went bananas in Year 3.
Engram's usage has increased drastically when Odell Beckham has been out, which could only help his star turn. Golden Tate could cut into some of that, but he's no Beckham. I've cautiously projected 69-826-6 for Engram on 104 targets, which makes him comfortably the No. 4 tight end. But the upside is even better than that.
As a rookie, Calvin Ridley was everything you want in a late-round, best-ball receiver. He gave you six weeks with at least 14 Fantasy points and exploded for 36.1 in Week 3. Sure, most redraft players may have had him on the bench, but no one in best ball did. The 10 touchdowns look pretty unsustainable considering he only had 92 targets, but I would expect the targets, receptions and yards to increase. He should be a low-end (high-upside) No. 2 receiver who turns into a star if Julio Jones gets hurt.
I think you could make a legitimate argument for Deshaun Watson as the No. 1 quarterback in this format. He does so much with his legs and has been remarkably efficient as a passer in his first two seasons. The funny thing is, I'm not sure we've seen his full upside. If DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Keke Coutee all stay healthy, Watson could have the best receiving corps in the NFL. If his offensive line is even marginally improved, he could be the best quarterback in Fantasy.
I had to do a double take to make sure this wasn't a typo. Nope. Geronimo Allison, the current No. 2 receiver for Aaron Rodgers, has an ADP at the beginning of the 12th round. Allison was lost for the year in Week 5 of 2018, but his pace in the first quarter of the season was for 76-1,156-8. This was not a product of one big game because he had at least 64 receiving yards in all four games. Unless we starting getting reports that he's behind one of the younger guys at camp, Allison should be picked in the first seven rounds.
Ronald Jones was terrible last year. Tampa Bay did not add a feature back in free agency and did not draft a running back. I do not understand why Peyton Barber is falling this far. Sure, he's 'just a guy,' and I'm as big a Bruce Anderson fan as anyone. But as of right now, I think you'd have to bet on Barber starting Week 1. At the very least he's an excellent option for anyone who dares to go zero-running back.
I'll admit, this one could make me look stupid. Gurley has been the best running back in Fantasy the past two seasons. He outscored everyone last season despite playing just 14 games. If you're going for upside, I understand taking Gurley in the first round, but it's terrifying.
He was outperformed by C.J. Anderson down the stretch and we've received no clarification on the status of his knee this offseason. The Rams matched an offer for Malcom Brown and then drafted Darrell Henderson. Neither is the Gurley Fantasy players have come to love, but are we sure Gurley still is?
My biggest concern with Gurley in the first round is whether he still has that upside. Will the Rams still give him 20 touches a game if he's a full go for Week 1 or will they use more of a committee to try to keep him healthy for the postseason? If it's the latter, he may not be able to justify this cost even with a 16-game season.
For most of 2018, Adam Thielen was one of the best wide receivers in Fantasy. But his struggles down the stretch were not just a blip on the radar. The Vikings made a philosophical (and coaching) change to become a more run-heavy team at the end of the 2018 and retained the coaching staff that made those changes. Thielen only had 19 targets in the final four games of 2018.
Thielen will share targets with Stefon Diggs in what figures to be one the more run-heavy offenses in the league. I don't believe the volume will be there to justify this cost.
I still believe in the Derrius Guice's talent. I'm just not sure 2019 is going to be the year for him. He's still recovering from his torn ACL, Washington brought back Adrian Peterson, and still has Chris Thompson. Maybe more importantly, this offense is probably going to be pretty bad. I don't really want to spend a fifth-round pick on a back who may not be healthy and is in a committee on a bad team.
Not to take anything away from what Eric Ebron did last year, but there's almost no way that's happening again. For one thing, regression. Maybe more importantly, the team is getting Jack Doyle back and added Devin Funchess and Parris Campbell in the offseason. I wouldn't be surprised if Ebron's touchdown total is halved in 2019 and I expect a small drop in catches and yards as well.
Drew Brees' 2018 season was outstanding, but also offers warning signs for Fantasy purposes. His 489 attempts were the lowest since he arrived in New Orleans. The 3,992 yards were as well. Only a 6.5% touchdown rate kept him afloat as a Fantasy quarterback, and even with that he needed four rushing touchdowns to sneak into the top 10. The offense in New Orleans has been more run-heavy two years in a row, and you shouldn't count on that type of touchdown luck happening again. Brees is still a very good real-life quarterback, but he may not be a Fantasy starter anymore.