Fantasy Football: 20 Players Who Will Move Up Draft Boards (2019)
Have you ever had a conversation with your leaguemates where they ask, “Why are we drafting so early in the offseason?” They’ll say something to the effect of, “What if my guy gets hurt, then I’m screwed for the season.” Let me be clear when I say that if you play with guys/girls who say this, you should be in contention for the championship every single season because they don’t understand the simplicity of injuries and how it affects fantasy. Their stud running back who they drafted in the first-round could go down in Week 1. It’s just as easy that one of the other 11 teams had their first-round pick get hurt. This should not have any impact on when you draft.
The real reason they don’t want to draft is because they are ill-prepared to draft earlier than the fourth preseason game, though they don’t want to admit that. 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 Ronald Jones or Sterling Shepard, 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 Jones.
Of the 20 players I projected to move up boards last year, 12 of them did, while two others ended up on season-ending IR (Derrius Guice and Jerick McKinnon). 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 is from our consensus ADP (average draft position) that is collected from various sites in half-PPR.
Jameis Winston (TB) Current ADP: QB15, Guess ADP: QB12
This is one the public is behind on, as they haven’t fully adjusted to Bruce Arians taking over as the Bucs head coach. With the offensive mind of Arians, no stud at running back, the bevy of pass-catchers, and the bad defense, Winston is going to be a fantasy superstar in 2019 in what’s considered a make-or-break year for him. There’s no way guys like Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady will be drafted before him by the end of the preseason, though his public perception will keep his ADP at a point you won’t have to overpay.
Dak Prescott (DAL) Current ADP: QB23, Guess ADP: QB19
Most don’t realize just how good Prescott has been as a fantasy quarterback in his first couple years, as he’s now posted top-12 type numbers in 47.9 percent of his starts. Not many realize that Drew Brees‘ number is 48.9 percent for his career. It’s only a matter of time before everyone realizes Prescott was the No. 6 fantasy quarterback from Week 9 through Week 17, when Amari Cooper was on the roster.
Aaron Jones (GB) Current ADP: RB18, Guess ADP: RB14
It takes seeing to believe for some people and that’ll be the case when Jones takes the field as the starter in Matt LaFleur’s new offense. Apparently, there were too many who missed his Week 8 through Week 14 role where he averaged 17.0 touches per game and was the No. 5 running back in fantasy through that time. A starting running back alongside Aaron Rodgers is worth a lot more than RB18.
David Montgomery (CHI) Current ADP: RB28, Guess ADP: RB22
Did anyone see the Bears trade away Jordan Howard for a sixth-round pick, then move up in the third-round of the draft to select Montgomery? Remember when everyone spent a second-round pick on Howard last year? Even though he didn’t live up to expectations, he finished as the RB20 in PPR formats, with Tarik Cohen there. The math here just doesn’t add up, right? Montgomery will go earlier than this come late-August.
James White (NE) Current ADP: RB29, Guess ADP: RB26
Why in the world is White going after Tarik Cohen? Cohen just inherited more competition with Mike Davis and David Montgomery, while White just lost competition with Rob Gronkowski and Cordarrelle Patterson. Not to mention the fact that White finished as the RB8 last year with those guys on the roster. While I don’t foresee that happening again, he’s continually undervalued as the safety valve for Tom Brady.
Miles Sanders (PHI) Current ADP: RB36, Guess ADP: RB28
I’m not even a huge fan of drafting an Eagles running back, but Sanders is falling too far in drafts right now. He’s a more well-rounded back than Jay Ajayi was, and the Eagles proved how much they valued him when they reached for him in the second-round. For those worried about Jordan Howard, it’s not wrong, but remember they spent just a sixth-round pick to acquire him and that was before they landed Sanders. He’s not going to be consistent enough to warrant RB2 conversation, but he should be drafted as a top-30 running back.
Ronald Jones (TB) Current ADP: RB48, Guess ADP: RB36
His ADP may even go higher than I’m predicting, unless the Bucs make some sort of trade for a running back. We’ve seen starting running backs like Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, and Andre Ellington produce in spurts under Bruce Arians, so why is everyone so quick to write-off Jones after 30 touches as a rookie? When the Bucs passed on running backs in both free agency and the draft, it should have sent a spike into Jones’ ADP, but it didn’t. If you’re drafting early, he’s one of the best values.
Damien Harris (NE) Current ADP: RB62, Guess ADP: RB48
Behind Kalen Ballage? Really? I’m not advocating Harris as a starting running back in the Patriots offense, but I am saying that at the very least, he’s one of the best handcuffs in all of football. His price doesn’t reflect that. In fact, the Patriots taking him in the third-round when they’re clearly in win-now mode says a lot, so don’t be surprised if he has a role even if Sony Michel is ahead of him on the depth chart.
A.J. Green (CIN) Current ADP: WR13, Guess ADP: WR10
Take proven production in the first few rounds, and when it comes to Green, he produces when he’s on the field, period. It’s only a matter of time before drafters come to their senses and take Green as the top-10 receiver he’s been his entire career. Don’t believe me? Here’s his finishes each year in the league:
*Indicates PPG (Points Per Game) In Abbreviated Season
Alshon Jeffery (PHI) Current ADP: WR27, Guess ADP: WR24
After two seasons in Philadelphia where he’s finished as the No. 20 receiver in 2017 and then the No. 26 receiver despite missing three full games and his starting quarterback missing half the year in 2018, he’s dropping to WR27? Doesn’t quite add up, right? Carson Wentz should be healthy and DeSean Jackson should help stretch the field to create opportunity underneath for Jeffery.
Sammy Watkins (KC) Current ADP: WR30, Guess ADP: WR20
This could easily go higher than WR20 depending on what we hear about his teammate, Tyreek Hill. When on the field and healthy last year, Watkins was the No. 25 wide receiver in fantasy. Keep in mind that was with Hill on the field. As of now, it’s assumed that Hill will be suspended, though the question is how long. Once that information is released, you shouldn’t be shocked to see Watkins drafted as a top-18 receiver.
Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) Current ADP: WR41, Guess ADP: WR36
Maybe it’s just me, but I cannot see Fitzgerald falling out of the top 40 wide receivers taken come August. Everyone will get excited about the Cardinals offense and who is it they’re going to gravitate towards? How about the receiver who’s finished top-30 in 13-of-15 seasons, including each of the last four?
James Washington (PIT) Current ADP: WR48, Guess ADP: WR44
The career path of Washington seems close to Davante Adams of the Packers, and it seems like both Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Tomlin agree. They’ve continually said he’s going to be good and that it’s only a matter of time before his practice habits translate to the field. With Antonio Brown and Jesse James gone, there’s over 200 targets freed-up in the offense.
Marquise Brown (BAL) Current ADP: WR57, Guess ADP: WR52
Do you know how many teams didn’t have a top-50 wide receiver last year? Two of them. That means there’s likely going to be one on the Ravens, even with Lamar Jackson under center. Brown was drafted in the first-round for a reason, as he’s an explosive playmaker who cornerbacks cannot hang with for more than a few seconds. When everyone sees him and Jackson hook-up in the preseason, his ADP will rise.
Devante Parker (MIA) Current ADP: WR72, Guess ADP: WR65
He’s a player whose ADP won’t get out of control due to how many times fantasy owners have been burned by him, but they need to realize it’s a different regime in Miami with improved quarterback play. Unless you believe Kenny Stills is going to move up draft boards and be their top wide receiver, I’d suggest you take advantage of Parker’s current cost, which is essentially free.
Michael Gallup (DAL) Current ADP: WR74, Guess ADP: WR64
It was shocking to see Gallup down at WR74 with the likes of guys like Zay Jones, Adam Humphries, and Kelvin Harmon, but here we are. Does everyone realize Gallup actually saw a lot more targets with Amari Cooper in the lineup? He went from 22 targets in the first seven games (3.1 per game) without Cooper, to 46 targets in the final nine games (5.1 per game) with Cooper, and that includes a zero-target game. He was a rookie last year, so it was only natural for his role to grow, and he did that despite Cooper coming there. He’s probably going to be on a lot of sleeper lists come August.
Jamison Crowder (NYJ) Current ADP: WR82, Guess ADP: WR68
I can usually explain why players fall this far, but with Crowder, I can’t. He’s going to play with Sam Darnold, who, in a small sample, loved his slot targets. While Le’Veon Bell takes away some of that production, the Jets clearly had a role in mind for Crowder, who finished as a top-35 wide receiver in both 2016 and 2017. The area he’s being drafted in right now is wrong. The wide receivers who finished in that range last year? Jarius Wright, Keelan Cole, and Taywan Taylor. You can’t continue to believe he’ll stay at that price.
John Ross (CIN) Current ADP: WR91, Guess ADP: WR70
You know it happens every preseason. A speedy receiver will get free and go for a long touchdown. That’s going to be Ross this year and while some will dismiss it, you shouldn’t. It’s a new offense, one that’s designed after the Rams, which has been a very WR-friendly system. Don’t be so quick to judge a wide receiver who was playing in a bad offense. Remember Robert Woods before he went to the Rams? Ross will not last this long in August.
Jimmy Graham (GB) Current ADP: TE14, Guess ADP: TE12
Veteran tight ends will always make their way back up draft boards, especially ones who play with Aaron Rodgers. Despite it being his first year with Rodgers, scoring just two touchdowns all year, and playing with a broken thumb for the last month, Graham finished as the TE14. You mean to tell me you’re expecting the same finish? He’s not likely going to be top-five again, but when taking a tight end outside the top-six, you’re looking for touchdown upside, and Graham’s got it.
Jordan Reed (WAS) Current ADP: TE26, Guess ADP: TE18
He’s another player who’s burned far too many fantasy owners for his ADP to get very high, but TE26? C’mon, guys. Even with the bevy of different quarterbacks the Redskins had last year, Reed was the TE9 before they shut him down. He’s currently the best receiver on the Redskins and it’s not like his quarterback play is any worse than it was last year.