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Average draft positions have begun their momentous reaction to the injuries, offensive schemes, and the good old breathless news cycle, destroying and creating fantasy football draft day values in equal proportion.
Tracking players’ ADPs is among the most important ways to prepare for draft day, as you might be able to spot on-field talent, which begs one and only one question: So what? How valuable is that talent? More to the point: How do your fantasy league mates — those crooks, creetens, and scoundrels — value that sort of talent? There are two ways to know: Listen to them jabber away and give up their deepest, darkest player crush, and study fluctuating ADPs like your feeble little life depends on it.
More than a talent evaluator or pseudo-scout, think of yourself as a stock trader, caught in the white-hot fury of buying stocks at their lowest and selling them at their highest and getting over on your neighbor in any way possible because you, dear ma’am or sir, like your money, and you’ll do anything to keep it and grow it.
Instead of money though, we’re dealing in NFL players — flesh-and-blood fantasy commodities to be bought and sold.
Here are some of the most dramatic and meaningful ADP swings of the past couple weeks.
Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
June 12 ADP: 6.11
June 28 ADP: 6.03
Davis is practicing with the 49ers’ wide receivers in offseason practices in the wake of Michael Crabtree’s Achilles tendon rupture. The team clearly intends to boost his usage, and fantasy footballers are taking notice. Anquan Boldin is widely expected to take the 49ers’ slot receiver position, meaning Davis could see snaps as a wideout. Expect Davis to continue to climb as the anxiety surrounding the Patriots’ tight ends sends owners scrambling for a reliable tight end in August.
Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
June 12 ADP: 12.04
June 28 ADP: 11.06
This may seem like a harmless ADP rise — Olsen is still being drafted after several defenses, crazily enough — but it’s worth noting. Olsen was fantasy’s sixth highest scoring tight end in 2012, and there’s no reason to suspect Cam Newton won’t target him around 100 times in 2013 (Olsen saw 96 targets in 2012). The two are displaying notable chemistry in offseason practices, according to beat writer reports. Olsen may not be the unbeatable value he is today come August.
Shane Vereen, New England Patriots
June 12 ADP: 8.04
June 28 ADP: 7.05
Vereen is a special case of a guy who was being hyped way before the New England tight ends caused fantasy ulcers. You can expect his ADP to continue a steady rise over the next six weeks, especially when — not if — glowing training camp reports his the Internet. Patriots beat writers wrote last week that Vereen took every first-team snap after Ridley limped off the practice field with a minor injury. Vereen would justify an eighth rounder today, and while rising an entire round in 16 days is remarkable, expect him to inch into sixth round territory by draft day, while backfield mate Stevan Ridley’s stock will likely drop a bit.
Rashard Mendenhall, Arizona Cardinals
June 12 ADP: 6.01
June 28 ADP: 5.06
Arizona Cardinal head coach Bruce Arians is talking up Mendenhall as his unquestioned three-down back, and fantasy degenerates are flocking to one of the last every-down backs left on the draft board. Mendenhall, I think, holds value in the sixth round. He won’t be anywhere close come August, and I think you’ll get precisely no fantasy equity if you take a chance on him in the late fourth round, which will surely be his ADP in six weeks.
Vincent Brown, San Diego Chargers
June 12 ADP: 11.07
June 28 ADP: 10.02
Brown, who has demonstrated uncanny chemistry with quarterback Philip Rivers and missed last season with a broken ankle, is finally healthy and rocketing up draft boards. OTA reports described Brown as “just plain spectacular” as the wideout continues to play much bigger than he is. Hype will eventually push Brown well into the eighth round.
Ryan Broyles, Detroit Lions
June 12 ADP: 14.01
June 28 ADP: 12.06
Broyles demonstrated a great connection with Matthews Stafford in limited playing time last season, before he suffered his second torn ACL of his football career. The NCAA’s all-time leading receiver and the guy who caught 15 balls in four games — with limited snaps — in the middle of the 2012 campaign. He’s shifty, aggressive, and has great hands. He’ll be a weapon, and reamin a value even if his ADP jumps into the 10th round this summer.
Broyles said he expects to be ready for Week 1.
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