Analyzing Dynasty Rookie ADP Data (Fantasy Football)
Just because it’s March doesn’t mean that we don’t have to pay attention to fantasy football. Sure, the NFL Draft and free agency are center stage, but what happens when all the dust settles? You’re left with rookie drafts for your dynasty league. While landing spot absolutely matters, it’s good to take a look at this time to see who is being overvalued/undervalued before we find out where they’ll be living for the next four years or so. If you’d like to see who I have to go projected where, here’s the link to my most recent NFL mock draft.
This should give you a solid idea as to who to target in your upcoming rookie draft, should their perceived value not change too much. Truth be told, not enough dynasty players value landing spot enough, which means the rankings and ADP won’t change as much as they probably should. Let’s take a look at the snapshot of rookie ADP (thanks to our friends at DLF) as of this moment and find the best/worst values on the board.
1. Saquon Barkley (RB – Penn State)
2. Derrius Guice (RB – LSU)
3. Nick Chubb (RB – Georgia)
4. Sony Michel (RB – Georgia)
5. Courtland Sutton (WR – Southern Methodist)
6. Ronald Jones (RB – USC)
7. Rashaad Penny (RB – San Diego State)
8. D.J. Moore (WR – Maryland)
9. Calvin Ridley (WR – Alabama)
10. James Washington (WR – Oklahoma State)
11. Royce Freeman (RB – Oregon)
12. Christian Kirk (WR – Texas A&M)
Looking at the first-round of rookie drafts, it’s easy to see a clear trend in which direction owners are headed. Running backs are coming off the board in six of the first seven picks. Overvaluing them a bit much? Yes. You must remember that there may not be six teams in the NFL with a clear-cut need at running back, and that’s before free agency even begins. Let me clarify – there aren’t six teams who need a “starter” at running back.
In other words, these players are being overdrafted. Why? Because unless there’s an injury, their value will likely decline from their first year in the league, which is not ideal from your pick in the middle of the first-round. It’s the reason we continually tell you not to draft tight ends with a first-round pick because it often takes a couple years for them to find fantasy relevance. While that’s not exactly the case with running backs, all of those being taken in the first-round will not contribute immediately.
On the other hand, the wide receivers seem to be a tremendous value at the end of the first-round, as Calvin Ridley, James Washington, and Christian Kirk will be drafted by teams that were in your dynasty playoffs last year. Ridley will come into the NFL ready to run every route, while Washington and Kirk will also be drafted in the top two rounds and expected to contribute right away. If you have a pick in between No. 5 and No. 8, and are able to trade back to get one of those guys, I’d consider that a win.
13. Equanimeous St. Brown (WR – Notre Dame)
14. Kerryon Johnson (RB – Auburn)
15. John Kelly (RB – Texas)
16. Kalen Ballage (RB – Arizona State)
17. Michael Gallup (WR – Colorado)
18. Baker Mayfield (QB – Oklahoma)
19. Josh Rosen (QB – UCLA)
20. Dallas Goedert (TE – South Dakota State)
21. Mark Walton (RB – Miami)
22. Auden Tate (WR – Florida State)
23. Mike Gesicki (TE – Penn State)
24. Anthony Miller (WR – Memphis)
This round has a bit more variety in it, as we have four running backs, four wide receivers, two quarterbacks, and two tight ends. Don’t be shocked to see Michael Gallup move up the draft board if he lands with a team whose got a solid quarterback in place (I currently have him mocked to the Colts. Read that here). While it’s obvious some will want to take quarterbacks here, it’d be best to wait until at least the third-round before snagging one, unless you’re in a 2QB league, of course.
I’d also expect tight ends to move up as they did last year, though they’re currently being drafted around the right place. While some are going gaga over Ballage’s athleticism, unless he gets drafted inside the top four rounds, he’s likely a depth chart guy. There’s upside, sure, but don’t take him over someone like Gallup. A running back who could surprise in the second-round, though, is John Kelly, who just might be the most talented pass-catching back in the draft. Depending on his landing spot, he’s well worth a high second-round pick.
25. Lamar Jackson (QB – Louisville)
26. D.J. Chark (WR – LSU)
27. Mark Andrews (TE – Oklahoma)
28. Sam Darnold (QB – USC)
29. Bo Scarbrough (RB – Alabama)
30. Nyheim Hines (RB – NC State)
31. Deon Cain (WR – Clemson)
32. Josh Allen (QB – Wyoming)
33. Dante Pettis (WR – Washington)
34. Josh Adams (RB – Notre Dame)
35. Tre’Quan Smith (WR – UCF)
36. DaeSean Hamilton (WR – Penn State)
It’s somewhat of a surprise to see Lamar Jackson go after Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen, simply because we know he’ll have tons of fantasy value when/if he does start. The reason this makes some sense, though, is that Mayfield and Rosen have longer projected starter value. If you’re in-it-to-win-it now, Jackson may be the better pick for the short term, provided he lands a starting gig.
After looking ahead to the fourth-round, I’d be trading all my third-round picks for as many fourth-rounders I could. There just may be more talent/upside found in the fourth, simply because drafters are looking to take the “safer” picks in the third. Don’t do that. Once you get outside of the top 18 picks or so, aim for upside and situation. The names who fit into that criteria in this round are Jackson, Deon Cain, and maybe DaeSean Hamilton. I’m really not in love with many players being taken in this territory.
But let me be clear about this… I’m only looking to move back in the fourth-round if the ADP holds at its current state. That’s not very likely to happen. The NFL Draft will start to influence ADP, simply because it’s how actual NFL teams value these players. If a player is drafted inside the top three rounds, it’s very likely he’ll have a greater opportunity to succeed than someone who lasts until the fifth-round. Always remember that during your rookie draft.
37. Justin Jackson (RB – Northwestern)
38. Allen Lazard (WR – Iowa State)
39. Antonio Callaway (WR – Florida)
40. Jordan Lasley (WR – UCLA)
41. Jaylen Samuels (RB – NC State)
42. Simmie Cobbs (WR – Indiana)
43. Akrum Wadley (RB – Iowa)
44. Keke Coutee (WR – Texas Tech)
45. Hayden Hurst (TE – South Carolina)
46. Mason Rudolph (QB – Oklahoma State)
47. Trey Quinn (WR – Southern Methodist)
48. Marcell Ateman (WR – Oklahoma State)
As mentioned above, there are some excellent players in this round. For starters, there’s a good chance that if Keke Coutee winds up in the right offense, he makes a fantasy impact immediately. Hayden Hurst is going to be 25 years old when the season starts, meaning the team that selects him will have to push him into action sooner than most tight ends do. He also happens to be one of the best pass-catching tight ends in this class.
Moving down to Allen Lazard and Antonio Callaway, who both had phenomenal Combine performances. If Callaway can answer for some of the off-the-field issues, he’s moving up draft boards. As for Lazard, he’s 6-foot-5 and 227 pounds, the ideal size for a red zone threat. Again, don’t aim for a safe player in these rounds, aim for upside.
To sum everything up, you need to remain fluid in your approach to rookie drafts, especially once you find out which team drafted each player. Draft spot and landing spot absolutely matter, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If ADP remains the way it is, there’s some serious value to be had in the later rounds.