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Building the Perfect Team: Cherry-Picking ADP

Can you win your league if you cherry-pick players based on ADP (Average Draft Position)?

Most of us as we sit down for our draft we will have a cheat sheet created by a Fantasy expert ranking the top players. You can find a great one that our very own Colin McTamany put together ranking the top 200 players for a PPR league.

What if we try something different this year? Draft strictly based on ADP. Crazy talk you say? I thought so too but let’s look at what happens.

I set some rules for myself for this exercise.

This is based on a 12-team league. My pick will be the fifth one just to be somewhere in the middle of the round. I will look at the ADP sheet and assume that the first 4 picks are gone in order. My first pick will be any player with an ADP of five or higher. However, no pick will be made unless it has an ADP of less than 3 extra spots than the draft position. So, if my draft pick is number 29, I can still draft a player with an ADP of 30, 31, or 32 but no higher. The only exception is if there is no player for a position I still need in that range.

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I will make 7 picks and the lineup will consist of one QB, two RBs, three WRs, and one TE.

Most leagues use a snake draft format so my picks will be 5, 20, 29, 44, 53, 68, and 77.

The gap between the No. 1 Kicker and the No. 10 is only 22 points. The difference with defense is less than that. I will just take an average point total for those two spots. Those two spots are usually taken at the end of your draft anyway.

To help me decide which player I will take with my pick, I am going to use a cheat sheet for point projection rather than one for player ranking because rank and ADP don’t always correlate. Both ways are very similar in their final rankings. Point projections just give me one more data point to use. It will also let me know at the end how good my draft is.

I used the ADP from  The projected points also came from the FantasyPros website. They use a consensus from, ESPN, and CBS Sports.

I will explain why I made each pick and I would love to hear comments at the end of this page on what you think.

Building a Team Based on ADP

Round One – Pick 5

The first four players on my ADP sheet are Jefferson, McCaffrey, Chase, and Kelce. Based on my rules above I can only pick someone with an ADP 5, 6, 7, or 8. I can’t pick a TE because Andrews has the highest TE ADP at 35. I can’t pick a QB because Mahomes ADP is 19. The projection for the top WR is Kupp at 294 points with an ADP of 6. The top RB is Ekeler at 283 points with an ADP of 5. With just a 5-point difference between Kupp and Ekeler, I am sticking with the ADP and taking Ekeler as my first pick because we have him ranked higher.

Pick: Austin Ekeler, ADP: 5, Pick: 5, Points: 299, Total Points: 299

Round Two – Pick 20

The TE Andrews is still outside the range. The WR choice is Garrett Wilson with an ADP of 22 and points of 221. The RB pick here is Derrick Henry at ADP 20 and 260 points. Since I have Ekeler I will drop three places on my ADP chart and pick my QB here. Sticking with my theme of staying close to the ADP, I will take Jalen Hurts and his 377 points as my second pick.

Pick: Jalen Hurts, ADP: 23, Pick: 20, Points: 377, Total Points: 676

Round Three – Pick 29

No tight end is within the range of 3 spots. With my QB selected, this leaves me to choose between another RB or a WR. If I look at RB, Kenneth Walker has an ADP of 30 and 211 projected points. The better RB value though is to wait until the next round and draft Mixon with 244 points and take a WR here. ADP 29 is DeVonta Smith with 221 projected points. Tee Higgins is next at an ADP of 31 and also projects to 221 points. I will take Smith here and get the Philly stack with Hurts.

Pick: DeVonta Smith, ADP: 29, Pick: 29, Points: 221, Total Points: 897

Round Four – Pick 44

This is where it starts getting a bit harder. There are a few nice receivers here and then you get a bit of a fall-off. My choice here if I was picking a WR would be Keenan Allen, ADP 44 and 232 Points. If I wait until the next round though, Calvin Ridley will be there at 213 points. Mixon gets me 244 points. If I pass on Mixon the RB pick in the next round would be Swift at 193 points which is a 51-point drop-off. I feel like I have to draft Joe Mixon here with his ADP of 46 and his 244 points.

Pick: Joe Mixon, ADP 46, Pick 44, Points 244, Total Points: 1,141

Round Five – Pick 53

At this point, I have both RBs and my QB. Three picks left for two more WRs, and my TE. If I go TE it will be Kittle at ADP 56 and points would be 180. WR choices are Pittman at 53 with 189 points or go with Calvin Ridley ADP 54 and his 213 points. If I don’t select Kittle here, the next choice would be Goedert or Waller, and lose 8 to 14 points. Since I don’t see much difference between the three TEs, I think the best play is to go with the 213 points and make Ridley my fifth pick.

Pick: Calvin Ridley, ADP: 54, Pick 53, Points 213, Total Points 1,354

Round Six – Pick 68

So will it be WR or TE? TE would be Goedert at ADP 72 and his 173 points. WR will be either Mike Evans at ADP 69 or Tyler Locket at ADP 70. Evans scores 208 points and Lockett is projected for 191. I would take Goedert over Locket here and get a Philly triple stack but Evans has been in the league for 9 years, never had under 1,000 yards and 6 of those years was a top 12 receiver or better. Even with a new QB this year I am making him my sixth pick.

Pick: Mike Evans, ADP: 69, Pick 68, Points 208, Total Points: 1,562

Round Seven- Pick 77

Well, finally nothing to decide. Waller is the tight end left to grab here. ADP is 77 and I get the 175 projected points.

Pick: Darren Waller, ADP 77, Pick 77, Points 175, Total Points 1,737

The Results

So, after cherry-picking the ADP, my team looks like this:

QB: Hurts
RB1: Ekeler
RB2: Mixon
WR1: D. Smith
WR2: Ridley
WR3: Evans
TE: Waller

We also need a kicker and a defense. The top kicker will get you 133 points and the 12th-best kicker will get you 119. Let’s split the difference and call it 126. Defense gets from 125 and 113 which works out to about 119 points Add them together to get another 245 points.

Total points for this team: 1,982. Over a 17-week season that is 116 points each week. Most leagues only play 14 weeks so that comes out to 1,624 points.

Does this win a championship for you? Maybe. Since I wasn’t sure, I thought I just for fun I would just ask this question to ChatGPT:

“How many points are needed to win in fantasy football, 12 teams, 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 kicker, 1 defense 14 weeks, PPR”

This is the answer I got.

“In a league with 12 teams, 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 kicker, 1 defense, and a 14-week regular season, with a point-per-reception (PPR) scoring format, you can expect the total points scored by the winning team to be around 1500-1800 points for the season.”

It seems that if you are around 110 – 120 points a game you can win your league. I believe the 80% rule is still a valid mark for getting into your playoffs. That means 90- 96 points each week will get you into the playoffs.

The bottom line is this absolutely works if you put in the effort. Look a few rounds ahead to see who will be left. Rankings are important but you have to know what round your favorite players are leaving the board. You also have to make sure the points projection matches your league setting as far as how the points are earned.

This proves you really don’t need to reach for players. If you stick close to the ADP you will be just fine.

The rankings, point projections, and ADPs will all be changing a lot over the next couple of months so make sure you keep updated. They may have already changed by the time you read this article. So, if the points or the ADP doesn’t match what is on your sheet just use this as a road map to create your own path to glory.

For more great rankings and analysis, make sure to check out our 2023 Fantasy Football Draft Kit!

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