Comparing NFL Rookies’ Preseason ADP to Actual Production

Comparing NFL Rookies’ Preseason ADP to Actual Production

by November 27, 2020 0 comments

A lot has changed in the football world since late August. From injuries and benchings to signings and trades, the NFL looks a bit different. Another area that has changed is fantasy football rankings. Specifically, the strengths and weaknesses of the rookie class have begun to take shape, allowing fantasy football owners to evaluate their own first-year talents.

Here’s a breakdown of the top rookies entering the season based on ADP and where they rank now that 11 weeks of the NFL season are in the books.

All data is based on full-PPR scoring. ADPs based on FantasyPros’ preseason ECR.

Pick 18: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB13)

Total points: 147.7 FPTS (RB10)

The only running back to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, Edwards-Helaire was the top rookie off the board in most fantasy drafts this year. While he has finished with less than 47 rushing yards in half of his games, the rookie has proven to be a threat in the passing game and red zone. An RB10 to this point, his end-of-season ranking could take a minor fall as Le’Veon Bell continues to get incorporated into the offense.

Pick 45: Jonathan Taylor (RB21)

Total points: 122.5 FPTS (RB16)

Taylor’s stock skyrocketed in the days leading up to the season with reports that he could emerge as the Indianapolis Colts’ starting running back within the first few weeks of the season. That ultimately proved to be true as Marlon Mack suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1. Still, Taylor has been up-and-down, with the Colts committing more attention to Nyheim Hines (RB17) and Jordan Wilkins (RB61) in some games. Nevertheless, Taylor remains a safe lineup play and should finish the season on a positive note.

Pick 58: Cam Akers (RB24)

Total points: 31.8 FPTS (RB76)

One of the most disappointing rookies this year, Akers has been blocked by a few variables. First, he is part of a Los Angeles Rams running back by committee approach that has featured solid performances from Darrell Henderson (RB24) and Malcolm Brown (RB33). The second factor is Akers’s struggles in the blocking game. His weaknesses when blocking have caused Sean McVay to take him off the field, thus limiting his production. He’s trending up, but it’s unlikely that he’ll be a reliable fantasy play for the rest of the season.

Pick 67: D’Andre Swift (RB29)

Total points: 127.6 FPTS (RB15)

Swift has emerged as the clear starter ahead of Adrian Peterson (RB42) and Kerryon Johnson (RB65). While he missed Week 11 with a concussion, it remains quite possible that he still finishes as the top rookie point-scorer to end the year. The dual-threat back is part of a passing offense, which bodes well for his production. Swift is a hot commodity in fantasy football ahead of the final stretch of the season and has certainly lived up to the hype that was attached to him earlier in the year.

Pick 89: J.K. Dobbins (RB33)

Total points: 85.3 FPTS (RB37)

Another member of a running back by committee approach, Dobbins hasn’t exceeded expectations but is still the leading running back in a unit that also includes Gus Edwards (RB52) and Mark Ingram II (RB64). It has been hard to trust the dual-threat back this year and remains a worrisome start, but it’s worth noting that both his production and value seem to be trending slightly up as the season progresses and Ingram continues to be phased out of the offense.

Pick 105: CeeDee Lamb (WR44)

Total points: 139.3 FPTS (WR23)

Lamb has stood out as a dominant weapon in the Dallas Cowboys’ offense, posting at least 10 points in eight of his 10 games this year. He was playing exceptional football with Dak Prescott at the helm and looked solid with Andy Dalton, but his value took a hit when he caught passes from Ben DiNucci and Garrett Gilbert. With Dalton back, Lamb returns to being an intriguing play week in and week out in a Dallas offense that will be committed to passing the football frequently as the playoff race heats up in a wacky NFC East division.

Pick 106: Antonio Gibson (RB39)

Total points: 145.2 FPTS (RB11)

The Washington offense has impressed through 11 weeks, and Antonio Gibson is one of the reasons why. While J.D. McKissic (RB27) has been the primary pass-catching running back, Gibson has handled the bulk of the backfield duties. Gibson has eight touchdowns through 10 games and continues to be a dominant force. Outside of a Week 13 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, there’s nothing that suggests Gibson will decline throughout the final stretch of the season. He’s reached start-and-forget level and has proven himself as one of the most exciting rookies this season.

Pick 108: Zack Moss (RB40)

Total points: 62.2 FPTS (RB51)

It took Moss a little while to get started, but the Buffalo Bills’ rookie has slowly found his role in the backfield. Despite missing three contests, Moss has looked solid, posting at least 10 points in four of his seven games. The biggest worry with Moss is that he is touchdown-dependent, as he has posted more than 50 scrimmage yards just twice this year. Nevertheless, he has begun to take over as the lead back in Buffalo, taking the job from Devin Singletary. Moss is only worth starting in deeper leagues, but his knack for finding the end zone provides optimism going forward.

Pick 115: Jerry Jeudy (WR46)

Total points: 107.9 FPTS (WR40)

Jeudy has slightly exceeded expectations this year, checking in as the WR40. He has taken over as the starting receiver in the Denver Broncos’ offense with Courtland Sutton out for the year. Once thought of as playoff contenders, the Broncos have been dealt several blows. From Sutton’s injury to a banged-up defense to Drew Lock‘s struggles, the Broncos have underachieved. Despite Denver’s woes, Jeudy has looked solid, though he remains somewhat of a boom-or-bust player with eight games below 11.4 points and one game above 14.2 points. Jeudy has been complemented by fellow big-play threat Tim Patrick (WR39) and speedy weapon KJ Hamler (WR85).

Pick 118: Henry Ruggs III (WR47)

Total points: 50 FPTS (WR95)

Arguably the biggest bust from the first round of the NFL Draft, Ruggs snuck into this list as the 10th-highest-drafted rookie in fantasy drafts. A speedy big-play threat, Ruggs was supposed to fill the role that ended up going to Nelson Agholor (WR42), who has six touchdowns this year and five games with at least 13.5 points. One factor that drove up Ruggs’ value right around draft time was the injury to Tyrell Williams, who was initially supposed to be the Las Vegas Raiders’ leading pass-catcher. Ruggs has just one touchdown this year and only one game with at least 9.7 points. He’s worth rostering in dynasty leagues but is not a reliable option in any format for the rest of the season.


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Andersen is a teenage sports writer and reporter whose articles have appeared across the Sports Illustrated Kids, Prime Time Sports Talk, and SB Nation platforms. He has also received credit from RotoWorld, CBS Sports, ESPN, Bleacher Report, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, The Athletic, SB Nation, NBC Sports, NY Post, and dozens of other sports sites for his reporting work.

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