My Guys: ADP 1-75
August 19, 2014 | Chet
Good day and or evening Fake Footballers. (Yes, we have readers on the other side of the Earth, so it can be or!) Below I’ve started my short series on players I like this season compared to their ADP. For reference I’m using FantasyPros ADP which smushes together ADP’s from around the internets. For this article I’ve looked at ADP 1 through 75, well 2 through 75 because you can’t like a guy more than most out of every human. So without further ado:
Montee Ball – ADP: RB 9, Overall 17 – I believe Ball is worth a first round pick this season, but his ADP puts him in the second round. Of course he has yet to prove himself, so the first round is risky, but he’s shown me enough to believe he will be the lead back in Denver and we know what that means for offensive opportunities. Last season Knowshon Moreno won the starting job and finished as the fifth best fantasy back. Ball had to have his appendix chopped out but is already back to doing drills and is a steal in the second round.
Antonio Brown – ADP: WR 8, Overall 26 – Brown finished last season as the sixth best fantasy wide receiver in Non-PPR leagues and the third best in one-point PPR leagues. He caught 67% of all his targets and was second in total receptions and receiving yards. The only thing to keep him from a huge fantasy season was his eight total touchdowns. He may never have the upside for 15 touchdowns, but he does have upside for 10-12 and the Steelers will continue to throw the ball. Brown is the #1 receiver in a pass happy offense. He should be going in the second round at the very least.
Rob Gronkowski – ADP: TE 3, Overall 30 – Gronk is risky, there’s no way around that, but his upside is insanely high. In 2011 he scored 18 touchdowns in the regular season. For his career he has 43 touchdowns in just 50 regular season games. And I’m starting to worry less about him not playing the first game of the season now that he’s been cleared for contact in practice. Tom Brady still doesn’t have a go-to receiver other than Gronk and if he can stay healthy I have no doubt he competes for the league lead in touchdown receptions, even against wide receivers. He’s a difference maker that can win your league nearly single-handedly and those are hard to come by.
Torrey Smith – ADP: WR 24, Overall 65 – I’ve come around to Smith this season after taking a look at Gary Kubiak’s tendencies to target one receiver and a host of tight ends. Smith is a good to great receiver, but has had Joe Flacco instead of Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball and not throwing him the ball as much as other #1 receivers. I think Kubiak fixes that last part and Flacco does have one of the best deep ball arms in the league. Smith’s upside is very close to top 10 and he’s going nowhere near that right now.
Ben Tate – ADP: RB 26, Overall 66 – Tate has flashed ability in the zone-blocking scheme and Browns’ offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan knows all about that scheme having grown up with it. Tate’s injury-prone tag and the threat of Terrance West has kept drafters at bay, but he is going much too late for my liking. We saw what Shanahan was able to do with Alfred Morris in Washington and even last season when they won a total of three games, Morris was able to put up 1275 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, making him the 14th best fantasy back. The Browns will run the ball and they have one of the best offensive lines in the league. His upside if healthy is top 10.
Joique Bell — ADP: RB 28, Overall 70 — I will probably own Bell on every team this season based on where he’s getting drafted. In the first half of last season Reggie Bush averaged 21 touches to Bell’s 11. In the second half those touches evened out to 18 for Bush and 17 for Bell, while Bell averaged slightly more fantasy points per game in the second half. If he had held that pace since game one he would have been sitting right at the edge of top-10 production, but even with the early season usage, he still finished as the 16th best fantasy back in standard leagues. And now he is going off the board as the 28th? That seems odd.
The Lions do have a new offensive coordinator in Joe Lombardi who comes from the Saints way of doing business. When we think of the Saints running backs we often get sad and mad and a little vomity, but I feel good about Bell in this new system. First off, he’s a good goal line back. Last season he rushed 12 times inside the opponent’s 5-yard line and scored seven times. That TD percentage ranks third for all running backs with 10 or more attempts in that same situation last year. He also caught 53 passes (averaging slightly more yards than Bush per reception). Last season the Saints gave two running backs 70+ receptions each! Bell is set up to at the very least see equal time with Bush, up his receptions and continue as the goal line back.
You can look at the Saints running backs last season and lament the fact that they spread the ball around too much. This is true, and if the Lions liked Mikel LeShoure I’d be worried, but they don’t and the only two other running backs to take away looks are Bush, who I believe will be more of the Darren Sproles player and Theo Riddick. Now I love Riddick this season, but his best role is as a pass catcher and I think Bush will block him for the most part. While Bell is a pass catcher and can work in short yardage and early downs. And even if all of this is blowing smoke, he’s still too low!