In the 2021 content hub, you can find best ball strategy and optimal roster construction per position as well as player rankings that are updated through the offseason.
Throughout the offseason, we want to provide updates on player movement in best ball drafts. This allows us to maintain a more current pulse for where players are now being valued that were impacted by recent news.
Yesterday, we looked at the players who had their fantasy capital take the largest spikes. Today, we are going the other direction and looking at the players who have had the largest dip in cost.
*ADP From 4/29-5/11, prior ADP From 4/1-4/28
Post-NFL Draft ADP Fallers: QB
With the ongoing schism between Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay front office placing his future with the organization in (internally screaming “Don’t do it!”) jeopardy (sorry), gamers have started to let Rodgers slide. Rodgers is now currently the QB10 in FFPC formats and the QB9 on Fanball.
Rodgers was inherently due regression this season to begin with after setting career-highs in completion rate (70.7%), touchdown passes (48), and touchdown rate (9.1%) in 2020, but there are not many scenarios where Rodgers takes a significant downgrade in a move to another team and there is still a non-zero percent chance that he does stay in Green Bay. The only way you get caught holding the bag on Rodgers is if he ended up sitting out the season, which I would say is highly unlikely in early May.
Cam Newton was an obvious fall stemming directly from the Patriots drafting Mac Jones at No. 15 overall. Newton was a calculated QB2 dart throw with the Patriots potentially being unable to land a top prospect at the position (Newton still turned in eight QB1 scoring weeks in 2020, which was more than players such as Ryan Tannehill, Baker Mayfield, and Derek Carr, among others) but there are now low odds that Newton starts enough games this season to warrant adding him to any roster. As we covered yesterday, first-round quarterbacks play and they play early. For a player that was pulled from multiple games for Jarret Stidham, Newton should concede snaps to Jones sooner than later.
There was no bad news for the other quarterbacks here in Carson Wentz, Derek Carr, and Jameis Winston, but with multiple QB2 options rising after the draft, these were quarterbacks that were leapfrogged. The Raiders have been rumored to be in on Aaron Rodgers and had some peripheral interest in quarterback prospects in the draft, so Carr’s standing with the organization is not exactly concrete, but only a trade for Rodgers would push him out as the starter heading into the season.
Post-NFL Draft ADP Fallers: RB
Five of the six running backs here are closely correlated. We will start with Denver, who traded up to the No. 35 pick in the second round to grab Javonte Williams. While the Broncos still could release or trade Melvin Gordon (for a dead cap hit of $6.5M) in the final season of his contract, the early signal is that they plan to deploy both backs as a duo as they did a year ago with Gordon and Phillip Lindsay.
In seven games in which Lindsay missed or exited early in 2020, Gordon averaged 20.1 touches as opposed to 13.3 touches with Lindsay active. In the eight games that the two played together in full, Gordon received 29.2% of the team touches compared to 23.4% for Lindsay. Gordon accounted for 43% of the team carries compared to 36% for Lindsay. In the passing game, Gordon will surely have a 2021 edge over Williams. In the games he and Lindsay played together last year, Gordon ran a pass route on 47.5% of the team dropbacks compared to 29.3% for Lindsay.
Both backs likely need the other to miss time to elevate their station in 2021, but Williams still holds more favor to break away as the season progresses. We saw a number of backs selected in this area of the draft the past few seasons (Jonathan Taylor, J.K. Dobbins, Cam Akers, D’Andre Swift, and Miles Sanders to name a few) that were caught in early-season timeshares as rookie backs, but ended their initial seasons on strong fantasy notes.
The selection of Williams also all but nukes the Zero-RB parade that was being held for Mike Boone for the eight weeks prior to the draft. Boone enters the fourth season of his career with 78 career touches.
When the Jaguars selected Travis Etienne at No. 25 overall, it created another potential timeshare with James Robinson, two backs that were being selected inside of the top-40 picks on both sites prior to the draft. It also did not help public opinion that Urban Meyer then stated after the draft that they viewed Etienne as a third-down back and that both Robinson and Carlos Hyde would be used still as downfield runners. While teams do not use first-round capital on ancillary backs, that statement was enough to at least ding Etienne’s outlook among drafters with both Robinson and Hyde capable of being goal line backs should the Jaguars deploy them near the end zone over the rookie back.
For Robinson, this was a shoe that had a high probability of dropping. New general manager Trent Baalke has now drafted a running back in all seven of the drafts he has been a part of as a general manager with just one of those backs selected later than the fourth round.
Robinson was not expected to sustain his 2020 workload, first-round running back selection or not. Robinson handled 84.8% of the Jacksonville backfield carries and 85.8% of their backfield touches in 2020. On that workload, he also did not make it through the season, missing the final two weeks of the regular season with an ankle injury. Robinson has already dropped two full rounds in FFPC formats and over a round at Fanball, where he surely is not done sliding.
Post-NFL Draft ADP Fallers: WR
With the status of Aaron Rodgers returning to Green Bay up in the air, gamers have started operating with some trepidation on Davante Adams. Adams has only slid a few spots, but after being thew locked-in WR1 overall and a first round selection, he has now dipped to the second round in FFPC formats and to the turn at Fanball.
We do have a sample of Adams playing without Rodgers back in the 2017 season. That year, Rodgers played just six complete games, with Adams averaging 4.7 receptions for 57.0 yards per game with five touchdowns (15.4 PPR points per game). In Adams’s other eight games played with Brett Hundley, he averaged 5.8 receptions for 67.9 yards per game with five touchdowns and 16.3 PPR points per game. There is no way to spin a trade of Rodgers being a positive for Adams, but as we have seen with Michael Thomas over the past two seasons (especially with Taysom Hill), an alpha target commanding a massive target share still can have a reliable floor. Green Bay still does not have a viable threat on their pass-catching corps to siphon significant targets from Adams.
The selection of Ja’Marr Chase to the Bengals knocked both Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd down a few spots, but there is plenty in this offense available for all three wideouts to be successful. The Bengals deployed a third wide receiver on the field for 82% of their snaps in 2020, which was second in the league. This after 78% in 2019, which was first in the league. A portion of that is game script induced, but there also were enough targets for both Higgins and Boyd last year when the team was still forcing opportunities to A.J. Green. Even if Chase comes in and takes over the 19% target rate Green had from Joe Burrow. Higgins received 7.9 targets per game from Weeks 2-10 when he was inserted as a regular player while Boyd was at 8.7 targets per game prior to Burrow’s injury.
Like the two Cincinnati wideouts, all of the remaining wideouts that saw an immediate dip in ADP post-draft were all tied to their offenses selecting a rookie receiver within the top-34 draft picks. The only wideout not tethered to a first-round rookie was Jamison Crowder, who saw the Jets take Elijah Moore at No. 34 overall. Crowder is carrying an $11.4M cap number this season that only carries $1M in dead money, so we still may see him on another roster come Week 1.
Marquise Brown is the quintessential “in a Best Ball” fantasy option, but he stands to lose a lot if Rashod Bateman is ready to be a major contributor right out of the gates. Brown accounted for 45.3% of the wide receiver targets, which was the second-highest wideout target behind Davante Adams at 51.2% in 2020. After Brown’s 100 targets, the next most-targeted wide receiver was Willie Snead with just 48 looks in the passing game.
No team used and got less out their wide receiving unit in 2020 than the Ravens. Baltimore wide receivers collectively tallied 8.6 receptions for 108.1 yards on 13.8 targets per game, all league lows for a wide receiver corps. Part offensive philosophy and part lack of talent at the position, the Ravens have targeted their wide receivers just 55% (31st) in 2020 and 44% (32nd) in 2019.
Post-NFL Draft ADP Fallers: TE
Closing things up with tight ends, we see more of the fallout from the ongoing situation orbiting Aaron Rodgers as Robert Tonyan has seen a significant dip on both sites. While both Davante Adams and Tonyan have dropped multiple spots, gamers are still holding relatively steady with Aaron Jones, who has dipped just 1.4 spots in FFPC leagues (13.4 overall) and 1.9 spots (12.1 overall) at Fanball.
Back to Tonyan, he was already a suspect fantasy play due to how insanely hot he ran in the efficiency game last season fastened to the league’s MVP. Just seven of the 59 targets Tonyan received were incomplete in 2020 as that 88.1% catch rate was the highest ever for a tight end with more than 50 targets in a season. Not to be outdone on just pulling in targets, Tonyan’s 18.6% rate of receptions resulting in touchdowns trails only Julius Thomas in 2014 (19.4%) among tight ends who have caught 20 or more passes in a season. Averaging just 3.3 receptions per game (16th) and 36.6 yards per game (15th), Tonyan will be hard-pressed to sustain his 2020 output even if Rodgers is back in Green Bay.
Both Hayden Hurst and Eric Ebron were tied to the top-two tight ends selected in the draft. Both are in the final seasons of their contracts, but Ebron should hold onto more 2021 opportunity than Hurst.
The last remaining tight end here is Zach Ertz, who went through draft weekend without being traded despite the persistent rumors. Ertz is still expected to be a new roster come 202. Playing in just 11 games last season, the 30-year-old tight end ended up posting just 3.3 receptions for 30.5 yards per game with just one touchdown, contributing career lows with 9.3 yards per reception and 4.7 yards per target.