Price Check: Best Ball ADP for June Drafts
A new month means a new set of players we should be targeting in our Underdog best ball drafts. Since my first article came out in May we’ve seen some shifts in player ADPs -- including two players who have moved up and down by a full round in Underdog ADP.
Panthers receiver Robby Anderson has received a 14-slot bump since my article was written on May 11th. Currently going as the WR74 in drafts, Anderson feels like a safe bet to return value after a down 2021.
Anderson finished last season as the WR74 in fantasy points per game (6.6) but ranked 28th in total targets (109) and 29th in air yards (1,156). Anderson saw the fourth-worst catchable pass rate (71%) of any receiver last season (min. 80 targets), which marked a steep drop from the 80% catchable pass rate he enjoyed in 2020.
Commanders running back Brian Robinson has trended in the opposite direction of Anderson over the last month, falling 14 rounds lower than his previous month’s ADP. I’m still very much in on Robinson, whose team situation remains unchanged since last month. He has coveted third-round draft capital and should be in line for early-down snaps should Antonio Gibson ever miss time.
With another month of drafting ahead, here are some players I’m targeting for my rosters.
Early Round Buys
Tee Higgins (CIN)
Underdog ADP: 24.2
FFPC ADP: 30.9
You can’t blame anyone for wanting to draft second-year stud Ja’Marr Chase to open their drafts. Despite mainstream media wanting you to believe that Chase was simply incapable of catching passes all offseason, he overcame this narrative to finish with 81-1455-13 and 2021 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Chase’s monumental success last season was a hot topic, so much so that it almost overshadowed a strong second season from Tee Higgins.
After going for 67-908-6 as a rookie in 2020, Higgins ran it back in 2021 with a receiving line of 74-1091-6 while playing in two fewer games than he did as a rookie. He was targeted on 22.41% of his routes run compared to Chase’s 21.24% rate and ranked second with a 45.5% contested catch rate on deep balls (min. 10 contested targets).
From a production standpoint, Higgins has put together a historically great first two years in the league.
Since 2010, only 15 receivers have totaled 2,000+ receiving yards through their first two years in the league (min. 120 receptions). Higgins falls a yard short of this benchmark with 1,999 career yards, but there’s no denying he’s in rarified air.
Higgins and the Bengals would also benefit from a more aggressive offense in 2022. Quarterback Joe Burrow ranked seventh in the league in EPA per drop back at 0.186, but the Bengals couldn’t get out of their own way on first downs. Despite the efficient play of Burrow in the passing game, Cincinnati was obsessed with early-down rush attempts -- something that never went well for them.
Their love of early-down rushing, or rushing in general was at times laughable. They ranked 22nd in both EPA per rush attempt (-0.094) and rushing success rate (38.6%) but ranked 11th in drop back success rate (48.3%). Even with atrocious pass blocking (56.9 grade per PFF), the Bengals should have prioritized the pass more, as Burrow consistently overcame the shortcomings of those in place to protect him.
Throughout free agency and the draft, the Bengals focused heavily on improving their offensive line play. Assuming these improvements pay off, this should have a positive trickle-down effect on all Bengals pass-catchers, as Burrow, for the first time in his career, won’t have to run for his life after every snap.
Higgins finished as the overall WR12 in points per game last season (13.2), but I believe his ceiling remains untapped with the Bengals’ best offensive season under Burrow incoming. It’s not impossible to envision a scenario in which he outproduces players like A.J. Brown, Deebo Samuel or Tyreek Hill -- who are all being drafted ahead of him at this time.
Saquon Barkley (NYG)
Underdog ADP: 26.4
FFPC ADP: 22.7
As a hater of early-round running backs, it pains me to say that we are all too low on Saquon Barkley -- who was once a good player.
Barkley may still be a good player.
During his 2018 rookie campaign, Barkley erupted for a rushing line of 261-1307-11 while also catching 91 receptions for 721 yards and four touchdowns. He appeared well on his way to stardom, with his 340.3 fantasy points ranking second among all running backs that season.
Barkley’s 2019 season was shortened due to injury, but he still finished as the RB6 in points per game (16.8). However, disaster officially struck in 2020.
It’s hard to know which disaster I’m talking about. Barkley tore his ACL in Week 2 and missed the remainder of the season. But even he may agree that the coaching combination of Joe Judge and Jason Garrett over the last two seasons hurt more than any season-ending injury ever could.
He returned in 2021 to play in 13-of-17 games, rushing for 162-593-2 while averaging 10.0 fantasy points per game. Rather than serving as the lone bright spot of the Giants’ offense, Barkley was nothing more than another tragic character written in the Joe Judge chapter of Giants lore.
None of this seems good. Nevertheless, Barkley’s 26.4 ADP on Underdog (RB14) may be bearing too much weight leftover from nagging injuries and the old guard that has since departed.
Enter former Bills’ offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. Daboll has spent the last four seasons in Buffalo grooming quarterback Josh Allen into an MVP caliber player and helped the Bills finish second and third in points per game in each of the last two seasons.
Improving an offense that ranked 31st in both points per game (15.2) and total yards (4,884) in 2021 is no small task, but rookie first-rounder Evan Neal slotting in at left tackle should provide an immediate boost. As should a healthy Kenny Golladay.
What the Giants do on offense in 2022 will hinge largely on Daniel Jones, who I’m sure is a nice guy, but has been rough to watch thus far. Last season, Jones threw for 2,428 yards, 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 11 games. He ranked 23rd in EPA per play (.012) outpacing only some of the worst quarterbacks in the league in the metric.
Fantasy managers should rest easy knowing that New York’s RB2, Matt Breida, offers little threat to Barkley’s touches. And the Giants enter 2022 with the easiest strength of schedule based on Vegas forecasted win totals per Sharp Football Analysis.
I would never draft a running back. But if I did, it might be Saquon Barkley.
Denver Broncos Receivers
Underdog ADP: 42.5
FFPC ADP: 60.4
Underdog ADP: 43.2
FFPC ADP: 58.5
This two-for-one is brought to you by a tweet posted last week by Rich Hribar.
If hunting for a WR ceiling breakout, make sure he is on team you believe can win/surprise.— Rich Hribar (@LordReebs) June 3, 2022
Over the past 30 seasons...
6.1% of all PPR WR1 have come from a team with 4 or fewer wins.
18.1% from teams with 6 or fewer.
73.3% from teams with 8+
48.6% from teams with 10+
Lord Reebs adds in a second tweet that Jeudy and Sutton are a pair of receivers currently going below top-12 prices, whose teams are also projected for 8+ wins by sportsbooks.
The Broncos’ win total for the 2022 season currently sits at 10.5 on PointsBet, an encouraging number when considering the historical data laid out to us above. Even if Denver underperforms their current number, it would take a truly down season to sink the value of Jeudy and Sutton.
Both receivers currently carry fourth-round draft capital on Underdog, with Jeudy being drafted as the WR19 and Sutton as the WR20. While the projected win totals are encouraging in themselves, Wilson has also supported high-end fantasy production for multiple receivers in the past -- especially as of late.
Since 2016 Wilson has provided the fantasy community with seven top-24 receivers in points per game, and three top-12 receivers. In 2020 both Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf were top-12 receivers, averaging 13.5 and 14.5 points per game respectively.
Often held back by the conservative coaching of Pete Carroll in Seattle, Russ may finally get his chance to cook with Denver in 2022.
Should this happen, both Jeudy and Sutton are very much in play as WR1 candidates. While Jeudy’s career has gotten off to a slow start, we’ve seen Sutton flash high-end upside after he went for 72-1112-6 in 2019.
A good Broncos team led by Wilson should lead to strong fantasy production from all parties involved.
Dalton Schultz (DAL)
Underdog ADP: 72.5
FFPC ADP: 38.3
NOTE: The disparity in Dalton Schultz‘s ADP between Underdog and FFPC is reflective of the TE-premium scoring (1.5 PPR) offered by the FFPC.
Dalton Schultz was one of my favorite buys throughout the 2021 draft season.
Schultz broke out for 63-615-4 in 2020 thanks in part to Blake Jarwin‘s season-ending injury in Week 1. Despite his breakout campaign, drafters were quick to select Jarwin (176.5 ADP) over Schultz all of last season (204.6 ADP) after Jarwin was reported healthy throughout training camp.
By the time the 2021 season kicked off, Jarwin truthers learned of their grave mistake.
Schultz out-snapped Jarwin in every game last season, on his way to yet another strong season. He would finish with 78 receptions for 808 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 10.0 points per game (TE5).
Currently going as the TE6 in Underdog drafts, Schultz could very realistically be in line for another top-five finish, or better, after the departure of Amari Cooper this offseason.
The Cowboys have some things to figure out at their WR2 position. Michael Gallup suffered a torn ACL late last season, which may open the door for James Washington or Jalen Tolbert to start the season opposite CeeDee Lamb. Schultz’s rapport with Dak Prescott may be enough to earn him the No. 2 spot in the target pecking order. Last season he ranked fourth on the team with a 16% target share.
Schultz is currently going as the TE6 on Underdog, but the drop in ADP from the consensus top-five down to Schultz is steep.
Schultz is coming at a three-round value compared to the tight ends currently going top-five. Having already proven capable of a top-five fantasy season, Schultz should probably be getting drafted closer to these other top players.
Even T.J. Hockenson, who finished as the TE8 in 2020 and TE6 in 2021 looks like a solid bet at his ADP.
Kenneth Walker (SEA)
Underdog ADP: 87.8
FFPC ADP: 63.6
Another running back. I am disgusted with myself.
However, one of my favorite Zero RB picks in Underdog drafts at his current price is Seattle’s Kenneth Walker. His sixth-round ADP over at the FFPC is admittedly a little less enticing.
With an undying commitment to establishing the run, Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll threw conventional wisdom out the window when he committed to either Drew Lock or Geno Smith as his starting quarterback in 2022 -- unless of course, they land Baker Mayfield.
Through the first three rounds of the draft, the Seahawks drafted three offensive players. Two along the offensive line, and Walker with the 41st overall pick.
The downside for Walker this season is that he may be on a bottom-five offense. The upside, however, is that he establishes himself as the bell cow and goal line back ahead of Week 1.
Walker possesses elite athleticism at the running back position, led by a 4.38 40-time. In his lone season at Michigan State, he rushed for 263-1631-18 while handling 72.1% of his backfield’s rush attempts. Per PFF, he also led the nation in missed tackles forced (89) and yards after contact (1,168) while ranking 10th in yards after contact per attempt (4.46).
In a recent online exchange with Sigmund Bloom of the Football Guys, he and I touched briefly on Walker’s current mispricing and his impending rise in ADP this offseason.
The fact that Walker has never been known as a pass-catcher (19 receptions in 32 games) is certainly getting baked into his ADP. He’s currently going as the RB28 in Underdog drafts but has a chance to produce as a mid-RB2 as the bell cow in what should be a run-heavy scheme.
Any rumors of him catching passes in training camp will send his ADP soaring.
Late Round Buys
Cole Kmet (CHI)
Underdog ADP: 147.1
FFPC ADP: 111.1
Internet people love hearing about positive regression. The phrase has never been negatively received.
So let’s talk about Bears tight end Cole Kmet.
By all accounts, Kmet should have had a much better fantasy season than he did in 2021. He finished the season with a receiving line of 60-612-0 on 91 targets but inexplicably failed to find the end zone.
Kmet ranked top-12 among tight ends in targets, receptions, receiving yards, and air yards (721) but was the TE26 in points per game at 5.4. To put Kmet’s underwhelming touchdown production into perspective I went back and looked at touchdown production for tight ends who have seen 70+ targets in a season since 2000.
Over the last 22 seasons, there have been 334 tight ends that logged 70+ targets. Of those players, only four have failed to score a touchdown. Kmet is the only one to see 90+ targets and fail to score. On average, these tight ends have scored 5.1 touchdowns per season.
Kmet looks like one of the easiest cases for positive regression in 2022. On a Bears’ roster largely devoid of receiving talent (apologies to Byron Pringle truthers), he should be locked into a heavy workload behind wide receiver Darnell Mooney.
Alec Pierce (IND)
Underdog ADP: 159.4
FFPC ADP: 196.9
The Colts went out and drafted Cincinnati wide receiver Alec Pierce with the 53rd overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. A true size/speed specimen, Pierce has a chance to step in and play an immediate role for the Colts this upcoming season.
During his time at Cincinnati, Pierce racked up 106 receptions for 1,851 yards and 16 touchdowns while averaging an impressive 17.5 yards per reception. During his final season, Pierce hauled in an impressive 48.1% of his deep ball targets (20+ yards downfield) and caught 7-of-16 contested deep balls (43.8%).
While the Colts will likely focus on a run-heavy scheme as they did in 2021, Indianapolis should see improved quarterback play with Matt Ryan under center this season.
While Ryan didn’t air the ball out often to his un-impressive wide receiver corps in Atlanta last season, he was effective when he did take shots. Per PFF, Ryan ranked 10th in deep ball completion percentage (43.1%) and was third in adjusted deep ball completion percentage (52.9%) behind Tua Tagovailoa and Kyler Murray.
The Colts are reportedly looking to push Pierce into a starting role early this offseason. Given his high draft capital and mostly unproven competition around him, I like his chances to move into the team’s WR2 role throughout training camp.