Whether it’s preseason performance, coaching factors, injury, or changing situations, there are always players that begin to fall down draft boards as fantasy drafts play out. Sometimes these players need to fall based on new information on their values, and other times these drops in ADP (Average Draft Position) create opportunities for excellent drafting value. Let’s take a look at the top preseason fallers for the 2014 fantasy football season. If I’ve left players out, or you disagree, feel free to post at the end or in our forums. Fantasy Football season is about to begin, so let’s get to it!
Note: All mentions of ADP are courtesy of FantasyFootballCalculator.com and are reflective of 12 team leagues.
Robert Griffin III
A new coach and new offensive system appear to be affecting RG3’s play during the preseason, and drafters have taken note, dropping his ADP a full round down to the 7th. He looks fast and strong, but not comfortable just yet in the offense despite the bevy of weapons around him. New offenses (and coaches) take time to adjust to however – I like RG3 as a value pick in the 6th or 7th as a player with massive upside. Take the discount to the bank.
Foles has dropped almost a full round since draft season began. Drafters have questions about his ability to repeat his almost flawless 2013 performance, and their doubts were doubled when he threw more interceptions in the preseason (three) than he did all of 2013. Additionally, the Eagles lost DeSean Jackson, and did not replace him with a similar elite WR. The league has had time to study the Chip Kelly offense, and many think that he is due for some regression. Despite that, he remains a solid QB1 pick in the late 6th or even early 7th.
There were already doubts about Cam’s ability to live up to his lofty draft status a few weeks ago, but then the bad news broke: Newton had sustained a hairline fracture in his ribcage. He’s a rushing QB who makes a living taking hits while running the ball, so this would appear to be a major concern for his 2014 fantasy value. He also has aging / ineffective RBs to work with, and no WR to speak of outside of rookie Kelvin Benjamin. These factors, combined with his balky ankle, have pushed Newton to the bottom of the 7th round. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him going in the 8th next week. Personally, I don’t like the situation, and I’m hands-off on Cam unless he’s still miraculously there super late and I can snag him as a backup.
Foster has been the poster boy for the three-down running back for years, but it appears that the consistent pounding has taken its toll. After only playing in 8 games last year, Foster has been a virtual non-participant in preseason practice and has yet to play in a preseason game. He’s a massive red-flag running back injury risk, and if you’re taking him at all, it has to be early. That said, he’s almost fallen completely out of the second round, and I’ve seen him lasting even longer in some drafts. He becomes a value at some point, but at a similar-ish ADP I’d rather roll with healthier options like Doug Martin, Alfred Morris, or Gio Bernard.
Montee Ball was looking like a draft darling, a lock for a first-round pick status, until early August, when he underwent an appendectomy. This news dropped Ball completely out of the first round and into the early / middle second. He’s since returned to practice and even played two series in the Broncos last preseason game, handling 8 touches in 2 series before calling it a night. We all know the Denver offensive is extremely prolific, and we additionally know it made Knowshon Moreno a top 5 RB last season. Ball is younger, stronger, faster, and is now in his second season in the offense. I’m all over this discount – Ball has top 5 RB upside and FST thinks he will be a monster this year.
Early in draft season, Sankey was viewed as one of the last three-down RBs off the board. Despite his rookie status, the hype had him being drafted in the early 4th round. Training camp and preseason games have revealed that he’s definitely not atop the RB depth chart in Tennessee, and in fact he’s still working with backups at the moment. Even against second team preseason defenses, his YPC is still well below 3.0 and his footwork needs improvement. He’s fallen completely out of the 4th round, and is probably not even worth a 5th round pick at this point. He’s still the back to own on the Titans, but his price would have to fall further before I would invest.
I’m not certain it it’s the lackluster Dolphins preseason performances, the lack of depth on the Miami offensive line, or the reports of an apparent lack of chemistry between Wallace and QB Ryan Tannehill, but one thing is certain: Wallace’s ADP is dropping like a stone. He’s dropped almost a full round since early August, and I wouldn’t’ be shocked to see him drop further. The guys directly above him are more reliable, and the guys below him seemingly offer higher upsides. As for me, I’m uninterested at almost any price.
There are a few factors that can help to explain Pierre’s recent ADP swoon. One, the Redskins offense has looked horrendous this preseason, in part due to the struggles of the previously mentioned RG3. Second, Garcon is no longer playing the ‘X’ receiver in the Shanahan offense, and is instead learning a new system under coach Jay Gruden. Finally, Washington has added some new offensive toys, so it is unlikely that Garcon is going to accumulate 113 catches again. He should still be plenty effective and explosive (and harder to focus on), so if I found myself with a chance to grab Garcon in the 5th, I would definitely take advantage of the discount.
Welker’s ADP has declined sharply since it was widely reported that he sustained another concussion during the Broncos preseason game with the Houston Texans. He’s had multiple other documented concussions in his career, and another this year would potentially be both a year and career ender. His price has dropped from the early 4th to the late 4th and even early 5th as drafters struggle to build his risk into the draft day price. I’m staying away from Welker entirely until we have more clarity on his situation moving forward.
Gronk’s ADP has been declining some due to concerns about him not being ready for Week 1. It’s uncertain at this point if the Patriots are being super-cautious about him based on his injury history, or if they’re just being the sneaky Patriots, or if they legitimately aren’t sure. One thing that’s certain is that Gronkowski is a game-changing, impact player when he’s on the field and on fantasy rosters. He’s generally gone by the end of the 2nd round in 12 teamers, but he’s started to creep into the 3rd in some live drafts I’ve seen lately. Personally, for the price I’d prefer Julius Thomas without the inherent injury risk, or one of the Ertz / Reed / Pitta trio in the later rounds. I just think the risk that Gronkowski represents is much more than I’m willing to bear in round 3.