If Your Fantasy Football League Drafted Today (2020)
The end is near.
No, not of the world — I’m not Nostradamus, after all. But the fantasy regular season is almost over, and you probably know if you’re going to qualify for the playoffs or not. If you are, congratulations! Enjoy the next few weeks, but don’t forget to look back and identify which strategies went right. That way, you’ll be ready for next year.
However, if you’re on the outside looking in, you should use some of your newfound free time to game plan for next year. Identify the picks that sunk you. Once you’ve done that, ask yourself what went wrong. While freak injuries aren’t your fault, we can sometimes tell before the season if a player is on their way out, so look back at the preseason tea leaves and see what people were saying in August. Then, make a mental note to avoid similar players next year.
Regardless of which camp you fall into, I’m here to make your life easier. Here are some of the players who have seen the largest jumps in our expert consensus rankings (ECR) from draft season to the present!
Biggest Risers Compared to Preseason ADP
If you drafted some of these guys, well, congratulations! There’s a good chance that you’re fighting for a bye week — or at least a playoff appearance. This list includes two quarterbacks, one old and one young; one receiver on a new team; this year’s Chris Godwin; and, of course, some breakout rookies. I’ve tried to identify the key lesson with each of them, but I suggest you do some digging of your own, too.
3. Calvin Ridley (ADP #42 to ECR #15) — I called it, and so did Kyle Yates all the way back in May. Tons of vacated targets in a pass-heavy offense turned out to be a recipe for success — Ridley’s situation compared well to Chris Godwins’ in 2019 after DeSean Jackson went back to Philly.
5. D.K. Metcalf (ADP #54 to ECR #11) — Metcalf has turned things up a notch in Seattle’s increasingly pass-heavy offense. We didn’t know Pete Carroll would let Russ cook, but he certainly has, and it’s benefited Metcalf the most.
6. Darren Waller (ADP #56 to ECR #18) — Yours truly made this call in January. The key factor: volume. Sure, the Raiders drafted a bunch of new weapons, but none of them seemed like candidates to fill the short-yardage role that Waller performs.
7. Stefon Diggs (ADP #62 to ECR #24) — This one took me by surprise. Receivers tend to struggle on new teams, but Diggs has been the exception, as he ranks second in the league in targets (110) and receptions (80).
8. D’Andre Swift (ADP #65 to ECR #17) — Again, I’ll admit I didn’t think the Lions would produce a fantasy-viable running back this year. It took a few weeks for him to emerge, but Swift has played phenomenally thus far.
9. Kareem Hunt (ADP #68 to ECR #27) — High-value handcuff with tons of upside. Kevin Stefanski’s history of coaching run-heavy teams should’ve boosted Hunt’s ADP.
10. Aaron Rodgers (ADP #85 to ECR #54) — Don’t fade this man. Fantasy analysts were out on him due to Green Bay’s… interesting off-season decision-making, but his stats under LaFleur suggested that he’d remain a viable option.
12. Antonio Gibson (ADP #150 to ECR #13) — I hope you listened to Ron Rivera when he compared Gibson to Christian McCaffrey. I also hoped you listened when Adrian Peterson said he got cut because Washington had so much faith in Gibson. If you drafted before both of those events, well, I hope you listened to David Zach.
13. Robby Anderson (ADP #157 to ECR #51) — I didn’t Anderson’s strong 2020 coming. It does make some sense — he worked with new Carolina head coach Matt Rhule back in college — but I always saw Anderson as more of a deep threat than the mid-range weapon he’s being used as now. Perhaps I should’ve looked into how Rhule used him at Temple, as his current yards per catch rate is right around his collegiate yards per catch rate.
14. James Robinson (ADP #198 to ECR #8) — Depending on when you drafted, maybe you went with Chris Thompson or Ryquell Armstead instead. Robinson is a lesson in paying close attention to local beats and not being afraid to take risks late in your draft.
15. Chase Claypool (ADP #259 to ECR #35) — The Steelers have a phenomenal track record when it comes to rookie receivers, and Claypool has been no exception. If Pittsburgh invests in a wideout, take them.
16. Justin Herbert (ADP #302 to ECR #60) — Don’t beat yourself up for not taking Herbert, as all the rhetoric from Anthony Lynn suggested he wouldn’t see the field until late in the year. That said, don’t be afraid to spend a late-round flyer on an early first-round rookie — you never know when they’ll get the green light.
Note: One top-100 player, Myles Gaskin (ADP N/A to ECR #78) went so consistently undrafted that he did not have a 2020 ADP on file. His breakout truly came out of left field.
Biggest Fallers Compared to Preseason ADP
I’m going to exclude picks like Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham, and Joe Mixon, as they lost value due to injury, and that’s not something you can predict. Players who aren’t hurt but lost value due to injuries around them are fair game. As you might expect, we’ve got some Buccaneers receivers, Chiefs running backs, and some players whose teams have already drafted their replacements. Again, I’ve tried to point out the key takeaway from each player, but I encourage you to see try and find another on your own.
1. Ezekiel Elliott (ADP #3 to ECR #37) — Yikes. You couldn’t have predicted the injury to Dak Prescott, but the offensive line injuries (and Travis Frederick’s retirement) should’ve been bigger red flags.
2. Michael Thomas (ADP #4 to ECR #25) — Again, you couldn’t have called Thomas’ injury. That said, his social media feud with DeVante Parker could have raised some red flags. Enough to pass on the guy who just led the league in receiving? Maybe not. This one’s hard to evaluate.
4. Kenyan Drake (ADP #17 to ECR #40) — Yep, predictable. While he’s gotten a larger share of the workload than I anticipated, the Cardinals have opted to use Kyler Murray and Chase Edmonds (as a receiver) close to the goal-line, limiting his value.
5. Chris Godwin (ADP #20 to ECR #41) — I wrote a lengthy case against Godwin in June, as I foresaw regression on both his part and on Tom Brady’s. But that’s not the only reason why Godwin lost value — the Buccaneers also brought in Antonio Brown. Since Bruce Arians said they wouldn’t back in March, you may have felt safe picking Godwin; unfortunately, you can usually be pretty sure that Arians will do the opposite of what he says.
6. Lamar Jackson (ADP #21 to ECR #76) — Don’t draft quarterbacks early. Next.
8. JuJu Smith-Schuster (ADP #30 to ECR #50) — The fact that Pittsburgh didn’t want to re-sign Smith-Schuster — and that they drafted Claypool in the second round — should’ve been the writing on the wall for those who wanted to take Smith-Schuster at his ADP.
9. Le’Veon Bell (ADP #43 to ECR #150) — Yikes. Don’t draft players in Adam Gase-led offenses.
10. Leonard Fournette (ADP #44 to ECR #100) — The Jaguars declined to pick up Fournette’s fifth-year option, and they decided to wrap things up with him a season early. If you drafted before he signed with the Buccaneers, he was a smart upside pick; if you signed him after, well, good luck dealing with Bruce Arians’ backfield.
11. Mark Ingram (ADP #46 to ECR #201) — The writing was on the wall with the J.K. Dobbins pick, but even I was surprised to see how fast Ingram fell from grace in Baltimore. If a team drafts like they’re moving on, don’t be surprised if they move on mid-season.
12. T.Y. Hilton (ADP #61 to ECR #162) — Hilton’s best days came with Andrew Luck, so there was some optimism that he’d return to relevance with a new (and better) quarterback. That said, the Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman picks should’ve suggested that Indianapolis was planning to move away from the aging veteran.
13. Devin Singletary (ADP #63 to ECR #133) — I didn’t expect Josh Allen to look this good, and I didn’t think Zack Moss would play better than Singletary, but both of those factors have combined to substantially reduce Singletary’s value.
14. Tyler Higbee (ADP #67 to ECR #196) — We could’ve seen the Rams’ shift to a run-first offense coming, although it was unclear how much of an impact that’d have on Higbee. Maybe we shouldn’t chalk a guy up as a top-10 option based on a late-season hot streak?
15. A.J. Green (ADP #71 to ECR #187) — Sorry, Tags. Green didn’t live up to expectations after his return from injury, and as a result, his ECR has plummeted. While he was probably worth the risk, you knew that Tee Higgins would be right there if Green faltered.
16. Marquise Brown (ADP #77 to ECR #135) — Another negative touchdown regression candidate. Brown just hasn’t been a reliable option with Lamar Jackson’s struggles — his best fantasy performances came after a long-range connection with third-string quarterback Trace McSorley.
Consensus Rest of Season Rankings
The numbers above were generated from FantasyPros’ expert consensus rankings for the rest of the season. You can view the full list below.
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