Injuries, trades, holdouts, and preseason performances are shaking up the average draft positions for key players in FFPC contests. In many cases, these players were wildly undervalued before their rises began, and they still have room to provide value. But to profit, you must draft them before it’s too late.
Four of the top-five risers are must-buys at their current prices. The fifth is a tentative hold.
Top FFPC Risers and Fallers
We learned from Ben Gretch that Johnson’s fantasy profile is even better than you might realize. His Trivial Rush Attempt Percentage (TRAP) of 46.6% is one of the best in the business. Tyler Loechner uses the Projection Machine to explore where 2017’s RB11 should be taken this season.
Thompson looked very small but very determined in churning for 51 yards and a touchdown on six touches in his preseason debut. The rookie out of Utah State gives Kansas City their Austin Ekeler or Matt Breida: a fantastic athlete in an offense dripping with speed. He’s making my May recommendation look good.
In last year’s Zero RB target list, I noted that former undrafted free agents Matt Breida and Austin Ekeler were two of the most athletic running backs in the entire league. Their 4.4 speed, 40-inch verticals, and 6.85 times in the 3-cone will play at almost any size. Combine that with their history of production, and it was easy to overlook their smaller stature. They went off the board at RB52 and RB63 respectively before finishing as RB24 and RB25, despite each missing two games.
This same opportunity is now presenting itself in rookie formats with Darwin Thompson. The 5-foot-8, 200-pound Utah State star isn’t quite that athletic, but he may be close. Devin McIntyre gives you all the numbers and explains why he may be the top athlete in the class in Thompson Crushes His Pro Day. And just like some of his best athletic comps, Thompson translated that athleticism into well-rounded production. In 2018 he gained more than 1,000 yards on the ground and more than 300 through the air while scoring 16 touchdowns. – 5 High-Upside Targets to Grab Late in Rookie Drafts
Ryan Collinsworth has been all over Pollard, pointing to his strong comps and hybrid profile and arguing that the rookie possesses standalone value even in the case of an Elliott return. He again encouraged you to buy yesterday.
In my original article on Pollard, I highlighted his explosiveness, efficiency, and versatility. His college rushing and receiving stats draw player comps that include Jaylen Samuels, Ito Smith, Elijah McGuire, Theo Riddick, DeMarco Murray, C.J. Spiller, Chris Johnson, and Percy Harvin. That’s pretty impressive company to keep.
Not only that, but our Prospect Box Score Scout adds a few more noteworthy comps to the equation: Kenyan Drake, Nyheim Hines, Alvin Kamara, and Devonta Freeman.
Oh, yeah. There’s one more thing I neglected to mention in last week’s article: Pollard returned seven kicks for touchdowns in his three-year career at Memphis. He’s tied with Spiller and Rashaad Penny for the most kick return touchdowns in a college career since 2000. His 30.1 average yards per return also ranks second over that span. This is especially encouraging because special teams contributions are an important and underutilized element in RB prospect evaluation.
Breida’s ADP has suffered from the three-headed monster Kyle Shanahan intended to employ in San Francisco. Jerick McKinnon’s injury pushes it back up into a more reasonable range. He ranked No. 2 on my list of the 8 Most Explosive Breather Backs — a group we try to target relentlessly in Zero RB constructions.
How Explosive Is He? If you were a scout hoping to find Ekeler’s doppleganger, all you had to do was go to Georgia Southern’s pro day and watch as Breida turned in a 4.39 forty, 42-inch vertical, and 6.85 three-cone.
In 2018, Breida dragged various maladies to one of the most electric always-injured seasons in memory. He joined Lindsay, Nick Chubb, Melvin Gordon, Saquon Barkley, and Christian McCaffrey as the only backs to average at least 5.0 yards per carry on 150 or more attempts. After an inefficient rookie year as a receiver, he posted more than 20 reFPOE on limited looks. He joins Ekeler in that elite group with double-digit FPOE as both a runner and receiver.
Colm Kelly explains why Breida is his highest-owned player on this week’s episode of RotoViz Overtime. We also discuss the actionable intel from Blair Andrews’ Win the Flex tool. That’s especially relevant to this discussion, as all four backs may eventually end up in the RB priority window.
RBs do not outscore WRs in many areas of your fantasy draft, but these backs may end up right in the sweet spot.
Washington dominated the Buccaneers for a 4-841-1 line in Week 1 of the preseason. Cort Smith does a great job breaking down Washington’s profile, including a refresher on the red flags that had him down around pick 150 a week ago.
Of all of our risers, Washington is the trickiest buy when you consider the hype that also surrounds Diontae Washington and Donte Moncrief. If these players all arrive as expected, it could spell the end of Vance McDonald breakout optimism.1
Until Next Week …
We’ll save the fallers for next week, but until then, there’s one faller on this list you should be scooping up everywhere.