Each week, we'll be analyzing player trends based on their average draft position (ADP) fluctuations to help you, the reader, find value in your fantasy leagues. All of the ADP info referred to in the article are from FantasyFootballCalculator.com and are based on 12-team standard scoring leagues.
Let's get at it.
Rising to the Top
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Cordarrelle Patterson has been the Vikings’ most talked about player within fantasy circles; quite a feat considering he plays with Adrian Peterson. As a result, his ADP has skyrocketed. He's currently going in the middle of Round 4 (WR17) - an entire round higher than what we saw on June 19th.
Sure, the Vikings are likely to increase Patterson’s looks, and he'll probably increase his catch rate which ranked 49th among relevant wideouts a season ago. But will that be enough to justify his current ADP?
We say no.
To live up to his current ADP, he’ll have to do much better in the Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) department - the number of points added on catches only - which ranked 45th out of 48 qualifying wide receivers who had similar reception totals. For more on why we don't love CP, click here.
His potential is sky-high, and no one here is debating that. Just know that, at his current ADP, his upside is already built in, limiting his overall value. Our rankings rate him as wideout number 29 - 12 spots lower than his current wide receiver ADP. This is a more realistic outcome.
Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins
We love when our athletes make bold proclamations to the media, especially when said athlete is a star quarterback like Redskins’ Robert Griffin III. Griffin recently told FoxSports.com that second-year tight end, Jordan Reed, couldn’t be guarded when he’s on his game.
Since June 30th, Reed’s draft stock has gone up nearly half of a round, and he's now being selected as the fourth pick in Round 7 of mock drafts. Is this spike justified?
Last year, Reed finished as the 20th tight end in standard fantasy scoring leagues, and he did so after only having played 9 games. What’s truly impressive about Reed’s 2013 season, too, was that he finished second in both catch rate and Reception NEP per target among tight ends.
Playing devil's advocate, however, we must note that Reed has had four total concussions dating back to his college days. New teammate, Desean Jackson, will surely lower Reed’s targets, too.
Reed has top five tight end upside. We don't completely object to taking him at his current ADP (TE7), but with his injury risk and stiff competition for targets, we've got him as the ninth-best player at the position.
Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers
Former Buckeye Carlos Hyde is entering his rookie season with almost zero pressure to perform right away. That’s because he’ll be backing up five-time Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore, who's proven to be one of the league’s most dependable workhorse backs.
Still, Hyde has recently climbed up mock drafts and is being picked in the middle of Round 11 (130th overall), an increase of nearly a full round since a little after the draft.
With zero noteworthy news driving this rise in ADP, I pondered why Hyde has been trending upwards. Logically speaking, Gore’s age, 31, certainly raises concerns. Our data suggests that Gore is on the verge of falling off - although it feels like we’ve been forecasting this for 2 to 3 years now.
Last year, his Rushing NEP was an atrocious -17.29, which was good for - I really mean bad for - second-to-last among runners with 250-plus carries. If Gore's carries decline, Hyde is due to see more touches than originally envisioned. Keep in mind though, he still has veteran 49er back, Kendall Hunter, ahead of him on the depth chart.
Hyde has a unique combination of size and power, and he's surprisingly elusive for a 230-pound back. With all things considered here though, Hyde is currently nothing more than a late-round flier in redraft leagues. We have him ranked 87th among backs, and outside of our top 250 players. As the training camps near, however, I'd look for his outlook to improve.
Dropping Like They're Hot
Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Doug Martin surprised many in his rookie season by rushing for over 1,400 yards with 11 end zone appearances. He was just 28 yards shy of 500 receiving yards, too. Martin made his mark as a versatile every-down back.
A season ago, Martin’s fortunes took a turn for the worse. He struggled to regain his success early on, and by Week 7, he was out for the rest of the year with a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
In his absence, the Buccaneers improved their rushing totals slightly. Mike James actually outperformed Martin in yards per carry by more than a yard. Our Rushing NEP data backs this up, too, as James added 17.46 more expected points. To be fair, however, Martin saw pretty stiff competition during his brief time last season.
We've seen Martin be successful, and there's proof that the offense can sustain at least one relevant fantasy option out of the backfield. Adding a run-heavy head coach in Lovie Smith will surely be a positive impact on Martin's opportunity this coming season.
Martin’s ADP is taking a hit lately though. He was going early in Round 2 a couple of months ago, but now, he's going at the end of Round 2 (RB13). We aren't bullish on him at all by having him ranked at RB11, but we think his value is already higher than his current range. Take Martin at his current ADP and you’ll be happy you did so.
Hakeem Nicks, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Hakeem Nicks is only 26 years young. This may come as a shock to some because it seems as though he’s been relevant for many more years than his age suggests. This offseason, Nicks signed with the Colts, and he'll now be paired up with a really unique core of receivers: Pro Bowl veteran Reggie Wayne, and third-year speedster T.Y. Hilton.
Nicks' ADP has dropped close to an entire round over the past two months, presenting a chance at value should he emerge as a stud number two option opposite Wayne.
But it’s tough to know how many targets he’ll see, despite Andrew Luck behind center. We have Nicks as our 57th-best wideout. His ADP shows him as the number 41st one off the board, so we're staying away.
Johnny Manziel, QB, Cleveland Browns
Johnny Manziel is as polarizing as they come, and answering how he'll perform in fantasy football is a difficult task.
Truth be told, even we don’t know what to think. There are scenarios in which he could set the league on fire, as he was rumored saying during draft night this past May. Other, more likely scenarios, point to Manziel possibly not even starting for the Browns in Week 1 against their bitter rival Pittsburgh Steelers.
He'll be in a camp battle in the coming weeks vying for the role against Brian Hoyer, who looked pretty good for the Browns a year ago before getting injured.
There's one thing that is for sure, undoubtedly: the fanfare surrounding Manziel will only start to rise as training camp and preseason football starts. LeBron’s return to Cleveland will not stop the Manziel coverage for long.
He's on this portion of our list because his ADP has dropped over a round since May 14th, thanks to the supposed quarterback competition. Yet, he's still being drafted as quarterback number 18 quarterback in mocks. We say, "do not draft him there!" as we just don't know enough about his situation to warrant the ADP.