Best Ball Journal: Post-Draft Rookie ADPs
Best Ball Journal: Post-Draft Rookie ADPs

This article is part of our Best Ball Journal series.

Best ball ADP markets have had over a week to adjust to the results of the 2019 NFL Draft, so it's time to see if we can figure out which way the new winds are blowing. I took the respective ADP numbers from BestBall10s and DRAFT for April 1 to April 27 and April 28 to May 6 to look for hints on that front.

Each blurb lists the average ADP next to the pick range for the player and time range in question. After each roundup I'll offer my own verdict whether I'll buy or fade at the new ADPs. The blurbs are listed in descending present ADP.

This will be a two-part article, with today's discussing the rookies while Friday's will look at veteran players.

ADP RISERS

Josh Jacobs, RB, OAK

4/1 to 4/27

4/28 to present

BestBall10s

57.31 ADP, 41-to-78

37.6 ADP, 22-to-48

DRAFT

87.4 ADP, 6-to-N/A

37.87 ADP, 10-to-55

This one is easy enough to follow. Not only was Jacobs the first runner or receiver selected in the draft, but not long after the Raiders acquired Jacobs with the 24th pick his primary competition for snaps, free agent signing Isaiah Crowell, suffered a torn Achilles' tendon. Doug Martin was signed as a replacement, but it's a clear downgrade from Crowell, whose absence clears an obvious path for Jacobs to immediately secure a workhorse role.

The Raiders logged 1,055 running back snaps last year. Martin and Marshawn Lynch combined for 262 carries and 44 targets on 573 snaps, while Richard saw 55 carries and 81 targets on 412 snaps. Particularly given the Crowell injury, I think it makes sense to project Richard for closer to 42-to-45 percent of the running back snaps rather than the 39.1 percent he played in 2018. If we assume 1,050 running back snaps, that would project Richard for 440-to-475 snaps. I would assume Martin or whatever other third running back on the Week 1 roster should project for 100-to-200 snaps.

If Jacobs projects for the remaining 375-to-515 snaps and he maintains the same carry rate as Lynch and Martin did, then he would project for roughly 170-to-235 carries. The 44 targets Lynch and Martin combined for isn't a suitable rate for a runner with Jacobs' pass-catching skills, so I'm going to assume 60-to-85 targets. Richard is pretty much the golden standard for pass-catching at running back, securing 81.2 percent of his targets the past two years at 7.4 YPT, and it'd be unfair to expect Jacobs to imitate that. But there's reason to think he and Jacobs can both earn their fill of targets, because the Raiders should throw many passes, with many of those passes occurring on quick drops to shield Carr from a dubious offensive line in a division loaded with dangerous pass rushers. Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams can only get so many targets, and the duo of Jared Cook and Seth Roberts are gone after combining for 165 targets last year. Guys like Darren Waller, Marcell Ateman, Ryan Grant, and Hunter Renfrow are all around to do whatever they can, but there's a strong chance that Richard and Jacobs are the Raiders' best means of accounting for the void left by the departure of Cook and Roberts.

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With that all said, my ostensibly measured projection for Jacobs is 170-to-235 carries for 595-to-1,100 yards and 5-to-8 rushing touchdowns while turning 45-to-65 receptions for 340-to-500 yards and 0-to-3 receiving touchdowns. I think both the floor and ceiling of this projection are fully in play, and if so I think the floor probably scares me away at this price. The upside scenario of that projection would make Jacobs a great value at his current price, so I can't criticize anyone for taking him, especially in tournament payout formats.

Verdict: Worth the price, but I'd ideally take Kerryon Johnson, Sony Michel, Mark Ingram, Tarik Cohen, Derrius Guice, or James White at their lower tags

David Montgomery, RB, CHI

4/1 to 4/27

4/28 to Present

BestBall10s

84.21 ADP, 61-to-117

61.63 ADP, 45-to-83

DRAFT

124.3 ADP, 29-to-N/A

67.8 ADP, 15-to-109

Those who bought Montgomery at prior ADP have locked in a nice value, but his new price introduces a heightened level of risk that I think has mostly gone unaccounted for. His new price and particularly the falling price of free agent addition Mike Davis imply that the market has declared Montgomery the starting running back in Chicago. It certainly could happen, but the assumptions occurring just aren't founded on much. 

Tarik Cohen isn't going anywhere, so Montgomery's margin of error is thin in the fifth and sixth rounds. Montgomery is not fighting for a workhorse role – he's competing with a productive veteran for whatever Cohen does not take. Davis is an adequate pass catcher, perhaps a better one than Montgomery – so that's one way he could stay involved at Montgomery's expense. Montgomery's most unique selling point is his ability to run through contact, but Davis himself is a hot-motor runner who keeps his feet moving through contact.

The Bears certainly hope Montgomery will turn into their primary ballcarrier, but wagering on his rookie year for that outcome at these particular prices strikes me as risky. Davis is getting more money from Chicago than Damien Williams is in Kansas City, so it shouldn't surprise anyone if Davis stays in Montgomery's way through the conclusion of 2019. If I have to resist players like Calvin Ridley and Mike Williams to secure Montgomery shares this year then I'm afraid I'll pass.

Verdict: I'd rather target wideouts in this range, and if I must have a running back I'd prefer Lamar Miller or Latavius Murray at a lower price

Miles Sanders, RB, PHI

4/1 to 4/27

4/28 to Present

BestBall10s

120.11 ADP, 66-to-177

69.07 ADP, 52-to-89

DRAFT

127.5 ADP, 44-to-N/A

70 ADP, 41-to-102

Many are understandably excited about Sanders following his selection as a second-round pick, but I'd caution against applying the usual second-round running back trends to Sanders' projection on a team that handles its running back personnel in an unusual fashion.

Particularly given his dreary pass-catching background (32 catches for 169 yards on 50 targets) and the between-the-tackles obstacle posed by Jordan Howard, it's easy to imagine Sanders turning out a horrendous bust at this current ADP. To bet on Sanders at this price is to not only bet against Howard, but it's to wager specifically that the Eagles completely reinvent their backfield management tendencies. Corey Clement, then an undrafted rookie, would rotate in for Jay Ajayi in the red zone of game-opening drives. Clement (knee) has uncertain standing at the moment, but between him, Howard, Wendell Smallwood, Josh Adams, Boston Scott, Donnel Pumphrey, and Nico Evans, the Eagles have plenty of bodies in the meantime, and who knows if Darren Sproles eventually decides to return.

Verdict: No

Darrell Henderson, RB, LAR

4/1 to 4/27

4/28 to Present

BestBall10s

113.24 ADP, 76-to-146

99.5 ADP, 79-to-127

DRAFT

150 ADP, 66-to-N/A

118.6 ADP, 73-to-162

I'm a fan of Henderson's game, and Gurley's knee certainly makes things interesting. Unlike with Montgomery or Sanders, there's truly mammoth upside with Henderson if Gurley misses time. I certainly prefer the pre-draft prices, but I'll probably pursue more shares in the 10th round or later if it remains an option. There's a chance that Sean McVay turns Henderson into his own Alvin Kamara, contributing wideout snaps even while Gurley lines up in the backfield, and with Cooper Kupp returning from a mid-season ACL tear there could be a subtle production void within Henderson's reach.

Verdict: Full speed ahead

N'Keal Harry, WR, NE

4/1 to 4/27

4/28 to Present

BestBall10s

141.16 ADP, 74-to-190

102.91 ADP, 77-to-126

DRAFT

174.2 ADP, 99-to-N/A

110.3 ADP, 38-to-163

Harry is an impressive prospect who I think can be compared to the likes of Keenan Allen and Allen Robinson, and in terms of talent or dynasty value he clearly stands out in New England. For re-draft purposes the situation is less obvious, if only because the Brady-McDaniels-Belichick system seems to value familiarity more than talent, but if Harry is as good as we think he is then he needs to be taken seriously as one of Belichick's leading weapons.

The Patriots lost not just Rob Gronkowski this offseason, but also Chris Hogan. Aside from the less-than-durable Julian Edelman, the Patriots depth chart is led by Phillip Dorsett. Demaryius Thomas was signed in free agency, but even a freakish athlete like Thomas would be hard-pressed to contribute as a 31-year-old wide receiver returning from a Week 16 Achilles' tendon tear. Practice squad-types like Braxton Berrios, Maurice Harris, Jakobi Meyers, Ryan Davis, and Xavier Ubosi are the only options otherwise. All of those receivers aside from Dorsett and Ubosi conventionally profile as slot targets, and unless they run trips all the time the Patriots will need Harry to serve as the second outside wide receiver if nothing else. Josh Gordon is technically a possibility to return, but I can't see why we'd take that seriously at this point.

The upside scenario for Harry is one where Edelman gets hurt. Edelman will be 33 later this month and played 16 games in only two of his eight non-suspension NFL seasons. Dorsett may remain the top outside receiver and Edelman could dominate the weekly game plan from the slot otherwise, but even in that case Harry would be in a position to make an immediate impact. At slightly over 6-foot-2 and pushing 230 pounds, Harry could even be a candidate for snaps that resemble tight end functions in the passing game. He also stands out for his red-zone utility among an otherwise small group of receivers.

Verdict: Buy

D.K. Metcalf, WR, SEA

4/1 to 4/27

4/28 to Present

BestBall10s

126.97 ADP, 76-to-189

121.73 ADP, 87-to-146

DRAFT

142.2 ADP, 31-to-N/A

111.2 ADP, 52-to-163

There is a wide range of possible outcomes here. Metcalf's strengths are high magnitude but lacking breadth, so his avenues of breakout opportunity are rather narrow. He needs outside snaps, because his skill set doesn't work reliably from the slot. But if outside snaps are available, then fireworks could easily occur in a Russell Wilson-led offense in a division that figures to pick up the scoring tempo with Jimmy Garoppolo back in San Francisco and Kliff Kingsbury arriving in Arizona. Trading away Frank Clark figures to damage the Seattle defense, too, precipitating more catch-up scripts to offset Brian Schottenheimer's atavistic wishbone-worshiping offense.

If Baldwin is out, then Tyler Lockett probably replaces him as the lead slot target, freeing up outside snaps. Metcalf would face tough competition from David Moore and Gary Jennings for said snaps, but if he wins then both Lockett and Metcalf could crush their current acquisition costs.

Verdict: I'm mostly uninterested for now, but I might need to rethink that if things start looking bleaker yet on the Baldwin question

Devin Singletary, RB, BUF

4/1 to 4/27

4/28 to Present

BestBall10s

154.05 ADP, 101-232

130.5 ADP, 86-to-180

DRAFT

195.8 ADP, 88-to-N/A

169.2 ADP, 93-to-N/A

Singletary was monstrously productive at Florida Atlantic, running for 66 touchdowns in three years, and the Bills of course didn't spend the 74th pick for Singletary to stay on the bench. He tested horribly at the combine, running only a 4.66-second 40 and 11.72 agility score at 5-foot-8, 203 pounds, but free agent addition Frank Gore was also once a hyper-productive, under-athletic running back out of Florida.  With that said, LeSean McCoy and T.J. Yeldon are two potential additional obstacles, so I'd probably prefer the runner listed later in this article instead.

Verdict: Singletary should have some role, but a backfield of crowded veterans precludes the upside necessary to make the risk tolerable

Mecole Hardman, WR, KC

4/1 to 4/27

4/28 to Present

BestBall10s

222.98 ADP, 73-to-N/A

133 ADP, 75-to-171

DRAFT

N/A

138 ADP, 80-to-215

Anyone who suffers through my blithering already knows where I stand here. I think Hardman's remaining skeptics are largely driven by lingering angst over Hardman going earlier than their preferred player, and there's a vibrant hive of insulated internet community where one can go to have that opinion egged on by the like-minded. But their bitter bender will eventually end and they'll at some point crawl out of that daze, at which point Hardman's ADP will definitely rise further than the 11th-to-12th round cost it's currently settling in at. I would guess the 9th is where his ADP rests within three months.

Verdict: Please let me have all the Hardman shares

Kyler Murray, QB, ARZ

4/1 to 4/27

4/28 to Present

BestBall10s

161.93 ADP, 113-to-224

142.07 ADP, 101-to-171

DRAFT

134.6 ADP, 53-to-N/A

107.8 ADP, 73-to-133

Even with Josh Rosen in Miami, Murray is still the QB19 in the draft order. The Cardinals might run more plays than any other team, and Murray is a profound rushing threat in what should be a high-scoring division. Murray could push for 550 pass attempts and 100 carries in the same season. That's major upside at minimal cost. I prefer Murray over more expensive quarterbacks like Drew Brees, Carson Wentz, Philip Rivers, Mitch Trubisky, Lamar Jackson, and Tom Brady.

Verdict: More please

T.J. Hockenson, TE, DET

4/1 to 4/27

4/28 to Present

BestBall10s

155.22 ADP, 104-to-194

146.4 ADP, 90-to-170

DRAFT

153.4 ADP, 68-to-N/A

109.5 ADP, 59-to-144

I love Hockenson as a prospect, but I don't want to spend a re-draft pick on him in the first 12 rounds. It's generally difficult for tight ends to make an immediate NFL impact, and the fact that Hockenson will turn only 22 in July invites further anxiety over the amount of development time he might need.

The Lions averaged 86.55 tight end snaps per game following the Golden Tate trade. If the Lions log 1,385 tight end snaps for the year, then the question of Hockenson's re-draft fantasy value could come down to the snap split between him, free agent signing Jesse James, third-year former fourth-round pick Michael Roberts, rookie seventh-round pick Isaac Nauta, free agent flier Logan Thomas, and undrafted rookie Donald Parham.

I would guess James and his four-year, $22.6 million deal ($10.5 million guaranteed) will play a lot in 2019, perhaps more than Hockenson. I'd project 200-to-300 snaps for Roberts, Nauta, Thomas, and Parham, as well as anyone else who might end up playing tight end snaps for Detroit this year. I understand if someone would dismiss that number as too high, but Roberts alone averaged roughly 20 snaps per game last year, so I think it's a conservative estimate.

If there are 1,085-to-1,185 snaps to split between James and Hockenson, then I think the best-case outcome for Hockenson is one where he leads the team with roughly 635 snaps. The only worthwhile fantasy tight ends who logged fewer snaps last year were Chris Herndon (624 snaps) and Vance McDonald (564 snaps), while the rest don't qualify for injury reasons. Even in their strong showings, Herndon and McDonald combined for an average of just 44.5 catches for 556 yards and four touchdowns on 64 targets. Do you want to bet on Hockenson catching 69.5 percent of his targets at 8.7 yards per target as a rookie? There's a lot that can go wrong here for a price that I think could rise further yet.

Verdict: Give me Jack Doyle a round earlier or Mark Andrews a round or two later

Noah Fant, TE, DEN

4/1 to 4/27

4/28 to Present

BestBall10s

179.2 ADP, 119-to-228

153.8 ADP, 87-to-193

DRAFT

175.2 ADP, 1-to-N/A

141.8 ADP, 109-to-180

I was high on Hockenson and low on Fant as prospects. I'm low on Hockenson and vaguely optimistic for Fant in re-draft. Make sense?

The difference between the two is that whereas I think it would take a Jesse James injury for Hockenson to hit an upside scenario, I can more easily imagine Fant posing upside that justifies his risk roughly a round later than Hockenson. The risk is still mammoth with Fant, who won't turn 22 until late November and needs to displace Jeff Heuerman and Jake Butt. But Heuerman just isn't very good – nor are the Broncos as committed to him (two years, $8 million) as the Lions are to James (four years, $22.6 million) – while Butt is a total question mark as he tries to return from his third ACL tear. James needs a bad-luck injury for Hockenson to go off, whereas it would be a mid-range probability for Heuerman and Butt to incidentally fall off, clearing the way for Fant in such a case.

If Fant is getting real snaps, then the upside is considerable. Offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello means to emulate the Kyle Shanahan offense, in which case the George Kittle parallel is unavoidable. Not only is Fant the kind of rare athlete who can stretch the field and run after the catch like Kittle, but the Broncos' ragtag wideout rotation of Courtland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton, and Tim Patrick doesn't make a compelling case for targets otherwise. 

My concern with Fant as a prospect was that his perceived potential glossed over inefficiency issues. But in this upside scenario with Denver, Joe Flacco might be dependent on Fant in a way that offsets inefficiency with opportunity.

Verdict: The price is low enough and the upside high enough to justify the risk as a TE3

Alexander Mattison, RB, MIN

4/1 to 4/27

4/28 to Present

BestBall10s

237.87 ADP, 177-to-239

211.17 ADP, 128-to-240

DRAFT

N/A

N/A

I'm pretty sure Mattison is nothing special as a prospect, and I doubt he'd make most teams as a sixth round pick. But since the Vikings reached for him in the third round and they're otherwise thin at running back behind the injury prone Dalvin Cook, for better or worse the Vikings and Mattison are in this together.

If they need to justify that draft pick, then the Vikings will all but hand the backup running back job to Mattison over Mike Boone and Roc Thomas. If Mattison has the backup job, then he's the top candidate to play if Cook gets hurt. Even if Cook doesn't get hurt, the densely-built Mattison (5-foot-11, 221 pounds) could profile as the team's main goal-line back. I like Boone as a prospect more than Mattison, but I think the interests of Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman have the odds stacked against him in Mattison's favor.

Mattison's upside for his ADP is unique, and I say that as a critic of him. Cook's injury concerns are mounting, and a third-round running back selection indicates major team commitment these days. If Cook gets hurt, Mattison could play a workhorse role given his build and solid pass-catching production at Boise State (60 catches for 511 yards on 76 targets).

Verdict: I'm buying until his ADP jumps to at least the 13th round

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mario Puig
Mario is a Senior Writer at RotoWire who primarily writes and projects for the NFL and college football sections.
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