Adam Levitan

Draft Analysis

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ADP First Look: Undervalued

Friday, July 04, 2014


We can’t underestimate how important Average Draft Position (ADP) is when preparing for the greatest day on the fantasy calendar. It’s the hand that guides us through the draft, forcing us to reach in some instances and shy away in others.

With training camp just three weeks away, it’s time to start examining what our opponents think of players. You can find out what we think of them in the Draft Guide, available now. Also be sure to follow me and Rotoworld Football on Twitter.

The three ADPs listed below each name come from data provided by Yahoo, MyFantasyLeague (MFL) and Fantasy Football Calculator. Here are eight players’ ADPs to track because they’re undervalued right now.


1. Mike Wallace, WR, Dolphins
Yahoo ADP: 102.2
MFL ADP: 74.1
Calculator: 68.2

Wallace was a square peg in a round hole for stubborn and uncreative OC Mike Sherman last season. It was a West Coast offense that simply lined Wallace up on the right side, sent him long to clear things out and left him with career-lows in both YPR (12.7) and touchdowns (5). Enter new OC Bill Lazor, who helped squeeze a career-best season out of similar speedster DeSean Jackson last season. D-Jax’s career catch rate was 52.5 percent through his first five seasons, but that jumped to 65.0 percent last year. Expect Wallace to be used all over the formation similarly, leading to an equally sharp spike in catch rate. Coming off a strong spring (more on that here) and now in his second year with Ryan Tannehill, Wallace brings tons of bounce-back upside. His ADP is depressed due to last year’s flop.


2. Jay Cutler, QB, Bears
Yahoo ADP: 106.3
MFL ADP: 107.6
Calculator ADP: 100.0

In the first year of the Marc Trestman era, Bears quarterbacks totaled 4,450 passing yards, 32 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. That would have been good enough for a QB5 ranking. Now Jay Cutler enters his second season with the quarterback whisperer, has four plus pass-catchers at his disposal (Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett, Matt Forte) and the offense returns all 11 starters. The reason Cutler’s ADP remains low is because he’s garnered an “injury prone” label while missing 12 games over the last three seasons. Note that in the four years before that, he missed one game. I’m happy to be the last one in my league to take a quarterback, nabbing Cutler in Round 8 or 9. If we’re really afraid of missed games, there are plenty of QB2s available even later we can win with (Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers).  


3. Toby Gerhart, RB, Jaguars
Yahoo ADP: 87.3
MFL ADP: 62.9
Calculator ADP: 36.2

As you can see, Gerhart’s ADP is all over the map. Most people (Yahoo, MFL drafters) are going to be put off by a perceived lack of natural running talent and the Jaguars stigma. A few (Calculator drafters) will see what we see – a three-down plus goal-line back with zero competition for carries in a run-first scheme. The personnel men like him, the GM likes him and the coaches like him. For those worried about how Gerhart will fare, note that he ranked fourth in the NFL in yards after contact per rushing attempt last year and has a career 4.4 YPC mark against base defenses to go with a hefty 5.6 YPC mark against sub packages. His Combine measurements were better than Eddie Lacy’s, as I noted here. For those worried about the Jags not leading enough games, note that they had to play the formidable NFC West and AFC West last year, and went 4-4 down the stretch. This year, they have improved across the roster and get the weak NFC East and weakened AFC North – as well as six games against the Colts, Titans and Texans.  


4. Marvin Jones, WR, Bengals
Yahoo ADP: 118.2
MFL ADP: 127.2
Calculator ADP: 132.7

Yes, the Bengals are shifting to a smash-mouth offensive style that turns Andy Dalton into more of a game manager than playmaker. But more importantly, Marvin Jones is actually going to get to spread his wings. New OC Hue Jackson is an excellent evaluator of talent, and immediately installed Jones as his No. 2 receiver, pushing Mohamed Sanu into a strict slot role. Last year, Jones played on just 48.0 percent of the snaps and still posted a 51-712-10 line. A bump to 75 percent of the snaps would correlate to 79-1112-15. That’s obviously not realistic (especially given the change in style), but it gives you an idea of the ceiling. If you haven’t had a chance to familiarize yourself with Jones’ ability, check out some of his highlights here and read former Rotoworld bossman Gregg Rosenthal’s take here.


5. Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles
Yahoo ADP: 99.3
MFL ADP: 104.7
Calculator ADP: 118.3

Chip Kelly didn’t dump DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant without a plan to replace them. A big part of that comes in the form of Ertz, who projects to continue a long tradition of elite tight ends who began their blowup in Year 2 (Gates, Graham, Gronk, Witten). He’s been the apple of every beat writer’s eye this offseason, and has also drawn Shannon Sharpe/Ozzie Newsome comps from his position coach. At 6’5/250 with unique route-running ability, Ertz creates the kind of mismatches Chip Kelly knows how to exploit. The key here is for Ertz to continue his progression as a blocker so he can be an every-down player, allowing the offense to remain multiple. He played on just 41 percent of the snaps as a rookie.


6. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans
Yahoo ADP: 36.4
MFL ADP: 48.9
Calculator ADP: 47.3

Over the last two seasons, Johnson has averaged 110.5 catches for 1502.5 yards despite having Matt Schaub and Case Keenum as his quarterbacks. I imagine that his ADP has sunk to fourth-round levels mostly because drafters are scared of a potential holdout, and possibly because they’re frustrated by the lack of touchdowns (11 in his last 39 games). I’m not worried about either. Thanks to Johnson’s age (33 next week) and hefty contract, the Texans will never be able to get equal value in a trade. They’ll force him to either play with Ryan Fitzpatrick, or play for no one. As for the touchdowns, our Evan Silva pointed out in his top-100 that the Gary Kubiak scheme was very RB/TE friendly in the red zone. The Bill O’Brien scheme can only improve Johnson’s touchdown outlook – Allen Robinson had 17 touchdowns in 24 games for BOB at Penn State. 


7. Rueben Randle, WR, Giants
Yahoo ADP: 131.9
MFL ADP: 107.6
Calculator ADP: 107.3

If the Giants hadn’t selected Odell Beckham at No. 12 overall, Randle’s ADP would be hovering in the 50s. But what’s really changed here? The Giants are ditching the Kevin Gilbride option-route heavy two-wide scheme for new OC Ben McAdoo’s uptempo, Packeresque three-wide base. They also have no real option at tight end. So even with Beckham looking at 100 or so targets, there’s still a ton of opportunity for Randle to spread his talented wings. Physically gifted at 6’3/210, he’ll be a red-zone magnet ahead of the 5’11/198 Beckham and 6’0/206 Cruz. Randle’s big offseason is evidence that he used all the offseason slights from the front office as motivation to clean up the technical side of the game. Check out some his “wow” plays here.  


8. DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys
Yahoo ADP: 22.9
MFL ADP: 22.4
Calculator ADP: 14.6

I want lots of shares of Cowboys offensive players this year because their woeful defense will necessitate a ton of scoring. That plays right into the hands of new playcaller Scott Linehan’s style. Dez Bryant, Tony Romo, Terrance Williams and  DeMarco Murray are all capable of having career-best seasons here – and the only reason Murray’s ADP is second round instead of first round is because of an upright running style that seems to lead to injuries. But the massive per-play production is too much to ignore. Murray has averaged 4.94 YPC and 6.87 YPR through three NFL seasons, and last year he was PFF’s No. 6 runner and was No. 4 in their “elusive” ratings. That ranking included 2.7 yards after contact per attempt (7th) and 37 missed tackles (10th). If we handcuff intriguing third-year back Lance Dunbar to a Murray pick, we’ll have solid protection against injury. 



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.
Email :Adam Levitan



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