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ADP Analysis : Week 1 fantasy League News

A season-ending ACL tear for J.K. Dobbins may have overshadowed everything else in fantasy world, but it wasn't the only late-summer development to have a significant impact on ADP. For starters, Vikings TE Irv Smith also suffered a season-ending knee injury. And, of course, there was the big news from New England, where Mac Jones is a starting QB and Cam Newton is out of a job.

With two top breakout candidates and one dual-threat QB removed from the picture, we'll inevitably see some big changes in our final ADP Analysis of the summer, starting with Baltimore running back Gus Edwards. The Bus is easily our biggest riser this week, but a few other backup RBs have gained or lost momentum (albeit to a much lesser extent) without promotions to the starting lineup.

Before we look at ADP movement for the first few days of September, let's look back at some of the major fantasy stories from late August:

  1. Wednesday, Aug. 25: Broncos QB Teddy Bridgewater named Week 1 starter.

  2. Thursday, Aug. 26: Giants RB Saquon Barkley takes snaps in 11-on-11s.

  3. Friday, Aug. 27: Saints QB Jameis Winston named Week 1 starter.

  4. Saturday, Aug. 28: Ravens RB J.K. Dobbins injures knee.

  5. Sunday, Aug. 29: J.K. Dobbins ruled out for the season.

  6. Sunday, Aug. 29: Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (back) out for first few games.

  7. Monday, Aug. 30: Vikings TE Irv Smith needs meniscus surgery. Uncertain timeline.

  8. Monday, Aug. 30: Lions release WR Breshad Perriman.

  9. Tuesday, Aug. 31: Patriots release Cam Newton, name Mac Jones the starter.

  10. Tuesday, Aug. 31: Saints WR Michael Thomas placed on PUP list.

  11. Wednesday, Sept. 1: Irv Smith out 4-5 months, likely missing the entire season.

ADP Rising

Late-August ADP: RB36, 102.7

Sept. 1-4 ADP: RB22, 53.1

Our late-August sample includes the day of Dobbins' injury, so RB36 actually overestimates where Edwards was going beforehand (it was more like RB 40-41). That's now been chopped in half, with Edwards mirroring James Robinson's meteoric rise after the Travis Etienne injury. Edwards is going about two rounds later than pre-ACL Dobbins, but the gap should probably be bigger.

Sure, both are/were valued for the RB2 floor more so than the ceiling. But Dobbins at least had a ceiling, thanks to his speed and potential as a pass catcher. Edwards is a bulldozer, and a good one at that, but he's on the slow side for an NFL running back, with just 18 receptions in 43 games. And while the Ravens could use him on some passing downs now, they clearly trust Edwards as a blocker more than as a receiver. Round 6 sounds right; Round 5 is a bit too early in PPR.

Late-August ADP: WR48, ADP 105.4

Sept. 1-4 ADP: WR42, ADP 93.4

Meanwhile, Parris Campbell rose from WR71 to WR67, and Zach Pascal from WR131 to WR95. That's way too low for Pascal in best ball, but it's reasonable that in most leagues people prefer lottery tickets over solid, mediocre veterans in the late rounds. Any of the three is a good pick, as Hilton could be out for three weeks or three months, and may struggle to stay healthy even if he makes a quick return from this surgery.

Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines will see targets, sure, but the Colts don't have a standout pass catcher at tight end, so there's room for two WRs to see steady looks. And with Hilton temporarily out of the picture, we don't have to worry about a four-man rotation that costs everyone some snaps and a target or two.

ADP Falling

Late-August ADP: RB9, ADP 13.3

Sept. 1-4 ADP: RB12, ADP 15.2

The Giants brought Barkley back to practice when they needed him back at practice with enough time to be ready for Week 1. Had Week 1 been in mid-August, he might've begun practicing in late July rather than late August. Maybe I'm wrong and this really is some down-to-the-wire thing, but it seems like Barkley has cleared every hurdle on schedule — the rehab plan has just been a conservative one. Pie on my face if he's out Week 1. Pie on everyone else's face for continuing to drop him down draft boards without any tangible setback.

Late-August ADP: RB31, ADP 85.6

Sept. 1-4 ADP: RB34, ADP 96.0

Carter made it into the Top 80 in early August, boosted by camp hype from Jets beat writers. But now he looks like 2021's cautionary tale about putting too much weight on beat writer opinions. While Carter obviously still has a shot to emerge as the lead guy here, recent buzz out of the Meadowlands has him stuck in a three/four-man committee early on. His new ADP at the 8/9 turn seems fair enough, though WRs tend to be the better values in that range.

Late-August ADP: RB36, 102.7

Sept. 1-4 ADP: RB40, ADP 112.4

Not to say Fournette is a screaming value, but it's hard to figure out the logic behind his recent fall. If anything, he should be rising, with Giovani Bernard's recent ankle sprain potentially putting passing-down work on Fournette's plate for the first week or two of the season. Meanwhile, Ronald Jones is up from RB34 to RB34, but at basically the same overall ADP (93.6) as before. And Bernard has barely budged, going from RB48, 151.6 to RB50, 146.2. The Bucs are calling Bernard's injury a "minor" high-ankle sprain, which may or may not be an oxymoron. Even if it isn't, he could miss Thursday's opener.

Other ADP Notes

  • Trey Lance was already expected to start his career in a backup role and now has a finger injury to contend with. He rose to QB14, ADP 122.0 last week, but for September he's down to QB16, ADP 135.8. Fellow rookies Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence are at QB15 and QB16, respectively. All are solid picks in that range, but Lawrence definitely gets the edge for any league where I need a Week 1 starter or use best-ball scoring.

  • Kirk Cousins has dropped from QB18, ADP 152.3 to QB18, ADP 162.5. Irv Smith's absence is a factor, and so is the possibility of Cousins missing games on the reserve/COVID-19 list. That's a concern for every player, of course, but those who aren't vaccinated are especially likely to be placed on the list as close contacts. Re: Cousins, Carson Wentz, Cam Newton.

  • Mac Jones is up to QB28, taken in 84 of 128 NFC drafts (65.6 percent) through the first four days of September.

  • Wentz is down to QB27, ADP 223.0 through the first four days of September, despite returning to full practice participation (he was QB24, ADP 197.6 at the end of August). Is this more vaccine/COVID-related concern, or just a matter of a small sample / other QBs getting more attention (e.g. Jameis Winston, Sam Darnold)? I'm not quite sure...

  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire is holding steady at RB14, with minimal ADP movement, despite spraining his ankle in the second preseason game. The Chiefs kept only three RBs on their initial 53-man roster, and one of the others (Darrel Williams) is recovering from a concussion/head injury. This all seems like good news for Jerick McKinnon, but he's stuck at RB60 after rising from the mid-60s between mid-August and late August. I'm surprised he hasn't gone up a little more, as the update from cutdown day (only three RBs on KC's roster) is arguably good news for McKinnon even if it also suggests CEH and Williams should be ready for Week 1.

  • Myles Gaskin is RB24, ADP 61.0. He bounced back after that first preseason game and hasn't fallen any further since, though he also hasn't sniffed the top 50 lately.

  • Damien Harris us up to RB26, ADP 65.2. Drafters bumped him up too much after the Sony Michel trade, and now they're pumping Harris up further after the Mac/Cam news. Good luck with that one. Harris is now a spot ahead of Darrell Henderson, who actually has a ceiling. Since when is everyone so scared of Mr. Michel?

  • Michel is up to RB35, ADP 100.0. I thought it was bad last week when he was at RB39, ADP 109.0. I thought he just got traded, but apparently he got traded and also had his knees fixed. Who knew?

  • The top 30 spots at WR are nearly identical when we compare late August to early September. The first big ADP change is Kenny Golladay, who dropped from WR32 to WR37 with a hamstring injury putting him in question for Week 1. It does seem like he expects to play, so check out the new price (ADP 82.1) if you're a fan. Personally, I don't believe in Daniel Jones' downfield passing, and I suspect both Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton will also see a healthy number of targets (relatively speaking in Slayton's case).

  • Michael Thomas dropped from WR37 to WR40. He's been placed on the PUP list, but that rules him out for only five games with the Saints having a Week 6 bye this year. He probably shouldn't be a top-100 pick in the first place, but the PUP thing shouldn't have mattered, as it was inevitable as soon as he had surgery in mid-to-late June. The four-month timeline would have him back around Week 7-9, in any case. And the timeline may be optimistic...

  • Jakobi Meyers rose from WR58 to WR55, now going in the 10th/11th round. Nelson Agholorhas also gone up a bit, from WR67, 174.5 to WR66, 163.0. That seems fair, considering Mac Jones at least has theoretical upside as a passer. Newton may or may not still be able to lead a run-first offense capably, but there's zero chance his passing would've been even league-average.

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