Finding value in each round of your league’s draft isn’t easy, but can be done. This article breaks down some of the players who’s current ADP is not reflective of what we think their 2017 production will be.
Current ADP: 23 | Projected ADP: 16
Gurley is the one player in the top 25 that I could see making a significant move up the draft board once we get into preseason action. Moving from the system they ran last season under Jeff Fisher and Rob Boras to what Sean MvVay will have the Rams running this year will be a complete 180.
Gurley is undeniably one of the 4 or 5 most talented backs in the league, and should show off that ability with a significantly increased role in the passing game under McVay. We currently have Gurley as our 8th ranked RB in our preseason rankings, and 13th overall player.
Current ADP: 44 | Projected ADP: 32
We have Watkins currently as the 12th ranked receiver and 26th player overall, well ahead of his current ADP of 44. Health is clearly the only issue with drafting Watkins in the first three rounds of your draft. When healthy he is a top 5 receiver in the league, in fact, he was the #1 receiver in fantasy football over the final 9 games of 2015 and that was with a stress fracture in his foot.
This is a boom or bust pick, 2015 Sammy Watkins would have been the number one receiver in fantasy football last season, 2016 Sammy Watkins was completely irrelevant. The Bills decided not to pick up Watkins contract, making this a contract year for the 24 year old receiver. Couple that with reports that he is already taking the majority of the reps and has looked good in camp, and we are leaning towards seeing a whole lot of 2015 Sammy this season.
Current ADP: 65 | Projected ADP: 43
Here is another quintessential boom-or-bust pick. The numbers speak for themselves, when healthy and fully integrated into the offense, Bryant is a top 10 fantasy receiver. Bryant really only played in 9 games in the 2015 season, yet put up over 800 yards and 7 touchdowns. In 2014, his rookie season, he put up 8 touchdowns on 28 receptions.
All told, Bryant has score in 12 of his 21 games as a pro and has a slew of multi-touchdown weeks mixed in there. That sort of production wins you games in fantasy football, because the real threat with Bryant isn’t a lack of production… production is guaranteed with him, it’s suspension.
I’ll take a guy getting suspended over someone with a history of injury or sporadic production. At least with a suspension I know he’s out, how long he’s out, and I can adjust my lineup/roster accordingly. However, when he’s healthy, he’s an automatic play every week and sky is the limit if you get a full 16 game season out of him.
Current ADP: 70 | Projected ADP: 48
I was recently asked which RB currently ranked outside of the top 20 has the best chance to sneak into the top 10 by the end of the season. In other words, Melvin Gordon, Jay Ajayi, and Jordan Howard from last season, or Devonta Freeman, Doug Martin, David Johnson, and Chris Ivory from the year before. My shortlist of RB’s outside of the 20 that could make the jump this season includes: AP, Abdullah, Prosise, Gillislee, Hunt, and Perkins.
Abdullah is explosive, has a guaranteed role on a highly productive offense, a favorable schedule, and a rebuilt offensive line in front of him that should get allow him to get the second level of defenses. Abdullah has no competition for carries on this roster. As good as Riddick is as a receiver, he is equally bad as a runner.
Despite his size and the injury he sustained last season, Abdullah isn’t the injury risk most assume he is. In fact the injury last season was first time he’s missed in his football career. If you can get a full season of 15-18 touches per game out of him this season, I think Abdullah reaches 1,500+ yards and is a top 10 RB in 2017.
Current ADP: 76 | Projected ADP: 64
If there is one thing we know about Jay Gruden’s Redskins offense, it’s that they are going to throw, throw, throw. Even if Jackson and Garcon had returned to Washington this season, I think an argument could have been made that Crowder would have been the top receiver again this season. However, with them gone he has a chance to see 120+ targets and sneak in as a top 20 fantasy receiver in 2017.
Crowder was the number 32 receiver in fantasy last season, and assuming at least a 25% bump in production this year, I think he easily moves into Doug Baldwin/Davante Adams/Jarvis Landry territory. A steal for a guy currently going late in the 6th round of drafts.
Current ADP: 79 | Projected ADP: 69
We mentioned Perkins as a potential mid round flyer RB that could sneak into the top 10 this season. I love players like Perkins, because we should get a legitimate feel for what his upside is in the preseason. We know he will likely gain somewhere around 1,100 yards on the ground as the Giants lead back. However, his season will be defined by his role in the passing game.
The Giants have repeatedly said they see Perkins as a viable three down back, and he certainly was a capable pass catcher while at UCLA. If he is able to somehow carve out 35/300/2 as a pass catcher, you would be looking at a 220 point PPR season, putting him just outside of the top 10 this season. Keep an eye on the Giants RB rotation in the first quarter of preseason games, and if you see Perkins getting passing down work, I would start considering him as early as the 5th round.
Again, this is why the zero RB strategy works. Three to five of what will be the top 10 fantasy running backs in 2017 will come outside of the top 5 rounds.
Current ADP: 105 | Projected ADP: 83
Here is what we know about the 2017 Browns that makes us higher on Coleman than most other websites: Hue Jackson can coach. He will have this passing game improved over what it was last season, and with Pryor gone, that increase will have to come from Coleman.
Whether it’s Kessler in his second year, or a rejuvinated Brock Osweiler, the QB play will be more consistent in year two in this system. One reason we are confident the QB play improves is the improvements the Browns made to the offensive line, spending over $100 million there this offseason.
After putting up 7/173/2 in his first two games as a pro, Coleman suffered an injury that cost him the middle part of his rookie season and he was never able to get fully healthy and back into the offense. This season he is the clear number one, and will get ample opportunities to show off his athletic gifts. In three years at Baylor, Coleman (4.3 speed) caught over 170 passes for over 3,000 yards and 33 touchdowns. Here is your breakout sophomore receiver.
Current ADP: 118 | Projected ADP: 86
I get the trepidation when it comes to John Brown. He’s a small receiver with injury history. However, when he’s healthy, he produces, and we are confident that last season’s mostly non-football injury concerns (sickle cell and cyst on spine). Michael Floyd’s targets are officially up for grabs, and we are betting Brown to claim a good deal of them in 2017.
In 2015, Brown put up 65/1,0003/7, despite Floyd seeing nearly 90 targets and the majority of red zone targets. Brown literally lived with Carson Palmer this offseason, so I’m guessing chemistry won’t be an issue, despite him not being able to practice for the majority of 2016.
Current ADP: 150 | Projected ADP: 122
Who is going to see this one coming? Looking for a #2 tight end with big time upside? Thomas gives the Dolphins the red zone receiving threat that they haven’t had in years. Queue this original argument: “Julius Thomas sucks, he’s nothing without Peyton Manning.”
That could be true, or it could be that Jacksonville is where fantasy tight ends go to die. You can likely name the last fantasy-relevant tight end, yes it was Marcedes Lewis, but can you name the year and who his QB was? It was 2010 and the QB was David Garrard.
Thomas is still only 28 years old, and I’m betting that Adam Gase, an offensive minded coach that seems to be able to get the most out every player on his roster, will get a resurgence out of the 6th year tight end.
Current ADP: 159 | Projected ADP: 103
Often times, finding late round steals can be as simple as identifying players that have the opportunity to assume their team’s number one role. After a career year, Cameron Meredith will be drafted as the number one receiver, but we are yet to see exactly what White can do.
Let’s keep in mind this is a guy that had one of the best senior seasons we have ever seen at West Virginia, ran a 4.3 at the combine, and was eventually selected 7th overall by the Bears. Currently going in the last few rounds of the draft, and given his upside, White is undoubtedly worth a flier in these final rounds.