During the fantasy pre-season, many players move up and down the list based on nothing but sentiment and projections. Right now there’s a lot of fluidity with players as little snippets of news can be extrapolated across the entire season. Take Sammy Watkins, for instance. He underwent foot surgery in April and even the coaches are expressing doubts that he’ll be ready for week 1. As a result of this, his value has been dropped from #23 to #28 this past month. However, here are three guys who are stubbornly holding their own on the draftboard despite some significant issues.
Thomas Rawls (RB, SEA) – After suffering a season ending injury during week 14 of the 2015 season, Rawls has been hard at work rehabbing his ankle. How’s it been going? Well at the beginning of April, Rawls was confident that he would be ready for the start of training camp. Then, later on that month, Coach Carroll stated that there is no official timeframe for his return. By the end of May, Carroll said he “hopes” that Rawls will be ready for week 1 and he will not participate during the pre-season. Just recently, coach says he “absolutely” expects Rawls to be ready for week 1 (notice no mention of pre-season). Experts say he is “evidently recovering from about as severe of an ankle fracture as possible.” That does not inspire a lot of confidence, but Rawls’ ADP has evidently moved up from #39 last month to #35 today. Despite the fact that Carroll says that Rawls is his #1 back, both Christine Michael and rookie, CJ Prosise, will have all of pre-season to show what they can do. I’m always very skeptical when it comes to what coaches say, I’m much more inclined to see what they do. If he does hold out Rawls during the entire pre-season, to me that states he is not ready and I would discount his current ADP by at least 2 more rounds. In the meantime, I’m targeting Prosise late (current ADP #192) as he can, at a minimum, have some early season value as Rawls gets eased back in.
Tom Brady (QB, NE) – Ever since the US Court of Appeals reinstated his 4 game suspension, Brady’s ADP has remained as steady as a rock. I’m sorry, New England fans, but it looks like your golden boy is not going to be able to beat this rap. It’s going to take an act by the US Supreme Court to overturn this decision and even if they did decide to hear his case the court doesn’t open until October. So right now it’s a moot point, Tom Brady is going to miss the first quarter of your fantasy season. This has significant implications to his value, yet he remains steady at #72 ADP and is the 8th QB selected overall. In my opinion, I can’t see drafting Brady any earlier than the #11 QB overall, which means his ADP would have to drop to about #100 for me to even consider him. I’m also really concerned with his dropoff in production in the second half of last season. In the first 8 games he threw for 2,700 yards and 22 Touchdowns, in the final 8 games he threw for 2,000 yards and 14 TDs. He’s 38 this year and I’m afraid of a Peyton Manning level dropoff as his body is no longer able to deliver what his brain sees. At this point, I’m happy to let some other coach in my league spend such an early draftpick on Brady so he can sit on their bench for 4 weeks!
Denver Defense– If you want to know my opinion about picking a defense, please go here. Nevertheless, many Fantasy coaches decide to take a Defense right after they fill all their other skill positions. To those people, Denver remains the first defense picked at ADP #80. Defenses are a total crapshoot each season. It is very rare that a top 5 defense maintains that position from season to season. Denver lost DE Malik Jackson and LB Danny Trevathan to free agency. Likewise, SuperBowl MVP - Von Miller - has said he won’t play unless he gets the most expensive contract in NFL history – something I’m not sure will happen. So right off the top you have almost 30% of the defense AWOL and those are some big holes to fill. Last season the top 5 defenses picked were Seattle, Buffalo, Houston, Philadelphia and St. Louis. Of those teams, only Seattle ended up in the top 5 at the end of the season. Meanwhile, Philly and Buffalo were tremendous busts. You are taking a huge risk by picking Denver this early, in my opinion you need to keep drafting offensive players. Michael Crabtree, Giovani Bernard, Kevin White and Chris Ivory are still available at pick #80 and they appear to be a much better choice for your team!
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