This article is part of our ADP Analysis series.
The Damien Williams opt out was the biggest piece of fantasy football news since the 2020 NFL Draft, officially marking the end of a legendary dry spell. Past editions of ADP Analysis have largely focused on small changes, with the two exceptions being Cam Newton joining the Patriots and Deebo Samuel getting foot surgery.
This week we have a lot more to dissect, highlighted by the opt-out decisions from Williams, Devin Funchess and Marquise Goodwin. There was also a fantasy-relevant signing hidden amidst CEH mania, with LeSean McCoy joining the Bucs right before the start of team activities. Plus, we saw a quiet end to the Raheem Mostert situation as the running back reached a new contract agreement with the 49ers.
Conidering all these things happened between July 27 and 30, this week's edition of ADP Analysis will compare draft results from July 23-26 (a sample of 86 drafts) to those from July 31 to Aug. 5 (65 drafts). Per usual, we're pulling our data from BB10s.com.
Moving Up ⬆️
RB14, ADP 25.6 ➡ RB6, ADP 7.8
The Chiefs score a lot of points, and Edwards-Helaire is a good prospect who also appears to be an excellent scheme fit. But a lot of analysis seems to treat the KC backfield as some type of unmatched goldmine for fantasy production. In reality, the Chiefs were 10th in cumulative RB production in 2017, fifth in 2018 and 16th in 2019.
Kansas City is a great landing spot for a back to see high-value touches (targets and red-zone carries), but there is some trade off in terms of overall rushing volume when you're playing in a pass-heavy offense. The rookie probably needs to be up around 65-70 percent snap share (a.k.a Kareem Hunt 2017-18 territory) to achieve solid RB1 status, and while I can't deny the possibility of that happening, we shouldn't take it for granted out of the gate. Give me Derrick Henry or Joe Mixon in the mid-to-late first round.
RB29, ADP 60.0 ➡ RB27, ADP 53.2
Prior to the July 8 report of a trade request, Mostert was coming off the board as RB27, ADP 54.0 — typically a fifth-round pick but sometimes still available in the sixth. He dropped a half dozen spots while his future in San Francisco looked blurry, sometimes even making it to Round 7. I haven't been willing to pay market price even at the reduced rate, but I did grab three Mostert shares on Drafters.com at Nos. 69, 70 and 76 overall in three different leagues.
Oddly enough, Tevin Coleman's ADP hasn't dropped back to its previous level since Mostert and the Niners reached an agreement. Coleman was at RB42, ADP 98.3 before the trade request, and he was at RB38, ADP 90.8 for July 23-26. His current (July 31 - Aug. 5) price — RB39, ADP 93.2 — is much closer to the latter than the former. The same is true for Jerick McKinnon, who continues to linger around RB68-70.
RB55, ADP 164.4 ➡ RB52, ADP 150.8
Sony Michel's May foot surgery was reported to be minor, but he nonetheless landed on the PUP list to start training camp, with a report from The Athletic's Jeff Howe suggesting the third-year pro may not be available when the Patriots put on pads in mid-August. This could create an opening for Harris, a 2019 third-round pick who already had a good bit of sleeper appeal thanks to Michel's poor performance last season and lengthy history of right knee injuries. Harris is neither big nor fast, but he's a well-rounded RB who was good enough to get regular carries in Alabama backfields that also had Josh Jacobs and 2021 prospect Najee Harris.
RB69, ADP 228.0 ➡ RB58, ADP 184.5
While he may technically still be competing for a roster spot, Washington now has the upside of sharing work with Edwards-Helaire, rather than merely serving as injury insurance for CEH and Damien Williams. The Chiefs also have Darrel Williams (RB75), Darwin Thompson (RB71) and Elijah McGuire, and we've already seen that Andy Reid trusts Darrel in the passing game, which might be the biggest factor for playing time.
Edwards-Helaire should have a big season, but don't be surprised if he shares snaps with Washington and/or Williams early in the year. The unusual circumstances surrounding a pandemic would seem to favor veterans over rookies, at least temporarily. Washington and Williams both make sense as late-round fliers.
WR Jalen Reagor
WR51, ADP 126.0 ➡ WR48, ADP 118.5
I discussed Reagor and DeSean Jackson last week, noting that both had gained steam behind the combination of pessimistic Alshon Jeffery (foot) injury news and Marquise Goodwin's opt out. D-Jax has held steady at WR57 since last week, but his rookie teammate continues to rise, perhaps getting another boost from a recent report that suggests Reagor is learning the X receiver spot in Doug Pederson's offense.
Earlier this offseason, Pederson said Reagor would start off learning the Z position behind Jackson... a reasonable idea, but perhaps a luxury the team can't afford now that WR depth looks weak again. Reagor has a real shot at a Week 1 starting job and a real shot to lead all rookies in targets. Of course, the new price reflects the lofty expectations, putting Reagor right in the same range as CeeDee Lamb (WR45), Jerry Jeudy (WR47) and Henry Ruggs (WR51).
WR Allen Lazard
WR65, ADP 169.8 ➡ WR63, ADP 180.8
Devin Funchess opting out leaves Lazard with feeble competition for the No. 2 receiver job in Green Bay. In fact, it may not be any competition at all when we're talking about Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jake Kumerow and Equanimeous St. Brown. As a long time fan of the Lazard King, I can't really argue with this price. If nothing else, he's a tall receiver who figures to play a lot of snaps in a pretty good offense, likely setting up red-zone opportunities even if his separation skills remain mediocre. Lazard is one of the better end-game WR picks.
TE Hayden Hurst
TE9, ADP 101.9 ➡ TE8, ADP 97.0
Hurst's ADP only ever rises. There hasn't been any significant news on Atlanta skill-position players for months now, yet Hurst has gone up nearly 15 spots from his May/June ADP (111.7). He was drafted all the way down at TE20 as a screaming bargain in the first two weeks after the Falcons traded for him back in March, later rising to a more reasonable TE13 for May.
Since then, he's climbed over Mike Gesicki, Rob Gronkowski, Austin Hooper, Jared Cook and now even Hunter Henry. I was all aboard the Hurst breakout train earlier this summer, but the ADP helium arguably leaves us with better value chasing a Gesicki or T.J. Hockenson breakout (among others) a few rounds later. Granted, I'll still draft Hurst if he slips to the early triple digits.
Moving Down ⬇️
RB42, ADP 98.8 ➡ RB43, ADP 103.1
Ronald Jones, so far, hasn't been impacted by the Shady signing, going from RB32 (ADP 69.6) to RB31 (ADP 69.2). The change for Vaughn isn't big... certainly not as big as Jones' calves. But there does at least appear to be some acknowledgement of the Bucs adding another backfield body, with Vaughn bumping up a few spots while McCoy is now going at RB64, ADP 213.0, selected in 37 of 65 drafts (57 percent) from July 31 to Aug. 5. McCoy was selected in only 12 of 86 drafts (14 percent) during the July 23-26 window, going at RB77, ADP 237.6. Given what we saw from him last year, McCoy likely will need to claw his way on to the roster, competing with Dare Ogunbowale and Raymond Calais for what may be a single job (or possibly two).
RB Sony Michel
RB40, ADP 94.9 ➡ RB42, ADP 102.5
Drafted at RB38, ADP 87.5 back in May, the 2018 first-round pick dropped to RB40, ADP 96.0 in the second half of June after it was reported he'd had foot surgery. He now has the lowest ADP among "starting" running backs, with a laundry list of concerns that includes some doubt about his Week 1 availability. Michel would need to fall another round or two before I'd consider drafting him.
WR Antonio Brown (FA)
WR74, ADP 199.6 ➡ WR76, ADP 203.9
Brown was picked in 78 of 86 drafts (91 percent) from July 23-26, compared to 53 of 65 (82 percent) in the more recent sample. An eight-game suspension officially rules him out through November, and he could still face a longer ban for incidents that remain under investigation. The chances of Brown playing in an NFL game this year are less than 50/50.
- Dalvin Cook's decision to report to training camp led to a narrowing of the gap between him and Alvin Kamara. Cook went from ADP 5.8 to 5.5, while Kamara dropped from 4.1 to 4.4. You might remember that Cook had a decent-sized lead before all the holdout talk, going at ADP 4.4 in May (compared to 5.3 for Kamara). Personally, it's Cook's shoulder that worries me more so than his contract situation. Plus, Kamara is a better player in a better offense, albeit without Cook's 20-carry-per-week rushing upside.
- Alexander Mattison may have gotten a permanent bump from the Cook holdout. For May, he was at RB47, ADP 123.8. In late July, he was RB46, ADP 110.8. Now, he's RB45, ADP 100.5. I'd rather have Mike Boone in Round 20.
- In addition to Dashing Damien, the Chiefs lost starting RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and rookie OT Lucas Niang (a third-round pick) to the COVID-19 opt outs. This is still the most talented offense in the league, and perhaps the most talented roster overall, but no team besides the Patriots was hit harder by the wave of opt outs.
- The Patriots lost three probable starters (OT Marcus Cannon, MLB D'onta Hightower, S Patrick Chung) and a slew of role players (RB Brandon Bolden, FB Danny Vitale, WR Marqise Lee, TE Matt LaCosse
- Giants CB Sam Beal (a 2018 supplemental third-round pick) is opting out of the season, and fellow Giants corner DeAndre Baker (a 2019 first-rounder) is dealing with a serious legal situation that leaves him unlikely to play. Despite signing CB James Bradberry and drafting S Xavier McKinney in the second round, the Giants appear weak in the secondary... again.
- Here's the list of projected starters who opted out, ranked by my perception of most important to least important (from their teams' perspectives):