One of the trickiest things to navigate as you approach your draft is how much -- or how little -- to react to training camp scuttlebutt, preseason highlights, and the resulting swings in Average Draft Position (ADP). Sometimes when a player’s ADP peaks this time of year, it’s warranted. But oftentimes, preseason surges in ADP are the results of groupthink and confirmation bias within the fantasy football community, which create landmines Fantasy GMs must carefully avoid.
Below you’ll find a list of players whose ADP has increased significantly in PPR leagues since training camps opened per our ADP data. Are we sure we want to pay top dollar to get these guys on our teams?
Where we started: Pick 176 (14.03). Most people assumed the departure of Adam Gase would result in an increased workload for Kenyan Drake. Ballage was just another non-descript name on the depth chart with major questions about his ability to run between the tackles at the pro level.
Where are we now: Pick 118 (10.07). The only opinion that matters on whether Ballage can excel in the NFL belongs to the Dolphins' new coaching regime headed by Brian Flores. Ballage has been the first running back through team drills since training camp opened.
Are we sure we have it right? No.
Ballage showed undeniable shortcomings as a runner at Arizona State. He was indecisive, lacked vision, ran upright, and went down too easily after contact. Despite those warts, however, there is plenty to like about Ballage -- namely elite size-adjusted speed and the ability to catch passes out of the backfield. He also spent a year under the tutelage of crafty veteran Frank Gore and flashed big-play upside on limited opportunities as a rookie.
For fantasy purposes, though, the issue is not who Ballage is -- or isn’t -- as a running back. It’s about projecting touches in what profiles as one of the worst offenses in the NFL. Speculation from beat writers points to a 45/40 split of the team’s backfield workload between Drake and Ballage with the remaining 15% going to the Dolphins secondary backs. And in Miami’s first preseason game, Drake was in on 9-of-13 snaps with the Ryan Fitzpatrick group, while Ballage rotated in for only four first-team snaps (though he did score on a goal-line carry).
Unless Drake’s recent leg injury causes him to miss regular-season games, Ballage is a timeshare back on a team with bad quarterbacks, the worst offensive line in football, and a defense that won’t afford him many (any?) run-heavy game scripts. Taking a stab on his unknown upside was defensible in Round 14 but now you need to draft Ballage ahead of other backups like Damien Harris, Duke Johnson Jr, and Alexander Mattison, each of whom would slot in as a weekly top-12 running back if the starter in front of them went down. Pass on Ballage and his rising ADP.
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