Fantasy Football ADP Analysis | 5/12/12
I love analyzing ADP (average draft position) in fantasy football. Both because it helps you gauge who could end up being great value selections, and in the heat of the moment of your draft, it can often mean absolutely nothing.
However, it can go a long way in preparing your cheat sheet and making sure you know what certain players are worth. I’m working off of the Fantasy Football Calculator’s latest ADP results, which are current through today.
Check out the list here and read on for my thoughts if you’re like me and your go-go-gadget fantasy brain is going bonkers in early May:
Note: The ADP analysis is based off of standard 12-team leagues with 15 draft rounds.
Arian Foster is basically the consensus pick, just as he would have been last season had he not been dealing with a hamstring injury. He rebounded nicely, though, which is why he’s reclaimed the top spot this year. I have no concerns taking him number one overall.
It’s only natural after he scored 20 total touchdowns in 2011, but I think LeSean McCoy is being over valued a bit (third overall). He’ll have an awesome role again, but there’s just no way he scores 20 times again.
Red Flags: Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren McFadden, and Adrian Peterson
All of these guys have first-round talent, but I’d feel a lot better about taking them if I can get them in round two. MJD led the league in carries in 2011 and judging by history, he could be due for a meltdowin in 2012. McFadden has his own crazy injury history, while Peterson is trying to return from a blown out knee.
Marshawn Lynch kicks off the second round of most mocks. If I can get him there after likely selecting my top running back on my sheet, I am loving it. I don’t think I’m reaching for him in the first, however.
Watch the Young Guys: DeMarco Murray and Trent Richardson
Murray enters 2012 as the starter after piling on over 800 yards in just eight starts. If he kept up that pace for an entire year, that’s a 1,600+ yard season. As long as he stays healthy, I think Murray lives up to a second-round pick.
I feel the same about Richardson. It feels high because he’s a rookie and he’s on the Browns, but Cleveland loves to pound the rock. Remember when Peyton Hillis took the league by storm? It had a lot to do with his role, and Richardson is going to have a great one with the Browns from day one. Don’t be shocked if he leads the league in carries as a rook.
Red Flags: Jamaal Charles and Steven Jackson
Charles is coming off a bad knee injury that made him a fantasy bust in 2011, and he’s now teamed up with the aforementioned Hillis. Is he really worth a second-round pick? I’m not so sure.
Jackson is still a borderline round two talent because he’s still the guy. However, he closing in on 30 and he’s always dealing with nagging injuries. Rookie back Isaiah Pead coming into town makes me want to take S-Jax a round or two later if possible.
Second Year Wonder: Cam Newton
He’s the fourth quarterback off the board, and for good reason. The dude topped 4,000 yards passing and totaled 35 touchdowns as a rookie. But can he really come close to matching that in year two? The mere possibility suggests he’s worthy of that second round selection.
Most of the guys drafted in round three belong here. I’ll accept arguments for Roddy White, Hakeem Nicks, Wes Welker, and Greg Jennings in round two if running back is drained, but they’re better suited for the third round.
Reach Watch: Darren Sproles and A.J. Green
Sproles was a keg cog in the Saints’ offensive attack, and was one of the most versatile fantasy weapons in 2011, as he racked up over 2,400 total yards and 10 total scores. I’m sure he stays heavily involved in the offense, but he’s no lock to put up that production again.
As for Green, he has the size and play-making ability to develop into a beast. However, I think round three in fantasy drafts might be a tad early. After all, he’s taken ahead of Victor Cruz, Steve Smith, Jordy Nelson and even Mike Wallace in most drafts. For a guy catching passes from Andy Dalton, I’m not sure I hold him in quite that high of regard just yet.
Red Flags: Michael Turner
Turner has over 600 carries over the past two years, and we already saw him break down in 2009 after leading the league in carries in 2008. The guy is aging and slowing down physically, so it could only be a matter of time before he hits the wall again.
Jordy Nelson kicks off the fourth round, and I think this is an excellent place to get him. He scored 15 touchdowns in 2011 and he didn’t even catch 70 balls. That should change in 2012, which means he should have very solid production once again. Maybe not 17 scores, but 10+ is realistic.
Right after him is Mike Wallace. That’s pretty remarkable. I still think Wallace is the better talent, so if you can get him after Nelson, you’re doing OK.
Wide Receiver Alarm: Get’em while they’s hot
We all know running backs fly off the board in the first two rounds, and round three is a bit of a toss-up depending on how you drafted early. But round four is all about making sure you don’t miss out on a top receiver.
At least in the early going of mocks, it looks like you may want to draft a receiver in round four if you haven’t already, and possibly even if you have. According to FFC’s ADP results from May 9-12, six of the 11 selections in round four are receivers.
After that comes a big run of running backs, so unless you think there is a potential elite back in that next group, you better get a stud receiver that is still hanging around.
On a side note, Michael Vick is able to be found in round four – a lot. That’s over an entire round after Matthew Stafford in most mocks lately, and it makes him the sixth fantasy quarterback after Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Newton, and Stafford.
I was against drafting Vick early in 2011 due to his injury history, but if you can get him in the fourth round I fully endorse it.
Round five is another wide receiver free-for-all, with Vincent Jackson coming off the boards after guys like Kenny Britt, Percy Harvin, Demaryius Thomas and Dwayne Bowe. His positioning is arguable with new scenery in Tampa Bay, but he’s still the superior talent and carries great upside. I’d be very happy with him in the middle of the fifth, and I’d probably take him ahead of all of those other guys, regardless.
Steal Alert: Peyton Manning
People took a stab at Manning in the middle rounds last year, and it ended up being a wasted pick. This year, it hopefully will be a pick well invested. Manning does have concerns with the neck and being away from the game for a year, but if you can grab two running backs and two wide receivers in the first four rounds and then land a Manning with a chip on his shoulder, you could be loving life in 2012.
Watched Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski go off the board in round two and fought back the tears? True, no one you get has quite what they have in terms of talent or potential, but one level down isn’t as bad as it originally feels.
If you hold your breath, draft smart, and wait until round six to pull the trigger on your top tight end, you’ll be very satisfied. Elite tight ends such as Vernon Davis, Jermichael Finley and Jason Witten could all be available.
Last of the Elite QB’s: Tony Romo, Philip Rivers and Eli Manning
Aside from getting the last few elite tight ends, you may want to get one of the last elite passers if you haven’t already. There still still guys later on that could blow up, but Romo, Rivers and Manning are all bonafide elite options that can carry your team. And you’re getting them in round six. Rivers actually averages out as the first pick of round seven, but he can easily go in the sixth or higher.
This is where you take some risks, add some depth, or draft a rookie. Speaking of rookies, this is the average round where you’ll see Robert Griffin III, who could be a different version of Cam Newton in 2012. He comes with risk, though, which is why he’s coming off boards here.
If you’re after depth or taking a shot in the dark here, guys like Peyton Hillis, Stevan Ridley and Robert Meachem all carry risk but also make sense.
Things get even riskier in round eight, where you’ll probably be picking between guys like Justin Blackmon, Sidney Rice and Anquan Boldin to help round out your receiving corps. I actually prefer the injury risk in Rice. He has a competent quarterback in Matt Flynn under center, and he has to get healthy sooner or later. Right?
Round nine is where the first team defense comes off the board – San Francisco 49ers – and that’s the earliest you should pull the trigger. My rule of thumb is generally no earlier than round 10, or only pick a defense when everyone else starts going crazy on them. You can still get a really good, consistent defense in the final two rounds, and teams change from year to year, so I prefer to not put so much stock in that “position”.
On the flip-side, having a defense that returns 1-2 touchdowns every other week can give you a serious edge. I just wouldn’t sell out a chance to get a really nice gem by going after your defense too early. The latest ADP results just show you that people are averaging out to go after their defense around this round.
Steal Alert: Michael Floyd, David Wilson and Rashard Mendenhall
Two rookies, tons of potential. Floyd is a big dude who will go after the ball, and he’s starting in Arizona from day one. With Larry Fitzgerald on the opposite side, he could have a Julio Jones-esque season as a rook. Wilson, on the other hand, will be backing up the often-injured Ahmad Bradshaw in New York. Needless to say, you should draft him if you get Bradshaw, and quite possibly even if you don’t.
Mendy is still recovering from a torn ACL and might not even play in 2012. However, he can be a beast when healthy, so he could be worth grabbing to hold onto in case he comes back. I’d try to hold off until round 12, though.
This would be a good time to take a chance on Randy Moss’s latest comeback attempt being a success in San Francisco. I think he’s still got it, so he could end up being a major steal. Taking him too much earlier than 10 is a risk, though, especially since the 49ers don’t exactly air it out like crazy.
Hand-Cuff Time: Toby Gerhart, Ryan Williams and Felix Jones
All three of these guys are talented in their own right, and are directly behind a running back that has been or still kind of is injured. If you own Adrian Peterson, Beanie Wells or Demarco Murray, you need these guys as insurance policies. And if the owner of these guys picks after you, you need to snag them and rub it in their face when their top guy goes down.
I particularly am high on Williams if he can keep progressing in his rehab from a torn patella tendon, but Jones is clearly the safety of the three.
Andrew Luck tends to kick off round 11, and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with him as a rookie. Peyton Manning went 13-3 as a rookie, but he still passed for 26 touchdowns and nearly 4,000 yards. With solid weapons around him, I expect similar production from Luck.
Steal Alert: Josh Freeman and Laurent Robinson
Freeman was mostly trash in 2011, but it was a year after being gold in 2010. I think he returns to being a quality starter, as the additions of Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin should really help open up the Bucs’ offense. Robinson has big-play ability and scored 11 touchdowns last year, so he has a shot even with Blaine Gabbert as his quarterback.
I call this the “Kevin Kolb round”, where those hyped up quarterbacks drop because people use logic at the last second and go with more proven quarterbacks. You’ll find Carson Palmer, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and possibly even Kolb himself here. If you haven’t drafted a quarterback yet, you’ll have to just roll with one of these guys. I don’t recommend it.
Kicker Schmicker: Sebastian Janikowski
I don’t care about Janikowski, his stats, or any other kicker’s stats. Their production is impossible to predict, and any selection of a kicker before the final round – in my opinion – simply isn’t warranted.
I get that you want a “consistent” option, but kickers fluctuate from week to week, can get hurt like everyone else, and they have pretty much zero control over their success, and are prisoners of their own offense. Just get the best available guy in round 15 and use picks 12-14 on potential gems.
This is another great spot to grab a hand-cuff at running back and/or a rookie who could eventually see a lot of time on the field. Denver rookie running back Ronnie Hillman is sliding into this round, and he could make an impact as a rookie. Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno both have an injury history and Hillman is a versatile threat, so he could be a steal.
No…No…No: Joseph Addai and Mike Tolbert
Addai signed with the Patriots and Tolbert signed with the Panthers, and neither have clear-cut roles. Addai is hurt so often and his skills have declined so much, that I’ll be shocked if he makes the team – especially since New England has three capable backs who can split carries. He’s barely worth taking a flier on, and I’d rather spend this pick on a rookie skill player, not a washed-up vet.
Tolbert can still play, but I don’t see how he’ll see the field in a positive fashion. Carolina still has the two-headed horse that is DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. That duo still existing there means Tolbert is more of a fullback than a halfback, which likely means he’ll have very little fantasy value.
If possible, this is where I like to take my defense, followed by the necessary kicker selection to end the draft. As ADP has gone lately, you can still get quality defenses like the Lions, Bengals and Broncos here, as well as possible rising defenses like the Bills, Patriots and Cowboys.
If you already have your defense here, this is a good round to grab a veteran without a home like Cedric Benson, Terrell Owens or Plaxico Burress. Or, again, a rookie with a shot at seeing the field like Mohamed Sanu or Chris Givens.
Kicker time. If you don’t have one, you passed the test, and now it’s time to get one. That’s all round 15 should be for in standard leagues. However, if you are drafting super early, or have a few weeks before the season starts, you can pull the trigger on a sleeper you love, and later cut one of your 12-14 selections that doesn’t look like they’ll pan out. You can always find a kicker to plug in, so don’t fret.