Effects Of Preseason Performance on ADP
One of the things that fantasy baseball owners have been trained to understand over the years is that you don’t put too much stock in spring training numbers. Pitchers are often playing around with new pitches and different release points, hitters are tweaking their swings and as hot as an unknown player can be against early-spring, inferior competition, established superstars can run just as cold. It’s part of the training process and we have learned over time that while you should pay attention to what’s happening, rarely does it all go the same way once the regular season begins.
So what about football? Does it work the same way? We already know that many coaches like to hold back their starters during preseason games in an effort to limit the potential injuries. But many starters still see a fair amount of time on the field in order to work themselves into game shape and with the number of position battles still undecided, teams can’t help but to keep many of their first-stringers out there.
Obviously, the best way to see just how much stock fantasy owners put into preseason action is to check in on a player’s ADP throughout the offseason, so what we’re going to do is highlight a few players who have found either success or failure through the opening of preseason games and see just how much their ADP rankings have been affected.
Jordan Cameron, TE CLE – No better place to start than the guy who had Twitter all abuzz Thursday night after catching three passes for 42 yards and two touchdowns against the Lions, right? The 25-year old tight end out of USC wasn’t exactly considered a must-have breakout player when he entered the NFL back in 2011, but landed on dynasty league owners’ radar with his strong pass-catching ability and anticipated potential. He’s had himself a fairly strong camp, had one catch for 30 yards in the Browns’ first preseason game, a huge second game and sits atop the depth chart as the starting tight end. Two weeks ago he was going undrafted in most leagues. One week ago it was the same. This past week though, he came in with an ADP of 199.30 and was the 30th tight end taken off the board. Each week he seems to be inching towards fantasy relevance which obvious poses the question, where will his ADP end up next?
Josh Gordon, WR CLE – Let’s stick with Cleveland for a moment as we look at the largest ADP decrease by a player who isn’t a quarterback (don’t worry, all QBs are dropping as more RBs and WRs are being sought after). Gordon’s ADP began to drop early on when it was learned that he would be suspended for two games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy (tested positive for codeine), but has dropped an additional 26.7-percent in the last week as reports have come in questioning his work ethic. Both coaches and players have said that he is skating on thin ice with his off-season partying and if he doesn’t turn his attitude and effort in camp around, he could be on the outs, regardless of leading the Browns last year with 805 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Morgan swears that it’s his size (6-foot-4-inches, 220 lbs) that makes him look like he’s running slow, but, sadly, that just sounds like a guy making excuses….and not very good ones.
Vick Ballard, RB IND – Sometimes it can be more about your competition’s performance than yours as Ballard saw a 20.8-percent increase in ADP over the past week with Ahmad Bradshaw still dealing with a foot issue. Now while Colts coach Chuck Pagano referred to Bradshaw as an “every-down back,” Ballard had a 3.85 YPC last season and is considered a well-above average pass-blocker. He’s had himself a strong camp thus far and while he played sparingly in the Colts’ first preseason game, he should get a decent amount of time on the field this week when they play the Giants on Sunday.
DeAngelo Williams, RB CAR – Similarly to Ballard, Williams is seeing the majority of his ADP increase stem from the weak ankles of Jonathan Stewart. OK, so I can’t really say that they’re weak, but he’s been having problems with both of them and remains on the team’s active/PUP list. The Panthers remain insistent that he [Stewart] will be ready for Week 1, but neither fantasy writers nor fantasy owners seem as optimistic. Meanwhile, Williams has looked relatively decent in camp and had 12 carries for 39 yards (and one catch for three yards) during Thursday’s game against the Eagles. Twelve during the regular season might not be much to get jazzed about, but during the preseason, that’s a lot for a guy you think will be in a time-share. Over the past two weeks, Williams has seen a 20.1-percent increase in his ADP which translates to roughly 30 picks. Should there not be glowing reports about Stewart’s condition over the next couple of weeks, you might see that number increasing even more.
Johnathan Franklin, RB GB – Back in June, Franklin was tabbed as the guy most likely to walk out of training camp with the starting running back job in Green Bay. However, with a mediocre showing in camp and word that Eddie Lacy has the edge on the starting gig, Franklin may not even be active for the Packers come Week 1. As such, his ADP has taken a hit over the last several weeks, including an additional 3.8-percent drop over the last week. He was a nice trendy pick for those who drafted real early and his value hasn’t dissipated too much in PPR leagues (he’s a better pass-catcher than Lacy and DuJuan Harris), but with each day at camp that he doesn’t impress, his ADP is taking a hit in most drafts.
Jacquizz Rodgers, RB ATL – This year doesn’t seem to be much different for the Falcons’ complementary back as many fantasy owners consider him more than just a handcuff. Last season, fantasy owners were grabbing Rodgers as early as the ninth round as there was little faith in an aging Michael Turner. But while Turner produced a relatively mediocre season, Rodgers didn’t exactly fare much better than your typical back-up. This year, he has another aging back standing in his way in Steven Jackson and again, fantasy owners seem to be elevating his worth as he sees plenty of work in the preseason. His work in camp remains unquestioned, he had four carries for 11 yards in the first preseason game and then busted out with 10 carries for 28 yards and a touchdown during Thursday’s game against the Ravens. He’s seen a 13.3-percent increase in ADP over the last week an an 8.7-percent increase overall for the last two weeks. With so many experts so quick to point out Jackson’s age, Rodgers could see his ADP increase even more should he continue to play well here in the preseason.
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.