2020 Fantasy Football ADP: Offensive Climbers & Tumblers

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This is the first in a number of monthly segments where I’ll be reviewing significant ADP changes you should know about. These are the players that have seen the biggest bumps up (or down) in their draft stock, and what that might mean for your roster.


Lewis Carroll, poet, and author of esteemed pieces such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Jabberwocky once said

 “I can’t go back to yesterday – because I was a different person then.” 

Anyone who plays dynasty knows that statement to be all too true. It was only a few short years ago that David Johnson was the first player off the board, while players like Devante Parker and Darren Waller were considered after-thoughts.

Throughout this offseason, DFD will be conducting plenty of mock drafts to pinpoint the rising and falling players. Their average draft position, or “ADP”, will help determine where these players are currently being valued. In this series, I’ll be reviewing the players with the largest changes in ADP from the previous season, what that means for their value, and who to cash in on or avoid altogether. You can view our premium content for early offensive ADP here and offense/defense ADP here.

“Sentence first, verdict afterward.”

Let’s get to it.


Climbers

Finally, an increased hike in ADP that will summit all up.

Miles Sanders

Running Back, Philadelphia Eagles

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2019: RB29, ADP #72

2020: RB14, ADP #30

Sanders had a stellar rookie season. Like the case with most rookies, he didn’t really break out until the second half of the season. Getting acquainted with an NFL system takes time, but injuries to starters in front of you can also help move your draft stock up. The promising rookie does have a slight asterisk next to his name, however.

Sanders ended his season on a sour note, playing through an MCL sprain in the wildcard loss to the Seahawks.  He dealt with a lingering ankle injury in the weeks prior that held him out of multiple practices and an early exit from a game against the Giants. While it may just be a string of bad weeks, Sanders has been a relatively healthy back during his playing career, and shouldn’t be viewed as injury-prone.

He’s a great RB2, especially with Jordan Howard heading towards free agency and most likely out the door. The only other issue dependent upon his status as the undisputed No. 1 is the success of Boston Scott. While Sanders is clearly the more talented back, it’s hard to imagine there won’t be a rotation of some kind from Doug Pederson‘s backfield, given the explosiveness and late-season effectiveness of the duo (Scott also had great success when Sanders went MIA).

 

Austin Ekeler

Running Back, L.A. Chargers

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2019: RB30, ADP #64

2020: RB19, ADP #37

If you took a chance on Ekeler in last year’s draft, you were pleasantly surprised. One of the best PPR backs last season, he righteously soars up the rankings. Amidst the offseason speculation about his teammate Melvin Gordon, Ekeler is a bright spot in a franchise that seems to take one step forward for every two steps back.

The issue is his surrounding cast. With Rivers no longer at the helm and the possibility of Gordon remaining on a smaller contract (doubtful), Ekeler could take a hit to his workload. Whether it’s Tyrod Taylor, a free agent acquisition, or a rookie QB is yet to be determined.

Ekeler is still a fantastic RB, assuming he takes on a similar role as last year. That put him just outside RB1 status, based on his trend once Gordon returned last year. He’s an excellent RB2 and could potentially still be undervalued for this next season. We’ll see.

 

Devin Singletary

Running Back, Buffalo Bills

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2019: RB40, ADP #105

2020: RB15, ADP #34

Another rookie whose value skyrocketed as the season progressed. As the young buck slowly integrated himself more and more into the offense, the Bills churned the wheels on the Frank Gore ever so slightly to an almost halt by season’s end. Singletary’s claim to total backfield dominance is almost assured for next season. With T.J. Yeldon a mere afterthought and Gore taking up the mantle of back-up, Singletary will see plenty of work.

The issue for him is touchdowns. With only 4 touchdowns last year (2 rush, 2 rec), the ground game from Josh Allen has vultured plenty of valuable opportunities for Singletary. While I fully expect his rushing attempts to go up (151 att in 12 games), his prowess in the receiving game leaves something to be desired (only 29 receptions on 42 targets all season).

The low-end receiving upside warrants RB2 numbers. You don’t want your RB1 in a PPR league not eclipse 30 total receptions on the year. Still, the goal line work and durability factors into his high draft stock, and I wouldn’t mind drafting him to be my second RB.

 

Kenyan Drake

Running Back, Arizona Cardinals

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2019: RB31, ADP #73

2020: RB22, ADP #41

The midseason trade that sent Drake to the Desert made him a fantasy superstar down the stretch. Despite a couple of bust games, he was the No. 4 running back weeks 9 – 16. With the running back in Arizona in purgatory until any official roster moves are made, it’s hard to gauge exactly where all the pieces fall. We do know some things, though.

The Cardinals were adamant about wanting Kenyan Drake back this year, possibly on a monster contract. General Manager Steve Keim also said that cutting David Johnson was ‘not an option’. Chase Edmonds is also back this year and is under contract until 2022.

Now, with all those factoids out in the open air, let’s speculate a bit. Should Johnson be cut and Drake resigned, it would immediately become his backfield. Although Edmonds was there in relief, he boasted zero fantasy worthwhile Johnson was on the field before his injury that cost him his job. Coach Kingsbury, much like Bruce Arians before him, utilizes a single work-horse dual-threat back, something all three of these players are prolific in.

Drake, however, is clearly the most talented of there three and is the best suit for this system. His ADP so far this offseason is a little shocking to me as I would’ve expected him to actually go sooner, despite the murky situation in Arizona. He’s a high-end RB2 with honest RB1 blood in his veins. If he is indeed the main (only) guy next season, he will absolutely be capable of finishing as a Top-10 back.

 

A.J. Brown

Wide Receiver, Tennessee Titans

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2019: WR80, ADP #257

2020: WR29, ADP #58

Brown’s surge of exhilarating play skyrocketed his value for the 2020 season. Tennessee has seemingly finally found a No. 1 option that hasn’t proven an absolute bust (looking at you Corey Davis). While the quarterback details seem to be quite murky, the silver lining is that Brown is definitely there for the foreseeable future. Generational talent means that it doesn’t always matter who’s throwing you the ball. DeAndre Hopkins ring a bell?

That being said, you shouldn’t overvalue Brown. While this is just his second year, you shouldn’t make him your WR1 just yet. This is his year to really grow into that role, which makes him an optimal WR2 or a great Superflex roster spot. The Titans are working to bring Tannehill back, and with that established chemistry, it should only benefit Brown’s future production.

 

DJ Chark

Wide Receiver, Jacksonville Jaguars

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2019: WR103, ADP #316

2020: WR21, ADP #38

Talk about a jump up. While these numbers might be slightly skewed (recency bias unforgiving), Chark is still an exceptional wide receiver. His surroundings offer him little support, being the No. 1 receiver on a run-first team that’s operating on a misfiring offense half the time. His connection with Minshew is obvious, and it helps that they’re staring their careers together.

Chark’s draft position is still a little high for me. If you were like me (and probably everyone else) last year, you stole him off the waiver wire after Week 1. His regression came hard after his injury, but it didn’t do much in the long term aspect of things. I wouldn’t write off the end of his season as the reflection of the player he truly is. He’s a fantastic WR2 with high WR1 upside, and if you can land him in the 5th round, do it.

 

DeVante Parker

Wide Receiver, Miami Dolphins

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2019: WR78, ADP #232

2020: WR38, ADP #79

Devante Parker’s ADP right now makes me sick. The man that singlehandedly won more people championships off the waiver wire than people who actually drafted him last year defeats the purpose of even writing about him. His stretch of games over the majority of the season was astounding!

Parker was the No. 5 receiver in weeks 4-16, not even counting his 21.7 points in Week 17. The man is finally being used to his full potential, and the Dolphins wanting to bring Fitzpatrick back for another season only aids his redraft value. I wouldn’t mind having Parker as my No. 1 receiver next year. He’s got the skills and durability to show up and hold up, and I believe that wholeheartedly.

 

Deebo Samuel

Wide Receiver, San Francisco 49ers

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2019: WR59, ADP #176

2020: WR23, ADP #42

Kyle Shanahan is an offensive genius who hates to win Super Bowls. However, he’s really good at utilizing skill position players. Deebo Samuel could honestly play running back if he wanted to because the man is a production machine. Sitting at WR13 from weeks 10-16, Samuel took more handoffs as a rookie wide receiver then I’ve ever seen. Deebo stood out to me as the biggest redone threat, something that many rookie wide receiver can’t boast.

My only concern is the question of who the No. 1 wideout for this team will be. I have no doubt that Kittle will lead the lead in targets or receptions, but the question remains as to the fate of Marquise Goodwin and Emmanuel Sanders. Their presence marks a huge turning point in Deebo’s career, not to mention the completely unseen Jalen Hurd and the offseason question mark that is Dante Pettis.

Samuel’s draft capital will shift heavily in the coming months as more details come out of San Francisco. It’s truly hard to gauge exactly where he’ll be right now. If the room stays the exact same, I like him as a high-end flex that’ll be a bargain in the late 6th or early 7th round, and even better if Goodwin and Sanders are gone. Keep an eye on this one.

 

Lamar Jackson

Quarterback, Baltimore Ravens

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2019: QB14, ADP #106

2020: QB1, ADP #23

Ah, the good ole’ days. Back when you could draft Lamar Jackson in the 11th round and not have to worry about someone else snagging them. I mean, they already had Andrew Luck. What were they going to do about it?

Jackson’s fantasy value cannot be understated. It’s a known commodity that everyone wants, but few will get. He’s a terrific athlete and a game-breaking player for fantasy that will be one of the most prized pieces of this upcoming draft.

However, that being said, I cannot stress enough the importance of waiting to draft a quarterback late. People will overdraft Lamar this year 100% of the time in redraft leagues, and will probably overpay to have him in Dynasty. It wasn’t that long ago that a certain Super Bowl champ was going 1st overall in some leagues, only to finish below his ADP.

That being said, if Lamar is there in the 3rd or (somehow) the 4th, then clearly you’re taking him. Don’t let the great ones slip too far down the draft board. They might come back to bite you (or break your ankles on the way to a 47-yd rushing touchdown).

 

Josh Allen

Quarterback, Buffalo Bills

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2019: QB21, ADP #154

2020: QB9, ADP #92

I lost a $50 bet this past year that Josh Allen would finish as a top 5 quarterback. I was called “ridiculous” and “foolish” for making such an “obviously dumb” bet. While it’s true that he didn’t finish as a Top 5 quarterback in 2019, the No. 6 quarterback from last year has been making strides up the draft board.

People seem to forget that rushing quarterbacks are productive, no matter the team that they play on. While the Bills certainly don’t jump to the forefront when you think of “high-powered” offenses, he should be one of the first rushing quarterbacks that comes to mind. His value has come on the ground, where he led his team with 9 rushing touchdowns.

Allen is a fine weekly starter for me. While he didn’t put up very many mind-boggling games, he only dipped below 10 points once, and I’m not counting Week 17. His floor is incredibly safe and so is his draft capital. If he’s there in the 10th, you take him.

 

Mark Andrews

Tight End, Baltimore Ravens

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2019: TE15, ADP #140

2020: TE5, ADP #58

Andrews was a fantasy godsend for many who took a chance on him. While he had a few hot-cold games, he was overall productive and attributed more great games than poor ones for you last year.

The big-bodied red zone threat was a menace for opposing defenses, a veritable ninja in the screen game who’s agility got the better of more than one defensive back. His draft status as a Top 5 guy isn’t shocking to me at all, and I can see the argument of him being in the Top 3. The best part is that there’s even more upside around the corner.

Rumors have swirled around Rotoworld and various other outlets that one of the other tight ends, Hayden Hurst, is a possible trade candidate. Hurst had some decent games himself last season and could find a contract starting on another team. That means a huge uptick in volume and snap count for Andrews. I feel that he’ll still be undervalued, which makes him a steal if his ADP leaks into the 7th.

 

Darren Waller

Tight End, Las Vegas Raiders

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2019: TE21, ADP #194

2020: TE8, ADP #72

Waller’s ascension from the depths of NFL hell to Pro Bowl alternate is nothing short of amazing. The former Raven who was cut last year following a string of substance abuse violations became the focal point for the Raiders air attack during their final stint in Oakland. While his appearance on hard Knocks made him a media darling, his run after the catch and the ability to create separation in the open field made him a fantasy star.

I like Waller as a repeat Top 10 guy at the position, though slightly lower than his current No. 5 standing. With Derek Carr‘s future called into question and the emergence of Hunter Renfrow, Waller’s 2020 season isn’t looking as promising as this past one. Still, this past season looked none too special in the preseason.

He’s a great guy to have in the Top 10 and might make a surprise slip in the middle round in favor of players like Andrews or Hooper. Waller’s production speaks for itself. With him, you know what you’re getting. Unfortunately, we’re just not too sure yet what his supporting cast will offer.

 


Tumblers

A step by step guide to the bottom.

James Conner

Running Back, Pittsburgh Steelers

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2019: RB5, ADP #6

2020: RB19, ADP #44

The tragedy that is James Conner‘s physical health is a tale that’s been told many times over the past two seasons. While he showed signs of being slightly tougher than a porcelain vase in 2018, it did little to dissuade those who would select him with their first overall pick.

Let me preface a bit, if I may. James Conner is a terrific running back…when he’s healthy. But like Shawn Merriman of old (and Bob Sanders, Tyler Eifert, J.J. Watt, Will Fuller, etc. etc.), he just can’t seem to stay healthy.

He’s a tough running back to pick based on that injury-prone label, but he’s still going in the RB2 range. He’s the clear cut back when he’s on the field, but is absence this season and relinquishing of duties upon Jaylen Samuels and Benny Snell Jr. might have cost him playing, regardless if he’s cleared to play or not.

Steer clear of this one. He’s hurt you more than helped you recently, and until things turn around and he can show that he can stay healthy for an extended period of time, I wouldn’t take a chance on him.

 

David Johnson

Running Back, Arizona Cardinals

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2019: RB7, ADP #9

2020: RB33, ADP #83

David Johnson has been one of my favorite running backs. Even when he burned me back in 2017 (yes, I was one of the DJ owners), I still believed the comeback hype. 2018 wasn’t as up to par as I would’ve liked, but he still finished as the No. 10 back. Not bad for a guy that missed virtually the entire previous season.

Enter 2019, and DJ is looking primed and ready. He started the year on fire and was the No. 5 running back through the first six weeks of the season. Then the injuries came, and with it, Kenyan Drake.

Drake’s vulturing of DJ’s job is an almost assurance of an offseason trade or cut, despite contradicting statements from the Cardinals. DJ simply wasn’t the same player when he gets back, and he certainly wasn’t getting the opportunity in the desert. If he is cut or traded and lands with another team, it would still have to be a pretty impressive offseason for anyone to even consider drafting him at all.

When healthy, he’s clearly among the elite backs of his class. Unfortunately, a season-ending injury and a bump down on the depth chart is near a good sign. Watch this one closely in the coming months.

 

Le’Veon Bell

Running Back, New York Jets

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2019: RB6, ADP #7

2020: RB18, ADP #39

When I was typing out the beginning of this Bell blurb, I mistakenly typed “ruining back” instead of “running back”. And then I thought, “Adam Gase is still the head coach, right?”.

So yeah, ruining back. Because that’s what Gase does to great players.

Bell’s numbers, while somewhat consistent, were a much lower tier than his previous seasons. His draft dip certainly shows that, as he’s slipped down to the 4th. His usage for this next season is expected to be fairly similar, as there seems to be no real improvement yet on the offense (besides the signing of Josh Doctson and the potential departure of Robby Anderson). If you need a proven, decent RB2 with a known floor, Bell is your guy. Just don’t expect much.

 

Sony Michel

Running Back, New England Patriots

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2019: RB23, ADP #44

2020: RB29, ADP #73

Do you know what’s worse than a lower-tier known commodity? A potentially great bust very-bust happy commodity. While this may seem like a setup to a joke, the only joke here is the fact that many of us bought into the allure of a possible New England franchise back.

Michel has been among the most inefficient rushers in the league since his rookie year in 2018. He averaged 3.69 YPC last season, tied for 82nd in the league with Myles Gaskin. Yikes.

The boom-bust potential for Michel was already known. His complete inability to find the end zone or take advantage of plus matchups is what ended up hurting you. Michel has been relegated now to more of a flex option than an actually viable starter and even then….the grass is greener on the other side of the depth chart (cough, Damien Harris, cough).

 

JuJu Smith-Schuster

Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers

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2019: WR7, ADP #17

2020: WR4, ADP #9

JuJu’s dip can be attributed to the poor quarterback play he experienced most of last season, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. I also know you’re reading this and thinking,

“But Zach, the ADP says that he’s trending upwards? I thought this was tumblers! Also, you look devilishly handsome today!”

Yes, it’s true. While us “pros” on these websites have JuJu still draftable in an upper-tier, many will look at last season and see it as an indicator of what he was, rather than what he actually is. Also, thank you, I recently switched to Suave.

The Delvin Hodges/Mason Rudolph experiment was nothing short of a disaster, and it was a miracle Mike Tomlin was able to salvage the season. The truth is that JuJu is a fantastic wide receiver, but we still have yet to see if he’s a top talent without AB there or an experienced quarterback to help give him the advantage. With the (hopeful) return of Big Ben by OTA’s, we’ll be able to see if JuJu can be molded into a true No. 1 wideout. As far as I’m concerned, he’s still a fantastic WR2 at the least….just as long as Ben’s throwing to him.

 

Brandin Cooks

Wide Receiver, LA Rams

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2019: WR14, ADP #40

2020: WR31, ADP #70

The constantly concussive Cooks is concocting calculable carnage upon your dynasty stocks and is deadweight that has yet to be cut loose. While he’s a fantastic talent, his concussions and myriad of random injuries have severely limited his upside. Coupled together with the emergence of Cooper Kupp and consistency from Robert Woods, that makes him the odd man out.

He’s a field stretcher and a vertical threat, but his volume is sure to take a hit this next season, assuming he’s back with the team. He carries a massive dead cap hit if he’s cut ($30 mil), and is more of a trade candidate. If he’s somehow relegated back into the outside role, however, it’ll take a fair bit of action before I trust him again.

He’s simply the least-trustworthy of a tandem of super-talented wideouts. Keep your eyes on Woods or Kupp before you eyeball Cooks. He’s more of a lower-end WR2 this season.

 

Mike Williams

Wide Receiver, LA Chargers

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2019: WR25, ADP #59

2020: WR39, ADP #81

We all boarded the Mike Williams hype train and somehow ended up at different stations. A fairly popular sleeper, he failed to live up to the potential he was drafted to be. Austin Ekeler and Hunter Henry both produced more receptions than Williams, who fell fourth on the team in total receptions (he was almost 5th with Melvin Gordon‘s 42 rec just behind his own 49).

It’s only going to get worse from here for Williams, who’s now barely the third receiving option on the team. With Rivers gone, who knows what the target share will be. The Chargers haven’t even committed to a quarterback yet. Williams is best left to the later rounds and as a flex option. He’ll hurt you less there.

 

Emmanuel Sanders

Wide Receiver, San Francisco 49ers

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2019: WR36, ADP #88

2020: WR58, ADP #125

Sanders’ complementary role in the 49ers became evident after a couple of big weeks were reduced to barely fantasy reliability. It’s unknown whether or not he’ll retire, re-sign, or find a new team. What is known is that he was barely worth the draft capital and that the only reason he finished near his ADP is a couple of blowup games.

In truth, he’s a good flex option at best. It’s pretty clear he won’t be the No. 1 anywhere he goes, but he might offer some reliability with a decent target share in a system that will use him. If he stays in SF, I think his numbers will dip even further. If he signs elsewhere, look to the flex consideration. He’ll be in the 11th and 12th rounds for sure.

 

Baker Mayfield

Quarterback, Cleveland Browns

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2019: QB4, ADP #54

2020: QB10, ADP #92

While he’s currently being drafted around the same time as Josh Allen, I trust Allen implicitly more. Once again, I’ll call back to the rushing factor. Baker can move, yes. He’s a gunslinger though and will take a sack before he scrambles 9 or 10 yards.

The hype that surrounded him is understandable. The O-line, the coaching decisions, and the big-head ego directly affected his play and attributed to his disgraceful spiral downwards into fantasy hell. Like I wrote about in one of my previous pieces, he gave you the heads-up of being bad early. That helped many Mayfield owners who, when they saw how much he was struggling, were able to comfortably drop him without issue.

Hopefully, Cleveland figures it out this year (that sounds familiar), but it wouldn’t be crazy to see him go undrafted.

 

Cam Newton

Quarterback, Carolina Panthers

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2019: QB10, ADP #89

2020: QB22, ADP #127

The Panthers only just committed to bringing back Cam, something which shocked me just a bit. It was only a couple of weeks ago that owner David Tepper was seemingly annoyed with the question of whether or not Cam would be ready. Carolina seems relatively committed for now, but how long will that last?

They will undoubtedly go after a quarterback in the draft, perhaps giving Cam a year to prove himself before testing the market as an unrestricted free agent in 2021. In any event, it would be wise to evaluate him closely during this offseason and preseason to see if he’s still Cam of old. Otherwise, feel free to pass on the former MVP.

 

O.J. Howard

Tight End, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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2019: TE4, ADP #55

2020: TE15, ADP #118

O.J. Howard pulled a Trey Burton last year when all the hype paid off in exactly zero ways. He gave you one good game (against the Cardinals’ league-worst tight end defense), and it came on his first action back from missing 3 weeks. You know, when almost no one played him.

I don’t expect much from him again this season. Bruce Arians’ non-committal to a single tight end or anything relative to consistency in the use of the position is infuriating. What Howard can be isn’t being put to use in this system, despite his very obvious skill set. It’s just a shame because of how good he’s proven to be in the past.

Howard’s quarterback situation is also murky, so it’s best to avoid him altogether. Draft smart. Look elsewhere.

 

Various Tight Ends

Jimmy Graham, Delanie Walker, Jordan Reed, Eric Ebron

These guys have fallen so far, I’m having trouble actually finding their current early 2020 ADP standings. If that’s where we’re at with these, it’s best to avoid them at all costs.

 


Zach Hargis is a writer for Dynasty Football Digest. He enjoys playing the drums, doing voice impressions, and quoting The Office. If any of those things interest you, he welcomes you to follow him on Twitter @ZachFFDrummer and to check out his personal interests on Instagram @zakktastic.

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