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I love a good sale!
Ok, truth be told, I hate shopping unless it’s on Amazon or a big box electronics store. But when it comes to my dynasty teams, I’m never afraid to go against the grain or draft a player the community is down on. Championships aren’t won by following the pack. You must know when to fall in line and when to go your own way. But though getting a good player at a bargain always feels great, the key is not to select him too early. Draft position into the amount of the player’s value are key elements toward determining which players can be had and when. This can also work for acquiring players in trade, too. ADP is a functional tool for determining general consensus of player value.
I know more than a few dynasty ‘experts’ who dislike ADP as a tool and I can certainly understand why. The important aspect of ADP, at least to me, isn’t the true value of the players as much as it is the group-think dynamic. By understanding the psychology at work for particular players who are slipping in drafts/value, especially if the trend is corroborated by multiple sources and drafts, you can then build a more intriguing ranking list for your drafts or capitalize on ‘falling’ value to acquire a player in trade who is losing value in the court of popular opinion. Either way, it’s important to understand where your fellow coaches are lining up on player values, whether you wish to use the information or not.
Let’s get to some of the players who I find particularly intriguing considering DLF’s most recent July ADP Data. While this article is “free”, only Premium members have access to our ADP pages!
Jarvis Landry, WR CLE
ADP: 51 Rank: WR22
Queue Rodney Dangerfield’s “no respect” clip. Landry just can’t buy a break in fantasy, it almost doesn’t matter what he does. I get it, I really do, but it’s not stopping me from drafting him in the fourth round if he’s still available. I’m even comfortable calling his name in the late third if I’ve over-weighted running backs and need a high-volume receiver. And if a fellow coach is selling Landry, I’m all ears. WR8, WR15 and WR7, as in, Landry’s finish among all wide receivers in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively (PPR Format).
The knock on Landry has always been his touchdown production. In 2017, he produced a career-high nine touchdowns and his ADP responds by dropping back to 2015 levels. Again, I do get it. Jarvis Landry is now in Cleveland, where most offensive players go to die. But last year, Landry also had a career year with enigmatic Jay Cutler at the helm. Quite simply put, Jarvis Landry’s strengths as a receiver will transition to any team well and I fully expect he’ll produce at a high level again in 2018 within the Browns’ retooled offense. In PPR leagues, he’s golden and anything less than 90 receptions would be a big disappointment.
I don’t even care about volume touchdowns. I draft Landry for his PPR productivity knowing he’s going to get his points regardless of defensive strength, weather or quarterback play.
Jordan Howard, RB CHI
ADP: 40 Rank: RB17
Howard is entering his third season as a fifth round rookie selection in 2016. In two seasons he’s amassed 2,426 yards and 15 touchdowns as Bear, certainly solid enough for front-end RB2 consideration. But 2017 saw an increase in rushing attempts (277) and there’s nothing on the horizon to suggest he’ll regress from that number in 2018. Howard has worked hard in camp to improve his pass catching, focusing on hand-position to increase consistency. Even with speedster Tarik Cohen in the mix, Howard is a near-lock to eclipse last year’s 23 receptions.
The Bears will continue to batter opposing defenses with the running attack and Howard will lead the charge. In 2017, Howard finished as the RB11 (PPR), 20 points off the pace for RB8. That’s too much safety, value and upside to not seek out his services in a new draft or via trade. Howard is perfectly sized for the Chicago run-game, is as durable as they come and his snaps won’t be contested. All arrows are pointing up and while he’s not a sexy selection, are you looking for sex appeal or rings?
Jake Butt, TE DEN
ADP: 228 Rank: TE30
I like Jake Butt and I cannot lie.
Butt was placed on injured reserve in 2017 without ever suiting up for the Broncos on game day as a fifth round rookie selection. A Michigan standout, Butt shredded his knee (ACL) to close out his collegiate career and his draft stock took an immediate hit. When healthy, Butt was in the discussion for the top tight end of the 2017 class. Now he’s been all but forgotten until very recently when I’ve heard his name on the wind in dynasty circles. Butt has only Jeff Heuerman standing in his way for the starting role and Heuerman cannot contend with Butt’s athleticism and natural “move” skill set, as long as Butt is as healthy as reported.
Now with Case Keenum at the helm in Denver, the offense is poised to be far more dynamic in 2018 and Keenum will be looking for a Kyle Rudolph-like safety blanket. It will be a camp battle to watch but all indications and expectations are that Butt will emerge on top and could be a major sleeper heading into the new season. Pounce now before he starts showcasing his talents in the off-season program.
Kenyan Drake, RB MIA
ADP: 49 Rank: RB27
Profanity alert: Has the whole world gone crazy?!
Drake is the unquestioned starter in Miami, has three-down ability and should receive a monster number of touches out of the gate in 2018. The fantasy community continues to not trust his ability as his RB27 ranking displays, but his ADP is trending up. It won’t shock me at all if Drake contends for RB10 (PPR) or greater in 2018. Should he stay healthy, there’s no reason to expect Frank Gore to start ahead of Drake as he doesn’t possess nearly the dynamic or receiving skill set.
In weeks 13, 14 and 15, Drake put up a total of 23.10, 24.30 and 23.30, respectively, including two touchdowns. In addition, he also reeled in 14 receptions. What could he accomplish in a full year? It remains to be seen but I won’t be waiting around to see before adding him and you shouldn’t either. Add Drake now either in trade or well ahead of his current ADP in new drafts as his risk-reward is too good to pass up. It should be noted that Drake’s value did take a full round leap (49) in July from June’s reading of 61.
John Ross, WR CIN
ADP: 145 Rank: WR66
Ross famously had only a single touch in 2017, a rushing attempt resulting in a lost fumble. That pretty much sums up his rookie year.
As the 9th overall selection in 2017, John Ross and his record-breaking speed were expected to stretch the field both vertically and horizontally for an offense overly reliant upon A.J. Green. Instead, he experienced a knee injury that limited him through the first eight weeks. When he saw action in week 10, he was sharply criticized by head coach Marvin Lewis for giving up on a deep route that fell incomplete. All that is water under the bridge, he’s fully healthy and at full speed and looks poised to be a difference-making asset in the slot in 2018. In his own words: “I couldn’t ask to feel any better than I do now”.
Nothing has changed with Ross’ upside out of Washington except that the fantasy community has completely moved on and left him for dead. This may be well warranted based on last year’s performance but his dynamic remains and if Cincinnati is able to figure out how best to leverage his lightning speed by dialing up routes that put defending corners in trailing positions, Ross could have a significant season, well outplaying his current ADP (145). In any case, based on the later selection or value that would need to be spent to acquire him, John Ross is too compelling of a player as a high-first-round NFL Rookie Draft selection to dismiss him so quickly.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick peak at some of the players I’m targeting either in new drafts or via trade acquisition. Stay tuned as I’ll next be highlighting players I believe are over-valued based our ADP.
You can find Jeff on Twitter at @dlf_jeff