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Early ADP Risers at Wide Receiver

As you may know, Average Draft Position (ADP) indicates the average position where a player is drafted over more than one fantasy football draft. You can consider it as the price you have to pay to draft and get a player in your team. A high ADP (that is, actually, a low-numbered ADP) means that a player is getting off draft boards early, and thus you'll need to draft him in the first rounds if you truly want him.

Low or high ADP values, though, are not gospel. Each of us fantasy GMs have our strategies and value players differently depending on what we think is the most important for them to have in terms of abilities. No matter what, though, ADPs are good to know how the "average value" of the "average GM" you'll be drafting against is for each asset (in this case, the players). By now, with the free agency and the draft well finalized and just a few players left to be signed, it makes sense to go look at how ADPs are varying during the last month as we get closer to peak draft-season.

In this series, I’ll highlight players at each skill position seeing significant fluctuation since the start of May using data from FFPC drafts. Today, it's time to look at three wide receiver risers.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!

 

Wide Receivers - ADP Risers

 

Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons

Doesn't take a genius to know what's going on here, am I right? Let me make it simple: Julio Jones. That's it, that's what is happening. Julio finally got his wished-for trade and is now a Titan. The immediate fallout was a bump up for every Falcons receiver in terms of role and position in the pecking order. Calvin Ridley is now the WR1, Kyle Pitts is the WR2/TE1, and Russell Gage will be stepping up into that WR2/WR3 role and tertiary option on pass plays. Not bad.

The 120+ pick-rise in ADP is pretty bonkers, all things considered. I'm not saying it is unreasonable, but it is absolutely insane to see such a rise this late in the offseason, Julio-trade involved or not. I have been a long-time Gage stan, and I have advised on drafting him for the second year in a row now. Gage finished 2020 as the WR37 last season on the same offense now minus Jones, so you do the math.

Even getting all the way up to an ADP around 130, Gage is still a positive-ROI player judging by PFF projection system. Gage is expected to finish with 160+ PPR points in 2021. I'm sorry, but I am not buying into that and actually expecting Gage to put up a few more points, at least as many as his last season's 180+. Sure, TE Pitts is in town and will be akin to 2020 Jones when it comes to eating from Gage's opportunities, but I just have to keep banking on the Matt Ryan-Gage pairing. Still a value for me at his current ADP, I'd keep drafting Gage unless his ADP crosses the 100th-pick mark.

 

Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears

Darnell Mooney finds himself in such a similar position to Russell Gage (read above) that I could pretty much copy the three paragraphs above, flip some names, paste it here, and you wouldn't even notice! Mooney's ADP hasn't sky-rocketed as Gage's, but the 30+ pick-rise in the past few weeks is more than big. That's two rounds and a half in draft stock for those managing in 12-team leagues. No joke.

Mooney will start the year playing under veteran QB Andy Dalton if we believe coach Naggy. That might hurt his upside a bit compared to fielding ball thrown by rookie Justin Fields, but we can't complain that much. That's because of Mooney's super-low (even after that rise) ADP of WR49, just four picks above Gage's overall (132 to 136) when I last checked the numbers.

The same as it will happen with Calvin Ridley in Atlanta will happen with Allen Robinson in Chicago, both of them the clear go-to wideouts of their respective teams. Mooney and Gage will be WR2 in those offenses sharing the field with a rookie TE (Pitts; ATL) and a two-man unit (Jimmy Graham and Cole Kmet; CHI) without many more viable fantasy players in them. Until Mooney's ADP breaks something like the 110th-pick barrier, he'll still be a valuable late-round pick.

 

Elijah Moore, New York Jets

While getting drafted close enough to the two receivers above, Moore's upside is quite smaller than that of the Falcons and Bears wideouts already discussed. PFF has Moore projected to a WR79 finish with 123+ PPR points over his rookie season. Even knowing Jamison Crowder will stay with the Jets for another season (he could have been cut at such a palatable cost), Moore's ADP has somehow kept rising and rising. Odd stuff.

I guess the main reason for this development is related to the news coming out of camp telling us that he's catching passes both on the inside and the outside parts of the field, compared to the slot-only idea most folks had built of him post-draft. There is an obvious non-Crowder future in New York, as the Jets will undoubtedly move on from him next year when his deal expires: it makes sense for the Jets to get a good taste of Moore's abilities through the 2021 season to see if they have a nice weapon in the slot going forward.

Moore should push for opportunities fighting Crowder all year long, and there is a chance he ends as the no. 1 slot receiver above him when all is said and done. Corey Davis should retain the WR1 role in this offense, but even the no. 2 role might be up for grabs with no clear target between Denzel Mims, Moore, Crowder, and Keelan Cole around and available for rookie QB Zach Wilson. In any case, there are a lot of ifs and floating questions above Moore's situation to consider him any sort of safe play. More of a waiver-wire addition than a draft pick to my eyes.



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