Read and React: Players Ascending and Descending in NFFC Drafts
The NFFC has some of the sharpest minds in fantasy football and there are plenty of trends to follow all the way up until your own fantasy drafts. Below you will find players that experienced the most movement both ascending and descending in the week of Aug. 13th-20th.
Estimated read time: 10-15 minutes
Tank Dell | WR | Houston
Up 15 spots: ADP 283 to 268
No player gained more ground in NFFC drafts than rookie wide receiver Tank Dell. The speedy pass catcher moved up 15 spots in ADP in one week after showcasing his big-play ability in the preseason. Dell was limited to one half against New England and turned eight targets into five catches for 65 yards and a touchdown. More importantly, Dell demonstrated his skill set can translate into the NFL by using his quickness and speed to negate his lack of size and strength. Dell is wildly undersized by NFL standards at 5'8'' and 165 pounds. Typically a player that small in stature should struggle to create separation at the pro level against stronger cornerbacks. It could be the sole reason why Dell slipped into the third round of the NFL Draft despite being as productive as any prospect. Dell finished with 109 catches, 1,398 yards, and 17 TDs in his final year at the University of Houston.
Head coach DeMeco Ryans kept Dell out of the second preseason game against Miami after he experienced tightness in his legs, according to Brian Barefield of the Texans Wire. For fantasy managers, it may not be the end of the world to not expose the explosive rookie to the rest of the field. Dell could quietly climb the depth chart for a Houston team looking for playmakers on a young team. Rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud will have veteran wide receiver Robert Woods and a mix of unproven pass catchers in Nico Collins, John Metchie, and Noah Brown. Dell is a player to watch if he can develop into a consistent nightmare to cover in space. Creating easy targets for Stroud can help Dell carve out a regular role in Houston and fantasy lineups.
Deuce Vaughn | RB | Dallas Cowboys
Up 12 spots: ADP 261 to 249
Is there a player who has generated more excitement in the preseason than Deuce Vaughn? Managers drafting NFFC teams gave Vaughn a full-round upgrade and moved him up 12 spots in ADP this week. The Cowboys promoted Tony Pollard as the top back in Dallas now Ezekiel Elliott has moved on to New England. Vaughn was taken in the sixth round of the NFL Draft and entered the camp in a competition with Malik Davis and Rico Dowdlie.
Vaughn turned 13 preseason rushes into 64 yards and two touchdowns so far. He may have also solidified a role in the offense with his versatility as a runner and a receiver. Vaughn has made several highlight plays including making a couple of Jaguars defenders look foolish in the preseason opener. Vaughn had flashed as a sure-handed receiver as well and has caught all three of his targets in two games. He took a backseat to Dowdlie and Davis in the second preseason game, which may signal those two players are fighting for the RB3 spot on the roster. As mentioned above with Tank Dell, the biggest question for Vaughn was whether his skill set can translate in the NFL. The rookie has shown he's ready to contribute right away, even at his slight frame at 5'5'' and 180 pounds.
Ty Chandler | RB | Minnesota Vikings
Up 10 spots: ADP 264 to 254
Much like the Dallas situation mentioned above, the Minnesota Vikings also decided to move on from its franchise mainstay in the offseason. The Vikings released longtime back Dalvin Cook in June and promoted his backup Alexander Mattison to the starting role. The move opened up a spot for a young player to serve as the new backup behind Mattison. NFFC drafters tabbed Chandler as the leader in the clubhouse to play behind Mattison and gave him a ten-spot increase in ADP. Chandler is currently competing with Kene Nwangwu and rookie DeWayne McBride but has made the most of his opportunities.
The second-year back worked as the primary runner in the preseason and flashed his versatility as a rusher and receiver. Chandler rushed 11 times for 41 yards and excelled in the passing game with his four receptions for 29 yards against Seattle. The 25-year-old back had only six carries for 20 yards in his first year as a pro but with Cook gone to New York, look for Chandler to take on a more meaningful role in Minnesota.
Tyquan Thornton | WR | New England Patriots
Down eight spots: ADP 244 to 252
The New England offense is one of the hardest to handicap from a fantasy standpoint. Outside of star running back Rhamondre Stevenson, no other position player could be considered a starter in most fantasy lineups. Head coach Bill Belichick hasn't been forthcoming about his intentions in the preseason (surprise, right!). So good luck projecting who will receive most of the targets in New England. Tyquan Thornton slipped eight spots in ADP in NFFC Drafts, tied for the most with the along with descending players in this article.
Thornton was a popular pick to breakout out his rookie season last year but finished with only 22 receptions for 247 yards and two touchdowns in 13 games. The Baylor product was selected in the second round of the 2022 Draft, and New England had hoped the speedy receiver would emerge as Mac Jones' favorite deep threat last year. A clavicle injury derailed any chance to develop chemistry with Jones - who struggled to push the ball downfield and take advantage of Thornton's elite speed. The Patriots brought in new competition by signing veteran Juju Smith-Schuster as its primary receiver. DeVante Parker is the team's other presumed starter on the outside, which leaves the third receiver up to Thornton, Kendrick Bourne, Demario Douglas, and Kayshon Boutte. Douglas and Boutte are sixth-round rookies, and according to The Athletic's Chad Graff, Douglas, and Boutte have been impressive in camp and putting pressure on Thornton's status on the depth chart. Patriots.com's Evan Lazar recently called Douglas a lock to make the roster to begin the season. Will the Patriots keep six wideouts involved in new OC Bill O'Brien's offense? Who will be the odd man out
Israel Abanikanda | RB | New York Jets
Down eight spots: ADP 240 to 248
Early in the best ball season, Israel Abanikanda was a popular name to select late in drafts with the potential to make an impact as a fifth-round rookie. The Athletic's Zack Rosenblatt reported Abanikanda could be a part of the running back rotation right away if Breece Hall were to miss any time in the regular season while rehabbing from his surgically repaired knee. That was before the Jets decided to give veteran Dalvin Cook starter money (1-year, $8.6 million) which resulted in Abanikanda dropping eight spots in ADP in NFFC drafts.
The fifth-round rookie did indeed receive some opportunities early in the preseason and even scored the team's first touchdown in the Hall of Fame game. Playing alongside Michael Carter and Zonovan Knight, Abanikanda flashed some speed and quickness. Cook joins an already crowded running back room and almost guarantees Abanikanda's playing time is all but evaporated by the time we get to the regular season. Abanikanda is just 20 years old, and his time as a starter in the NFL is yet to be determined. Abanikanda could develop into a decent option for the Jets and can learn behind the veterans in New York. He's just not an option for fantasy in 2023 unless major injuries propel him into the lineup. Even Hall received a dip in ADP and lost five spots in one week.
Wan'Dale Robinson | WR | New York Giants
Down eight spots: ADP 249 to 257
The closer we get to the regular season, it becomes clear the Giants are not interested in rushing back Wan'Dale Robinson from knee surgery. Robinson tore his ACL in week 11 last year after appearing in six games for the Giants. Robinson finished with 23 catches for 227 yards and a touchdown before going down. With the uncertainty in his recovery timeline, Robinson fell eight spots in ADP in NFFC drafts.
Robinson parlayed a good camp into a significant role in the offense last year. However, this season the Giants have a much-improved room of pass catchers heading into the 2023 campaign. New York traded for Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller in the offseason, and he instantly becomes a top target for QB Daniel Jones. New York also drafted Jalin Hyatt in the third round of the NFL Draft last April. Darius Slayton and Isaiah Hodgins carved out roles in Robinson's absence and the Giants signed Parris Campbell, Jameson Crowder, and Cole Beasley to compete in the slot. It's unknown how Robinson will impact fantasy lineups when he is cleared to return. He's still 22 years old, and he has a chance to make an impact on fantasy lineups down the road.
Follow Michael Chasco on X @ChascoFCF