Key changes after NFL preseason Week 1

Fantasy managers! Now is the time to prepare for your fantasy football drafts. And to help get you up to speed, I’ll break down the risers and fallers relative to Average Draft Position (ADP) every week until kickoff.

ADP is merely a tool to determine when (on average) a player is being selected in drafts. That doesn’t preclude you from “getting your guy,” but it may offer some perspective on where to select certain players. Are they in a positional battle? Are there injury concerns? What about contractual disputes?

Fantasy football is about staying in the know, and I’ll help decipher what’s driving ADPs up and down until the season officially begins on September 7.

Preseason ADP: 39.8

ADP last seven days: 40.6

Change: +0.8

The market isn’t concerned about Burrow’s calf injury. I thought Ja’Marr Chase’s comments 10 days ago might give early fantasy drafters some pause, but Burrow’s ADP moved less than one spot over the past seven days.

Chase did clarify his message a few days later — it’s less about Burrow’s availability for Week 1 and more about ensuring he’ll have his QB1 fully healthy for the Bengals to make a deep postseason run. Unsurprisingly, Bengals HC Zac Taylor was also asked about Burrow’s status, and on August 9, he stated that “[Burrow’s] timeline is several weeks from when I said several weeks.”

Is he being honest, or is he trolling? The fantasy community would love to know, but Burrow looks to be progressing nonetheless:

Burrow is listed as the QB4 in our fantasy rankings, but Lamar Jackson (QB5) is being drafted slightly ahead of Burrow in the fourth round thus far. By all accounts, there’s no reason to panic if you’re in on Burrow this year; however, I’d put more faith in Lamar Jackson if given the choice in Round Four.

Preseason ADP: 73.4

ADP last seven days: 83.1

Change: +9.7

A three-game suspension will drive an ADP down, but a dip of almost 10 spots makes Kamara a value in fantasy — especially in PPR leagues. Given his status in the NFL, it was surprising to see him log snaps in the Saints’ first preseason game. However, it was clear that the new offense is humming under Derek Carr, as the first-team offense scored on their opening series, which noticeably featured Kamara.

In that opening drive, Kamara registered three carries for 14 yards on the ground and caught a 17-yard screen pass as well.

Kamara isn’t for everyone. He’s coming off a disappointing season, and as my buddy Scott Pianowski pointed out, his efficiency is declining, he carries some off-field baggage and faces some competition in the backfield (the Saints bringing in last year’s rushing TD king, Jaamal Williams).

But I can’t pass him up in the eighth round and playing in the NFC South (one of the worst divisions in football). Kamara’s going too late in drafts.

Preseason ADP: 40.0

ADP last seven days: 45.3

Change: +5.3

Walker III remains out with a groin injury, and unfortunately for him, second-round rookie Zach Charbonnet is making the most of opportunity and workload. The latter unleashed the truck stick a couple of times in his preseason debut and was utilized on the ground and in the air.

Charbonnet had 37 receptions for 321 receiving yards in his senior season and led the former Pac-12 with 1,680 scrimmage yards last year. Charbonnet has serious three-down potential, which could spell trouble for Walker III in fantasy. Seahawks HC Pete Carroll said that Walker’s injury isn’t serious, but when does Pete Carroll ever say that an injury is serious? Though, he did hint that Walker may be further away from being “the guy” than his ADP would suggest.

But there’s still time for Yahoo’s 18th-ranked back to make up for lost time. He returned to practice on Friday after missing most of camp, so he should be ramping up as the season inches closer.

And it’s not like Walker III can’t be that dude again. He was the RB11 from Weeks 5-17 last season and helped many fantasy managers in the championship, going for 142 scrimmage yards in Week 17. Pete Carroll tends to ride the hot hand at RB, so Walker III presents some risk in the fourth round of drafts.

This is one RB situation I’ll be monitoring closely throughout the preseason.

Preseason ADP: 98.8

ADP last seven days: 94.9

Change: -3.9

The [Kenny] Pickett-to-Pickens connection is thriving after their first preseason game. Here’s Pickett hitting Pickens with a strike, a DB draped over his shoulder, only to break a tackle and maneuver his way to a 33-yard touchdown:

This play showcased his blossoming route-running and YAC potential, but can he become more involved in the Steelers offense this season?

I’d vote yes.

He only amassed 85 targets last season with a 15.6% target share, which is pretty low. But the advanced metrics indicate that if he’s featured more, it will pay dividends for fantasy managers. Here’s how he stacked up amongst other wideouts in his rookie season:

Pickett is far from a gunslinger. Still, that shoddy Steeler offensive line should lead Pickett to get the ball out more quickly, and Pickens has the size, speed and hands to raise the bar in his second NFL season. Pickett was a more efficient and productive passer when targeting Pickens and TE Pat Freiermuth last year and I’m anticipating that trend to continue.

As an eighth- or ninth-round pick, you could do worse than scooping up a WR2 who will probably get in the end zone more than TD-anemic teammate Diontae Johnson.

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