Underdog Risers and Fallers: Late August Edition

by Jonathan Lange · Best Ball Plays & Strategy
Week 2 Fantasy Football

We are finally at the end of our Best Ball Summer! It’s been a long and winding road, and the last pieces of the ADP puzzle have fallen into place. Now most of the veteran free agent running backs have found teams and we are days away from kickoff! How wild has the best ball journey been this Summer? Zamir White has gone from undrafted in April to late round target for many best ball drafters. Meanwhile, Trey Lance‘s ADP dropped again while I was writing this sentence. Let’s observe all the latest Underdog risers and fallers, starting with a player who had an electric preseason performance!


Tank Dell | Houston Texans
ADP: 173 (Mid 14th round – up 40 spots since August 5th)

Tank Dell is that dude. The camp reports have been promising on the rookie receiver, but we saw spectacular plays in the preseason match up against the Patriots, including an acrobatic touchdown catch you would have to see to believe.

There’s not much in the way of target competition in Houston, so the opportunity is there for Tank to take it. He was a late round dart throw, or even undrafted! Now, he’s going in the 14th round of drafts. Look for him to hover in that area for the remainder of summer.

Luke Musgrave | Green Bay Packers
ADP: 177 (Late 14th round – up 32 spots since August 5th)

So, everyone knows how to temper their expectations for rookie tight ends. It’s rare that a rookie tight end can crack reliable fantasy production. Going back to 2010, only two rookie tight ends (Kyle Pitts and Evan Engram) had more than 600 receiving yards in their rookie season. But the upside that Luke Musgrave brings to the football field can be overwhelming. He showed up to offseason team activities with fellow rookie tight end Tucker Kraft and instantly was named the starter. Beat reporters have seen the speedy tight end on jet sweeps and other gadget plays. He’s a terrific selection and works for any type of build you have in best ball. His speed could create weeks where he can rattle off a big play and automatically register that week as a top 8 tight end.

Ezekiel Elliott | New England Patriots
ADP: 148 (Early 13th round -up 22 spots since August 5th)

Ezekiel Elliott finally has a team! The veteran has been waiting patiently, and while New England did have a visit with Dalvin Cook, they ended up going with Elliott. His ADP has shot up nearly two whole rounds and honestly, I’m a little surprised. He didn’t go to an elite offense such as the Bengals or Bills. Cook was signed by the Patriots who have a long way to go if they want to be a productive offense. Still, he can take plenty of carries away from Rhamondre Stevenson and be a quality goal line contributor for the offense that loves to run the ball in short yardage situations. Underdog drafters haven’t been scared from Stevenson though. His ADP has only dipped slightly, and he’s still going in the 3rd round.

Deuce Vaughn | Dallas Cowboys
ADP: 192 (Early 16th round – up 22 spots since August 5th)

This one is fun! The diminutive scatback from Kansas State, Deuce Vaughn, has made exciting, fun plays this preseason. Due to his size, he’ll never be a bell cow. But he can be a contributor to an offense and be in for 15-25 plays a game. Watching him run is a sight to behold as he’s weaving in and out of defenders’ arms, and he’s so low to the ground that the defense has difficulty tackling him.

He’s racked up two touchdowns in two preseason games (I know, I know, its only preseason) but goodness he’s so much fun to watch. And he made plenty of electric runs at Kansas State- he can be lightning in a bottle for best ball teams that need a boost from the running back position.

Jake Ferguson | Dallas Cowboys
ADP: 172 (Early 15th round – up 29 spots since August 5th)

One last Dallas Cowboy on the list, and it’s the new starting tight end, Jake Ferguson! The team drafted tight end Luke Schoonmaker in the second round of the draft, but he’s been dealing with a foot injury most of the offseason and has been unable to practice. This has forced Ferguson in the starting lineup, and we have seen Dak support the tight end as a reliable target on the field, as last season Dalton Schultz finished as a top ten tight end in fantasy football. Ferguson has a similar profile to Schultz, and after Schultz surprised everyone with his TE1 finish, can Ferguson do the same? We’ll have to wait and see!


Kendre Miller | New Orleans Saints
ADP: 168 (Early 14th round – down 24 spots since August 5th)

This one was expected, unfortunately. Miller had to leave a preseason game with a knee sprain, which happened to be the same knee he injured during the college football playoff game. The good news is that he is now back practicing. However, between the knee injury scare, and the smaller than expected suspension from the NFL handed to Alvin Kamara, it’s hard to get excited about Miller as a seasonal draft pick. He can be great. It will likely take some time before we see the talent in full display on the field.

Greg Dulcich | Denver Broncos
ADP: 147 (Early 13th round – down 21 spots since August 5th)

Ugh, I’ve been dreading this moment. I’m a Greg Dulcich truther, through and through. And this preseason has not been fun. The first preseason game went down, and Adam Trautman had more snaps, routes run, and targets than Dulcich. This usage would carry over into the second preseason game, and the ADP free fall has been initiated. Dulcich had steam in late July as a target for players that waited on tight end.

Now Trautman is clearly the starter, and Dulcich projects to be the No. 2 tight end on the offense. Expect him to continue to tumble down drafts as we approach the regular season.

D’Onta Foreman | Chicago Bears
ADP: 170 (Early 15th round – down 11 spots since August 5th)

The Chicago offense was humming in their first preseason game! D.J. Moore making a pig play. Roschon Johnson broke tackles and ran with physicality. Khalil Herbert with a nice touchdown catch and run. And D’Onta Foreman is nowhere to be found. PlayerProfiler has been in on Roschon before most of the fantasy football community, and now it’s clear D’Onta will likely get passed up on the depth chart sooner rather than later. There are better handcuffs in clearer situations that D’Onta.

Khalil Shakir | Buffalo Bills
ADP: 199 (Mid 17th round – down 14 spots since August 5th)

Khalil Shakir had plenty of buzz coming out of the draft, and when called upon last year, he made some plays. But after seeing the preseason usage and reading the beat reports, there is not a clear role for Shakir in this offense where he would produce early and often.

Deonte Harty is projected to be the starting slot receiver, and not only that, but Trent Sherfield had more snaps than Shakir in the slot. Perhaps that means Shakir will be an outside player, but that would mean hes only a wide receiver handcuff to Gabe Davis and Stefon Diggs. Hard pass.

Breece Hall | New York Jets
ADP: 43 (Early 4th round – down 8 spots since August 5th)

Sigh, at least we will always have the Summer of Breece. The reports of Breece Halls recovery trended in a positive direction going back to June, but the Jets made a massive signing by acquiring Dalvin Cook. Cook will easily cut into whatever workshare that was going to be Breece Hall‘s, and what was once thought of as a potential bell cow, is now relegated to a committee with an All-Pro veteran. Hall is still a valuable piece to any best ball draft, and the 4th round is a great spot to take him. Currently Dalvin Cook is going in the 8th round of drafts. While Breece did go down slightly with his ADP, he’s still projected to be a significant contributor to this new Jets offense.