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Projected ADP Risers - QBs and TEs to Target in Early Drafts

Welcome to part one of a new series on fantasy football ADPs. Here, we will take a look at the current state of ADPs and predict which players are going to see their draft slot rise between now and the heart of draft season in late August/early September. Understanding where player ADPs are headed can be beneficial in all league formats. A rising ADP naturally corresponds with an increase in overall value. This can provide you with the knowledge regarding what players to buy low on in keeper/dynasty leagues.

If you are in a redraft league that drafts early, perhaps before the preseason, you can use this information to really stack your team with assets that you are confident will be more valuable in just a few short weeks after your draft. If you are in a redraft league that drafts late, it is unfortunate that these ADP spikes will happen before you can capitalize, but it is still helpful in preparing for your draft. When you mock draft in June or July, you can do so knowing the team you are getting is likely much better than the one you will be able to construct in your actual draft. It also prevents us all from having unrealistic expectations (hopefully).

Let's look at the QBs and TEs that should see their ADPs rise over the summer. Note: *All ADP data can be found here. To compare with our own RotoBaller rankings, check right here.

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Kyler Murray (QB, ARI)

Current ADP: 102, QB11

Fantasy owners have been warming up to the idea of starting a rookie at QB, but there is still a healthy dose of skepticism. It is that fear that has Kyler Murray's ADP so depressed at the moment. That is going to change. Once the reports start flowing about Murray's performance in training camp and we get the usual glowing reviews from coaches, it won't take much for fantasy owners to be all in on the dual-threat rookie. Fantasy owners already have an affinity for rushing QBs because of the perceived floor they bring.

Murray has legitimate overall QB1 upside and that tantalizing reality will be too much to resist. All it will take is one highlight-reel play in the preseason and Murray's ADP will skyrocket. I expect him to find himself in at least the 80s before all is said and done.


Cam Newton (QB, CAR)

Current ADP: 121, QB14

This one seems purely a result of uncertainty about health. Cam Newton was playing with a serious shoulder injury last season and it showed. Newton rushed for a career-low four touchdowns and his 488 yards rushing were the second-fewest of his career. Yet, he still finished as the QB9. From Weeks 2-11, Newton threw for multiple touchdowns in every game. Over his career, Newton has never not been a QB1. Now we're supposed to believe he will be drafted as a high-end QB2? No chance.

As we get closer to the season and concerns about Newton's shoulder are assuaged, he will creep into the top 12 and likely top 10 where he belongs. I expect his ADP to end up no lower than the 90s.


Matthew Stafford (QB, DET)

Current ADP: 174, QB23

I do not like Matthew Stafford as a fantasy QB. He has such a low ceiling. He's a worse version of Philip Rivers. However, last season was just spectacularly bad. Stafford wasn't his usual QB10-14 self. He somehow managed to finish as the QB30 at just 12.9 fantasy PPG. Suffice it to say there is no way he will be that bad again. I'm not suggesting anyone should go out and actively target Stafford, but by the time we are ready to draft, Stafford will at least creep up into the mid QB2 range.


Jared Cook (TE, NO)

Current ADP: 81, TE8

There is no stopping the Jared Cook hype train. Fantasy owners have this infatuation with chasing the production of different players. Ever since Jimmy Graham left New Orleans, the search was on for his replacement. The reality is "Saints TE" was never a valuable commodity, even with Drew Brees. Jimmy Graham was the valuable commodity. Nevertheless, to this day, people still chase "the next Jimmy Graham." Cook finally (sort of) lived up to the hype last season with a TE5 finish. If Cook was the TE5 in Oakland with the terrible Derek Carr, imagine what he will do with Drew Brees!

Cook may very well live up to the hype this season, too, but you are going to have to pay for it in advance. There is not a single TE behind him in the rankings with any shot at jumping him. However, I can certainly envision a scenario where he jumps Eric Ebron, Evan Engram, or Hunter Henry. And even if he doesn't, the hype train will push his ADP into the mid to low 70s, closer to the aforementioned three TEs.


Vance McDonald (TE, PIT)

Current ADP: 103, TE11

David Njoku has an ADP of 79. How can anyone justify Njoku ahead of Vance McDonald at all, let alone a full two rounds? Last season, Njoku and McDonald both played 14 games. Njoku outscored McDonald by exactly 8.6 fantasy Let's analyze what each of their respective teams has done this offseason. The Browns traded for Odell Beckham, signed Kareem Hunt, and signed another TE, Demetrius Harris. The Steelers traded away Antonio Brown, let Le'Veon Bell walk, and declined to resign their other TE, Jesse James. Njoku is an athletic freak that can't run routes, can't block, and can't catch. McDonald is an athletic freak that can do all of those things and has far less competition for targets.

As of right now, the Steelers have very little behind JuJu Smith-Schuster on the depth chart. Njoku has to compete with Beckham, Jarvis Landry, and Duke Johnson/Kareem Hunt when he returns. Fantasy owners will realize the opportunity that McDonald has. I believe McDonald and Njoku's ADPs will flip flop by the end of the preseason.

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