Everybody loves a good deal.
In fantasy football, getting the most out of your draft picks is the key to winning a championship. Just ask the people who drafted Lamar Jackson in the 11th round last year. They’ll tell you, likely with a championship in hand, how important value is.
Using Yahoo fantasy football ADP, here’s a round-by-round look at the value pick in each round of the draft based on a 12-team, half-point PPR league.
Round 1 - Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (ADP: 11.6)
The Packers had a glaring need to add talent behind Adams at wide receiver and with Devin Funchess announcing he will opt-out of the upcoming season, the team officially has added nobody. Concerning for Green Bay’s overall air attack? Definitely. But not for Adams’ fantasy value.
Adams missed four games due to a toe injury in 2019, but he was dominant upon his return. From Week 9 through Week 17, Adams topped 15 fantasy points five times. He ended the season sixth among wide receivers in points-per-game. Even though the Packers are clearly shifting towards an increasingly run-heavy attack, Adams is still in a prime situation to dominate targets.
Round 2 - Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders (ADP: 18.6)
From Week 1 through 16, Jacobs finished the season with the 15th most points at running back despite dealing with a nagging shoulder injury and limited exposure in the passing game. Entering 2020, it seems as though both issues will be rectified.
Regarding his shoulder, Jacobs detailed to Tashan Reed of The Athletic earlier this off-season that it was feeling better than it did last season. As it pertains to his involvement in the passing game, both Las Vegas head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock have expressed their interest in getting Jacobs more involved through the air. Jacobs, who brought in just 20 receptions on 27 targets last season, has said his goal is to catch “at least 60 balls,” according to Paul Gutierrez. While that number seems extremely ambitious considering pass-catching back Jalen Richard is still on the roster, Jacobs still is a likely candidate to receive an uptick in receptions.
Round 3 - Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears (ADP: 29.6)
In a Bears offense that doesn’t feature a real wealth of pass-catching options, Robinson is a true alpha receiver who demands targets. Last season, his 154 targets ranked third in the NFL, trailing only Michael Thomas and Julio Jones. That kind of volume should be expected from Robinson once again. The talented receiver could also benefit from an upgrade at quarterback. Nick Foles was added to the roster this offseason, and recent reports suggest that he has a slight edge in the QB competition over Mitch Trubisky. If Robinson can get some consistent QB play this season, the projected volume alone suggests he could be in for a top-five finish at WR.
Round 4 - Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars (ADP: 43.9)
On a bad Jaguars team that won just six games last season, Fournette finished (largely in part to his 76 receptions) as RB9 in half-point PPR leagues. This season, however, he is being drafted as RB21 according to Yahoo ADP and I’m not sure I really understand why.
The team added noted pass-catching back Chris Thompson this offseason. Thompson, who has consistently struggled to stay on the field, finished last season with 42 receptions. The fear is that Thompson will cut into Fournette’s passing-game work and sink his value. Even if this is true, and some of Fournette’s receiving work goes to Thompson, there’s still reason to believe Fournette will finish with a similar point total.
Fournette is due for some positive touchdown regression. He scored 16 total touchdowns through the first 21 games of his career. In 15 games last season and on 341 touches, he scored just three. That number, even on a bad Jaguars team, should increase and help Fournette, who is also in a contract year.
Round 5 - David Johnson, Houston Texans (ADP: 59.4)
The brotherhood and sisterhood of people who have been disappointed by Johnson in fantasy football is quite large. Likely at one point in your fantasy football career, you have been burned by Johnson.
This season, Johnson has a fresh start on the Texans, which means you should have an open mind when it comes to his fantasy football outlook. The important aspect to remember with Johnson is that Houston head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien was willing to give up perennial All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins in order to acquire Johnson. O’Brien has been ridiculed to no end for this move, but there is one way he can kind of justify the deal: By giving Johnson every chance to prove that he was right.
There will be plenty of opportunities for the dual-threat RB to be involved in the team’s passing game. The Texans have 167 vacated targets, the sixth-highest total in the league. Given the potential volume, Johnson may not have to be great in order to have a successful fantasy season. If he can remain healthy, he can be a solid RB. Prior to missing time and ultimately losing his starting job due to an ankle injury, Johnson was RB6 in fantasy football through six weeks last season.
Round 6 - D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions (ADP: 64.9)
Swift has been battling a lower-body injury which has cost him some valuable time in training camp, but given where the rookie is going in drafts, there is lots of value to be had.
He was selected by the Lions with the 35th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and I suspect he’ll be Detroit’s lead back. Kerryon Johnson was given an opportunity to be the team’s main rusher last year, but he was ineffective, topping 60 rushing yards in just one of eight outings.
Swift is not an every-down workhorse as demonstrated by his 15.7 touches per game at the University of Georgia last season, but he has the tools in the receiving and running game to be a lead back. Johnson will still likely have a role, but given the early selection the explosive Swift should receive the majority of work in this backfield.
Round 7 - Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens (ADP: 83.7)
One thing can be made incredibly clear about Brown’s rookie season: He never truly was fully healthy.
He detailed to Tyler Dunne of Bleacher Report earlier this offseason that he played the entirety of 2019 with screws in his foot. Entering 2020, that won’t be the case as both screws have been removed and “Hollywood” has looked impressive ever since.
The 2019 first-round pick also added 23 pounds this offseason, bumping himself up from 157 to 180, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN. The Ravens didn’t add any players who would threaten Brown’s status as the team’s WR1, so a healthy Hollywood entering his sophomore season seems like a great pick in the middle rounds of fantasy football drafts.
Round 8 - Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns (ADP: 90.7)
Landry is never a flashy pick in fantasy drafts. He’s never going to draw “oohs and ahhs” from others in your league, but you’ve got to give this guy his credit.
Last season, the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. had people infatuated with Cleveland’s passing game. When the book ended on the 2019 NFL season however, it was Landry, not Beckham Jr., who had the better fantasy season. Landry finished as WR16 while Beckham Jr. closed the year as WR31.
Landry is recovering from hip surgery he underwent in February, but all indications are positive and there seems to be a good chance he suits up Week 1. New Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski assumes an eerily similar offensive group to the one he had while he was offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings. In the Vikings offense, the team sustained solid fantasy production from two WRs in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen when both were healthy, and I see that being the same on a Cleveland depth chart which lacks WR talent behind Beckham Jr. and Landry.
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