Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football: Most intriguing ADPs to monitor as players move up and down draft boards this summer

Fantasy Football: Most intriguing ADPs to monitor as players move up and down draft boards this summer

Here I’ll examine the average draft position (ADP) of some players I can’t wait to track over the course of the summer. This exercise is less a “buy or sell” some of these draft positions and more just outlining some players who could be subject to movement up or down the board as the next few months move along. I’ll use FantasyPros consensus best-ball ADP as the source to take the temperature of early drafters across the industry.

Recent news out of Rams camp that Kyren Williams will miss time this offseason due to a “foot issue” should force us to re-examine this backfield.

The coaching staff and front office told us that they drafted Blake Corum in the third round because his skill set mirrored Williams, and that would allow them to not wear down the veteran back over the course of the season. The assumption that Corum would mix in and bring down some of the absurd touch totals and snap rates Williams posted in 2023 was already baked into existing ADP. If the Rams never drafted a Day 2 back, Williams would be going in the first round and be a clear top-five back off the board.

He’s a perfect scheme fit for the new Rams run game and is tethered to an excellent offense overall. The only negative in Williams’ outlook is injury risk. He’s a smaller back who has missed time in both of his first two NFL seasons with nagging injuries. That worry is already cropping up this offseason and serves as a major reminder of Corum’s upside.

If Corum starts any games this season, he’ll be a consensus fantasy RB1 in weekly rankings. He’s also a strong man/gap run scheme system fit and was a good college player. That’s why, despite the fact that he is the on-paper RB2, early drafters are taking him inside the top-40 backs. Maybe he doesn’t have weekly standalone value but he has enormous contingent value.

I also believe we should account in the range of outcomes that Corum could, at some point, just leapfrog Williams. It may be a slight chance — perhaps only 10% or 15% in the range — but to say that universe doesn’t exist at all would be foolish. Now that Corum will get a chance to earn some run with the first teamers while Williams is sidelined, that possibility becomes even more fascinating and will make this ADP one of the most crucial developments to track this summer.

I have a few drafts under my belt at this point and in each one I’ve been surprised at how late Jaylen Warren goes. He’s sharing a backfield with Najee Harris and that will never change. However, he finished as the RB25 last season in that exact same split. You can argue he’s now going later than his floor.

The Steelers offense was a disaster last season. The unit is likely to trend up just a bit this year. Say what you will about Arthur Smith but we know the offense will have a clear-cut identity under his watch as the coordinator. With Russell Wilson and Justin Fields under center, a light receiver room and this running back duo behind a revamped offensive line, everything is pointing toward the Steelers being one of the most run-heavy teams in the league under Smith.

With that in mind, there should be more than enough room for both Steelers backs to feast in 2024.

The interesting ADP trend to track with Warren is just how long he stays stuck behind his own teammate. Harris carries a RB21, 76th overall sticker at the moment but that lead feels tenuous. You can make a case just by watching these two players that Warren is clearly the more explosive and valuable back right now, even if Harris is still a rock-solid pro.

I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that the gap between these two backs will close at some point this offseason or that Warren outright jumps Harris. Both will have fantasy value this season, one way or another.

Unlike the Steelers running back duo, this is a backfield where you can’t be supportive of both. The Falcons under Smith last year were 32nd in neutral pass rate, while the Bengals, even without a fully healthy Joe Burrow, were first. There isn’t enough volume for both. You’ll likely need to flag-plant one or the other.

As of now, I side with current ADP and have a slight lean toward Zack Moss. Chase Brown was exciting on some screen receptions last season and should still play a role as a receiving back.

However, per PFF, Moss graded out well as a pass-blocker, which was a constant source of frustration with Joe Mixon. He’s also a capable outlet receiver, even if Brown is more exciting. Moss showed last season that he can hold up to big workloads on the ground. If Brown doesn’t carve out a major role as a receiver, it’ll limit his path to usability.

That said, Moss is far from a clear-proven commodity as he was run out of Buffalo before catching some fire in Indianapolis. There’s every bit a chance that Brown comes into camp and is able to outwork the veteran to snatch the lead gig. This ADP has a chance to flip or reports out of camp will see Moss put significant distance between himself and Brown. There isn’t likely to be much in-between.

In a multiverse where the Titans never signed Tony Pollard, you can almost bet that Tyjae Spears would be going at least 10 to 15 positional spots higher than RB35. Alas, Pollard is a member of the Titans and currently goes off the board as the RB25, 84th.

I think early drafters are far too confident in how this backfield plays out. I assume the logic is Pollard’s contract and a new coaching staff in town — never mind that the GM who drafted Spears is still in place — and if you’ve been playing fantasy long enough, you know that logical ground can be sinking sand.

Forget his RB15 season-long finish, Pollard didn’t have a good season last year and it’s easy to write it off due to injury. Pollard himself told me that he didn’t feel like himself until Week 11.

The problem is that Pollard's performance as the headliner back in Dallas was still inefficient after that point. How he projects into a lead role is still an open question. The same can be said for Spears but at least he was explosive in his work last season.

The most likely outcome is we’re looking at a messy, hard to dechipher committee backfield in Tennessee. I just wonder if at any point this summer the ADP for these backs reflects more of a tossup as to who the lead dog is in the room. That’s the right view of these two players, to me.

This is one ADP I will almost guarantee gets steamed up. I’m just fascinated to track how high it goes.

Jameson Williams is one of the big winners of the offseason. The Lions let Josh Reynolds walk and didn’t do anything to replace him. Meanwhile, the coaching staff has relentlessly praised Williams for how he progressed late last year and into the offseason. He’s in line to be their clear No. 2 wide receiver beyond Amon-Ra St. Brown.

My question is, even if he’s developed enough after a rocky start to his career to thrive in that role, just how much meat is left on the offensive bone in Detroit? The running game will remain a big part of the offensive identity — neither David Montgomery nor Jahmyr Gibbs are ceding touches. St. Brown is a superstar and volume hog as the flanker/power slot of the unit. Sam LaPorta was a revelation in Year 1. On paper, it’s hard to imagine Williams as anything more than the fifth-most important player on his own offense.

The good news is that Williams can have monster weeks feasting off the favorable looks he’ll get as an outside receiver. There’s just not likely to be a high or stable target share waiting for him this season. At his current ADP, he’s a more than plausible pick but there’s real risk of Williams getting too much steam up the board with hype this summer.

If you removed the names from the jerseys and forego any information you know about the players involved, an impartial observer would be pretty surprised if I told them that you can get the reigning MVP’s No. 1 wide receiver as the WR26 this year.

Now, context is important. Lamar Jackson’s Ravens are never going to push for a high pass attempt total and tight end Mark Andrews is likely to be the top target in the offense. That said, Zay Flowers is coming of an excellent rookie season and with a few tweaks, could establish himself as a true No. 1 wide receiver. Even if he doesn’t develop, his skills at beating zone coverage were on full display as a rookie and that’s critical in Baltimore’s offense.

WR26 feels like a solid base sticker tag for Flowers but there’s upside for more if he can take his game against press coverage to another level and/or he and Jackson develop better chemistry down the field. With a leap, Flowers could pass up some guys who go ahead of him who either have teammate-target-share or quarterback-based questions.

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