Before we examine position-by-position risers and fallers, I want to take a quick snapshot of the 2015 rookie class. As a whole, the fantasy community is showing more confidence in first-year players than in past seasons. Part of that is due to the historically strong group of wide receivers that entered the league in 2014, enticing owners to be less risk averse on draft day. Another factor is a strong class of rookie runners combining with the ever-declining number of workhorses around the NFL.
The data below is from our friends at NFFC, which is always PPR.
|Player||ADP||Min Pick||Max Pick|
|Melvin Gordon (RB, SD)||42.7||30||54|
|Ameer Abdullah (RB, Det)||49.4||36||70|
|Amari Cooper (WR, Oak)||49.8||37||69|
|T.J. Yeldon (RB, Jax)||60.2||42||76|
|Todd Gurley (RB, StL)||60.4||47||95|
|Nelson Agholor (WR, Phi)||67.9||60||87|
|Tevin Coleman (RB, Atl)||90.6||68||107|
|Duke Johnson Jr. (RB, Cle)||100.1||77||140|
|Breshad Perriman (WR, Bal)||112.9||89||137|
|David Cobb (RB, Ten)||124.8||99||149|
|DeVante Parker (WR, Mia)||130.7||95||169|
|Kevin White (WR, Chi)||132.1||81||220|
|Dorial Green-Beckham (WR, Ten)||147.3||97||188|
|David Johnson (RB, Ari)||149.7||131||198|
|Devin Funchess (WR, Car)||160.2||125||190|
|Matt Jones (RB, Was)||176.5||137||219|
|Jay Ajayi (RB, Mia)||180.2||139||240|
|Cameron Artis-Payne (RB, Car)||182.2||155||235|
|Javorius Allen (RB, Bal)||190.0||147||236|
|Jameis Winston (QB, TB)||192.1||147||227|
|Maxx Williams (TE, Bal)||198.1||164||235|
|Jeremy Langford (RB, Chi)||204.4||172||232|
|Jaelen Strong (WR, Hou)||206.2||180||238|
|Justin Hardy (WR, Atl)||207.8||169||235|
|Tyler Lockett (WR, Sea)||212.5||162||238|
|Marcus Mariota (QB, Ten)||214.4||153||237|
Last year at this time only Bishop Sankey (66.1) and Sammy Watkins (78.2) were being drafted among the first 100 players. Seven rookies are currently in the top-100 overall, with Ameer Abdullah joining Amari Cooper and Melvin Gordon in the top-50 this week. Abdullah has risen over 20 spots in the past two weeks, so it will be interesting to see where his ADP stabilizes. It’s even possible he overtakes Gordon, who has slipped slightly from his peak in the 30’s following a pedestrian exhibition debut.
Todd Gurley (60.4)
Gurley has been trending very slowly downward as he remains out of action nine months removed from an ACL tear. The latest news has him out for the first couple of games of the regular season, although Gurley was spry enough to take part in Tuesday’s fracas during a scrimmage against the Cowboys, taking another player down while wearing a helmet and sweatpants.
Duke Johnson (100.1)
Johnson just missed the top-100, which is curious since he’s not only hurt, but was never higher than third on the depth chart when healthy. The fluctuation between his high pick of 77 and max of 140 tells me that owners don’t know how to treat the 5-9, 207-pounder. I’m leaning toward the more conservative side. Don’t draft Johnson expecting more than a change-of-pace back and return man this season, and you’ll be okay.
DeVante Parker (130.7), Kevin White (132.1)
It was announced last week that White would undergo shin surgery and miss at least six weeks of the season, with perhaps the possibility of a lost rookie year. Parker, on the other hand, has dealt with an ongoing foot problem that could nag him into the regular season. Both of these players were talented enough be be first round picks in May, leading to comparisons to Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014, who was a league-winner after returning from hamstring injuries that kept him out four weeks of his rookie season. The tantalizing raw talent of these two players is leading to wildly different min/max selections. In White’s case, a 139 pick difference.
Jameis Winston (192.1), Marcus Mariota (214.4)
It’s really hard to bank on rookie quarterbacks, but both of these Heisman Trophy winners have obvious upside and no-doubt, day-one starting jobs. Winston has the benefit of working in a pro-style scheme at Florida State and maybe the best group of pass-catchers in Tampa that a high draft pick has ever had the benefit of throwing to. Mariota, however, has that dual threat ability and a potentially solid group of receivers as well, with talented (but raw) rookies Dorial Green-Beckham and Tre McBride pushing veterans Kendall Wright, Justin Hunter and Delanie Walker for targets. The former Oregon Duck might even be quite a bargain outside the top-200.
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