Fantasy Stock Report: Movers & Shakers
It’s time to take care of business. With actual fantasy football drafts taking place and actual football being played in less than two weeks, opinions on players will be changing significantly. With this in mind, I take a look at ten players who have spent the last month leaping up draft boards, and offer my thoughts on any (if any) merit to this new found appreciation.
ADP date courtesy of Fantasy Football Calculator based on a 12 team league.
RB | Detroit Lions
ADP July 23rd 6.04 August 31st 4.05
Ameer Abdullah was pretty highly regarded coming out of college, and after landing in Detroit the appreciation levels have risen and risen. We at Gridiron Experts are not immune to his charms, and have him at ranked quite high in our fantasy rankings.
Gridiron Experts head writer Mike Rigz mentioned in a post-NFL Draft podcast that one of his favorite stats to look for sleepers at the NFL combine is the three cone drill. He went on to explain that some of the best fantasy RB’s over the last decade have had strong three cone drill numbers. As you can probably guess from some of Abdullah’s quick moves in the Lions first pre-season game, the Lion’s young rookie RB led all running backs at the 2015 NFL combine with a 6.79 three cone drill time. To put that number in perspective, Abdullah now ranks 6th overall in the 3 cone drill for running backs behind the names like Christine Michael (6.69), Zac Stacy (6.70) Le’Veon Bell (6.75) and Bishop Sankey (6.78) in the last three years.
Abdullah’s preseason hype started strong but is starting to cool. With Detroit continuing to insist that Joique Bell is the lead back in this offense, a 4th round pick may be a tad too high for the new Detroit rookie, even if he should own the job by mid-season.
- Suggested Read: Ameer Abdullah 2015 Fantasy Preview (includes 2 videos)
RB | New York Jets
ADP July 23rd 7.11 August 31st 4.12
With Jets RB’s Stevan Ridley and Zac Stacy the only real competition for carries, it was quite surprising that Chris Ivory had as low of an ADP as he did.
Ridley is hurt and even when healthy has problems with fumbling, while Zac Stacy is the ugly step child that was sent packing after the Rams would much rather have Benny Cunningham on their roster.
Has Ivory showed promise? Yes. but I’m guessing that it’s the competition that has contributed to the sudden clamouring for Ivory’s services.
Also, the injury to Geno Smith, who many felt had the potential to lead a potent passing attack now has the QB duties handed off to Ryan Fitzpatrick. A solid pro for many years, never more evident than his tenure under current Jets OC Chan Gailey in Buffalo between 2010-2012, Fitzpatrick is at his best when a team has a reliable running back to help him. While his ascension to the starting job may hurt Marshall and Decker, its good news for Ivory.
- Suggested Read: Chris Ivory Fantasy Gem 2015
RB | Houston Texans
ADP July 23rd 12.07 August 31st 6.12
This is a clear cut case of panic drafting, in my humble opinion. After Arian Foster’s unfortunate injury, and subsequent failure to persuade Pierre Thomas that he’d look great in Texans blue, the Texan named Blue (our 47th ranked RB) and his chums in the Houston running back room are part of a fully fledged Running Back By Committee, the dreaded RBBC. Despite the relative strength of the Texans offensive line, Blue is simply not talented enough to fill the Foster void for a long period of time. Nearly 30% of his career rushing yards came in a single 37 carry day against Cleveland last year, in which Blue finished with 156 yards. His other 131 rushing attempts in 2014 produced 367 yards at a tick over 2.8 yards per carry. A 6th round pick? You can draft him, I won’t be.
- Suggested read: A closer look at the post-injury Texans Backfield
WR | Kansas City Chiefs
ADP July 23rd 6.05 August 31st 4.10
The Chiefs overpaid for Jeremy Maclin in free agency, but if he adds depth to a position that has lacked leadership and talent, no one will care. Maclin re-connects with Andy Reid, the coach who drafted him when they were both in Philly.
Jeremy Maclin went from one of the best offenses in Philadelphia last season to one where zero TD’s were thrown to WRs in 2014. That “zero TDs” stat had been overhyped all summer, and Maclin’s solid performances in the pre-season have shown that he’s a better weapon than Alex Smith had last year.
RB | San Diego Chargers
ADP July 23rd 12.01 August 31st 9.03
Melvin Gordon is inked in, with pretty strong ink, as the early down back with the Chargers. But the ongoing issues surrounding his pass protection skills (or lack thereof) suggests that passing down work will go to Woodhead.
One of the most targeted running backs in 2013, especially in the red zone, Woodhead’s chemistry with Phil Rivers makes him an intriguing flex play. The 9th round still represents good value for the NFL’s leading mod rocker, who is our RB40 but in my opinion has a much higher ceiling than some players ranked five to ten spots higher.
Suggested Article: 2015 Fantasy Sleepers
WR | Chicago Bears
ADP July 23rd 14.05 August 31st 9.01
Alshon Jeffrey has been banged up all off season, and with the news that Kevin White’s rookie season is probably going to be spent away from the action, Mr. September Eddie Royal has gained a lot of supporters.
Royal does have previous with Bears QB Jay Cutler, team mates in Denver between 2008-2011, and will probably assume slot duties when Jeffrey returns and the Bears utilise Adam Gase’s beloved three wide receiver sets. As a tenth round, WR3/flex option, it’s not the worst dart you can throw.
QB | Philadelphia Eagles
ADP July 23rd 11.06 August 31st 10.04
With the question marks surrounding Bradford’s fitness, not to mention an “open” competition for the Eagles QB job, disappearing, the Bradford bandwagon is set to pick up steam. Philadelphia quarterbacks have been solid fantasy contributors in Chip Kelly’s two terms, accounting for a combined average of 4493 yards and 29.5 touchdown passes a year, and if (it’s a bloody big if, mind) Bradford can stay healthy he is well worth a tenth round pick, as either your second QB or starter in deeper leagues.
- Suggested article: Bradford perfect system and pope blessed knees?
WR | San Diego Chargers
ADP July 23rd 14.02 August 31st 10.08
Many noteworthy pundits have been gushing in their praise for Stevie Johnson during this offseason, and you can read the thoughts of one not-so-noteworthy (ie, me) here. The 14th round was ludicrously late for Johnson to be on the shelf, and I would not be stunned if this ADP continued to drop. I think he’d be worthy of selection a good round earlier, but if he started to get taken around round 7 I’d probably back away.
- Suggested Article: Is Stevie Johnson the fantasy gem of 2015?
TE | Cincinnati Bengals
ADP July 23rd 14.02 August 31st 11.04
In a climate that screams out “If you don’t get Gronk, stream your tight ends”, the rise of Eifert comes as a welcome knock on the door of those with very short memories. He played a quarter of football in 2014, and saw three targets during this truncated campaign. By all accounts, he has been “uncoverable” during this offseason, and his skill set and 1st round pedigree makes his return to fitness an intriguing situation to monitor. He could well have more upside than some tight ends going three to four rounds earlier.
WR/TE | Carolina Panthers
ADP July 23rd 13.10 August 31st 11.10
So, if one big and tall receiver gets injured, Carolina can just plug another one into his spot and we all get to reap the benefits? Sweet! If only it were that easy.
The loss of Kelvin Benjamin for the 2015 campaign has increased the level of opportunity for Funchess, given his physical similarities to his second year team mate, but if you (or the Panthers) think he’s a shoe in to account for 1000 yards and nearly double digit touchdowns just because he’s tall, you’re in for a serious rude awakening. As an 11th round flier pushing WR3 production, our WR29 is a real boom or bust dart throw.
Neil’s been playing fantasy football for ten years, including a victory in 2014 in a league arranged by NFL.com Fantasy expert Adam Rank. Huge Philadelphia Eagles fan, and follows the fortunes of the England cricket team, usually with his head in his hands for both. Neil lives with his fiancé Kate and their daughter Zoe. He is an atrocious Words with Friends player.