To draft or not to draft? These five players are rising up fantasy football boards

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Cleveland Browns' Nick Chubb and quarterback Deshaun Watson talks during drills at the NFL football team's training camp on Sunday, July 23, 2023, in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

There’s usually always a group of players who rise up fantasy football draft boards significantly as the season approaches, and that’s been no different so far in 2023.

Those trends were reflected in a recent 12-team PPR mock draft that I participated in, as I noticed several players being drafted much higher than their current average draft position.

Below are five players who saw their draft price rise, and I’ll break down if it’s worth jumping ahead of the pack in order to obtain them or if you should let your league mates pay up.

Nick Chubb, Browns RB

Current ADP: 2.1

Recent mock draft price: 1.8

Analysis: Chubb has seen his draft value go from that of an early second-round pick to a late first-rounder, but he’s now going closer to the middle of the first with question marks surrounding workhorse running backs such as Jonathan Taylor and Josh Jacobs. Chubb’s on track for a career-best season in an improved offense as the clear focal point of the backfield with Kareem Hunt out of the picture, but I wouldn’t draft him higher than he went in the recent mock since he’s still not consistently involved as a receiver out of the backfield.

Garrett Wilson, Jets WR

Current ADP: 2.8

Recent mock draft price: 2.1

Analysis: The hype surrounding Wilson continues to mount as highlights pour in of him catching deep bombs from Aaron Rodgers. It’s safe to say that Wilson will benefit from having a future Hall of Famer throwing passes his way as opposed to a combination of Zach Wilson and Joe Flacco, but the concern is that the hype caused him to be drafted ahead of more proven wide receivers such as CeeDee Lamb and A.J. Brown. It’s justified though since Wilson should be right up there with them statistically despite only being in his second season.

Jahmyr Gibbs, Lions RB

Current ADP: 3.11

Recent mock draft price: 2.12

Analysis: Gibbs is in line for a strong rookie season in what should be an explosive Lions offense, but the issue is that the public is catching on as evidenced by his draft day value climbing up into the second round of the recent mock draft. I’m all for taking a shot on Gibbs at his current ADP in the late third round since he’s got so much upside as a receiver out of the backfield, but I’m not willing to take the plunge any earlier than that since he’ll be splitting carries with seasoned veteran David Montgomery, who’s no slouch as a runner and will likely vulture goal line looks from Gibbs.

Calvin Ridley, Jaguars WR

Current ADP: 4.4

Recent mock draft price: 3.7

Analysis: Ridley is one of the toughest players to evaluate since he hasn’t played football in over a year, but he still appears capable of being an elite wide receiver in the rising Jaguars offense. Some are concerned that Ridley will be rusty, but he looks to be in excellent shape and will be catching passes from a star quarterback in Trevor Lawrence, so I’m willing to pay the third-round draft price that it’s been costing to acquire Ridley as of late since he should easily outperform his fourth round average draft position as long as his sports betting days are behind him.

Justin Fields, Bears QB

Current ADP: 4.8

Recent mock draft price: 4.1

Analysis: Fields has as much fantasy football upside as any quarterback due to his elite rushing ability, and it’s reflected in his current average draft position climbing into the fourth round. Fields nearly went in the third round of the recent mock, which seems a bit too rich though considering he’s still unproven as a passer and could see his rushing get scaled back in an attempt by the Bears to keep him healthy. It’s tempting to swing for the fences with Fields, but I’d rather wait until the fifth or sixth round for a less risky option at quarterback such as Justin Herbert or Trevor Lawrence.

NOTE: The analysis is based on 12-team PPR, single QB league settings. The ADP data is as of Aug. 17

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