Fantasy Football Draft Strategy: ADP Rumblings (8/17)


All 32 NFL teams officially have a preseason game under their belts, which means that fantasy football ADP is moving quickly in all directions. Fantasy managers and NFL fans have now seen players making noise in camp take their first snaps in-game action, leading to huge spikes, especially with players who were later-round draft picks.


In this edition of FTN’s ADP rumblings, I will focus on a group of players who can be drafted in the 10th round or later of fantasy drafts that have seen considerable ADP movement in the last week.

DJ Chark, WR, Detroit Lions

Last year was a lost season for DJ Chark thanks to an early-season injury and the general ineptitude of Urban Meyer’s half-season with the Jaguars. During his four healthy games, Chark earned 22 targets, catching only seven of them for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Poor production combined with a free agent landing spot with the Lions has undoubtedly suppressed his ADP for most of the offseason. However, that same ADP has started to climb in the past week, jumping him up nine spots and moving him to the WR55.

Chark’s most recent season is problematic, but it’s important to remember that he had a strong two-year stretch in 2019 and 2020 when catching passes from forgettable passers like Gardner Minshew, Nick Foles, Mike Glennon and Jake Luton. In those seasons, Chark averaged 105.5 targets, 63 receptions and 857 receiving yards. He also scored 13 total touchdowns. Jared Goff isn’t a world beater by any stretch of the imagination, but he is a better quarterback than he gets credit for. The veteran quarterback completed 67.2% of his passes for 3,245 yards and 19 touchdowns with eight interceptions in his first season with the Lions. Goff isn’t known for his deep passing but having arguably a top-five offensive line ahead of him will give him time to make throws down the field.

Detroit has plenty of players like D’Andre Swift, T.J. Hockenson and Amon-Ra St. Brown to win in the short-to-intermediate areas. However, Chark is the team’s only true deep threat until Jameson Williams is ready to return from a January ACL tear. Chark probably won’t lead the team in targets, but he could easily lead Detroit in receiving yards thanks to his ability to generate chunk plays. He’s currently going off the board as WR55 in NFC drafts, making him an excellent value in what we all believe will be an ascending offense.

Jalen Tolbert, WR, Dallas Cowboys

Jalen Tolbert has steadily climbed draft boards due to the thin Cowboys’ wide receiver depth chart. He arguably should have jumped up higher after the James Washington foot injury solidified Tolbert as Dallas’ WR2 to start the season. Last season, the Cowboys were top-10 in both pace of play (25.3 seconds per snap) and no-huddle percentage (13.49%). Dallas wants their offense to go fast, and they trust Dak Prescott to get the ball to his playmakers in a hurry. CeeDee Lamb will undoubtedly lead the team in targets this season thanks to the departure of Amari Cooper and the continued recovery of Michael Gallup from an ACL tear, but the target pecking order gets ambiguous behind him.

Dallas may opt to utilize Dalton Schultz as a high-volume checkdown receiver as they did for most of last season or could choose to utilize Tony Pollard’s receiving ability a bit more, but they will need another player to complement Lamb down the field. Tolbert averaged 17.6 yards per reception at South Alabama and has the size (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) and speed (4.49) to get down the field to make big plays. Gallup and Washington will eventually return to the field, but by that time, Tolbert may have established a role for himself in an offense that ran 11 personnel for 67% of their plays in 2021.

Tolbert will be an integral part of the Dallas passing attack to start the season, making him an excellent value at WR58. Even if Gallup returns faster than we believe, he will still have a role in a high-volume passing attack that utilizes three-receiver sets.


Isiah Pacheco, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

I considered writing Isiah Pacheco up in this article last week but decided to wait to see if his hot start to training camp would continue. Well, one week and a preseason game (with three touches) later, it’s time to take his rise seriously. In the last week, Pacheco has skyrocketed up 67 picks in NFC drafts, moving all the way to RB50 and pick 145. While I get the excitement behind a late-round pick taking first-team reps in camp, I’m skeptical that he can provide the kind of value needed to pay off a massive ADP spike that is undoubtedly going to climb higher as more positive reports come out of the Chiefs camp.

Isiah Pacheco 2022 Fantasy Football ADP Movers & Shakers

Let’s get the good out of the way first. Pacheco was a modest producer during his four years at Rutgers, totaling 563 carries, 47 receptions, 2,691 all-purpose yards and 19 total touchdowns. However, he wowed at the combine, measuring in at 5-10 and 216 pounds while running a 4.37-second 40. Despite the size and speed, Pacheco was taken in the seventh round of the draft. He’s impressed enough in camp to earn some touches with the first team offense and is currently listed as the team’s kick returner, which should make him a lock to make the team’s 53-man roster out of camp. All of those are good things.

There are also reasons why a meteoric rise out of camp reports (and a preseason game that saw him total two carries, one reception and 11 total yards) is premature. As much as we like to criticize Clyde Edwards-Helaire for being a first-round bust, he has been effective when he’s on the field and healthy. In 23 career games, CEH is averaging 4.4 yards per carry and 7.7 yards per reception. He hasn’t done anything to lose his job at this point and the team has enough of an investment in him to assure that he will be the first running back on the field with the first-team offense in Week 1. Jerick McKinnon will likely serve as the team’s primary pass-catching back after a three-game playoff run that saw him total 34 carries for 150 yards and 14 receptions for 165 yards and a touchdown. Both of those players have injury risks, but they are veterans who know the system and have shown the ability to have success within it. Ronald Jones is also on the team, but the more time passes the more unlikely it seems he has a major role. Pacheco’s only reps with the first team in their first preseason game came after Edwards-Helaire was on the field for seven straight plays, so at the very least we know he is still behind CEH. None of that even takes into consideration the fact that the Chiefs are one of the pass-heaviest teams in the NFL (62% pass ratio the last two seasons) because they have the best quarterback in the NFL under center.

There is absolutely a world where Pacheco carves out a role in this offense; the problem is it will likely require injuries. The fact that he’s getting some touches with the first team is important, but it doesn’t mean that he will be jumping either CEH or McKinnon quite yet. Pacheco has skyrocketed to a 12th-round ADP overnight based on little more than camp reports and a limited showing in a preseason game.

Plenty of fantasy managers were burned last season when Elijah Mitchell went from a relative unknown in training camp to the team’s started running back early in the season. It feels like Pacheco’s swift ascent is people using the past to dictate their actions in the present. Drafting Pacheco in the 12th round won’t kill anybody’s draft (and he still holds some upside), but if he continues to fly up draft boards at this rapid pace then it may be better to wait and see if he can succeed on somebody else’s roster.

KJ Hamler, WR, Denver Broncos

The injury to Tim Patrick has opened up an opportunity in Denver’s passing attack. KJ Hamler is coming off his own ACL injury from last season and hasn’t hit the field in full padded practice yet, but if he is cleared before the start of the season then he will have an excellent opportunity to make an impact behind Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy.

Hamler has flashed big-play ability since he was selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. In 16 career games, Hamler has 35 receptions on 66 targets for 455 yards and three touchdowns, leading to 13.0 yards per reception. Hamler’s ability to produce through two seasons has been hampered by inconsistent quarterback play (Drew Lock) or the lack of a quarterback that can properly utilize his deep threat ability (Teddy Bridgewater). Both of those problems were fixed when the Broncos traded for Russell Wilson this offseason. Wilson attempted 400 passes during an injury-shortened 2021 season. According to FTN’s deep passing stats, 76 of those passes traveled at least 20 yards (19%). Wilson completed 38.2% of his deep throws for 1,090 yards and 10 touchdowns with just two interceptions. Wilson is the perfect quarterback for a deep threat like Hamler who needs accurate ball placement down the field to have a huge impact. The injury to Tim Patrick should be enough to consistently get him on the field.

Hamler is currently being drafted as the WR78 in NFC drafts at pick 187. Assuming he is cleared to start the season on time, then he can easily outproduce that ADP in an offense that can finally utilize his skillset.

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