Chris Allen looks at early fantasy football ADP numbers and tries to identify the outliers you may be able to take advantage of in 2019 drafts.
It’s time. We’ve waited long enough.
It’s time to submit to the siren song that is fantasy football for 2019. Mock drafts, simulator apps, and every piece of conjecture we can glean from interviews. We’re about to be hit with a deluge of information and it won’t stop until December. And it all starts right here.
Average draft position is the pulse of the draft lobbies. It’s constantly being shaped and deviations from the norm hold our interest. Sleepers. Reaches. Value. Identifying or judging any of these means there must be a point of comparison. A baseline. That’s Fantasy Football ADP. And there are ways to exploit it.
This fantasy football ADP report will take a look at some of the work the crew over at Fantrax has done in ranking and collecting ADP. By comparing it to some of the larger sites, draft value and even some traps can be found. In this initial report, we’ll look at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver.
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2019 Fantasy Football ADP Report
|Player||Site ADP||Industry ADP||Diff|
We say that quarterback has plenty of depth every season. The 2019 season is no exception. We have seasoned veterans in the twilight of their careers. The middle-class of quarterbacks, typically slated for streaming, has a few more names added to the pack. Plus, there’s Kyler Murray. No matter your drafting strategy for quarterbacks, there’s a signal caller out there for you and, apparently, at almost any price.
Overall, quarterbacks are somewhat compressed. Cousins, Roethlisberger, Winston, and Allen, all typically drafted at QB10 or later, are being selected well ahead of their comparative ADP. The opposite is true for a few of the top-tier QBs. Watson, Rodgers, and Mayfield have slipped nearly two full rounds. Draft strategies that hinge on late-round value could be forced into suboptimal decisions depending on how the draft unfolds. With value at the position seemingly hard to find, managers will need to watch their draft boards capitalize on anyone falling if possible.
Baker Mayfield being drafted later than his industry ADP presents immense upside from a roster construction perspective. If taken at the 7/8 turn, lesser opportunity cost is sacrificed to acquire a Top-8 quarterback. It’s likely that the hype will cause managers to reach on him, but if he’s available at this ADP, it’ll be hard to pass on the sophomore given the offensive talent and coaching personnel in Cleveland.
|Player||Site ADP||Industry ADP||Diff|
The perceived scarcity at the position has caused a shuffle in fantasy football ADP so the archetypes are blended together. In past seasons, workhorse backs and change of pace backs were clearly separated by ADP. Now, there are decisions to be made about James White vs. Chris Carson in the 5th round. Offensive situation along with how the players produce have become larger factors in constructing your RB stable. Regardless, an early-round selection will need to be made if ‘security’ is a roster requirement.
Running back value can be found on Narrative Street. That place has the greatest stories. Like how a younger, quicker running back is more suitable for Lamar Jackson’s style of play than Mark Ingram. Or the real reason Pittsburgh brought in NC State’s former tight ends coach was to deviate from their prior workhorse tendencies to a committee using their hybrid running back. It could happen. The greatest strategic advice is to look at the offenses the players are attached to and gauge the situation. If the touchdown upside is there, then the investment comes at a tenable cost.
Matt Breida gets no respect. He was listed as questionable and on the injury report prior to 6 games and only missed 2 in 2018. He had 2 RB1 finishes while either playing injured or on an injury-riddled team. The return of Jerrick McKinnon and the addition of Tevin Coleman has dropped the only producer out of that backfield into irrelevancy. If a piece of that backfield is to be captured, the cheapest piece is normally the best strategy.
|Player||Site ADP||Industry ADP||Diff|
We’ve spent most of the offseason debating the elite receivers. Their situations and range of outcomes are fairly well known with weekly and seasonal expectations laid out. It’s the ancillary receivers or receivers attached to weaker offenses that are causing the confusion. Roster construction will dictate need but investing in the specific offenses at a reduced cost is a viable strategy. It reduces risk while acquiring a weekly floor play in a high-scoring offense. A couple of examples stand out.
Keke Coutee going past external ADP comes in as one of the greatest values to any team. He begins the season as the WR2 assuming Will Fuller is still returning from injury. Attached to a Top-12 QB, Coutee’s slot usage combined with Houston’s poor offensive line should put him in line for a safe floor of weekly targets. Michael Gallup is in a similar situation behind Amari Cooper. His usage on the outside is more conducive to a low-floor/high-ceiling option, but the receiving talent quickly falls off after Amari Cooper. If Gallup can make the second-year leap, he’s in the offense to easily out-produce his ADP.
Alshon Jeffery is the WR1 attached to Carson Wentz who’s had over 40% of his starts end in QB1 performances. That means either touchdowns or yardage are a part of the production and Jeffery’s maintained a 20% target share or greater since 2015. Zach Ertz is an expensive option. Desean Jackson is the late-round option. Jeffrey presents himself as the mid-round option with a similar weekly upside that’s well worth the cost.
During this quick study, three players were identified as being unranked. This will likely change as the season draws near, but for now, there’s an opportunity to exploit fantasy football ADP depending on your opinion of their situation.
- Mike Davis (Not ranked on ESPN) – He put up 728 scrimmage yards in a three-headed committee and is now the backup to a rookie in a Top-10 scoring offense. Better suited for best ball formats than season long, it’ll take some time to figure out his worth.
- Robert Foster (Not ranked on ESPN) – The guy at the end of Josh Allen’s deep passes. As Allen found his stride late in the season, so did Foster. He’s a prototypical boom-bust option so the late rounds are more suited for acquiring Foster.
- Jalen Richard (Not ranked by Yahoo) – Josh Jacobs still hasn’t signed his rookie contract and the only backup is Doug Martin. At 5’8”-205 lbs, Richard isn’t a high-profile handcuff. However, in PPR formats his 81 targets are enticing. Think of the archetype and the potential production and Richard becomes an amazing value.
Which players do you think are the best values in early fantasy football ADP? For more great analysis check out the 2019 Fantrax Fantasy Football Draft Kit.
Chris Allen comes from an analytical background, leveraging his data skills with his multiple years of experience across different formats (e.g. seasonal redraft, DFS, MFL10). His primary focus has been the analysis of weather effects and its impact on games, player output variance, and the validity of the associated narratives. Chris’ writings have been featured on multiple websites including Fantrax, 4for4, and, most recently, Sports Illustrated. Chris can also be heard as co-host on the Dynasty Owners Manual podcast and is a member of the FSWA.
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