August ADP: Bargain Hunting
It’s that time of year again … draft season. We’ve worked hard in preparing you and putting you in the best position to succeed this season, so I thought I’d break down what the other owners are likely to do and where you can take advantage of them.
Over the next week, I’ll be analyzing ADPs of both standard and PPR formats, offering my round-by-round insight as to which players are being over/under drafted. Today, I’m bringing you the top bargains in each of the first nine rounds of a standard 12-team league and tomorrow we will look at the over-valued players in this format.
Round 1: Marshawn Lynch (pick 9)
What would the ideal running back look like in a standard league? A consistently healthy player with a heavy workload that doesn’t struggle to find the endzone? Lynch is averaging a shade over 21 touches per game over the past three seasons while missing just one game and scoring 39 touchdowns.
Round 2: Giovani Bernard (19)
He established himself as the most talented back in Cincinnati, a fact that should greatly affect his workload in 2014. He carried the ball on just 24.5 percent of his snaps last season, yet he still managed over 1,200 total yards and eight touchdowns. He is currently being drafted behind nine running backs and six receivers, an ADP that doesn’t properly account for his upside.
Round 3: Alshon Jeffery (25)
A fringe Top 10 receiver? Please. If you were watching the final month of last season (31 catches for 561 yards and four touchdowns), you know just how imposing this physical specimen can be. I hate the argument that those numbers came with Josh McCown calling the shots … Jay Cutler is a better QB, plain and simple. He’s a Top 5 receiver and a Top 15-20 player in my books this season.
Round 4: Andre Johnson (46)
After four straight seasons of averaging at least 14 yards per catch, the historically bad quarterback play of the Texans held Andre Johnson to a mere 12.9. That being said, he still hauled in 109 passes and was targeted 181 times. Critics will point to his average touchdown numbers (he’s never scored 10 in a season and has 11 since the beginning of 2011), but Ryan Fitzpatrick has shown the willingness to take chances in the past, a tendency that makes Johnson a better fantasy option than a player like Keenan Allen who is going 13 picks earlier.
Round 5: Vernon Davis (56)
In a standard league, chasing touchdowns is a bit more common than in PPR formats, and this results in a major boost for the Niners tight end. Over the last two seasons, 12.4 percent of his targets and 19.4 percent of his receptions have resulted in six points, as he has clearly established himself as Colin Kaepernick’s top red zone threat. Yet he is being drafted behind the suspended Ray Rice and the boom-or-bust DeSean Jackson who moved from an uptempo offense in Philadelphia to a run-based one in Washington.
Round 6: Marques Colston (70)
What did he ever do to you? All he has done is average 83 catches, 1,140 yards, and 8.6 touchdowns per 16 games for his career, and with a rookie filling in for the heavily used Darren Sproles, the possession-oriented receiver from Hofstra is poised for another similar campaign. I love Brandin Cooks as much as the next guy, but to take him over his proven teammate?
Round 7: Cam Newton (83)
I came into this offseason down on Newton, but the hate has gone too far. This ADP puts him behind the already dinged-up Steven Jackson and Terrance Williams and just ahead of Darren Sproles and Bernard Pierce. The weapons have never been great for Newton, but it appears that he will be 100 percent healthy in the coming week or two, which means he is a good bet to once again rack up the rushing fantasy points in an elite manner.
Round 8: Dennis Pitta (90)
A new offense combined with Joe Flacco not being as effective with the deep ball as you think should result in a nice season for the Ravens tight end. Don’t forget that he showed signs of a breakout in 2012 (61 catches for 669 yards and seven touchdowns) before injuries cost him most of 2013, and in just his fifth professional season, Pitta has plenty of upside. I’ll gladly take a Top 10 tight end with the potential for more while other owners take fliers on seven backup running backs that are going in the same general area.
Round 9: DeAngelo Williams (104)
No, he’s not ever going to live up to the hype after totaling 1,636 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2008, but he hasn’t been a bad fantasy option in the years since. In fact, he is averaging nearly 1,200 total yards since that breakout, a total that would make him a steal at this point in the draft. He’s currently listed as the starter in Carolina, yet backup rookie running backs that have proven nothing in the NFL are going ahead of him. You go ahead and take a shot in the dark, I’ll settle for my 8-10 points in a bye week pinch every time.
Those are some players that figure to outperform their current ADP and could come at a very reasonable price in your standard draft. They are all poised to offer a nice return on investment, but tomorrow’s set of nine are players I want no part of for where they are currently going in drafts.