Early ADP Trends: Movers in the Middle

With it still being extremely early in the preseason and training camps are only about a week old, you’ll notice some relative stagnancy in the ADP trend report for NFL standard leagues. Sure, you’ve got a couple of players like Darren McFadden and A.J. Green who have noticeably large fluctuations, but for the most part, the movement you see is relatively minor – no more than a 10.0% change in either direction. In the top 50, those fluctuations only amount to a small handful of picks, but as you go a little deeper into your draft, you’ll see that some of these “minor” fluctuations can amount to almost a full round’s difference. At the request of one of our readers, we’re going to look at some of those players today and see whose stock is on the rise and whose isn’t. We’ll look at the top 10 fluctuations for those players in the middle to later rounds and see if there’s anything significant to their rise or fall.

Top 10 Middle Round Changes

Current ADP Change 1 Week Ago Change 2 Weeks Ago Overall Trend
San Francisco 49ers DEF SF 131.50 5.3% 138.46 3.3% 142.99 8.7%
Andy Dalton QB CIN 168.05 -3.8% 161.66 -3.7% 155.67 -7.4%
Mikel Leshoure RB DET 146.06 -5.7% 137.76 -2.1% 134.93 -7.6%
Greg Olsen TE CAR 160.73 -4.3% 153.83 -4.0% 147.70 -8.1%
Joe Flacco QB BAL 161.51 -3.3% 156.26 -5.0% 148.43 -8.1%
Laurent Robinson WR JAX 149.51 -5.0% 142.08 -3.4% 137.25 -8.2%
Earl Bennett WR CHI 164.52 -3.6% 158.54 -5.0% 150.67 -8.4%
Austin Collie WR IND 147.43 -4.8% 140.39 -3.9% 134.97 -8.5%
Jacoby Ford WR OAK 154.70 -4.4% 147.89 -4.2% 141.61 -8.5%
Brian Hartline WR MIA 150.72 -4.9% 143.29 -4.2% 137.27 -8.9%

Well, obviously, the first thing you notice is that there’s only one selection that has a significant increase that may be worth examining right now – the San Francisco 49ers defense.  They are the first defense off the board and are actually coming off somewhere around the late 10th/early 11th round in a standard 12-team league. They’ve been taken as high as 74th and the regular ADP report say to target them around the 94th pick, but that might be factoring in a lot of shallow (8 to 10-team) leagues. The question remains, though, how important is a defense in your league. Some leagues have scoring bonuses for points and/or yards against, while some just credit for the basics like INTs, sacks, fumble recoveries and defensive touchdowns. In order to best judge where you should start targeting a defense, you need to examine your league scoring and see exactly where the defenses fall in comparison to the scoring of your skill players. If defenses are outscoring your third and fourth tier wide receivers, then you probably need to make a move sooner than later. If they aren’t, well, obviously you can wait then. But this is very league specific, so make sure you know your league’s scoring rules.

It’s really not a big surprise to see Andy Dalton and Joe Flacco dropping a round right now. They actually reside together as the 19th and 20th selected quarterbacks in the reporting drafts which is obviously back-up material. Your top 10 are off the board by the seventh round while the next eight are gone by the 12th. These two are coming off a round or two after that. Points-wise, these aren’t guys you want to rely on each and every week. Bye-week filler? Sure. But not every week. Flacco has a nice deep threat in Torrey Smith and an aging possession receiver in Anquan Boldin, but Ray Rice dominates this offense. And for the Bengals, we see how people are viewing top receiver A.J. Green, and aside from him and Jermaine Gresham, there’s no clear threat for Dalton to seek out. 

Mikel Leshoure had promise when the Lions revealed that they were building their running game with the Saints rushing attack as the model. Leshoure was to be the between-the-tackles guy which would have hopefully led to a heavy load of goal-line work. Unfortunately, he hurt his hamstring in late July and has now missed nine full days of camp. Kevin Smith, Keiland Williams and Stefan Logan are handling the workload right now in practice and with no timetable set for Leshoure’s return, he is going to be way behind these three on the depth chart.

Tight end Greg Olsen plays in an offense dominated by a running back committee and Cam Newton. His 540 yards and five touchdowns last year would have been fine a few years ago, but as we’ve seen the growth of the tight end position, Olsen numbers are considered pedestrian, at best. He’s barely in the top 20 of tight ends drafted which clearly puts him as nothing more than a one-time bye week replacement and waiver wire fodder. A drop of a round in drafts should come as no surprise.

The group of receivers that we have here on this list are all coming off the board at roughly the same time in drafts. They are part of an apparent wide receiver run that takes place right around the 11th round when most owners are either looking for depth or are in need of a WR3 because their league’s starting rosters require three receivers, possibly in addition to a flex player. But as you can see, this group is also on the decline in most drafts as they tends to be pretty interchangeable parts right now. Sure, someone could step it up a little bit and build a better rapport with their quarterback, but for now, they are all about the same player. Here’s a quick rundown:

Laurent Robinson might stand the best chance of moving up the ADP ranks as the preseason moves on. Justin Blackmon is considered the number one guy there, but Robinson’s experience could give him an edge. Unfortunately, it’s still Blaine Gabbert throwing him the ball.

Earl Bennett has been a sleeper now for three years and frankly….he’s still sleeping. With Brandon Marshall now in place and Devin Hester still lining up on the opposite side, it leaves little room for Bennett to try and stand out. Maybe Jay Cutler really didn’t like him at Vanderbilt as much as people thought he did.

Jacoby Ford also stands a good chance of breaking out, but with Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey ahead of him on the depth chart, an injury might be the only way he gets a legitimate opportunity to show off that speed. Given Oakland’s track record for health, that might not be too far off.

Austin Collie was barely a factor when Peyton Manning was his quarterback. Do you really think Andrew Luck is going to be that much better for him?

While Brian Hartline is technically considered the number one receiver in Miami, the fact remains that nowhere else would he be.  He can be a decent possession receiver and might be the safest choice if you get stuck with a Miami wideout, but even with new QB David Garrard under center, his upside is limited.


Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites.  You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for questions, thoughts or comments, email him at



By: danmazur
On: 8/7/2012 10:22:00 AM
What does ADP mean?
By: danmazur
On: 8/7/2012 10:24:00 AM
How are the points computed? Can you customize the points based on your leagues scoring system?
By: dmontoya57
On: 8/7/2012 6:47:00 PM
Average draft position (ADP)
By: dmontoya57
On: 8/7/2012 6:48:00 PM
Yes, under Cheatsheets then settings the scoring.

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