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Fantasy Football: Fear, Greed, And ADP Risers

C.D. Carter looks at wide receivers and running backs that have seen their fantasy football stock steadily rise in the waning days of August.

Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders

I wish it were as easy as following Warren Buffet’s advice about being greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy.

And while Buffet’s guiding investment principle can serve us well in fantasy football — as markets under-react and overreact to daily happenings — I think the application of context is critically important, especially as we near the final days of fantasy drafting season.

Just because the market warms up to a stock, doesn’t mean the contrarian should automatically avoid it. Some stocks are so vastly undervalued that even a slow and steady price increase still leaves said stock undervalued. This is when Buffet’s thoughts on fear and greed require context.

There are other cases, of course, in which the masses flock to a stock. This is when our guard should be up. Greed is in the air.

Below are wide receivers and running backs that have seen their fantasy football stock (average draft position) steadily rise in the waning days of August. These ADP rises demand your attention if you’re drafting this week, as guys you thought were value plays suddenly aren’t.


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  • Justin Hunter, once our little secret at the beginning of the 12th round, had his coming out party and ruined everything. Thanks, Justin. Hunter has looked downright Mossian this preseason, using his size and leaping ability to dominate defenders in the red zone. The Titans No. 1 red zone plan, in fact, is to toss it up for Hunter to grab. Greed clouds Hunter’s fantasy market, but I’m not avoiding him at his current ADP. I think Hunter’s ceiling is in the WR22 range.
  • You can still grab Steve Smith for pretty cheap, but it’s worth noting that his ADP has jumped by a full round in recent weeks. Probably that’s a result of residual memories of Smith as a dominant fantasy force and his recent bluster about taking the lunch money and sporks of Ravens opponents in 2014. Drafting Smith at the start of the 11th won’t sink your team, but remember that the veteran has seen an alarming drop in per-snap and per-target efficiency since 2010.


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  • Joique Bell has had quite a bit of equity sucked out of his ADP in the past few weeks, going from the end of the fifth round to the end of the fourth round. It’s sad, really, as Bell represented a fine arbitrage play on teammate Reggie Bush, who was being drafted nearly three full rounds before Bell as recently as July. Bush’s ADP has remained stable while Bell now requires a fourth round leap. I’m less excited about Bell as a premiere pick for anyone employing a Zero RB strategy, though I still think his best case scenario would put him at RB18.
  • Vereen totaled 75 yards and scored not once, but twice, in the Patriots’ third preseason tilt, effectively vaulting his ADP into an area that makes me a tad queasy. As talk of New England cutting Stevan Ridley circulates, Vereen’s ADP has risen by a whole round in three weeks. Greed abounds with the Pats’ pass-catching running back. The projection machine sure loves Vereen, as his high equity score would make him a RB1. Vereen’s ADP jump has officially put him among the runners I will not reach for in drafts.
  • There was nothing but fear and loathing for Mark Ingram before he came out white hot and looked occasionally dominant in the preseason. He was a late-round flier until he wasn’t. Now, Ingram costs a ninth round pick. With Darren Sproles gone, Saints beat writers fully expect Ingram to take on a bigger role in the passing game, meaning defenses won’t be able to tee off on the burly back every time he’s lined up behind Drew Brees in an obvious running situation. While I’m not over-the-top bullish on Ingram, I’d much rather take him at 9.10 than Carlos Hyde at 8.08 or Knowshon Moreno at 8.10.

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