Fantasy Equity Scores: Ameer Abdullah, Doug Martin And ADP Spikes
August 19, 2015 | Chet
Fantasy equity scores, as you may or may not know, are hardly static. They fluctuate as average draft positions bounce around like a smacked-around pinball in the final weeks before the NFL’s opening kickoff.
Players’ median and high projections won’t change — barring injury or some unforeseen catastrophy — but the relative value of players at every position will change in the coming weeks.
And for one player, Detroit rookie runner Ameer Abdullah, an ADP jolt has already vacuumed a good chunk of his equity after a million fantasy-minded eyeballs saw him on the field in the Lions’ first preseason game. We liked what we saw.
Abdullah’s ADP jumped by nearly two full rounds after his electric display against the Jets. His ADP moved so much, in fact, that he’s now in an entirely different running back tier. I had to add him to the below equity scores instead of his rightful spot in the RB13-24 tier because his stock skyrocketed (I had him slated for the below ADP tier because that’s where he’s been for the better part of two months).
The rookie’s median and high scores haven’t changed. They’re impressive even after the massive ADP swing, but they were eye popping a couple weeks ago. Abdullah, in early August, was being drafted as the 29th running back off the board, giving him a median equity score of 11. That’s almost unprecedented.
Even more jarring, his high equity score was 19. That’s a spicy little number.
Probably Abdullah’s rising draft stock isn’t finished. Another few impressive preseason runs and — god forbid, a touchdown — could send his ADP into the early third round. It wouldn’t shock me to see him taken at the end of the second round by early September.
His equity, in that scenario, would take a serious hit. You would be buying the rookie at his absolute ceiling. Maybe you already are.
Part of the reason for Abdullah’s high median projection is Joique Bell’s prospects: the Rotoviz sim score app, which I use as a baseline tool for these scores, shows that Bell’s best-case scenario is Fred Jackson’s 2011 season. This is the case for nearly ever old running back. The rest of his sim score comps are ugly: a bunch of plodders (Shonn Greene, Cadillac Williams, Cedric Benson, Michael Bush) with mostly limited roles.
numberFire editor and my podcasting partner, JJ Zachariason, points out that Abdullah could pretty easily inherit Reggie Bush’s 2013 role in Detroit, which could give him well over 200 touches in an offense that still has Calvin Johnson, the ultimate coverage tilter.
The Lions lured Bush in 2013 by showing them the massive underneath cushion created by defenses doing everything they could to contain Megatron. I don’t think the beastly receiver has changed all that much since then, so it stands to reason that Abdullah could take advantage of the same opportunity.
I have a hard time fearing a replacement-level runner like Bell when Lions coaches have tried their damndest to keep Abdullah’s elusiveness a secret this summer. The rookie won’t be a 300-touch guy, but here’s the best part: he doesn’t need to be.
I’ve once again used the Rotoviz similarity score app as a baseline for these median and high projections, along with the Rotoviz Projection Machine. Adjustments have been made, as always, especially for players who have switched teams of offensive schemes.
|Player||ADP||Median equity score||High equity score|
|Ameer Abdullah||RB19||1 (RB18)||9 (RB10)|
|Doug Martin||RB25||2 (RB23)||11 (RB14)|
|Rashad Jennings||RB26||-3 (RB29)||2 (RB22)|
|LeGarrette Blount||RB27||2 (RB25)||11 (RB16)|
|Arian Foster||RB28||-6 (RB34)||4 (RB24)|
|Chris Ivory||RB29||0 (RB29)||8 (RB21)|
|Giovani Bernard||RB30||2 (RB28)||8 (RB22)|
|Alfred Blue||RB31||-10 (RB41)||1 (RB30)|
|Isaiah Crowell||RB32||-4 (RB36)||3 (RB29)|
|Joique Bell||RB33||3 (RB30)||9 (RB24)|
|Tevin Coleman||RB34||0 (RB34)||9 (RB23)|
|Tre Mason||RB35||6 (RB29)||14 (RB21)|
|Shane Vereen||RB36||7 (RB29)||10 (RB26)|
|Ryan Mathews||RB37||10 (RB27)||14 (RB23)|
|Bishop Sankey||RB38||1 (RB37)||4 (RB34)|
|Devonta Freeman||RB39||3 (RB36)||5 (RB34)|
* Now for a white hot take: Ryan Mathews could win your league this year. You hate him because he kept breaking bones that one time you took him in the first round. I know. I get it. He’s now in an offense that will once again run an absurd number of offensive plays, playing behind a runner in DeMarco Murray who the Eagles are determined to keep healthy by lightening his once-massive workload. Philadelphia ran the pigskin 500 times (at 5.2 yards per carry) two short years ago — when they weren’t the victims of game flow nightmares like they were in 2014. Reaching that 500-carry mark would give Mathews 150 totes behind an elite offensive line, if beat writers’ belief that Mathews will see 30 percent of the team’s carries holds true. Forty percent of the team’s carries would give Mathews 200 carries, and a Murray injury of some kind would make him — from where I’m sitting — a locked-in top-10 weekly option. His price is perfectly reasonable; even an ADP spike would leave equity on both his median and high projections. I find myself taking Mathews everywhere because he’s a cheap part of a potentially explosive offense who could become a centerpiece of Chip Kelly’s attack. Remember: Philly coaches were keen on Mathews well before Murray became available in free agency. I don’t think that’s something we can — or should — ignore. Kelly’s Eagles squads have averaged 2,279.5 rushing yards in his first two seasons. I like Mathews’ chances of getting a chunk of that in 2015.
* The Myth of Todd Gurley has kept Mason’s ADP deflated all summer. There’s no reason to think that’ll change anytime soon. Gurley, from what I understand, is supposed to come off of a devastating injury, step onto an NFL field for the first time and become a fantasy miracle. I think that’s something less than feasible. Mason was pretty good in 2014, playing in what could be the most vanilla offense of all time. Using only games in which he was the Rams’ lead back (nine games), Mason’s sim score comps are encouraging. Runners who proved efficient on limited carries and scored a bunch of touchdowns (Marion Barber in 2006, Travis Henry in 2002) show up in Mason’s comps. If you expect Gurley to take the workhorse role after returning at some yet-to-be-determined date, then you probably shouldn’t even take Mason as a flier. If you think Gurley’s ADP is the most baffling thing in fantasy football and believe Mason has a good chance of staying relevant in an offense that will be much better than it was in 2014, I think the second-year back has a lot of appeal at RB35.
* Every observer with eyeballs says Doug Martin is, by far and away, the Bucs’ best running back in training camp, with the brutally inefficient Charles Sims lagging far behind fantasy’s 2012 No. 2 runner. Some of his fantasy equity has drained away over the past month as it becomes clearer that he’ll get starters’ carries. His median prospects remain decent, however, and his high projection would make him quite the steal at RB25. Tampa plays quite a few of 2014’s worst run defenses in 2015, and with a rookie quarterback running a Lovie Smith team, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect Martin to see a fairly big workload. Martin has been good catching passes out of the backfield too — an important factor on a team that will face quite a few deficits in 2015. He reeled in 49 passes for 472 yards during his berserk rookie campaign. I’m all over Martin unless or until he breaches top-20 running back territory.