After months of speculation and conjecture, we’ve now had NFL training camps open for nearly two weeks. Sure, as fantasy football managers we’re still drafting on speculation and conjecture, but now at least we’re hypothesizing based on training camp clips and beat reports.
Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen best ball average draft position (ADP) begin to shift, in large part, due to training camp reaction. With the gamut of preseason games right around the corner, now is a great time to examine the narratives so far and gauge their impact on fantasy football drafts, especially in best ball.
In this article, we’ll look specifically at players that have seen their ADP drop significantly since the start of training camps. These players’ ADPs have been sinking primarily due to injuries or negative narratives. Players that have suffered injuries that project to cost them regular-season games, like Carson Wentz and Michael Thomas, have their ADP freefalling for good reason and won’t be discussed here.
One last note before diving in. This is not a list of “do not draft” players. For each player mentioned, we’ll look at exactly why their ADP is plummeting. From there, you can decide whether the risk is worth the reward. After all, fantasy football and best ball championships are often won when you can decipher the difference between an all-out avoid and a screaming value.
Overall ADPs from Underdog Fantasy over the past two weeks are noted below each player.
ADP on July 25 – 90.1
ADP on August 8 – 104.1
Hurts has been viewed by many as the next in line to break fantasy football scoring with his “Konami code” rushing ability. However, in recent days rumors of a pending trade involving Hurts and Deshaun Watson have heated up. While it’s nothing more than speculation at this point, the rumors have been loud enough to drive Hurts’ ADP down over a full round in best ball drafts. Still, even if Hurts does end up in Houston, he would likely be given the starting gig for the Texans. While his supporting cast may be a bit of a downgrade, he would still come with elite rushing upside.
ADP on July 25 – 99.4
ADP on August 8 – 110.2
Burrow started the offseason as a hot commodity in best ball drats but has been slowly fading all summer. It started with the uncertainty surrounding his surgically repaired knee but gained steam recently after damning reports out of Bengals camp expounding on Burrow’s overall struggles with the offense. We aren’t likely to see much, if any, of Burrow in the preseason, so you’ll have to decide if you believe the noise is overblown or a genuine reason for concern.
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ADP on July 25 – 7.6
ADP on August 8 – 11.8
There was a time early this summer when Barkley was at least in the discussion as the number three overall pick in best ball drafts behind Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook. Now after starting camp on the PUP list and getting no votes of confidence from the Giants brass, his ADP is teetering on the first to second round turn. It’s generally agreed that Barkley is a generational talent at the running back position and at just 24 years old should be young enough to bounce back from last year’s injury, but the lack of positivity coming from Giants camp has been enough to give fantasy football drafters pause.
ADP on July 25 – 9.2
ADP on August 8 – 16.9
Nothing has happened to Taylor himself, but the situation around him appears to be crumbling. First, new Indianapolis quarterback Carson Wentz suffered a foot injury that will reportedly force him to miss 5-12 weeks of action. Then, All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson suffered an eerily similar foot injury. These offensive injuries, along with the unknown backfield share with the return of Marlon Mack, have torpedoed Taylor’s ADP in recent weeks. He’s undeniably one of the most physically gifted running backs in the NFL, so his recent dip in perceived value could present an opportunity to buy low if you believe in betting on talent.
ADP on July 25 – 53.4
ADP on August 8 – 62.3
Golladay is the first player in this article that’s actually suffered his own training camp injury, though he was already getting less than ideal blurbs from beat reporters before tweaking his hamstring in camp. He finished as the WR6 with Detroit in 2019, the last time he was healthy for a full season. Unfortunately, we aren’t likely to see much of Golladay, who the Giants made one of the league’s highest-paid wideouts this offseason, until Week 1 of the NFL season. Until then, fantasy football drafters will need to decide if they believe he’ll be an injury-plagued player in a bad offense or stud wideout the Giants are paying him to be.
ADP on July 25 – 68.3
ADP on August 8 – 76.7
Smith, like Golladay, is another receiver dealing with a training camp injury that may keep him sidelined for the entirety of the preseason. The difference, however, is that Smith is a rookie that’s yet to prove anything on an NFL field. The Heisman winner was drafted by Philly to be their WR1 but enough questions are surrounding the Eagles to depress his ADP, especially now that an injury that the BMI truthers warned us about all draft season popped up.
ADP on July 25 – 92.2
ADP on August 8 – 105.3
Pittman was getting some hype as a potential second-year breakout receiver before Carson Wentz suffered his foot injury. Now his ADP has cratered by over a full round in the past two weeks. The Colts have one of the most difficult to forecast wide receiver corps in the NFL with Pittman, Parris Campbell, and veteran T.Y. Hilton. Pittman seems to be the favorite to lead the team in fantasy points but the entire offense is being questioned with the two big camp injuries to Wentz and Nelson.
ADP on July 25 – 184.8
ADP on August 8 – 209.2
When disgruntled MVP Aaron Rodgers showed up to training camp in Green Bay there was fleeting hope for a Rodgers-to-Rodgers connection between the quarterback and rookie wideout. Those hopes were dashed when Aaron got his wish and slot specialist Randall Cobb was brought back to town, filling the role that Amari was potentially looking to fill. The rookie receiver from Clemson could have a bright future but his value as a late-round dart throw in best ball drafts seems to have evaporated.
ADP on July 25 – 86.5
ADP on August 8 – 98.4
After months of being assured Zach Ertz would be traded out of Philadelphia, the veteran showed up to camp, with a new blonde hairdo no less. This gives a major blow to Goedert’s chances of becoming a full-blown TE1. There’s still time for Ertz to get traded away before the regular season kicks off but the further we get into August, the less likely that becomes. In the meantime, we’ll likely see Goedert’s ADP continue to fall.
ADP on July 25 – 173.0
ADP on August 8 – 182.2
The reasoning for Jarwin’s negative ADP trend is hard to pin down. It’s likely connected to Dak Prescott’s slow return from the shoulder injury he suffered early in camp, coupled with the fact that Jarwin himself was held out of the Hall of Fame Game that officially kicked off preseason games last week. It also doesn’t help that he missed the entirety of last season after tearing his ACL in Week 1 last year. If we see Jarwin and Dak get clean bills of health over the next few weeks, however, we should see Jarwin’s ADP rise.
– Aaron Larson (@aalarson)
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