Writting by Jay Dondon, Writer and Contributer, @1littleindian on the Fantasy Life App and @1littleindianjd on Twitter
I will begin this adventure by touching on what average draft position is. Average draft position (ADP) is the average overall draft slot that has been used to draft each player in real drafts or mock fantasy drafts. If a player is drafted in the first round of 5 drafts then the fourth round of 5 drafts, he has an ADP of 2.5. ADP, or letting the draft fall to you, can be viewed as the simplest approach to a draft that many veterans, ‘pros’, and newcomers to Fantasy Football still use. But it doesn’t come without naysayers the same other draft strategies such as 0 WR and 0 RB theories.
My goal here is to be your tour guide through ADP and show you fool’s gold and real gold in relation to draft position. Hopefully by the end of your draft, you are looking like Michael Phelps…just draped in real gold.
Before I dive into my adventure through ADP, let’s set-up some standards. Fool’s Gold, in my view is someone who will under-perform at his ADP. These are players I typically avoid. As for the real gold, I will break it out into 18 Karat and 24 Karat gold players. 18 Karat is player who will at a minimum perform near or at their ADP. 24 Karat players are my personal favorites; these are the guys that will likely out-perform their ADP or at a minimum meet that mark.
I will break this down in a few sections, as every portion of ADP can have both fool’s gold and real gold nuggets. I will go through the top 50 (1-50), 51-100, 101-150, as well as my personal favorites, where you find the 24 Karat gold 151+. The other side of the coin is to always take your league’s drafting style into consideration. You know your league best; some leagues still see QB’s fly off the board in the early rounds while some RBs are the ones that go first. Needless to say, prepare for your draft and don’t just prepare one way. Be ready for the people who enjoy draft chaos like myself, and are always looking to throw a wrench in your plan.
Now take this with a grain of salt, I see more fool’s gold than anything here. This is due to the high draft pick spent on them and the disappointment that comes with owning them. Examples of last year’s fool’s gold are: CJ Anderson, Dez Bryant and, everyone’s favorite whipping boy Jeremy Hill (who I’ll get back to later). Yes, I know all players come with risk, but wouldn’t you much rather have your risk be a tenth round pick instead of a top 10 pick…I know I sure would.
With the rise of 0RB strategy, we can see by looking at the top 50 that RBs ranks have taken a hit. Now for me, that is an instant map leading to 18 Karat gold, so we will start with a few bright spots before we bring in the rain clouds that are glooming.
Lamar Miller: ADP 10
Yes, Lamar Miller, the one that was misused all season and frustrated owners but still finished in a decent spot in terms of rankings. I see him as a top 2 RB. Yes, I know, what am I thinking, right? Well for starters, he has moved out of Miami, onto a team that actually wants to run the ball (mind you that looking at last year’s Texans you couldn’t tell). This is a situation where Miller can shine and push his touches near or above the 300 mark and we saw his prowess last seasons as a pass catcher; he’s a true bell cow. Add to the mix the Brockenator and Hopkins along with the group of young WRs they have, and I see this as the perfect storm for Miller to shine.
Honorable Mentions: Adrian Peterson ADP 9, Amari Cooper ADP 24 and Donte Moncrief ADP 50
LeSean McCoy ADP 26
Yes, I know last year he just couldn’t stay healthy, but this season I think he is poised for a bounce back to form. We all know Sexy Rexy loves to run the ball. If this value is there in the third round for you with a potential high floor RB1, there is no reason to pass on him. The last time he came off of a season that he only got 200 touches and under 900 yards during, let me remind you of what he did. He only busted 314 carries for 1607 yards and 9 TD’s. Now, I can see the numbers this year being similar. Plus, he doesn’t have to worry about the TD vulture Karlos Williams for the first 4 games, so he can really find his groove.
Honorable Mentions: Eddie Lacy ADP 29, Carlos Hyde ADP 40 and Eric Decker ADP 43
Devonta Freeman ADP 16
Yes, we know the records of the 30 point games last year and we all wonder if it’s a flash in the pan. Recently, it came out that they are going to cut down the 330+ touches he had, as he seemed to ‘run out of gas’. I also expect Matty Ice to bounce back, so that passing attack should find the end zone more frequently, which will also affect his TD rate. Add this to the fact that guys like McCoy, Lacy, Cooper and Hilton are going in the same area, means ‘hot garbage’ is 2016’s first piece of fool’s gold.
Not So Honorable Mentions: Any QB with ADP in the top 50, Brandin Cooks ADP 23 and Doug Baldwin ADP 48
Here is where we start to get into the sweet spot of the draft. At this point, the value really starts to rise if you pick the right players based on ADP. Last year, we found value in guys like Chris Ivory, Doug Martin and Amari Cooper. They all turned into weekly must starts, now we have seen their ADPs rise, which leads us to sift through this section and find more of that gold we are looking for.
Willie Snead ADP 95
Good ol’ Willie, what a beautiful waiver wire find he was. Last year, his ADP was 200+, sadly not this year but he is still in a great spot. The other part to the equation is my fool’s gold from the Top 50 ADP, Mr. Cooks. I think the Saints know what they found last year with Willie Snead and 69 receptions on the 101 targets in 2015. His targets go to 150+ without question, but the best part of his stats is that he had 7 games last year with 5+ receptions. This shows us Brees has trust in his young receiver and we saw last year Snead is not a one trick pony.
Honorable Mentions: Rashad Jennings ADP 92 and Antonio Gates ADP 99
Jeremy Hill ADP 68
I told you I would get back to him. Now, this for me is one of the nicest pieces in value when drafting this year. We are talking about a top 12 pick last year, who lead the league in rushing TDs in the 2015 season, is now available to me in the 5th round; sign me up. Most of the frustration last year came with the lofty expectations from his draft position, which I was against last year. Here in the 5th round, to get the 2015 NFL leader in TDs, this value is just too much to pass up. That is why I will be Ride or Die with JHill this year.
Honorable Mentions: Emmanuel Sanders ADP 62 and Michael Crabtree ADP 72
Duke Johnson ADP 53
Now, before the hate mail starts flowing, let me preface this by saying I think he is due for a strong season this year. But once again, we aren’t interested in looking at a good season. We want value and Duke at 53 doesn’t give me enough of that. First off, he sadly plays for the Browns (sorry Cleveland). Second, we are looking at RBs like Hill, Ryan Mathews, and Frank Gore who will all be starters for their team. At this point, DJJ is likely in a RBBC at best looking at the draft board where he leaves us tricked again if we take him at his ADP.
Not So Honorable Mentions: Jeremy Langford ADP 75, Ameer Abdullah ADP 79 and Gary Barnidge ADP85
Markus Wheaton ADP 113
We all saw his prowess as a solid WR2 play the last 6 games last year and this year with suspension to Bell the first four weeks, and Bryant’s year long vacation, watch his connection rate sore and for him to be a week in/week out WR2 flex play. I’m not saying we are going to see a repeat of his 9 for 201 and a TD every week, but don’t be surprised when those weeks do happen.
Honorable Mentions: LaGarrette Blount ADP 145 and Mohamed Sanu ADP 132
Kamar Aiken ADP 109
We saw Aiken’s solid play when Steve Smith Sr. went down last year. From week 8 until the end of the season he didn’t have a game with less than 5 receptions. In only one of those games was his yard total less than 50 yards and Joe Flacco was out from week 10 on. With the future of Steve Smith Sr. unknown, look for the connection rate to rise, as this is the duo for the years to come.
Honorable Mentions: Justin Forsett ADP 104, Tevin Coleman ADP 116 and Jimmy Graham ADP 130
Laquon Treadwell ADP 117
Now, in this range, it is hard to call someone ‘Fool’s Gold’. But, having the Vikings WR2 here in the ADP charts is cause for concern. With under 30 pass attempts avg. per game from the Vikings game manager, and the likes Mr. Peterson in the backfield don’t look for this number to rise. I see this pick causing concern as Treadwell has a low floor and when we look at was else is around at this point in the draft, we have to keep sifting past Treadwell.
Not So Honorable Mentions: Corey Coleman ADP 105 and Shane Vereen ADP 139
This tends to be my favorite part of the draft every year, where you get to show your own scouting ability and what you’ve been studying. In this section, I won’t include any fool’s gold, as this deep in the rankings we are all looking for the real deal.
Tajae Sharpe ADP 225
All training camp and pre-season, we have heard of how impressive he has been looking and how he is practicing with the ones. At 225 ADP, he’s one of the leading candidates for a dart throw. In college, he saw most of his snaps on the outside but did play a decent amount in the slot. Adding that to the fact that he only dropped 7 passes in his collegiate career, makes him shine even this deep in the rankings.
Honorable Mentions: Jeff Janis ADP 231 and James Jones ADP ADP 284
Tyler Boyd ADP 180
Another rookie shining in camp, Boyd will be lined up on the other side of AJ Green. With Sanu and Jones out of the picture, look for Boyd to make an impact in the offense. Coming out of college, he was established as a premier route runner with a solid set of hands. Given the Bengals used the 55th overall pick on him leads us to hope for immediate fantasy impact.
Honorable Mentions: Alfred Morris ADP 212 and Brock Osweiler ADP ADP220
Well I hope my sifting has at least provided some food for thought, but remember as I said at the beginning, you know how your league drafts best. You can’t win the season on draft day but you can definitely lose it or at least dig yourself a deep hole. I can only hope with this information you will avoid turning yourself green with a roster full of Fool’s Gold, as draft time is the only acceptable time to be a gold digger.
Most important is to gather as much information as possible on all players through mocks, reading articles, or just stopping by the FLAFFL House to chat as this will help you find some pieces of your own personal gold. Check back weekly with the FLAFFL House as I will bring you gold of all varieties from the waiver wire every Tuesday throughout the season.
You can catch me on the Fantasy Life App as @1littleindian and on Twitter as @1littleindianjd for any discussions.