Fantasy Football ADP Steals and Busts

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Heading into June is the perfect time to start delving into the average draft position (ADP) of your favorite players to determine good and bad value. Fantasy football drafts are not necessarily just about getting good players, rather the goal should be to get players who you think can over perform relative to their draft slot. That does not mean to never take safe players, having a team full of risks is usually a recipe for disaster. But being able to find a diamond in the rough or two in every draft is crucial. Monthly throughout this summer I will take a look at players who I think are going to over and under perform their draft slots. In series one of four I take a look at three players that are due to make owners cheer and three who might be making their owners cringe come fantasy football playoff time.

Players who will make you cheer

DJ Chark

Currently being drafted around the fifth round of drafts, DJ Chark is the definition of a steal at this point. As a very raw player coming out of LSU, Chark’s tools simply needed time to be fully developed. He spent the 2018 season getting a little playing time but mainly learned the playbook and getting his body ready for the NFL. Although the offense changed schemes and never fully took flight, Chark definitely soared. He saw 118 targets and turned them into 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns. He did this without other good receivers around him to draw attention and also had to do it all with a rookie late-round quarterback.

Most expect Gardner Minshew to take (a small) step forward this season, making Chark even more valuable. The addition of Jay Gruden–who got an aging Pierre Garcon over 100 targets in three straight years– should also pay big dividends in what will only be Chark’s third season in the NFL. This is when most guys take off, especially one’s who were not drafted in the first round. Jacksonville does not have a fifth-year option available to Chark, making him just two seasons away from free agency. All the more incentive for him to ball out in 2020.

Allen Robinson

Another player that is being drafted in the fifth round and seemingly getting no respect is Allen Robinson. After an injury ruined his 2017 season in Jacksonville, Robinson has been steadily rising in the minds of fantasy players. After signing a three-year deal with Chicago before the 2018 season, he put together a 754 receiving yard season in 2018 before turning on the burners and getting another 1,147 yards in 2019.

He did all of this with the below average play of Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback, and while Trubisky might still be there, most expect Nick Foles to be the starting quarterback come week one. Foles familiarity within the offense–he has spent time with coach Nagy, offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and new QB coach John Defilippo— and a proven track record as a super bowl winning QB, can only be good things when it comes to the continued development of Robinson. If you throw in the fact that Robinson is heading towards unrestricted free agency, he definitely fits the profile of a player who is primed for a career year.

Diontae Johnson

Blessed with some of the most amazing juking ability in the league, Diontae Johnson was made for Ben Roethlisberger. Before his injury, “Big Ben” was at his best when he was improvising. Having guys who are shifty enough to get open when the play breaks down– and are able to do get yards after the catch– is vital to the Steelers success under Roethlisberger.

As a rookie on a team fighting for a playoff spot and with the very shaky quarterback play, Johnson was still able to notch 59 catches for 680 yards and five touchdowns. Johnson also averaged 11.5 yards per catch. This all has somehow added up to Johnson being drafted at around a tenth round pick. His yards per catch was starkly better than fellow rookie Christian Kirk averaged, and Kirk is currently going in the seventh. If Johnson can take the next step forward in his development and start to build a strong chemistry with Ben, he should easily smash his ADP.

Players who will make you cringe

Josh Jacobs

Call me skeptical, but there is no way I’m drafting a running back who did not make it through his rookie year healthy and had 27 targets as a rookie, in the first round of fantasy drafts. Going seventh overall in non-PPR and 11th in PPR formats, Josh Jacobs is being drafted too high for my liking. I understand that Jon Gruden loves the kid. I also understand that he loves to pound him the ball, especially on the goal-line. That is great, but it also leads to injuries, as evidenced by Jacobs playing last season with a fractured shoulder.

The style that Jacobs plays with should be frightening to fantasy owners and Raider fans. Not only does Jacobs not shy away from contact, but in turn occasionally initiates it. This will inevitably cause even more injuries. I love Jacobs upside around pick twenty, but not at his current ADP at all. With my first pick I want a true number one fantasy RB or WR and Jacobs falls short of that. I could end up eating my words here if Jacobs stays healthy. He picked up seven touchdowns on a team that was 22nd in the league in red-zone scoring percentage. If the Raiders improve in that category with better line play, Jacobs will be a force to be reckoned with.

Kenyan Drake

After a mid-season trade from the Dolphins to the Cardinals, Kenyan Drake took off. He averaged almost 100 yards per game rushing over the course of his nine games with the Cardinals. In non-PPR formats, Drake is going in the early fourth round and I have no issues with that. The bone to pick comes directly from the PPR formats, where Drake is absurdly going in the late first round. I do not understand this one at all. How is a guy who never got more than 52 receiving yards in a game once last year, considered a first round PPR pick? Are people forgetting the multiple years of dropped passes and overall bad play he put on tape in Miami?

This pick has bust written all over it, like former Cardinals running back David Johnson did just a year ago. Arizona coach, Kliff Kingsbury, has shown the ability for his offense to be electric through the air. This has not translated into passing the ball to his running backs. This will be especially true if the team continues to use Ten personnel, as they say, they plan to do. Ten personnel brings four wide receivers onto the field, causing Drake to spend more time blocking and/or on the bench.

Rob Gronkowski

While some recent drafts have been seeing “Gronk” go as high as the sixth round, his current ADP has him in round eight. I would not touch him here, and possibly not until round thirteen. I understand that he is a future Hall-of-Famer, and multiple time, Super Bowl Champion. That will matter more in the locker room than on the field. As a result, despite the familiarity with Tom Brady, there are simply too many unknowns.

First, how will the time off and weight loss affect Gronk’s play? That is a huge unknown that fantasy owners cannot overlook. If his 2018 season was any evidence, he is not the same player he used to be. Then there is the question of how will Bruce Arians utilize him? In Bruce Arians past nine seasons as a head coach, he has not had a tight end finish in the top-18 of his position in total fantasy points scored. All of these factors add up to Gronkowski easily finishing the year as one of the biggest fantasy football busts. Many of the tight ends drafted later will likely outperform him this season. Give me Tyler Higbee in the 12th or Hayden Hurst in the 14th all day over Gronk in the eighth.


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