There should be a ton of movement with draft positions as hype and story lines build through week 2 of the preseason schedule this weekend. Before I start looking who is losing and gaining momentum, I want to see where the rookie class is slotting in fantasy drafts.
The long running theme with 2016 rookies, Ezekiel Elliott aside, is that the class is underwhelming and not as talented as 2014 and 2015. That theme is very much playing out in current ADP. It’s telling that Kevin White, who only this week suited up for the first time since being drafted last season, would rank second if you count him as a rookie with an ADP of 72.5.
Again, I’m using ADP data from the very deep National Fantasy Football Championship drafts, so we can see some names that probably aren’t being considered in shallower leagues.
|Player||Avg Pick||Min Pick||Max Pick|
|Ezekiel Elliott (RB, Dal)||10.4||6||17|
|Sterling Shepard (WR, NYG)||79.4||70||92|
|Corey Coleman (WR, Cle)||88.7||73||115|
|Laquon Treadwell (WR, Min)||121.0||79||138|
|Michael Thomas (WR, NO)||126.1||109||138|
|Derrick Henry (RB, Ten)||130.0||97||156|
|DeAndre Washington (RB, Oak)||148.7||124||184|
|Devontae Booker (RB, Den)||154.1||130||176|
|Tyler Boyd (WR, Cin)||154.7||125||178|
|C.J. Prosise (RB, Sea)||161.6||123||217|
|Jordan Howard (RB, Chi)||172.7||147||226|
|Wendell Smallwood (RB, Phi)||180.3||140||229|
|Kenneth Dixon (RB, Bal)||183.4||145||230|
|Josh Doctson (WR, Was)||187.4||164||261|
|Paul Perkins (RB, NYG)||210.0||178||279|
|Will Fuller (WR, Hou)||216.3||186||288|
|Roberto Aguayo (K, TB)||224.7||209||239|
|Keith Marshall (RB, Was)||226.3||159||277|
|Josh Ferguson (RB, Ind)||233.3||167||312|
|Jared Goff (QB, LA)||236.7||158||290|
|Tajae Sharpe (WR, Ten)||288.6||196||318|
|Kenyan Drake (RB, Mia)||291.7||267||327|
|Alex Collins (RB, Sea)||305.4||258||327|
|Tyler Ervin (RB, Hou)||306.1||261||337|
|Carson Wentz (QB, Phi)||306.7||260||350|
|Pharoh Cooper (WR, LA)||315.0||278||346|
|Austin Hooper (TE, Atl)||321.3||229||381|
|Leonte Carroo (WR, Mia)||326.7||296||354|
|Tyler Higbee (TE, LA)||334.6||289||388|
|Paxton Lynch (QB, Den)||335.9||306||354|
|Braxton Miller (WR, Hou)||349.7||322||378|
|Jonathan Williams (RB, Buf)||358.4||313||415|
|Rashard Higgins (WR, Cle)||363.0||298||397|
|Mike Thomas (WR, LA)||377.2||356||396|
Sterling Shepard (79.4)
70 picks after Zeke Elliott we finally see another rookie coming off the board. It’s interesting that Shepard, a second round draft pick in April, is being selected ahead of all four first round receivers. Shepard has been showing off his advanced route running abilities all off-season and looks destined to pair with Odell Beckham as a dynamic No. 2 receiver.
Derrick Henry (130)
Henry has a wide range of draft positions as the second rookie RB, checking in just inside the top-100 overall at his highest selection, but down toward the 150 range at his latest. He showed off surprisingly nimble feet in his exhibition opener at 6-3, 250 pounds, gaining 74 yards on 10 carries, but still has to contend with veteran DeMarco Murray for touches in Tennessee. It should be noted, though, that both Henry and Murray were on the field for the Tiants’ first play of the preseason, possibly signaling a timeshare out of the gate.
Josh Doctson (187.4)
Doctson’s stock has seen a steady slide since early fantasy drafts in the spring. His upside and first round pedigree have not been on display due to some minor injuries and Doctson’s place on Washington’s depth chart is also a question mark. At his current price, Doctson should be a strong buy, as his value could skyrocket with a big late-August showing or an injury to DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garcon.
Jared Goff (236.7)
Not only are rookie receivers at a discount compared to last season, the quarterbacks are not valued nearly as high either. Goff is the first signal caller to show up, but not until the 20th round in some 12-team drafts. Carson Wentz (306.7) is going 70 picks later, on average, and Paxton Lynch (335.9) doesn’t appear until the very end of the deepest drafts.
Tajae Sharpe (288.6)
Sharpe’s standout camp made it easier for Titans GM Jon Robinson to send second-year receiver Dorial Green-Beckham to Philadelphia. Still an afterthought in fantasy drafts, the fifth round pick out of UMass is now locked in to a starting job on the outside in coach Mike Mularkey’s “exotic smashmouth” offense. I expect Sharpe’s ADP to climb.
Pharoah Cooper (315), Tyler Higbee (334.6), Mike Thomas (377.2)
A trio of first-year Rams pass-catchers appear very late on the table above. Their value will likely be tied to how quickly QB Jared Goff develops in Los Angeles. The most interesting name is Higbee, who has prototype size and athleticism for a tight end and looked in sync with Goff right away in the preseason opener. Another Rams rookie to keep an eye on is the super productive, yet under-tooled WR Nelson Spruce.
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