The following are players whom I have ranked significantly higher and lower compared to their ADP (average draft position), starting with running backs and with the rest of the positions to be posted throughout the week.
STOCK UP (I like more than ADP)
Nick Chubb (My Rank=RB1 vs. ADP=RB8)
After threatening to move Chubb to No. 1 on my overall board last week, the Browns since traded Duke Johnson, freeing up a bunch of targets in Cleveland’s backfield. Chubb led the NFL in elusive rating as a rookie, when he also set the record for the most YPC after contact (4.42) and recorded the second-most runs for 20-plus and 40-plus yards despite not seeing the field until late October. With emerging superstar Baker Mayfield at QB and Odell Beckham Jr. at WR in a fast-paced system, there should be a bunch of scoring opportunities for the dominant runner.
Moreover, there are legit questions for the other backs in the consensus top-six, as David Johnson hasn’t been any good since 2016 and might not benefit from the Air Raid as much as many think, Saquon Barkley’s potentially disastrous supporting cast (Eli Manning has gotten just 6.5 YPA over the last five seasons when Beckham Jr. didn’t play), Ezekiel Elliott’s holdout, CMC’s impending regression and Alvin Kamara’s workload issues. None of them are any less worrisome than Kareem Hunt returning in what’s equivalent to a lifetime in football terms (eight games). Hunt’s workout metrics aren’t in the same class as Chubb’s, who’ll also benefit from a favorable looking schedule in the fantasy playoffs.
Obviously, draft Chubb in Round 2 if that’s an option in your fantasy league, but personally I’m not risking that and taking him whenever I have the chance no matter my draft slot, as he’s the top player on my board (this is why auctions are better).
Mark Ingram (My Rank=RB15 vs. ADP=RB21)
It’s usually a downgrade when leaving the Saints offense, but Ingram will be running behind another strong offensive line and most importantly is looking at a true feature back role for the first time in his career. Baltimore’s coaching staff has made it clear they plan on using him on all three downs (and OC Greg Roman has a history of riding his lead backs). After Lamar Jackson took over at QB last season, Ravens running backs led the NFL in rushing yards and YPC, and Baltimore projects to have one of the easiest fantasy schedules based on last year’s run defenses.
Ingram’s never recorded more than 230 carries in a season, but the once injury-prone back actually hasn’t missed a game due to injury since 2015, and he leads all RBs in YPC over the last five seasons. He seems like a perfect Round 3 target who’s available later.
Darrell Henderson (My Rank=RB24 vs. ADP=RB37)
The Rams have the best system for running backs right now, evidenced by C.J. Anderson’s dominant stretch late last season after literally coming off his couch. Gurley, meanwhile, has an arthritic knee condition that’s going to limit his touches moving forward at best and prevent him from playing altogether (like it did at times during the team’s most crucial moments last season) at worst. Enter Henderson, whom the Rams traded up for to draft after he finished his career at Memphis with a college football record 8.2 YPC mark. Henderson can be plenty valuable in an “Alvin Kamara-type role” as a receiver, but he also possesses league-winning upside unlike any other mid-round pick should Gurley’s knee condition worsen (it’s not getting any better) and as an ideal fit in LA’s system. It's straight up robbery if you get Henderson after Round 6.
STOCK DOWN (I like less than ADP)
Le’Veon Bell (My Rank=RB12 vs. ADP=RB6)
He just sat out an entire year, has played 16 games only once during his career (and not since 2014) and is about to see a big downgrade in offensive lines, so Bell seems risky as an automatic RB1 like the market suggests. He’s easily one of my favorite running backs ever to watch, but Bell’s patient style might not fit best in New York, where his new coach finished last in plays per game last season (and in 2016), didn’t even want to sign the back in the first place and is a little bit out there. I must acknowledge Sam Darnold could develop into a star though, which would certainly help, but there are numerous other backs I prefer at Bell’s cost.
Todd Gurley (My Rank=RB21 vs. ADP=RB11)
If I’m higher on Henderson than most, it stands to reason I’m lower on Gurley than the consensus. While Round 2 prices lesson some of his risk (he’d be the top overall player if fully healthy), Gurley’s upside just isn’t the same now that he’s looking at fewer touches even if everything goes perfectly health-wise, making him just not worth the (significant) risk. One thing is certain: If you’re using my cheat sheet, you won’t end up with Gurley on your team.
Lamar Miller (My Rank=RB45 vs. ADP=RB31)
We’ve already seen what Miller can do with a full workload, and it’s not especially helpful to fantasy managers. He ranked last in yards per route run among running backs last year and has produced just six top-10 fantasy weeks over the last three seasons (44 games), highlighting how misleading volume and season totals can be. I’d draft new teammate Duke Johnson over him in a second.
Others I like less than consensus: Leonard Fournette, Melvin Gordon, Phillip Lindsay, LeSean McCoy