Adam Levitan

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ADP First Look: Undervalued

Monday, July 01, 2013

5. Zac Stacy, RB, Rams – ADP: 126.9
The Rams want us to believe that they’ll stage a true four-way competition for the starting running back job at camp. That’s a half-truth. Although Isaiah Pead, Stacy, Daryl Richardson and Terrance Ganaway are all in the mix for carries, they’re not competing for the same role.

The 195-pound Richardson and his 4.46 wheels are penciled into the outside runs. He’s also going to be used as a receiver more. “Any time we can get Daryl the ball in space, it’s going to put added pressure on the other team,” coach Jeff Fisher said. Ganaway, a fullback type at 6’0/240, is trying to carve out a short-yardage role.

That leaves just the unproven Pead and rookie Stacy battling for the true feature back job. After averaging 5.72 YPC behind an overmatched Vanderbilt offensive line for the last two seasons, we can’t count Stacy out.

6. Danny Amendola, WR, Patriots – ADP: 46.5
Everyone knows that Wes Welker averaged 112.0 catches per season over his six years with the Patriots. Everyone also knows that Amendola was brought in to fill that slot role. So why is he going in the fourth round right now? Injuries. Over the last two seasons, Amendola has missed 20 games and been extremely limited in at least five others.

The good news is that the injuries have been somewhat fluky. He didn’t blow out a knee, tear an Achilles’ or battle through recurring hamstring pulls. Amendola’s injuries have been a torn triceps muscle, a strange clavicle dislocation and a sore heel. They will not linger or leave him at risk for aggravation. Aggressive owners should be attacking the injury prone label in situations like this, not avoiding it.

The other factor here is the mess the Patriots have made at receiver. With such little proven talent at the X spot, Aaron Hernandez gone and Rob Gronkowski (back surgery) a candidate for the reserve/PUP list, Tom Brady will have to lean on Amendola. The two have reportedly formed a strong bond already as the ex-Ram stood out during OTAs and minicamp. Amendola is a legit threat to lead the entire league in targets.

7. Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers – ADP: 52.3
In 2011, Nelson was fantasy’s No. 2 wideout. Last year, he was on pace for a 91/1216/11 line until a pulled hamstring and sprained ankle threw his season off the tracks. That would have been good for a seventh-place fantasy finish. Now Greg Jennings and Donald Driver are gone, yet Nelson is the No. 19 wideout in ADP, pushing into the fifth round. The annual dominance of Aaron Rodgers keeps Nelson’s statistical floor extremely high.

8. Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots – ADP: Undrafted
Tom Brady has lost a ton of weaponry, but the Patriots’ offense isn’t suddenly going to go in the tank. It’s just a matter of who will pick up the slack.

Note that Aaron Hernandez lined up either in the slot or out wide on 59 percent of his snaps last year. That role will not be filled by dead-legged movers like Jake Ballard, Michael Hoomanawanui or Daniel Fells. Ballard is Rob Gronkowski’s backup at the in-line tight end spot. The F, or move tight end spot, is more likely to be filled by a receiver.

We know the Patriots are at least a little high on Edelman because he was stealing snaps from Wes Welker early on last season. In fact, Edelman was the main receiver in two-wide sets and drew a start in Week 1 before a Week 3 hand injury changed everything. He’s been playing with Brady for four years, possibly giving him an edge on the likes of Josh Boyce, Michael Jenkins and Donald Jones.

Adam Levitan is in his sixth season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
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