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Average Draft Position Winners - 2018 Season Review

They say fantasy football championships aren’t won during your draft. For the most part, that is true, and I agree with it. However, finding gems on draft day can make your fantasy season easier while allowing you more flexibility during the season and working the waiver wire. Let’s take a look back at 2018 ADP and see who made the biggest moves.

For this article, we will be using 2018 ADP from Fantasy Football Calculator and really examining the players who made gains of more than 15 spots between their position ADP and final position ranking. We also won’t consider players who were widely acquired through free agency instead of the draft (so players like Tyler Boyd and Phillip Lindsay won’t be seen here.)

Did any of these guys help you win your league in 2018? If they did, you probably got a steal on draft day and rode them all the way to fantasy football supremacy. Let’s dive into the 2018 ADP winners.

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Patrick Mahomes - KC (ADP QB15, finished QB1)

As much as I loved Patrick Mahomes, I never saw this type of season coming. Mahomes was my QB2 behind Deshaun Watson in the 2017 draft and I thought the year sitting behind Alex Smith was perfect to learn Andy Reid’s system and develop himself. All Mahomes did this season was score more fantasy football points than any player in a single season besides LaDainian Tomlinson. Will Mahomes put together an encore performance in 2019 that is similar? This offense will still be one of the best in the game and I expect some of the same, but you may need to spend a first round pick to have him on your team.

Dak Prescott - DAL (ADP QB22, finished QB10)

Did you really think you would make it through an article of mine and not hear about Dak Prescott? Yes, the beginning of the season was tough for Prescott and owners who drafted him, but if you grabbed him later in the season, he probably helped you out. Since Amari Cooper made his debut in Week 9 for the Cowboys, Prescott was the QB6 through the end of the season. The biggest positive gain we saw from Prescott in the second half was his completion percentage, which makes sense since he had a new WR1 and the Cowboys got Ezekiel Elliott an extra three completions per game during that time frame. You could see much of the same in 2019.


Running Back

James Conner - PIT (ADP RB56, finished RB6)

James Conner was very close to going undrafted in a majority of leagues but owners who drafted Le’Veon Bell at the beginning of their drafts probably looked to handcuff him with Conner late. Those owners who were lucky enough to make that happen probably didn’t need to worry about spending a first round pick on a guy who didn’t even step foot in his team facilities. If it weren’t for an injury that cost Conner three weeks at the end of the season, he would have easily surpassed 1,000 rushing yards and 13 total TD. After a four-game span in the middle of the season where Conner had 474 yards on 88 carries, Conner may have slowed down a little or the Steelers were trying to save him for a playoff run. Either way, Conner still had a terrific season and is in line to see a huge jump in his ADP next season.

Nick Chubb - CLE (ADP RB49, finished RB17)

With the way Nick Chubb performed from Week 7 on when he took over as a starter, it’s hard to believe that Carlos Hyde was given so many opportunities at the start of the season. After Hyde was traded to Jacksonville, Chubb was the RB8 in PPR leagues and averaged 4.67 yards per carry. Chubb came four yards short of 1,000 on the season after being virtually unheard from before Week 7 outside of one game. Chubb could realistically become a first-round pick next season with the way we are trending right now.

James White - NE (ADP RB42, finished RB7)

The PPR machine James White was able to make it through a stable of running backs to become the most valuable fantasy asset in the Patriots backfield. Outside of Conner, White had to be one of the biggest risers this season at any position.

White fought through a backfield that also contained Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, and Jeremy Hill to begin the season, but White was the only one to make it through the season healthy and as a constant contributor. White tailed off a little towards the end of the season when Michel and Burkhead were both back and healthy, but he had already done more than enough to help owners who took a shot on him during their draft. White came close to doubling his previous career high in touches and had double-digit touchdowns for the first time in his career during the 2018 season. The Patriots could head into 2019 with one of the better running back tandems if White and Michel receive the majority of touches.


Wide Receiver

Tyler Lockett - SEA (ADP WR53, finished WR16)

It was time for Tyler Lockett to take a step forward this season and he came through. Lockett came close to the 1,000-yard mark in 2018 but was able to haul in double-digit touchdowns for the first time in his career, catching 10. Lockett saw a huge jump in catch percentage, from 63.4% in 2017 all the way up to 81.4% in 2018. Lockett also moved into a true deep threat role averaging 16.9 yards per reception which was third highest in the league among qualifying players. Lockett was a bit of a roller coaster in 2018 but he developed such strong chemistry with Russell Wilson that he could see even more growth next year.

Robert Woods - LAR (ADP WR42, finished WR11)

If you thought Robert Woods strong 2018 season was due to Cooper Kupp missing Weeks 11 through 17 due to a knee injury, then I am here to help set the record straight. Kupp being off the field helped bump Woods slightly, but not nearly enough to be the only reason. Prior to Kupp’s season-ending injury, Woods checked in as the WR14. After Kupp’s injury, Woods saw a slight bump to WR9.

Woods also caught the same amount of touchdown passes in each part of the season. Woods hauled in three prior to the injury and another three after the injury. Catches were about equal as well averaging 5.5 after the injury and 5.1 prior. Woods should be the first Rams wide receiver drafted in 2019 but he won’t be. Owners will still flock to Cooks first and some may still take Kupp before as well. Don’t be one of those owners. Stash this in your memory bank right now and note drafting Woods before both will be a good idea.


Tight End

Austin Hooper - ATL (ADP TE16, finished TE6)

I wrote down three names for my ADP riser at tight end this season. Two are the well-known Eric Ebron and George Kittle. You have probably heard so much about both at this point, I didn’t want to both you with some regurgitated information, so I decided to go with Austin Hooper who was very close at a +10 ADP to finish ratio compared to +10 for Kittle and +14 for Ebron. Ultimately, I felt you should know some more about Hooper before you draft in 2019.

Hooper had three games with 10 or more targets in 2018 and saw the eighth most targets for tight ends overall this season. Even though Hooper’s yards per reception have dropped in each of his first three seasons, his usage continues to climb. It can be tough to trust another climb in Hooper’s usage when he plays with Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu. The Falcons will also welcome back Devonta Freeman in 2019 but still had Tevin Coleman in 2018 that was used in the passing game. What we saw from Hooper this season is likely his ceiling, which is not bad given the shallow wasteland that is tight end. I would not be surprised though is Hooper is drafted outside the top-10 tight ends in 2019 though.

More Fantasy Football Year-in-Review

Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.