“Rising” and “Falling” does not necessarily mean “good” or “bad” in fantasy. If a player’s average draft position is rising, his value is assumed to have dropped. Conversely, if a player is falling in terms of draft price, then he can be considered a value if his production is projected to out-perform his draft-price. In this week’s NFL Fantasy Stock Watch, we look at how the NFL Draft affected a number of key fantasy football personnel.
All ADPs are based on PPR scoring leagues per fantasyfootballcalculator.com.
NFL Fantasy Stock Watch: Marlon Mack
Current ADP: 8.07
Projected ADP: 6.02- 6.07
Even with Frank Gore’s 290 touches in 2017, Marlon Mack produced more than 500 total yards on 93 carries and 22 receptions. In limited touches, Mack was able to match Gore’s four touchdowns, and the latter is now a part of the Miami Dolphins backfield. The Colts did use a fourth-round pick on North Carolina State running back Nyheim Hines, but he is more of a satellite back. Hines has the potential to take away from Mack’s ceiling in terms of receptions, but Mack looks to be the projected starter in his sophomore season with the Colts.
The Colts also selected Jason Wilkins out of Mississippi with a sixth-round pick, but he won’t threaten Mack for a big workload. Wilkins weighs less than Mack and is about three inches taller and runs a 4.71 40-yard dash compared to Mack’s 4.5 speed according to playerprofiler.com. Indianapolis made the offensive line a priority by selecting Quentin Nelson with the sixth overall pick and using two of its first three sections to bolster the guard position, which bodes well for Mack in 2018
NFL Fantasy Stock Watch: Rex Burkhead
Current ADP: 6.01
Projected ADP: 7.01-7.05
It looked as if Rex Burkhead was going to get a sizeable workload in 2018. Dion Lewis’s 212 touches in 2017 are now in Tennessee and the Patriots uncharacteristically gave Burkhead a three-year deal worth 9.75 million dollars. Bill Belichick is full of surprises as he used the 31st overall pick to select Georgia running back Sony Michel. Michel is a potential three-down back in the NFL if he works on his pass-catching ability, but Belichick and New England use James White in this role. White caught 56 passes last year and should see a similar output next season.
Burkhead can still be valuable at times in 2018, but his production will be harder to predict in the crowded backfield. In other words: typical Patriots shenanigans. Bill Belichick does not care about “Insta-Chat” and he does not care about your fantasy team. Look for Michel and Burkhead to split Lewis’s workload from last season. Burkhead does have touchdown upside as lined up on the goal line often and had eight total TDs in 2017.
NFL Fantasy Stock Watch: Lamar Miller
Current ADP: 4.12
Projected ADP: 3.10-4.05
The Houston Texans did not draft a running back in 2018. They re-signed veteran Alfred Blue to a one-year deal on Monday, but he won’t eat into Miller’s production substantially. Blue was third on the depth chart until rookie Donta Foreman went down with a torn achilles. Foreman may not be ready for the start of 2018 and there is a chance he could be on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, which would not make him eligible until Week 7.
Lamar Miller has not been a sexy pick in the last two seasons as a volume back with a low ceiling. However, Miller was good in 2017 when Deshaun Watson was the quarterback. He had two two-touchdown games out of the six that Watson started. The 27-year-old Miller could be the sneakiest RB1 in the 2018 draft if Watson can manage a full 16-game sleight.
NFL Fantasy Stock Watch: Samaje Perine
Current ADP: 11.02
Projected ADP: 12.5-14.2
Before selecting Derrius Guice with the 57th overall selection, Perine would have been a steal in the 11th round. Guice looks to be a two-down workhorse who had first-round grades from many teams but fell because of reported personality issues. In the scenario where Guice pans out and Chris Thompson is in his usual satellite-back role, Perine becomes an afterthought in fantasy.
NFL Fantasy Stock Watch: Jerick McKinnon
Current ADP: 3.03
Projected ADP: 2.05-3.01
To this writer’s dismay, McKinnon is going to skyrocket up draft boards for redraft leagues in 2018. The 49ers did not draft a running back, so the four-year $36.9 million contract they gave McKinnon is going to translate into high production in 2018. McKinnon is not necessarily a workhorse, but he will be used correctly by Kyle Shanahan. Carlos Hyde carried the ball 240 times and caught 59 passes in 2017 in the same offense. McKinnon carried the ball 150 times and caught 51 passes last season, and both of those numbers are sure to increase in the Shanahan offense. Expect around 200 carries and 55-65 receptions for 1,100-1,500 yards of total offense in 2018.
Falling: Julio Jones
Current ADP: 2.02
Projected ADP: 2.05-2.10
Please, please, please let Julio Jones fall in redraft leagues.
The general perception is that Calvin Ridley was drafted in the first round by the Atlanta Falcons to replace Jones. While that narrative is intriguing, it does not make sense as Jones is still one of the most feared wide receivers in the NFL. Ridley should help take pressure off of Jones and allow Matt Ryan to get the ball to him even more than last season.
The first-round selection out of Alabama will be in three-receiver sets for the Falcons, which will limit how much teams can double team Jones. If anything, the pick of Ridley gives Jones a higher touchdown ceiling in 2018. The WR6 last season, Jones had 88 catches for 1,444 yards with only three touchdowns. Jones could easily be a first-round pick in drafts, but if he slips to the middle of the second round gobble up a top 5 receiver for exceptional value.
NFL Fantasy Stock Watch: Jordy Nelson/Martavis Bryant
Nelson Current ADP:6.11
Nelson Projected ADP: 5.10-6.05
Bryant Current ADP: 10.12
Bryant Projected ADP: 9.06-10.06
This Raiders team screams garbage time in 2018. The 23rd-ranked defense in total yards allowed should still be poor next season while competing in a tough division. Jon Gruden will see his quarterback grind from behind, and Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant could provide great value in Redraft leagues. Nelson has most likely lost a step, but adding Bryant on the outside should benefit the 33-year old former Packer.
Putting Nelson in the slot would give him a great floor as a possession receiver without having to rely on the home run play. Bryant now steps into a position where his role is clear and will have no problem providing the home run. If these guys drop in drafts, scoop them up without reservations.
NFL Fantasy Stock Watch: Devontae Booker
Current ADP: 9.02
Projected ADP: 11.04- 14.05
That was quick. Just over two weeks ago the Broncos released C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker was the presumed starter going into Week 1. then John Elway had by far the best draft of his career as a general manager and selected the bruising running back out of Oregon, Royce Freeman. The 229-pound back ran a 4.54 40-yard dash, which can be best compared to Stephen Jackson’s 4.5 40 time at 236 pounds, according to playerprofiler.com.
Considering the depth chart and the high draft capital, Freeman has a chance to get the bulk of the carries for the Broncos in 2018. Booker excels in catching the ball out of the backfield, so he will go into training camp as the teams best receiving back. However, his ceiling is capped by Freeman who could be in store for 200-plus carries in his rookie season.