Best Ball Risers and Fallers: July (2020 Fantasy Football)
The end of July is here and NFL teams will be reporting to their facilities next week to prepare for one of the most challenging seasons in league history. With the beginning of training camp, best ball drafts are in full swing. Now is the time to look at players who are rising and falling so we can exploit pockets of value and avoid the pitfalls of over-drafting a player.
I took the FantasyPros mock draft simulator for another spin, this time using best ball settings. I took my results and compared them to the best ball draft that our very own Jim Columbo did back at the end of May. From there I was able to compare the two and found eight players whose ADP has changed by at least a full-round – Something I consider to be a significant difference.
A few of the risers on this list may surprise you but it goes to show how much variance there is when placing value on running backs. As we inch closer to the beginning of the season, we will continue to see the ADP curve spike for a number of players at the position. Let’s dive in and see where we stand.
- May Draft Position: 4.05 (53)
- July Draft Position: 3.06 (42)
- Margin of Difference: +11
I really don’t get the love for Melvin Gordon and his 3.8 YPC in 2019 but his ADP has jumped almost a full round since May. Gordon has played 16 games just once in his career but even if he stays healthy, how many touches will he really take away from Philip Lindsay? Drafters are paying a mid-RB2 price for a guy who may very well finish with less than 175 carries. I would be unlikely to roster Gordon at his May ADP and he is a complete fade in the third round for me.
- May Draft Position: 9.12 (120)
- July Draft Position: 8.06 (102)
- Margin of Difference: +14
Videos of Derrius Guice running routes and catching passes have been making the rounds on social media which may account for his modest one-round bump. He has a solid draft pedigree (2nd Round) and he ran a 4.49 40-yard dash at the 2018 combine but his injury history is tough to get past. He is coming off an ACL tear and a torn meniscus that has limited him to just five games in two seasons. Despite his ceiling and him being situated right outside the top-100, Guice is a bit of a lottery ticket even at his current ADP. Use caution here.
- May Draft Position: 8.05 (101)
- July Draft Position: 5.12 (72)
- Margin of Difference: +29
Kareem Hunt’s ADP has jumped over two full rounds since May making him one of the summer’s fastest risers. It hardly comes as a surprise as the zero-running back crowd ramps up their summer best ball leagues and Hunt is a prime target in that scenario. Coming off a season where he had 37 receptions in just eight games, Hunt would immediately become a top-5 option at the position if Nick Chubb were to have any kind of injury. In a year that will be played in the midst of a pandemic, Hunt is the top backup in football. His ADP may seem like a relative bargain a month from now.
- May Draft Position: 13.06 (162)
- July Draft Position: 8.09 (105)
- Margin of Difference: +57
Tom Brady’s draft stock has skyrocketed since signing with Tampa Bay. He’s gone from being drafted as a mid-QB2 to being a back-end QB1 and the hype train is unlikely to slow down. Brady will have arguably the most talented roster offensively he’s ever worked with. Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, OJ Howard, Cameron Brate, and Rob Gronkowski give him plenty to work with in the passing game and Bruce Arians won’t be shy in letting things run through Brady. The lack of a consistent threat in the running game only enhances his profile so it isn’t a surprise that Brady finds himself being drafted in the middle rounds now. Personally, I won’t have much of him on my teams at this ADP because I prefer a little more rushing upside in my quarterbacks. Still, the combination of talent and Arians could make him a top-5 option at the position in 2020.
- May Draft Position: 3.04 (40)
- July Draft Position: 4.01 (49)
- Margin of Difference: -9
Is it a surprise to see Cooper slipping to the fourth round? Hardly. Perhaps drafters are seeing Amari Cooper for what he is: An extreme boom or bust candidate who can win you one week and put up a zero some others. Cooper has been drafted as a low-end WR1 but I find it difficult to see a path where he gets there. The issue now is that the Cowboys’ other pass game pieces are starting to creep up in price which may end up making Cooper a relative bargain if his price keeps slipping by this time next month. For me, if I want a receiver who is only going to get between 110-120 targets, I will wait on Tyler Lockett two rounds later.
- May Draft Position: 2.10 (34)
- July Draft Position: 4.03 (51)
- Margin of Difference: -17
Robert Woods may ultimately be the best value in the Rams passing game as he is still being drafted lower than Cooper Kupp. Still, while Kupp’s price in May was too rich for my taste, now it makes sense to prioritize him if he is available in the fourth round. The departure of Brandin Cooks and Todd Gurley opens up 121 targets. With Los Angeles being the most pass-happy team in football, it seems safe to project Kupp for 130+ targets again this year. I prefer him to Amari Cooper and Odell Beckham Jr. who both have a higher ADP at the moment.
- May Draft Position: 8.10 (106)
- July Draft Position: 10.09 (129)
- Margin of Difference: -23
Breshad Perriman has been a polarizing player in his four NFL seasons. After a solid rookie year, he was a non-factor in his next two seasons and was even cut by the Ravens and Redskins. Now after signing a contract worth over $6 million in guarantees with the Jets, his fall into the latter part of the 10thround is puzzling for a few reasons. Perriman goes to a situation where he is a near-lock for 100+ targets as the Jets have very few options in the passing game outside of him and Jamison Crowder. Additionally, the Jets will almost certainly play from behind in the majority of games this year which should keep the passing game busy. At his ADP, Perriman makes for a nice pick as a WR4/5.
- May Draft Position: 6.08 (80)
- July Draft Position: 10.08 (128)
- Margin of Difference: -48
Between the uncertainty at quarterback for the Chargers and his health, Hunter Henry has fallen more than any other player on this list. Is that fair? Probably not in the context of overall ADP but he was the TE8 in this draft so his place in the positional hierarchy is safe. Henry’s fall has as much to do with the separation of the tiers of the tight end position as it does anything. It seems that after the Evan Engram and Tyler Higbee tier, drafters are willing to wait on values like Hayden Hurst, Noah Fant, and Austin Hooper. That will probably be the route I take as we move into August, leaving Henry as someone that I will not garner many shares of.
Values will continue to fluctuate throughout the month of August. Injuries and exposure to the coronavirus will both play a role so taking advantage of our tools in advance of your draft can help you navigate these uncertain times. Flexibility and a willingness to pivot to a different target will be as important as ever.