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. Kicking the first of those posts off, there was an impact from the aftermath of the NFL Draft that has altered the fantasy landscape.
*ADP From 4/29-5/10, prior ADP From 4/1-4/28
Post-NFL Draft ADP Risers: QB
We dove into both Matt Ryan and Sam Darnold being fantasy winners after the draft last week, so we will not linger on those two options.
The other two quarterbacks to make an immediate spike in average draft position happen to be two rookies in Justin Fields and Trey Lance.
While both Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson are expected to be Week 1 starters already, we still have some trepidation for both Fields and Lance. Each still offers a lot of fantasy potential and room to climb over the course of the offseason. Both coaching staffs are providing the typical lines you would expect as far as expected competition between Jimmy Garoppolo and Andy Dalton, but both rookie passers should be expected to play and play early on.
Since 2008, we have had 39 quarterbacks selected in the first round. 17 of them started immediately in Week 1. 26 of those players were starting for their organizations by Week 4 of the season. 29 of those players started more than half of the team games as a rookie. The only first-round rookie quarterbacks to actually not start a game in their rookie season out of those 39 players were Jake Locker in 2011 and Jordan Love a year ago, who played behind the MVP of the league.
Scaling that down to quarterbacks selected in the top-10, there are 26 passers in that same sample of 39. Those 26 passers have averaged 12.4 starts as rookies with 22 of them starting double-digit games. 16 of those were taken with top-3 selections (seven at picks 2-3). 15 of those 16 quarterbacks started double-digit games.
Fields was selected just outside of the top-10, but there should be more pressure to get Fields under center sooner than later due to the hot seat Matt Nagy is on, paired with the performance we saw from Dalton in 2020.
Dalton will turn 34 years old in October of the season, coming off completing 64.9% of his passes with 6.5 yards per pass attempt with the Cowboys last season, a team with markedly more talent than this current Chicago roster. From a clean pocket, Dalton averaged 6.8 yards per attempt, which was 37th in the league.
I would not be surprised to see Fields gain steam toward opening the season as the starter while there have already been whispers of Lance being a package player even if Garoppolo is retained and starts the season. When both Lance and Fields inevitably do find snaps, they immediately become fantasy relevant with a ton of upside due to the importance of pairing both passing and rushing acumen together for fantasy.
Post-NFL Draft ADP Risers: RB
Myles Gaskin and Mike Davis were the top two backs when we looked at the biggest winners exiting the draft and that played out in best ball drafts during the first week after the NFL Draft. Gaskin jumped nearly three rounds in FFPC formats and a round and a half over at Fanball. Davis climbed two rounds on both sites.
A pair of rookies in Michael Carter and Trey Sermon have had the largest spikes stemming from the draft at the position and have climbed near the top-100 players overall.
Checking in at 5’8” and 202 pounds, Carter is undersized for a feature back role, but lands in a favorable situation to get immediate opportunity with Tevin Coleman, La’Mical Perine, and Ty Johnson as the backs he has to compete with for touches. Carter has pass-catching ability and out-gained Javonte Williams in each of the past two seasons at North Carolina. He immediately is in the conversation as a potential arbitrage option on the roles and archetypes of more expensive running backs such as Chase Edmonds, Myles Gaskin, and Austin Ekeler.
The 49ers traded up in the third round to select Sermon, but there is much more ambiguity in the San Francisco backfield for the 2021 season than what Carter has to compete with in New York. Sermon still has to contend with Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr., and perhaps even Wayne Gallman among viable backs on the roster. On the pro end of that conversation, Mostert will be 29 years old this season with a career-high of 151 touches in a single season, while both Wilson Jr. and Gallman have been career backups who are only under contract for this season.
James Conner was also in our post on post-draft winners despite all the buzz surrounding Chase Edmonds. Conner was still markedly better than any other Pittsburgh back last season given the context of his offense and still has a goal line edge over Edmonds as stated in that post if Conner can stay on the field.
Both Buffalo backs in Zack Moss and Devin Singletary saw a slight boost after the draft after gamers were scared off prior to the draft that the Bills may be looking at backs with more splash-play ability. Buffalo did not draft a back, but it is hard to be excited here as well.
In 2020, Buffalo running backs combined for just 21.5 touches per game (30th in the league) for 106.7 yards from scrimmage per game (28th). On the bright side, they did average 5.0 yards per touch, which ranked 12th in the league.
Moss played 13 games as a rookie, turning 126 touches into 576 yards and five touchdowns. Moss was out-touched by Singletary 142-126 in their games played together, but Moss had more scoring opportunities inside of the 5-yard line (8-3 in those games played). Singletary has shared work both of his two seasons in the league, seeing 180 and 194 touches for 969 and 956 yards. With six total touchdowns and averaging 2.4 receptions per game in each of those seasons.
Other climbers have been Darrell Henderson and Rashaad Penny, who at worst become upside handcuffs tethered to highly drafted backs. Henderson jumped up to 154 touches for 783 yards (5.1 yards per touch) in 2020 with six touchdowns. For a period of the season early on, Henderson even took over as the feature back for Los Angeles before conceding ground to Cam Akers to close the season. After a late-season ACL injury in 2019, Penny appeared in only the final three games of the 2020 season. Penny flashed in 2019 prior to injury with 6.2 yards per touch.
Post-NFL Draft ADP Risers: WR
|Amon-Ra St Brown||256.8||306.8||50||204.8||224.8||20|
Looking at the wideouts who have spiked the most after the draft, we have five rookies making the largest jumps. I covered the landing spots for all of Ja’Marr Chase to Cincinnati, DeVonta Smith to the Eagles, Rondale Moore to Arizona, and Elijah Moore to the Jets as they were selected in the draft, so check those out to get into the weeds on their immediate fantasy outlook.
The remaining rookie wideout riser that did not have his own piece during the draft is Amon-Ra St. Brown. Brown was selected at No. 112 in a trade up to the Lions. Among all prospects in this class, only Rondale Moore (8.9) and Elijah Moore (6.1) averaged more receptions per game than St. Brown’s 5.9 over their collegiate careers.
The rub is that when he finally got to be the full-fledged lead wideout with Michael Pittman leaving for the NFL is that St. Brown struggled to make plays downfield and saw his yards per catch dip for 13.5 yards the year prior down to 11.7 yards last season. After playing 88.7% of his snaps in the slot in 2019, St. Brown played in the slot for just 27.9% of his snaps in 2020. At 6’1” and 195 pounds, St. Brown may not have an upside position at the NFL level if he cannot win downfield, but as 2019 showed, he is best suited to play inside and use his ability after the catch.
The cupboard has been cleaned in Detroit at the wide receiver position and what the Lions currently have in place is an expansion team-level wide receiving outfit. With Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, and Danny Amendola all moving on from the team in free agency this offseason, St. Brown has only Quintez Cephus, Tyrell Williams, and Breshad Perriman as significant competition for targets, and none are strong assets on the inside.
Jerry Jeudy has had a solid drumbeat among gamers this offseason due to the underperformance and poor quarterback play he received as a rookie. Jeudy received the second-most targets among all rookie wideouts last year (113). Unfortunately, Jeudy ran cold in receiving many quality targets on that volume. His 58.2% catchable target rate was the second-lowest among all wideouts with 50-plus targets on the season behind A.J. Green. When he did have good looks, Jeudy also was second in the league in drops (12). But his 16.5 yards per reception showcased his big play ability, which led all rookies that caught more than 35 passes if he reduces his own mistakes and sees an increase in target quality in his second season.
In 2020, just 63.7% of the Denver wide receiver targets were deemed catchable per Pro Football Focus, the lowest rate in the league. Carolina wideouts were at 75.9%, which ranked ninth in the league. Drew Lock likely gets some initial runway to start 2021, but Teddy Bridgewater’s game-managing style should placate to a defensive-minded coaching staff sooner than later to give the Denver wideouts more target efficiency.
With Antonio Brown re-signing with the Buccaneers, he had a bump in ADP, jumping three full rounds in FFPC formats. Brown was the WR21 from Weeks 9-17 after joining the Bucs while ranking 25th in targets (62), 18th in receptions (45), and 27th in yardage (483) to go along with four touchdowns. In the eight games that Brown played, he showed he is still capable of spike weeks as he had two top-10 scoring weeks and five weeks as WR31 or better. Floating around as the WR45 in ADP, Brown still offers upside.
We covered Darnell Mooney and how he gained a viable downfield passer in Justin Fields compared to the inefficient deep targets he received as a rookie, leaving us just Mecole Hardman among the wide receiver risers. With the Chiefs only selecting Cornell Powell in the fifth round paired with the departure of Sammy Watkins via free agency, Kansas City still offers a runway for Hardman to increase his role in his third NFL season.
In 2020, Hardman improved on his rookie line (26-538-6 on 41 targets) in the targets (62), receptions (41), and yardage (560) departments, but his explosive plays (20.7 yards per catch in 2019) dropped (13.7 in 2020) while he went from six to four touchdowns. Failing to show much as an actual nuanced wideout, the shine surrounding Hardman a year ago at this time has all but dissipated as he is currently well below the price point he was at this stage of the 2020 offseason.
Post-NFL Draft ADP Risers: TE
Kyle Pitts was the highest-drafted tight end in NFL history and landed in a strong situation to challenge all of the marks posted by top rookie tight ends. Climbing above T.J. Hockenson outright in spots, Pitts is close to completely in or out status and will surely be a polarizing option among gamers for the remainder of the offseason.
Hockenson, Anthony Firkser, and Blake Jarwin all were our biggest draft winners among tight ends during the draft, so it is no surprise to see each receive a spike in draft capital exiting the draft.
We also have seen the ghost of Chris Herndon receive a spike in the tight end weighted FFPC formats after the Jets did not draft a tight end, adding Kenny Yeboah as an undrafted rookie. Herndon turned in a pedestrian 31-287-3 line a year ago, but he scored in his final two games of the season with 7-63-1in the season finale to tease us with potential now that the team has moved on from Adam Gase.