Raymond Summerlin

ADP Analysis

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Early Ceiling and Floor ADPs

Friday, July 13, 2018


Assessing a fantasy assets’ ceiling or floor in any given year is difficult because those marks change throughout careers. Doug Baldwin had never topped 825 yards or five touchdowns in a season before he exploded in 2015, but now both of those totals look like floor or even sub-floor projections for Seattle’s No. 1 receiver. A talented receiver on what appeared to be an ascending offense, Amari Cooper looked almost certain to be a top-15 receiver last season, but he needed a monster game to even touch the top-30. In more philosophical terms, everything has never happened until it does, so assuming a player cannot reach a certain ceiling or fall below a certain floor simply because they have not done so in the past is not the best way to approach upside and downside conversations.

That said, past performance is generally a good indicator of future results, and drafting a player well above their previously demonstrated ceiling without a good reason to expect a breakthrough does not make much sense. On the other hand, a great way to find value is to draft the non-exciting players whose expected opportunity give them a high non-injury floor. Looking at this year’s early ADP, there are plenty of players who fit the bill in both categories.

*All ADP information found at fantasyfootballcalculator.com

Running Back
Derrick Henry – 27 overall, RB17 – Ceiling
RB17 is certainly not Henry’s ceiling if something were to happen to Dion Lewis, and it is possible he could jump this bar even if Lewis stays healthy. That said, this is much more about his placing in the overall ADP than among running backs. As the 27th player off the board on average, Henry is going ahead of receivers like Doug Baldwin, T.Y. Hilton, Adam Thielen, and Stefon Diggs. That placing means he needs to be more like a top-12 running back to justify going ahead of those receivers, a mark which will be difficult to beat for a committee back with limited involvement in the passing game. All but two of the top-12 backs last season had at least 35 catches, and the two who did not, Ezekiel Elliott and Jordan Howard, had 242 and 276 carries as the RB9 and 10. Unless something happens to Lewis or Henry takes a shockingly large share of the carries, he is being drafted near the top of his range.

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Lamar Miller – 44 overall, RB23 – Floor
Like seemingly every running back, Miller is probably a bit too high in the overall ADP, but he is low enough to call him a floor play despite some warranted concerns. It is true Miller has struggled as a runner his two years in Houston, his offensive line remains a disaster, and he worryingly lost carries to Alfred Blue late last season. That last bullet would seemingly destroy a floor argument, especially since a healthy D'Onta Foreman is a much bigger threat than Blue, but Miller has two things working in his favor. First, Foreman is not a lock for Week 1 after suffering an Achilles injury in November, and his effectiveness will be in serious question even if he makes it back for the start of the season. Second, Miller is easily Houston’s best option in the passing game, which alone should keep him on the field enough to reach the RB2 plateau. With Deshaun Watson back healthy – Miller averaged 12.7 fantasy points per game in his six starts last season – Miller is a good bet to better his ADP.

Carlos Hyde – 71 overall, RB30 – Ceiling
As a long-time Hyde supporter, it is painful to make the case against him. Still, it is difficult to imagine him bettering this draft cost, especially when the receivers he is being drafted ahead of are taken into account. Even if Cleveland’s backfield is more productive this season – Browns runners scored the 10th fewest fantasy points last season despite the fourth-most catches in the league – Hyde’s share of that production is going to be limited. Easily the best option in the passing game, Duke Johnson should handle the majority of the receiving work, and second-rounder Nick Chubb is a serious threat on early downs. Even if Hyde “wins” the starting job, it will be tough to project him for more than 40 percent of the total carries, a number which will make it difficult for him to be a consistent producer without a large target share. Perhaps that is a low-ball estimate and perhaps Hyde is more involved in the passing game than expected following a 59-catch season, but there are better, higher-upside options coming off the board after him.

Isaiah Crowell – 88 overall, RB37 – Floor
Even operating under the assumption Bilal Powell retains his passing-down role and Elijah McGuire takes a step forward, it seems very likely Crowell is able to jump this very low bar. Despite never having more than 240 touches in Cleveland, Crowell finished as the RB31, RB15, RB29, and RB27 each of the last four years. The offensive situation in New York is not great, but it is not markedly worse than what he faced with the Browns. Most importantly, there is reason to believe he will significantly outpace this draft cost. Beat writers seem to think Crowell was signed to be the lead back, and the New York Post expects Powell’s role to shrink “dramatically” this season. Crowell is not an exciting pick, especially after he burned fantasy players who drafted him much earlier than 88th overall last season, but he should be at worst solid at this draft cost and has underappreciated opportunity upside.

Editor's Note: The 2018 Rotoworld Draft Guide provides more than 500 extensive player profiles, tiers, projections, Evan Silva’s Sleepers and Busts and much more. Get the NFL Draft Guide now.

 

Wide Receiver
Larry Fitzgerald – 54 overall, WR22 – Floor
Running backs are dominating the early rounds this season -- there are 15 running backs drafted on average in the first 24 picks, the most since 2013 (18) and three higher than the 2014-2017 average – creating essentially nothing but value at receiver. Julio Jones could easily be on this list as the 14th player off the board on average, but digging deeper seemed more helpful. Shockingly, one has to dig pretty deep down the draft board to find Fitzgerald, a player who has been at least a top-16 receiver in standard formats each of the last three years and top-10 in PPR. He does face a different situation this season with Bruce Arians no longer calling the shots, but the state of the pass-catching group and new OC Mike McCoy’s history makes it highly unlikely Fitzgerald take a big step back from the 152 targets he has averaged over the last three seasons. Especially with what looks like a better quarterback situation, that volume should allow him to jump this low bar even if the team struggles.


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Raymond Summerlin is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter at @RMSummerlin.
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