There are sci-fi geeks, and then there are Comic-Con attendees. There are video game fans, and then there are e-sports players. Likewise, there are fantasy football enthusiasts, and then there are FFPC Main Event entrants.
The Main Event drafting season, one of the biggest draws in the high-stakes fantasy football world, starts Friday, when players spend up to $1900 to try to prove they know more about magic football than you do. So what better time than to take a look at some key risers and fallers from one of the FFPC’s similar formats?
The ADP we pulled is from online “live” drafts (90 seconds per pick) of 20 rounds, or the “classic” format, which is the most similar to the Main Event that we were allowed to use.1
In looking at the draft data, we chose to focus on players with multi-round swings in ADP, either up or down, comparing their selections in June-July with where they’ve been going the past couple weeks.
THE SEAHAWKS BACKFIELD
Rookie derangement syndrome was in full effect during the off-season, and the embodiment of that was running back Rashaad Penny’s ADP, which had him going regularly in the fourth round. However, by August he appeared to be dropping, even before having surgery on a broken finger a few weeks ago, falling lately to the seventh round. Contrast that with Chris Carson, who was going in the 12th but has now jumped to the eighth, barely a round later than Penny.
Recommendation: In a format such as the Main Event, during which the regular season is only 11 weeks long, it’s hard to trust rookie RBs drafted in the single-digit rounds, because it could be well into the season before they become every-week producers.2 In Penny’s case, Seattle has a capable back in Carson that coaches already trust alongside quarterback Russell Wilson in pass protection, and Penny has missed valuable camp time. Unless he drops, I’m passing on Penny in the late sixth/early seventh, but I’d definitely consider Carson if the value’s there.
THE PATRIOTS BACKFIELD
ABORT! ABORT! Owning a Pats RB in head-to-head leagues is fraught with peril, and this year is no exception. In June and July drafts, rookie Sony Michel was the flavor of the month, a fifth-round pick who had a knee procedure at the start of August but is supposed to be ready for Week 1. Lately he’s been going in the eighth round, which might be OK in best-ball leagues, but seems high for the Main Event format.
In the meantime, Rex Burkhead has leapfrogged Michel, consistently going ahead of him in the sixth, and even James White has gone from the 12th to the ninth round in drafts.3
Recommendation: Like Penny, Michel is a rookie RB recovering from injury who missed almost all of training camp. I’m passing, unless he drops so far that his value is too good to ignore. It’s hard to trust any Pats RB, but Burkhead shined late last year and seems a solid pick at his ADP. Single-digit rounds seem high for White, but he could be a decent depth option in the 10th or later.
THE BUCCANEERS BACKFIELD
So, uh … yeah. Before training camp, rookie Ronald Jones was viewed as the clear starter, being drafted in the sixth, while teammate Peyton Barber was 15th-round bench fodder. In more recent drafts, Jones has plummeted nearly four rounds while Barber has shot up almost seven.
Recommendation: This feels like a trap. The Bucs have Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB for the first three games, and the coaching staff seems like it has no idea what to do with the backfield. If Jones continues his freefall, target him in double-digit rounds, especially if you’re taking a Zero RB approach. Even with all its other weapons, this offense could struggle in the early going.
Maybe it’s the “Hard Knocks” effect. A trio of Browns has jumped more than a round since mid-summer,4 perhaps signaling some optimism that the offense can be productive. Jarvis Landry has crept into the fourth, Carlos Hyde into the sixth and David Njoku into the eighth, even though the question of who will quarterback the team has gone unsettled.5
On the other hand, rookie Nick Chubb’s ADP has dropped from the ninth to the 11th round as uncertainty about his role in the backfield has persisted.
Recommendation: Landry seems a good bet to continue his high-volume production, and Njoku’s preseason performances have the makings of a year-two breakout. Hyde seems better suited for best ball, where you don’t have to guess which week he’ll be productive. Chubb, though, is intriguing in the double-digit rounds and could provide excellent value, particularly if you have the bench depth to stash him until bye weeks. (Duke Johnson’s eighth-round ADP has stayed consistent and he’s a fine pick there.)
- D’Onta Foreman has dropped three-plus rounds to the 15th as his outlook has trended toward PUP-list designation to start the year. It’s probably safe to scratch him off your draft sheet.
- Vance McDonald seemed like the sleeper tight end to own in Pittsburgh, but a foot injury has cost him training camp reps. He has dropped to the 16th and is merely an end-of-bench stash at this point.
- Jameis Winston has a 14th-round ADP, but if you drafted an elite QB early, it’s worth taking a shot at the suspended Winston, even if he’ll miss more than a quarter of the fantasy regular season. At least he’ll be fresh!
- Marquise Goodwin has skyrocketed from the ninth to the sixth round as it seems he’s the top wide receiver in an up-and-coming 49ers offense. He’s worth the price.
- Mike Williams has made a three-round surge to the 11th, which is a fair assessment for last year’s seventh-overall pick in an offense where targets are available.
- The Footballguys Players Championship draft data would be ideal, but the use of that ADP is exclusive to that site. (back)
- Obviously, there are exceptions, such as Ezekiel Elliott in 2016 and, presumably, Saquon Barkley this year. But this is the guiding principle I’ll use regarding rookie RBs in this column’s other evaluations. (back)
- I’m discounting Mike Gillislee and Jeremy Hill, since they’re on the roster bubble. (back)
- No, it’s not a multi-round swing, but, in this case, multiple members of the same offense were trending in one direction. (back)
- Tyrod Taylor looks like a lock to start the season, but rookie Baker Mayfield also has looked good during training camp. (back)