Fantasy Football: 20 Players Who Will Move Up Draft Boards (2018)
While it may not have the most in-depth research that you’re used to finding in my articles, this was one of my favorite articles to write last year. Why? Well, it allowed me to see into the future and predict which players were going to be a lot more expensive once draft season came around.
It’s always the same ol’ conversation with leaguemates in my home league. “Why are we drafting so early in the offseason?” or “Why don’t we just wait until one week before the season so we know who’s hurt?” If you play in a league with others who say that, you should be dominating your league almost every single year. If you say things like that, despite being as informed as you are, stop, like now.
You ideally draft as early as possible. Heck, I’d draft right now if all my leaguemates would allow it. I said it last year and I’ll say it again – There’s value to be had everywhere for those who are informed. Every news blurb you’ve read on our site, any article that you’ve read about Sony Michel or Jerick McKinnon, every tweet you’ve read, every podcast you’ve listened to… you’ve learned something from every single one. Guess what? Your leaguemates haven’t. I know this because of where the ADP is on players like Michel.
Of the 20 players I projected to move up boards last year, 13 of them did, while one of them ended up on season-ending IR (Quincy Enunwa). One of those who didn’t was Sammy Watkins, who was traded to the Rams, which actually hurt his draft stock. I’m going to attempt to hit at an even higher rate this year, as I want to give you the best idea as to which players you can get as a steal right now, before the majority of public catches on. The data used in this was from FantasyFootballCalculator.com from May 21 through May 31.
Mitch Trubisky (CHI) Current ADP: QB25, Guess ADP: QB20
I’m not quite sure why his ADP hasn’t already dropped, but it will. The addition of Matt Nagy and Mark Helfrich is going to change the culture in Chicago, and in case you missed it, they’ve added some big-time playmakers in Allen Robinson, Trey Burton, Anthony Miller, and Tyler Gabriel.
Jameis Winston (TB) Current ADP: QB20, Guess ADP: QB17
I posted a stat earlier this offseason where if you combined Winston’s and Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s passing yardage, they would’ve led the league in passing, while the touchdowns simply weren’t there. Another year with the trio of Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, and Chris Godwin should produce results, and you shouldn’t be shocked to see him finish top-12 if he stays healthy.
Saquon Barkley (NYG) Current ADP: RB10, Guess ADP: RB7
Don’t fear the rookie running back, as I currently have him in the conversation as the No. 3 running back. Over the last six years, first-round running backs have averaged 264.4 touches in their rookie season. The Giants are going to give him all he can handle.
Jerick McKinnon (SF) Current ADP: RB18, Guess ADP: RB16
No matter how you feel about his skill-set, there’s no running back the 49ers are paying close to his salary. He’s going to walk into the Devonta Freeman role of Kyle Shanahan’s offense, which has been extremely beneficial.
Derrius Guice (WAS) Current ADP: RB26, Guess ADP: RB22
There are some people out there who are concerned about Samaje Perine. Don’t be one of them. While Chris Thompson will come back and steal some passing-down work, he’s coming off a broken leg from late in 2017.
Sony Michel (NE) Current ADP: RB30, Guess ADP: RB25
Don’t buy into the whole “don’t draft a Patriots running back” theme, as Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead, James White, and LeGarrette Blount have all had success in fantasy over the last few years. If the Patriots were planning to sit him on the bench for half the game, they wouldn’t have spent their second first-round pick on him. Being a Patriots running back will suppress his ADP, but he’s not staying this far back.
Kerryon Johnson (DET) Current ADP: RB45, Guess ADP: RB36
This is a situation where drafters are giving LeGarrette Blount too much respect, as he’s sitting as the RB31 right now. I’d expect the two to flip-flop with Johnson being drafted higher when all is said and done, as he’s a much more complete running back.
Doug Martin (OAK) Current ADP: RB46, Guess ADP: RB42
It seems like this may change sooner than I’d hoped, as Martin is one of my favorite late-round sleepers. Word has come out that he looks phenomenal at OTAs. Battling a 32-year-old Marshawn Lynch who has a history of back problems? Playing behind a top-five offensive line? Sign me up.
C.J. Anderson (CAR) Current ADP: RB49, Guess ADP: RB39
There must be a delay as to when everyone hears about a free agent signing because there’s no way Anderson should be this low. He’ll be in the same role as Jonathan Stewart last year, who had 198 carries, which ranked inside the top-20 in the league.
Bilal Powell (NYJ) Current ADP: RB53, Guess ADP: RB40
It’s not an ideal situation in New York, but if you really think they’ll lean on Isaiah Crowell more than they did Matt Forte, you’re going about this the wrong way. Powell should at least have the same role he had last year, if not more. He finished as the RB26, less than double his current cost.
Allen Robinson (CHI) Current ADP: WR18, Guess ADP: WR15
There’s likely some doubts about his health until he can get on the field, but the fact that he got some reps in during OTAs should move his needle up as drafts approach.
Marvin Jones (DET) Current ADP: WR29, Guess ADP: WR24
It’s odd to see someone who finished as the No. 5 receiver a year ago be drafted outside the top-20 at his position, let alone as the 29th receiver off the board. Keep in mind that this is standard league ADP, where Jones is worth more.
DeVante Parker (MIA) Current ADP: WR39, Guess ADP: WR32
There are a lot of people who have simply moved on from Parker, as evidenced by his current draft position. That will change when everyone does the math and figures out he’s locked into at least 100 targets, with the possibility of hitting the 120-mark.
Jamison Crowder (WAS) Current ADP: WR44, Guess ADP: WR38
It’s kind of shocking how low Crowder is in early drafts, as he’s been a top-40 receiver in each of the last two years, and now has a quarterback who doesn’t like to force the issue. Most don’t tie him to massive upside, so his price won’t go too high, but it’ll go up.
DeSean Jackson (TB) Current ADP: WR55, Guess ADP: WR48
We can admit it was a ‘down year’ for Jackson, right? Did you know that he still finished as the WR45 despite his quarterbacks not throwing many touchdowns? Another year of chemistry in the offense should raise his price, though some age-risk will be built-in.
Michael Gallup (DAL) Current ADP: WR61, Guess ADP: WR49
Whether it’s right or wrong, Gallup’s ADP will go up. It’s always rough to bet on a rookie wide receiver, until you look at the Cowboys depth chart. His price right now assumes he’s not a starter, but I’m guessing that the preseason will change that outlook.
Tyler Lockett (SEA) Current ADP: WR67, Guess ADP: WR55
Some are scared of Brandon Marshall signing, but you shouldn’t be one of them, as I don’t even think he’s a lock to make the roster. Lockett isn’t someone I’d chase in drafts, but he plays with Russell Wilson, has flashed before, and the touchdowns have to go somewhere. His price doesn’t reflect any of that.
Geronimo Allison (GB) Current ADP: WR80-plus, Guess ADP: WR58
Provided the Packers don’t go out and snag Dez Bryant or Jeremy Maclin in free agency, Allison is slated to start in two wide receiver sets. ALERT: As of now, Allison is going to start at wide receiver while being tossed passes from the best quarterback in the world, you know, the one who threw 14 touchdowns to James Jones. He’s fantasy football’s best kept secret right now.
George Kittle (SF) Current ADP: TE16, Guess ADP: TE13
The tight end position is a tough one to predict, because we pretty much know who is where on the depth chart. With that being said, most haven’t realized that every starting wide receiver on the 49ers roster is 6-feet tall or shorter. Kittle should be the primary red zone target for Jimmy Garoppolo.
Ben Watson (NO) Current ADP: TE24, Guess ADP: TE18
This is one where most haven’t done the math with the Saints tight end depth chart, because Watson is the only one on the roster who presents a threat in the passing-game, which has been vital to Sean Payton’s offense. The last time he was with the Saints (in 2015), he posted 74 receptions for 825 yards and six touchdowns.