In a normal year, now is about the time I’d start taking a look at early ADPs to figure out how I want to approach coming fantasy football drafts. May may seem too early, but I like getting a head start on things and seeing how people are feeling on different players well before training camps and preseason football actually starts.
Of course, this is far from a normal year as there’s still a question as to whether or not the NFL season even runs as planned. So for now, as the NFL is charging full steam ahead despite there being a big crack in the tracks ahead, I’ll join the league in their blind faith that all will be restored by September and take my early look at ADPs and pick out some of my favorites for 2020 (ADPs via Fantasy Football Calculator).
Austin Ekeler - ADP: 4.03, Rank: RB19
I may or may not have decided to write this article solely to able to talk about Austin Ekeler. Ekeler currently going as the 19th running back off the board in PPR drafts is mind blowing to me. This is the man who finished last year the RB4 in PPR leagues, averaging 19.3 points per game. I understand there be changes a brewing in Los Angeles, but the Chargers didn’t go get a running back to compete with Ekeler so this backfield is still his and we’ve seen what he can do when he’s the number one guy. I don’t expect him to stay in the top 5 this year, but he’s easily a top 15 fantasy back this year and I think a top 10 guy, so getting him 19th is a steal in my opinion.
Odell Beckham Jr. - ADP: 5.05, Rank: WR27
At any point in his career, if you’d have told me you drafted Odell in the fifth round, I’d have told you you needed to find yourself a league where people actually knew what they were doing. And yet here we are, in 2020, and people think Odell is barely a top 30 fantasy receiver. I understand he spurned a lot of people last year—I drafted him and Baker Mayfield and they both burnt me good—but this is a guy who, when healthy, has averaged WR7 throughout his career. With a full year with the Browns and Mayfield, and playing in an offense that will actually take advantage of him, there’s no doubt in my mind Odell returns to a top 10 fantasy receiver this year.
Brandin Cooks - ADP: 7.10, Rank: WR36
Cooks carries a lot of injury risk with him but he also has shown that when he’s on the field, he’s a top 15 fantasy receiver. He’s finished at least WR13 every season he’s played 16 games. I understand that’s iffy for Cooks, who probably shouldn’t play football again given the number of concussions he’s had, but at the backend of the 7th round, the risk is worth it. And we know what Cooks can produce even if he’s playing for a new team as he finished WR8 with the Saints in 2016, WR7 with the Patriots in 2018, WR13 with the Rams in 2019, and now he gets to be one of Deshaun Watson’s top receivers.
Todd Gurley - ADP: 8.05, Rank: RB33
I will one billion percent draft Gurley in every single one of my fantasy leagues if he is sitting there in the 8th round for me. I know he’ll likely never return to his 2017, 2018 seasons when he was the best running back in fantasy football, but he was still RB14 in PPR last year. A change of scenery might do him some good and his knees could find the fountain of youth in Atlanta. After all, he’s still only 25 years old and has plenty of football left in him.
Ke’Shaun Vaughn - ADP: 11.05, Rank: RB48
I may be drinking too much of the Ke’Shaun kool-aid but I can’t help but think Vaughn not only will easily win the starting gig in the Buccaneers’ backfield, but become a productive receiver in a Tom Brady-led offense. That alone makes him a top 30 running back in PPR leagues in my opinion and getting him around names like Duke Johnson, Justice Hill, and Carlos Hyde is straight robbery.
John Ross - ADP: 13.03, Rank: WR70
For me, anything past the 10th round is just about taking high upside names if everything broke in their favor. Ross certainly showed us last year what he’s capable of if he can just stay healthy and on the field. In eight games last year he tallied 28 catches for 506 yards and three touchdowns. Across 16 games, that’s 50+ catches, 1,000+ yards and six scores. Like Cooks, there’s a big injury concern here, but the Bengals offense is going to be more explosive with Joe Burrow under center and I’m willing to burn a 13th round pick on someone like Ross who could finish in the top 40 at receiver.