Looking back on fantasy drafts after four weeks

What did we get right? And wrong? And what is for real so far? Brandon Marianne Lee looks back on the preseason fantasy drafts.

| 3 weeks ago
(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Looking back on fantasy drafts after four weeks

One of my funnier childhood memories was when I had an incredibly deep conversation about how I thought it was ridiculous that you had to go around a track four times to run a mile. Why four? Why not do one big mile track? Or two maybe. But for some reason four really annoyed me.

Even more annoying, my mother outright laughed at my frustration.

It’s funny now, but I still can’t stand running that first lap, knowing that I have to do it three more times.

And here we are, four games into the (traditionally) 16-game fantasy season. We’ve learned a lot, but most importantly we’ve learned that things will change. Often.

Also, it ends up you could have gone “Zero-anything” and ended up with a pretty darn good team. Here’s a look back at the top preseason prospects according to FantasyPros, and some other notable names, and where they rank today.


ADP Current Avg. FPPG
Cam Newton CAR 1 6
Aaron Rodgers GB 2 2
Russell Wilson SEA 3 21
Andrew Luck IND 4 7
Drew Brees NO 5 3
Matt Ryan ATL 20 1
Ben Roethlisberger PIT 6 5
Derek Carr OAK 12 4

The big whiff on draft day was sleeping on Ryan. For salt in the wound, he went for more than 500 yards this weekend versus the Carolina Panthers. It’s pretty clear that when you have Julio Jones as a weapon, good things will happen.

As far as Wilson is concerned, it looks like he’s finally getting healthier as he put up 309 passing yards and three touchdowns at the New York Jets. In Week 1 he hurt his ankle. In Week 2 he hurt his knee. He can’t play his game (the mobile quarterback) if he’s hurt.

With Wilson’s numbers are trending in the right direction, it actually doesn’t look like there were any huge disappointments.

Running backs

ADP Current Avg. FPPG- Standard Current Avg. FPPG – PPR
Todd Gurley LA 1 26 24
David Johnson ARI 2 4 3
Adrian Peterson MIN 3 75 83
Ezekiel Elliott DAL 4 8 10
Lamar Miller HOU 5 22 20
DeMarco Murray TEN 19 1 1
Le’Veon Bell PIT 6 2 2
Melvin Gordon SD 23 3 4
Carlos Hyde SF 16 5 6
LeSean McCoy BUF 12 7 5

Another injury whiff is Peterson. Of course, that’s not a failure on anyone’s part, but he’s out of commission and if you spent a first- or second-round pick on him, that hurt.

Gurley is single-handedly killing fantasy players’ hopes and dreams of a fantasy championship. You feel like you have to start the first-round pick, but the numbers are scary. Only 2.6 yards per carry. To be fair, he’s also averaging 2.4 yards after contact, so every single yard on the stat sheet was earned. Big time. He’s forced eight missing rushing tackles and four receiving, but let’s be honest: the Rams offense is a huge problem. Namely, defenders only worry about Gurley, they stack the box, and he can’t get anything done. Brutal.

Another disappointment that not enough people are talking about is Miller. The entire fantasy community was pumped when he got signed to the Houston Texans. They looked in their rearview mirror and saw the good old Arian Foster days. The era when Foster would average 4-4.9 yards per carry, while putting up 1,000-plus rushing yards and an average of 3.3 catches per game.

That’s not happening. Miller has zero touchdowns on the season. He’s averaging 3.8 yards per carry. Right now, Miller has only one carry on the season for 15 yards, and that was exactly 15. And he isn’t helping himself — he’s only broken nine total tackles, giving him an elusive rating of 16.8, third-worst among running backs that have played in at least 50 percent of their team snaps. He does have 13 catches on the season, so it’s nice to know that he’s involved in the passing game.

If I had Miller, I would look to move him. He still has first- or second-round name appeal so there is a possibility that you could get someone to bite.

Gordon didn’t score a touchdown the entire 2015 season, and yet this year he leads the league with six rushing touchdowns. If you got him in the later rounds, you’re pleasantly surprised with his production, although you’re also aware that the loss of Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead probably plays a role.

And probably the most divisive player on this list is Murray. All preseason fantasy analysts chirped about how Derrick Henry was going to take this job away from Murray and anyone who drafted him must be a fool. Well, I wrote about letting the “Derrick Henry potential” flame burn out earlier this week because it’s difficult to bench the No. 1 producing running back in the league.

Wide receivers

ADP Current Avg. FPPG – Standard Current Avg. FPPG – PPR
Antonio Brown PIT 1 2 2
Odell Beckham Jr. NYG 2 41 28
Julio Jones ATL 3 1 3
DeAndre Hopkins HOU 4 30 30
A.J. Green CIN 5 5 1
Marvin Jones DET 36 3 4
Jordy Nelson GB 9 4 18
Michael Crabtree OAK 37 7 5

Beckham is still a physically gifted receiver. He has 37 targets and 22 catches on the season. He is getting the volume, but he can’t get in the end zone — no touchdowns so far this season. Meanwhile, Sterling Shepard has two and Victor Cruz has one. Beckham’s 37 targets are 10th most in the league, so you can’t put him on your bench. It’s just a bummer.

And Hopkins has a Will Fuller problem. Hopkins is still the receiver that defenses plan for all week, so Fuller is often open. And when Fuller gets the ball, he’s dynamic, averaging 5.9 yards after the catch. Meanwhile, Hopkins averages 1.8 yards after the catch. Both players have two touchdowns a piece. Fuller has 33 targets to Hopkins’ 32. This is a full-on split that we didn’t see coming. We knew Fuller would be involved, but his production is off the charts.

Clearly, Jones and Crabtree are the values that jump off the page. In the case of Jones, a Golden Tate injury helped catapult him to the top of the depth chart and he’s certainly made the most of his opportunity. Jones currently is second in the league behind Julio Jones with 482 receiving yards.

I also wrote about Crabtree, assuring our readers that his role will not get phased out in this offense. He is equal with Amari Cooper. However, the Crabtree owner may not feel this way. He or she may be waiting for the other shoe to drop. Trade for him now and see if you can get a deal.

Tight ends

ADP Current Avg. FPPG – Standard Current Avg. FPPG – PPR
Rob Gronkowski NE 1 N/A N/A
Jordan Reed WAS 2 3 2
Greg Olsen CAR 3 1 1
Travis Kelce KC 4 4 4
Delanie Walker TEN 5 8 16
Kyle Rudolph MIN 21 2 3
Zach Miller CHI 18 5 5

Gronkowski sat out the first two games of the season with a hamstring injury. In Week 3 he was basically a decoy, with one target that he did not catch. In Week 4 he caught one of his two targets for 11 yards. It’s clear that he’s not 100 percent. You hope that, with Brady coming back and with one more week to recover, Gronk will start giving fantasy players the numbers they so desperately need, because so far, he might as well have been absent.

Rudolph greatly benefitted from the addition of Sam Bradford right before the season started. Bradford trusts Rudolph, and currently he’s third among tight ends with 30 targets on the season. And that’s with Shaun Hill starting in Week 1.

In Weeks 1 and 2, Miller caught seven of his nine targets for 47 yards. In Weeks 3 and 4, he caught 11 of his 12 targets for 109 yards and three touchdowns. If the Bears stick with Brian Hoyer, which is still up for debate, Miller could wind up being the steal of the draft.

Brandon Marianne Lee is a PFF Fantasy contributor, a SiriusXM host, co-founder of Her Fantasy Football and was a finalist for FSWA's Newcomer of the Year in 2014.

  • Michael Bussey

    Would you recommend selling Delanie Walker? I’m in need of a WR and RB.

    • Brandon Marianne Lee

      Based on Walker’s play and injuries I’m not sure you can get a comparable RB or WR, but certainly try! You never know. It’s all about who you get instead.