NFL training camps can have a dramatic impact on fantasy drafts.
As certain players are praised by coaches and/or reporters, their average draft position can rise, while their teammates can face a corresponding drop-off.
Here are six players shaking leagues up due to their variable draft positions:
(All ADPs based on standard scoring formats as of July 31 and courtesy Fantasy Football Calculator.)
Trending too high
Derrick Henry, RB, Titans
There’s no doubt about Henry’s talent or potential ceiling if he were to be handed a full workload. The issue with his early-third-round draft position – in the same territory as Christian McCaffrey, LeSean McCoy, Derrius Guice, and Alex Collins – is veteran Dion Lewis, who was signed to the Titans on a four-year, $19.8-million contract this offseason.
Lewis, who will turn 28 in September, is coming off a career year with the New England Patriots in which he totaled 235 touches and 1,110 yards from scrimmage. He’s being selected on average at pick 6.01, offering much better value in what’s expected to be a nearly even timeshare.
Marquise Goodwin, WR, 49ers
Goodwin’s end-of-year totals of 65 receptions and 962 yards in his first season with the 49ers and first partial season with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo seem promising as he heads into his sixth NFL campaign at age 27.
But 36 of those receptions and 613 yards came in his eight games operating as the No. 1 (and essentially lone) option following Pierre Garcon’s season-ending neck injury. His 59 targets in those final eight games were 13 more than he received in the first half of the season.
There’s plenty to be said for the improvement of Garoppolo over Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard to open the season, but Goodwin’s target share in a more competent offense will still need to be split among a returning Garcon, up-and-comers George Kittle and Trent Taylor, and pass-catching running back Jerick McKinnon.
Goodwin shared the 49ers’ team lead in red-zone targets (16) with Kittle last season, but he converted just one of four catches for a touchdown. His two touchdowns on the season came in games of one and two total receptions.
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs
Much is expected of Mahomes as he enters what’s essentially his rookie season after starting just a Week 17 game in 2017. The Chiefs spent big this offseason to bring free-agent wide receiver Sammy Watkins into the mix alongside Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce.
The hype surrounding the Chiefs’ offense has the QB being selected over Jared Goff, Ben Roethlisberger, Alex Smith, and Derek Carr, who all boast game-breaking pass-catchers of their own, as well as past fantasy success.
The Chiefs open the 2018 season with difficult road tests against the star defenses of the Chargers, Steelers, and Broncos in three of their first four games. They’ll return home to face the shutdown Jaguars in Week 5 and visit the Patriots in Week 6. Mahomes could quickly be popping up on waiver wires.
Looking like bargains
Corey Clement, RB, Eagles
The Eagles showed in 2017 they don’t need to rely on a top rusher, as they had three running backs amass at least 70 carries, with veteran LeGarrette Blount leading the group with 173.
Clement led the backfield with 123 receiving yards while catching 10 of 15 targets. He became a name to know while catching four Nick Foles passes for 100 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl victory over the Patriots.
Despite being a candidate to take over red-zone work from the departed Blount, he’s being selected nearly seven rounds behind fellow Eagles rusher Jay Ajayi. He ranked second on the team with 13 carries inside opponents’ 20-yard line last season, and his four touchdowns in that territory led the team.
He’ll lose some work in the passing game to a healthy Darren Sproles, but if he can retain the goal-line role, he’ll be one of fantasy’s biggest steals.
Rishard Matthews, WR, Titans
Titans wide receiver Corey Davis’ egregiously low ADP was mentioned in June’s ADP Report. It has risen nearly a full round since then, but that seems to have come at the expense of Matthews.
Though Matthews landed on the physically unable to perform list Monday with an undisclosed injury, he was the team’s leading receiver with 87 targets, 795 yards, and four touchdowns last season. It was his third straight year with at least four TD receptions, and his second consecutive campaign topping 50 receptions and 790 yards.
Until more is known about what was initially considered a minor injury, he represents a bargain as the incumbent No. 1 downfield option for quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Chris Ivory, RB, Bills
Young running backs with a chance at earning significant roles are common late-round targets, but the 30-year-old Ivory shouldn’t be overlooked as a prime handcuff option despite his advanced age.
Ivory projects as the No. 2 back for a Bills team that has an inexperienced quarterback, one of the worst wide receiving corps in the league, and which suffered multiple offseason losses among what was a strong offensive line in 2017.
He won’t hold much value when LeSean McCoy is healthy and active, but until the investigation into a home invasion involving McCoy’s ex-girlfriend gets wrapped up, the journeyman Ivory needs to be stashed with the potential for early-season starts.
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)