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Fantasy Football: Which Players Will Beat Their ADP?


What do last year's top-three fantasy receivers have in common? Cooper Kupp, Deebo Samuel and Ja’Marr Chase all had an ADP in the fifth round or later in 2021 fantasy drafts. 

Many people tend to focus on who they want to draft in the first few rounds. While the beginning of the draft is very important, the middle-to-late rounds is what truly makes or breaks the success of your fantasy team. In 2021, seven of the top 20 fantasy running backs had ADP’s in the 6th round or later. The middle rounds hold some of the most important players in your fantasy draft. This year, there are a substantial number of players at each position who seem destined to beat their ADP.

Quarterback - Jameis Winston

Last year, Winston was put in a tough situation. He was tasked with replacing Drew Brees and was given one of the worst receiving corps in the NFL. He played the first half of the season as a mediocre fantasy QB before tearing his ACL in Week 8.

This year will be different for Winston

This offseason, the Saints made huge moves to improve their receiving depth. They signed Jarvis Landry and took Chris Olave in Round one of the draft. They are also finally getting back a healthy Michael Thomas, and the reports out of training camp claim he is back to his WR1 form. On top of all that, the Saints have one of the best receiving backs in the league in Alvin Kamara. He is finally not going to get all of the defense’s attention and should have much more space to work with this year.

Overall, the Saints offense is massively improved from last year. The player who is going to benefit from that the most is Winston. Right now, Winston’s ADP is 22nd among quarterbacks behind the likes of Mitch Trubisky, Justin Fields and Matt Ryan. He will be one of the biggest steals of the draft. Don’t be surprised to see him as a top-10 QB by the end of the year.

Running Back: Travis Etienne

This year more than ever, it is essential to have a good RB2.

After the first few rounds, there is a substantial drop off in quality RBs that are still available. However, Etienne is currently being drafted as the 20th RB off the board and has serious RB1 upside. In 2021, the Jaguars selected Etienne in the first round, despite a very good season from James Robinson in 2020. He tore his ACL before the season started last year, though. Now, he is completely healthy and has the backfield all to himself. He is playing alongside his former college teammate Trevor Lawrence, and they achieved plenty of offensive success together at Clemson.

Etienne may seem like a sketchy pick for RB2 because the Jaguars' offense is so unreliable. However, his potential is just too great to ignore. He is an explosive player who is poised to see tons of volume. He is definitely worth drafting with his third or fourth-round ADP if you can get him, and he could likely be a first-round pick in 2023.

Wide Receiver: Allen Robinson

There’s no denying Robinson was one of the most disappointing fantasy players of the 2021 season.

He was listed among the most talented receivers, and yet, he was rarely able to reach 10 fantasy points on any given week. Robinson’s 2021 season has dropped his 2022 ADP all the way down to 24th among wide receivers. However, Robinson will return to his prime fantasy form this year.

Last year, Robinson played for the Bears who had—and still have—one of the worst passing offenses in the NFL. Now, Robinson is set to be the WR2 for the reigning Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams. Last year, Robert Woods was the WR2 for the Rams and was the 12th best receiver in fantasy through nine weeks before tearing his ACL. After Woods got injured, the Rams got Odell Beckham Jr. as their WR2. Upon signing, he played a substantial role in their run to the Super Bowl.

The Rams' offense has proven they are good enough to hold two relevant fantasy receivers with Stafford at QB. Expect a big comeback year from Robinson. He should outdo his current ADP if the Rams' offense maintains its success from last year.

Tight End: Noah Fant

Finding a good sleeper tight end in the late rounds is very difficult because there appears to be a large decline in potential once the first 10 tight ends are off the board. However, Fant is currently being drafted as the TE25, which is very low for a player of his caliber.

Last year, Fant had a very mediocre season in Denver and finished as the 12th-best tight end in fantasy. In the offseason, he got traded to Seattle along with his quarterback, Drew Lock. A lot of people have low expectations for this Seattle offense now that Russell Wilson is gone, but they still have some talented players. D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are easily the best receiving targets Lock has had in his career. That being said, Fant is Lock’s most familiar target, and he should see plenty of volume throughout the year.

If Lock can get this Seattle offense going, Fant should see a ton of receptions and red-zone targets. He has top-10 tight end upside. Even if the offense is as bad as expected, he should beat his TE24 ADP. Fant is a very low-risk, high-reward option late in the draft.

Of course, it’s always important to draft well early, but you can’t win your league with your first two picks. Finding players in the mid-to-late rounds who can beat their ADP could win you your league. It could be difference between hoisting your fantasy trophy and spending 24 hours in IHOP as your last place punishment.