By: Zach Haugen (Twitter: @zhaugenfootball)
Find Value in Summer ADP Shifts: Wide Receivers
Every summer, once the dust settles on the NFL draft, I start doing best ball drafts to prepare for the upcoming season. Despite no actual games happening, I see draft boards changing drastically from the June to August after optimistic camp reports, injuries, and signings. Sometimes the move in ADP seems obvious and justified, other times I disagree with them completely. Those unjustified shifts in ADP are where you can find value. Often bigger shifts occur following preseason action, when guys make flashy plays or see large portions of first team reps. I will likely do another article similar to this profiling those ADP changes occurring over the month of August, but for now I want to check out the changes that have happened from June to August, and this article will be referring specifically to the wide receiver position.
The ADP Shift
Using the MFL ADP tool from @fantasyADHD which can be seen at MFL10 Live, I pulled up ADP information from June 10th to June 30th, and compared it to the ADP data we have so far from the month of August. Although most players stayed relatively steady, the first thing I noticed was that running backs as a whole seemed to be drafted a couple spots ahead of where they were in June. People see the running back position scarcity this year, and they are reacting to the supply and demand, which is creating the worst running back value we have seen in years in fantasy football. On the flipside of that, wide receivers have fallen and created some really nice values at the position. Starting receivers can be had in the 9th or 10th round in many drafts. The key, however, is still to find the best values within the position to maximize your advantage over your opponents.
The Indianapolis Colts
Often times, the success of the receivers can be tied to the success of their quarterbacks, and you can find value in correctly deciphering new or murky quarterback situations. For instance, the mystery of Andrew Luck’s current injury has had an affect on the pass catchers in Indianapolis. TY Hilton has only fallen from pick 14 to pick 18, but that early in the draft, that is a major swing. Donte Moncrief has fallen from pick 59 to 71. In this situation I am not scared off of the Colts receivers. Hilton has fallen back into a range where I thought he should have been originally, but I am finally now buying. Moncrief falling that far when Luck likely will not miss more than one game is pretty crazy. He also has finally fallen to a point where I have started to get some shares of him.
The Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins have been a bit of a roller coaster lately, which news that Ryan Tannehill would likely miss the whole year, the receives seemed prime for a major ADP drop, until they singed Jay Cutler to take his place. The ADP’s of Dolphins receivers are likely to balance back out during the preseason, but for now they are still being had at a discount. Jarvis Landry fell from pick 35 to 42. DeVante Parker fell from 71 to 76, and Stills fell from 158 to 170. I view Cutler as a similar talent at quarterback as Tannehill was, so I don’t think the overall receiving corps numbers should drop, but it may favor different receivers. Cutler’s gunslinger mentality justifies Landry’s fall in ADP to me, but there is certainly still some value to me if Landry falls into the 5th round, especially if we see Cutler focus in on him in preseason. I don’t see any reason Parker’s ADP should fall with Cutler under center. In fact, he is the exact kind of big receiver that Cutler seems to love in the mold of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Kenny Stills has a quarterback with a big arm, and a willingness to throw downfield, which should make Stills a value at pick 170 of a best ball league.
The Jacksonville Jaguars
Uncertain situations with a team’s quarterback, or receiving corps can also lead to fluctuations in ADP. Allen Robinson has seen his ADP drop from 27 to 34, and is often dropping out of the 3rd round completely with the lack of trust in Blake Bortles building not only in the fantasy community but within the Jaguars organization. Doug Marrone is on record as having said that he would ideally pass the ball zero times this year. Allen Robinson is a great talent but in this murky at best situation, this is a warranted ADP shift, but could become a really nice value if he continues to fall.
The Cleveland Browns
The Browns wide receivers have shifted in opposite directions following an injury-riddled offseason for Corey Coleman. After Coleman and Kenny Britt started the summer with ADP’s of 93 and 117 respectively, they now share an ADP of 107. There is also uncertainty at the quarterback situation, with rookie Kizer showing strong flashes, but inconsistency, and Osweiler somehow becoming the favorite to start. The matching ADP of these players seems fitting to me, as the pick would be dependent on team structure. If I am strong at receiver, and want a high upside middle round pick, I see Coleman as a potential break out candidate. Britt meanwhile is an absolute value as a potential number 1 receiver for a team who has produced with subpar quarterback play in the past. Full disclosure though, if Osweiler is indeed the starting quarterback for the Browns, I want no part of either receiver despite their value ADPs.
The Tennessee Titans
There may not be a more uncertain wide receiver corps than that of the Tennessee Titans. They drafted Corey Davis 5th overall in the 2017 NFL draft, and then signed Eric Decker in late June. Rishard Matthews appears to be the most solidified returning veteran to the group. Matthews has seen his ADP drop, mostly from the Decker signing, from 117 to 128. Davis has been a bit banged up, and is a rookie in a crowded wide receiver room, and has seen his ADP drop from 75 to 97. Decker meanwhile has seen his ADP remain steady in the back of the 8th round after switching teams. While I think Matthews could maintain a legitimate role in this offense, I think his upside has been severely capped this offseason, which makes me think the ADP shift was warranted. A preseason injury is never good for a rookie, and the Titans have the talent to move Davis along slowly. That being said, I am totally fine taking a flyer on Davis at his current ADP who has the talent and draft pedigree to outperform his draft price.
After escaping the dumpster fire that is the New York Jets, I expected Decker’s ADP to skyrocket, but he has jumped a modest 3 total spots. I expect that this is probably due to the uncertainty of his role on this offense, but I personally am buying. Decker has been insanely consistent no matter where he has been, including with Tim Tebow. As of now he is the number 1 wide receiver with a very efficient offense, an accurate quarterback, and a quarterback who is historically efficient in the red zone. It is a perfect match for Decker’s skillset. His volume may be low, but his floor/ceiling combination excites me more than any wide receiver around his ADP.
There will be a lot of players whose ADP will fall or rise drastically in the next few weeks. Just remember this…No player is a different talent 3 weeks from now despite how many flashy plays he makes against 2nd stringers or how many compliments he receives from his coaches. The only thing that should change your view on a player is a clear jump in opportunity from injuries ahead of them, or a different portion of first team reps than you previously expected.