Three players seeing odd changes

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?

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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: 60.0

ADP last seven days: 53.8

Change: +6.2

James Conner is a player I’m not looking to draft at his ADP.

Kyler Murray’s health remains a question mark, and with so much turnover between the roster and front office, the Cardinals are trending toward being objectively bad.

Pessimism aside, Arizona’s moderately improved its offensive line this offseason and a not-so-subtle hint of a more-run heavy approach is likely factoring into Conner’s rising stock.

He averaged the third-highest fantasy points per game (FPPG) for RB from Weeks 12-17 last season. And that was without Murray.

He was one of six backs to garner at least 70% of his team’s snaps, and only Saquon Barkley saw more snaps per game than Conner in 2022.

It’s worth mentioning because, at minimum, he projects to be on the field A LOT. The Cards’ RB depth is weak, and their shift from a pass-happy squad to a run-first team should only boost Conner’s productivity. It’s hard to argue with a three-down back who’ll catch passes and gets all of the (likely limited) goal-line carries.

All told, Conner is a solid RB, but now that he’s going in the fifth round, I’m even more out. I wouldn’t invest anything higher than a mid-sixth-round pick because Arizona will be a bottom-10 offense, and Conner can’t be trusted to play more than 13 games.

Preseason ADP: 37.7

ADP Last seven days: 33.5

Change: +4.2

A third-round pick is fair value for Mixon. His preseason ADP in the fourth round felt too low for a RB who just got paid, has even less competition for touches than last year and is due for some positive TD regression.

On top of his steady volume throughout the 2022 season, he had the second-most carries inside the 10-yard line and was the sixth-highest inside the five-yard line. Plus, he was targeted 13 times in the red zone, which ranked fourth among RBs last season.

Even if he remains an inefficient runner by most advanced metrics, the opportunities will be there in such an explosive offense. Mixon is currently the RB15, but he has top-10 potential, barring any serious escalation of his current legal affairs.

Preseason ADP: 117.9

ADP Last seven days: 121.6

Change: -3.7

Toney was the 20th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft and now that he’s entering his third NFL season, this is typically where highly-touted wideouts put in their best work — or fade to black.

Toney fell out of favor in New York pretty quickly — he was inactive for five of the first seven games with the Giants before being traded to the Chiefs for third- and sixth-round picks.

The fantasy community got little from Toney in KC, too. He amassed 14 receptions for 171 yards with two touchdowns across seven injury-riddled games. But anyone who watched Super Bowl LVII saw what he could do with the ball in his hands; he scored the longest punt return for a TD in Super Bowl history and added a receiving touchdown.

There’s some breakout potential for Toney since there’s no clearly defined WR1 in Kansas City (Travis Kelce is a TE, people), and Chiefs HC Andy Reid has schemed up plays for Toney when he’s been healthy.

But he’s rarely healthy.

He recently had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee, leaving doubt on whether he’ll be ready for Week 1.

He continues to miss precious time at training camp and is getting passed by guys like Skyy Moore, Rashee Rice and Richie James. I don’t have much optimism for Toney because even when he was healthy enough to play, he averaged a mere 23% snap share per game with no game eclipsing over 44% as a member of the Chiefs last season.

He remains a gadget-type player who could amount to more if he’s utilized in the red zone — but that’s a big if. Even as a late-round pick, he may have a few spike games, but I wouldn’t buy any shares given the uncertainty about his return and crowded WR room. Titans WR Treylon Burks is the only WR whose ADP has fallen more than Toney’s over the past week.

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