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ADP Progress Report: Abdullah, Royal, Rudolph heating up

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Each week the Average Draft Position (ADP) Progress Report highlights the movers and shakers over the past several days from data compiled by Fantasy Football Calculator. Satisfactory check-pluses in courteousness, self-control and neatness are not required.

Ameer Abdullah, Det, RB (Current ADP: 40.6, +24.2 from July 15) – Some believe the Abudllah hype train is bound to derail. To doubters, his ADP, which has climbed from the mid-60s a month ago to 40.6, warrants little profitability. Margins have shrunk considerably, but his Round 4 price tag in 12-team leagues is about right. A magician in his pro debut against the Jets, his sharp cuts, laser vision and short-area quickness left would-be tacklers awestruck. In total, he carried the rock seven times for 67 times, including a 45-yard scamper off right tackle. “The Butcher,” as Nebraska fans know him, probably couldn’t have outrun Chris Farley back in the day. Evidenced by his 4.60 40-yard dash, he's no burner. However, straight-line speed is overrated and he possesses the single most important quality for a RB: wiggle. His willingness to block and reliable hands are also plus attributes. Yes, the buzz is deafening, but with Joique Bell still in recovery mode from offseason knee and Achilles procedures, Abdullah has foot firmly in door. At this point, it’s no exaggeration for him to total 14-15 touches per game starting Week 1 and 1,200 total yards with 5-7 TDs on the season. Achieve that, and he’ll likely be fantasy’s most coveted rookie RB, a top-20 asset.

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Martavis Bryant, Pit, WR (51.6, +6.9 since Aug 16) – Loud thuds echoed throughout Fantasyland just a couple weeks ago. The cause: Gamers jumped off the Bryant bandwagon. Ben Roethlisberger’s prediction Markus Wheaton, and not the sophomore receiver who was dealing a minor elbow setback, was on the brink of a breakout almost overnight changed the Bryant narrative from “must have” to “must avoid.” As a result, his ADP plunged from 43.6 to 56.1. But his stellar performance to begin the preseason (3-55-1) could reverse his value course. Even if Wheaton solidifies his position as the WR2, Bryant is sure to play a prominent role. Todd Haley’s offense features numerous thee-receiver sets. I still anticipate his 47.2 snap percentage from last year to rise around 60-65 percent. He’s simply too explosive to keep off the field. At 6-foot-5 and blessed with 4.34 40-yard wheels he’s a menacing target for DBs to contain. Last year, he broke press coverage 70 percent of the time. His improved understanding of the offense and added weight make him more than just a one-trick pony. He’s unlikely to post another 0.45 fantasy points per snap, but a final tally in shouting distance of 60-1050-10 is entirely possible. Another standout effort and his ADP is sure to shoot back into the mid-40s. Take advantage while you can.

Eddie Royal, Chi, WR (131.0, +32.7 since Aug 1) – After a six-year hiatus, Jay Cutler and Royal are once again BFFs. Kevin White’s demoralizing shin injury, which could keep him sidelined the entire year, elevates the slot man’s value. Alshon Jeffery, dealing with an ailment of his own (calf) albeit a minor one, should be Cutler's primary weapon of choice, the Demaryius Thomas in Adam Gase’s offense. However, Martellus Bennett and Royal are sure to rack plentiful targets in the short-to-intermediate fields. The latter possibly generating as many as 125-130 looks. Chicago’s “camp MVP” according to the Sun Times, Royal, working both inside and out, will likely offer more consistency compared to his recent efforts in San Diego. Recall when he and Cutler were teammates in Denver they combined for 91 receptions, 980 yards and five touchdowns in 2008. The catch total is unrepeatable, but the yards and TDs feel spot on. Currently the 53rd wide receiver (131.0 ADP) off draft boards, he’s worth reaching for after pick No. 90, especially in PPR settings. As witnessed in his brief appearance in the Bears' preseason opener (2-19-0), he will play an integral role right away. Give me Royal over Torrey Smith (111.9 ADP), Davante Adams (96.3) and Charles Johnson (83.2) all day long.

ADDITIONAL LADDER CLIMBERS

Sam Bradford, QB, Phi (113.2, +15.5 since July 15) – Though he didn’t see action in the Eagles’ first preseason matchup and countless words have been penned about His Holiness, Tim Tebow, over the past couple days, the former No. 1 pick is the fastest upward mover at QB. In a frenetic system that registered the fifth-most pass attempts, he undoubtedly has 4,200-yards, 30-TD appeal. Remember, Philly QBs combined for the ninth-most valuable line in fantasy last year (4,581 pass yards, 27 TDs). If you play the patience game at QB, Bradford needs to be the primary target, despite the injury risk.

[Preseason rankings: See how our experts stack each position]

Doug Martin, TB, RB (55.2, +16.4 since July 15) – Reflecting back on his breakthrough rookie campaign, drafters just can’t quit the "Muscle Hamster." Martin, in an attempt to regain his short-field shiftiness, went all Jenny Craig this offseason. Leaner and meaner he’s gained praise from coaches and beat writers alike, many predicting a bounce-back campaign. He did look lighter on his feet against the Vikings, but Tampa’s offensive line, which lost Demar Dotson for six weeks (MCL) in that contest, remains a giant concern. He’ll definitely be more valuable compared to 2013 and 2014, but at his hefty Round 5 price keeping investors in the black is unlikely.

Kyle Rudolph, Min, TE (138.2, +12.7 since July 15) – Greatly limited by myriad injuries the past couple seasons, Rudolph has yet to live up to his TE1 promise. That, however, may soon change. Resembling the nimble, reliable and athletic target that flashed top-five potential in 2009, he’s looked terrific in two preseason games catching four passes for 46 yards. As many are aware, tight ends have been highly relied upon in Norv Turner’s offense historically. Antonio Gates and Jordan Cameron are two guys that flourished in his system. Still largely available after pick No. 130, the Red-Zone Reindeer could bring statistical gifts to good little fantasy girls and boys. Provided he staves off the injury imp, a 55-600-6 campaign is attainable.

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