ECR Risers & Fallers: Early August (2020 Fantasy Football)
The best fantasy drafters capitalize on shifts in player value. A guy who is a first-rounder one week may become a second-rounder the next, and you’ll want to know when to buy and when to sell. You’ll also want to know when a player’s price has risen far past what you should be paying.
To do so, you should follow trends in both players’ average draft positions (ADP) and expert consensus rankings (ECR). Both metrics help you gauge how other people value a given player — ADP measures a typical user, while ECR measures what analysts think. If a player shoots up in ECR but not ADP, that makes them a steal — but if their ECR crashes while their ADP doesn’t, they’re probably a fade.
Here are the key trends to note in player ECR through early August. Check back in two weeks for any late-month developments! Since there’s so much instability outside of the top-75 players, I’ll concentrate on players above that threshold.
|Player||ECR (7/29)||ECR (8/12)||+/-|
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – KC)
After Damien Williams’ opt-out, it should surprise no one to see CEH jump in the rankings. Not only did Patrick Mahomes request that the Chiefs draft him, but he and Andy Reid have also praised his work ethic already. It seems that CEH has the discipline needed to learn an NFL-caliber offense without a preseason, so you should take him toward the start of the second round. Expect him to produce 2018 Kareem Hunt-type numbers this season (Hunt had the eighth-most points per game for a running back in his breakout with the Chiefs).
JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR – PIT) and James Conner (RB – PIT)
Ben Roethlisberger’s weapons got a much-needed boost in ECR over the past two weeks. Big Ben and the Steelers are just one year removed from the league’s most massing attempts that saw both Conner and JuJu post top-10 finishes at their positions. While Roethlisberger’s age, injury concerns, and Pittsburgh’s improved defense may cap their ceilings, their rising ECRs mean that they offer solid value in the middle rounds.
Mark Andrews (TE – BAL)
Andrews somehow beat out CEH on this list. He jumped 8.8 spots and passed Ertz to become the TE3! While lots of drafters expect him to get more snaps without Hayden Hurst in town, those snaps might just involve run blocking. The Ravens attempted the fewest passes last season, so while Andrews is a good bet to lead the team in targets, there’s not a ton of action to go around. Worse, Andrews is doomed for touchdown regression — he scored once every 6.4 touches, a rate that only Jared Cook and Darren Fells could beat. While other experts seem to be buying right now, I can’t jump on the bandwagon in good conscience.
Calvin Ridley (WR – ATL)
The Ridley hype train is leaving the station. Kyle Yates projects him as a top-10 receiver, and I agree with him. He plays on the pass-happiest offense in the NFL, and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter shouldn’t change the script too much. The Falcons should continue to struggle on defense as well, which will keep Ridley involved late into games. As experts adjust their rankings throughout the month, expert Ridley to keep on rising.
Kareem Hunt (RB – CLE)
We don’t really know what Kevin Stefanski has planned in Cleveland. While we know that he emphasized the run in Minnesota, there’s no way to gauge how he’ll split the workload with Nick Chubb. I think that there will be space for both backs in the offense, especially behind their much-improved offensive line (Jack Conklin and Jedrick Wills will be an elite tackle tandem). Hunt is a great mid-round value because of the potential volume in Cleveland, and his ECR and ADP should keep rising.
Julian Edelman (WR – NE)
Edelman was criminally undervalued earlier in the offseason. The man finished as the WR7 last season, beating the likes of Kenny Golladay and Amari Cooper. Sure, Edelman is entering his age-34 season, and yes, he’ll have a new guy throwing him the football. But he’s still the lead dog in this offense! Edelman’s stable volume should have him above high-risk guys like DK Metcalf and DeVante Parker, and I’d expect his ECR to keep rising. He’s already an ADP bargain, so keep drafting Edelman in your PPR leagues as his stock continues to rise.
|Player||ECR (7/29)||ECR (8/12)||+/-|
Joe Mixon (RB – CIN)
Most of this week’s fallers didn’t fall that much. That said, the jumps by CEH and Andrews helped push a few guys down, and Mixon is one of them. I think Mixon’s ECR is about where it should be right now, as he’s below Derrick Henry and above Kenyan Drake. While I have faith that Zac Taylor and the Bengals’ offensive line will rebound, they’ll be led by a rookie quarterback, and they’ll probably have some growing pains to start the year. Don’t buy Mixon until the early second round, like his ECR suggests.
Nick Chubb (RB – CLE)
The experts are too low on Chubb. He should not be below Miles Sanders or Allen Robinson, but you should take advantage of the fact that he is. I project Chubb as a low-end RB1 or a high-end RB2, and the experts have him as a mid-level RB2. Yes, there’s a lot of uncertainty about the workload in Cleveland, but that doesn’t warrant a ranking this low, and it doesn’t justify a 2.2-spot fall. Keep buying Chubb in the second round where you can.
Cooper Kupp (WR – LAR)
Finally, a trend I can agree with. Kupp’s electric start to 2019 came to a screeching halt midway through the season, and guys like Robert Woods, Gerald Everett, and Tyler Higbee started beating him out for targets on a weekly basis. The Rams should shift to more 12-personnel in 2020, and that will keep Kupp out of the slot, where he played on 65.5 percent of the teams’ snaps in 2019. As the experts fade Kupp, you should too.
Leonard Fournette (RB – JAC)
Fournette exploded last season. After never earning more than 50 targets in a year, he got 100 of them in 2019. His 76 catches and 522 receiving yards supplemented a solid year on the ground to give him an RB7 finish. Unfortunately, all the signs in Jacksonville suggest that he’s on his way out. The team declined his fifth-year option, and new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden added his old receiving back, Chris Thompson. Also, the Jags won’t have many favorable gamescripts this season, and that will further limit Fournette’s usage. Follow the experts and keep fading Fournette until around the early fifth round.
Zach Ertz (TE – PHI)
Ertz’ ECR collapsed the most of anyone’s in the past two weeks. I’m not sure why — the Eagles led the league in passes to tight ends, and their receiving corps doesn’t look too much better. Yes, they drafted Jalen Reagor, but DeSean Jackson is a question mark, Alshon Jeffery is still hurt, and Marquise Goodwin opted out. That leaves Ertz and Dallas Goedert to shoulder most of the work in the passing game. Let the experts fade Ertz — hopefully, it’ll help him fall to you in the late fourth or early fifth round.
Courtland Sutton (WR – DEN), Darren Waller (TE – LV), and Devin Singletary (RB – BUF)
I’ve grouped these guys because they’re falling for the same reason: experts all expect them to see less work than they earned in 2019. They’ve got a good argument, too — Sutton now has to deal with Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler, Waller must compete with Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards, and Singletary will have to work with Zack Moss. That said, all of these guys were high-volume options last year, and that suggests some degree of sustainability. Don’t invest too much in these guys, but if they continue to fall in ECR and ADP, they could be worth a mid-round dart throw.
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