Have we all got ADP wrong?
Draft week is firmly upon us and when the drafts take place, one of the big terms in the business is average draft position (ADP). No matter where you draft your fantasy team, the site will use its own ADP lists. These lists are created and refreshed every time a real or mock draft takes place, where the position the player is taken is averaged out to create ADP. Whatever level of player you are, the lists will be useful in seeing who’s still available for selection and if anyone has slid in the draft process to become a value. For the new fantasy player who may be wondering what an ADP value is, let's take Tom Brady’s current ADP in a standard, 12 team format of 52 overall per fantasyfootballcalculator.com. This would be the 5th pick of the 5th round. When does he become a value? At the 6th pick of the 5th round or the 10th pick of the 6th round? Both picks are a value as you are getting Brady at a cheaper draft cost than his ADP of 52. Obviously taking him 53rd overall as opposed to 115th is less valuable to your roster and there might be better value at that pick.
Now what if ADP from these sites was just a mirage? An incorrect valuation of players’ real ADP? Hear me out, these tips could grab you a real bargain in this week's final fantasy football drafts.
Some of the largest fantasy host sites are ESPN, Yahoo, NFL fantasy and CBS. Even within these sites, the ADP of each player can vary immensely. Looking at ESPN and Yahoo, we can even see a stark difference in a top player like Travis Kelce's ADP. On ESPN it’s currently 23rd overall - the 11th pick of the second round - yet on Yahoo his ADP is currently the 25th overall and the 1st pick of the 3rd round. Now this one placing difference is insignificant for possibly the 2nd best tight end this year, but there is a difference even here! How many times have we heard about a league where someone has filled out their starting roster and then gone auto-pick! Or even worse they have auto-picked from the outset killing many players qued lists and ruining site ADP for all. The player who leaves in the 9th round and lets the computer fill out the rest of the roster massively affect the ADP lists, as the computer will draft a kicker and a D/ST before filling the bench normally with two quarterbacks, two tight ends and two D/ST’s because you will need bye week cover. One strategy taken by many fantasy players in recent times is to take quarterbacks in the later rounds, filling their bench spots first. If the computer takes either a kicker or dst before other players this raises the ADP of the taken slots and pushes the ADP of the bench slot fillers down. Hence, ADP is skewed.
Now there is a cure for this. Money leagues! Pay for fantasy I hear you cry. Not at all, in fact, seeing as most redraft players play for free that's the way it should be, as free fun is the best fun. Most dynasty leagues are money leagues and unless it's a dynasty start up then dynasty leagues have already drafted so won't have ADP lists. This is where best ball leagues are king for ADP lists. If you so wish to play in money leagues then more power to you. In order to get a true ADP, I suggest using the ADP lists off of these pay for fantasy sites. Every player has invested actual dollars into the draft so are much less likely to leave mid-way through as they seek for late round bargains that could bring in the big money wins at the end of the season. The ADP lists here are a much truer evaluation of players ADP because you won't normally find kickers and D/STs going early. MFL10s is a best ball format on myfantsyleague.com, so using the ADP from MFL10s, let’s again look at Kelce’s ADP. It is currently 28th overall and the 4th pick of the third round, even later in best ball leagues where money is king. Now admittedly the gap in ADP between ESPN/Yahoo and MFL isn't that big for Kelce, but the following players may well shock you.
For the following comparisons, we will use Yahoo and MFL ADPs.
Seeing as he just got paid let's look at Aaron Rodgers ADP. On Yahoo he is currently 23rd overall compared to MFLs ADP of 49, a gap of 26 picks or two whole rounds in a 12 team league. He was early anyway you say. Let's look at a deeper quarterback then, Matthew Stafford. His current ADP on Yahoo is 74th overall whilst on MFL it's a staggering 112th overall, an even bigger gap of 38 picks or 3.2 rounds. Imagine the players you can fill your roster within those rounds and grab a quarterback later on.
It works for every position, now it's more of a middle/late round tool to use, as early round ADP rarely has large discrepancies. Let's take Sony Michel, New England Patriots rookie running back, and compare his ADP. On Yahoo it is 98th overall, while on MFL it’s 58th. Now his low ADP on Yahoo is probably due to his preseason injury but the owners paying for him on MFL don't see the injury as a big deal as his ADP is 40 spots higher here. This shows it works both ways when using a pay-to-play sites ADP. Getting Michel 40 spots later in your home league is a value because he is going 3.5 rounds after he should really go and that means a steal for your roster.
At wide receiver it's exactly the same process. New Chicago Bears number one wideout is Allen Robinson, sure he is coming off a season-ending ACL injury in Jacksonville and is on a new team with a new coaching staff, but before the injury in 2015 he posted stats of 1400 yards, 80 receptions and 14 touchdowns. 2016 was a down year with only 883 yards, 73 receptions and only 6 touchdowns. The sharps at MFL have his ADP at 42nd overall compared to Yahoo which is 54, one whole round later. Again if he can reproduce 2015, it’s huge value one round later in home leagues. Another Value is Sterling Shepard, on Yahoo he is 119th overall whereas on MFL he is 100th overall, 19 spots later again in home leagues.
At tight end the biggest shock was Jimmy Graham with a Yahoo ADP is 47 and 67 on MFL. People are still seeing the Graham of old, not the washed up old veteran. He could explode for sure but at a difference of 20 picks on the wrong side of value and smarter owners are out. On the other side of this coin is Jack Doyle. His MFL ADP is 105th overall but on Yahoo he is 122nd, 17 picks later (1.5 rounds). Pick up Doyle after filling another bench spot and you're golden.
The best ball ADP list is well worth downloading and printing out or importing into your draft tool to help you make the most of later round values in the upcoming frenzy that is the last few days before football is back in our lives once more. After all who do you trust more people putting money on players betting on how good they will be after doing research into it and having a finger on the pulse or a computer who picks next available and roster needs regardless of who's available still? I know my answer.