Which Players Are Experts Higher/Lower On vs. ADP (Fantasy Football)
There’s always some sort of a divide between the public and those who follow sports closely. There are many reasons for this, and among them are: homer-ism, recency bias, relying too much on past production rather than anticipating a drop-off, and failing to adjust to changes around the league. While there are more than that, those are the most common.
Instead of putting my own opinion up against the public in this article, I’m going to take our ECR (Expert Consensus Rankings) from the 40 who had their rankings updated at the time of me writing this and compare them to see where the biggest differences are. Most of the time you’ll see a player’s ADP (Average Draft Position) move closer to the ECR as the season goes on, so let’s see which players the experts are higher on, as well as those they’re lower on. Keep in mind that these are based on standard scoring settings with the data coming from June 4th, 2018.
Players the Experts Are Higher On
Andy Dalton (QB – CIN) ECR: QB26, ADP: QB33
According to the ADP data, the public doesn’t want to draft Dalton, and barely view him as a bench player in 2QB leagues. This strikes me as odd, as I think the experts might be too low as well. Dalton has played in the NFL for seven seasons now, as has yet to finish outside the top-18 quarterbacks. While he’s not a league-winner or anything, he’s better than the public thinks.
Matthew Stafford (QB – DET) ECR: QB9, ADP: QB15
This one is somewhat odd, as I’d expect someone with the track record of success to be higher in the public eye, but it seems they’ve moved on and are looking for more upside. Stafford has now finished inside the top-15 quarterbacks in each of the last seven seasons, but he’s cracked the QB7 spot just once back in 2011. Something tells me that there’s a middle ground that will be found between these two right around QB12.
Duke Johnson (RB – CLE) ECR: RB35, ADP: RB57
There’s a massive divide on Johnson, and if I’m being honest, it feels like the public has adjusted better than the experts on this one, though they may have gone a tad overboard. He had his most efficient season to date in 2017, yet Hue Jackson never gave him more than 10 carries. With all the weapons surrounding him in the passing-game now, it’s extremely unlikely he even gets close to the 80.3 target average he has the last three years.
Royce Freeman (RB – DEN) ECR: RB28, ADP: RB45
For whatever reason, the public refuses to move rookie running backs up their draft boards. There’s no way his cost stays down this far come August, as I’d guess we see him get into the top-35 for the public. The odd part is that I would’ve assumed the public was higher on Devontae Booker, but his ADP currently sits at RB46, so this is a case of the public just not knowing which running back is going to get the starting job, though my money is on Freeman.
Ronald Jones (RB – TB) ECR: RB26, ADP: RB42
Another rookie, another player who’s being extremely undervalued by the public. There was a report that Peyton Barber was the starter the other day at OTAs, which may have the public spooked, but make no mistake about it – you don’t draft a running back at the top of the second-round to have him be a backup. The experts are right where they should be on Jones.
C.J. Anderson (RB – CAR) ECR: RB34, ADP: RB49
Has the public been made aware that Anderson signed with the Panthers? Did they know that Jonathan Stewart got 198 carries last year? Or how about that since 2014, there’ve been 69 running backs to total at least 200 carries, and just three of them failed to finish inside the top-24 running backs? Anderson should arguably be higher on both lists.
Dez Bryant (WR – FA) ECR: WR42, ADP: WR59
The more time goes on, the more it seems like the public is going to win on this one. If Bryant waits until training camp or preseason to sign with a team, there’s no way he’ll be able to develop any chemistry or learn a new offense in time to make a huge impact. Granted, WR42 seems like it should be well within reach, but it also seems like you need to build in some risk that he doesn’t have a team at all. While I don’t think this happens, it’s definitely a possibility.
Kenny Stills (WR – MIA) ECR: WR49, ADP: WR65
It’s not often you see a 100-plus target wide receiver outside the top-50 at his position, let alone one who may see even more in 2018. The Dolphins traded away Jarvis Landry, who commanded 161 targets last year, which only frees things up for Stills and company. Over the last two seasons, Stills ranks 32nd in yards and 9th in touchdowns among wide receivers, so I’d say both camps are undervaluing him.
Rishard Matthews (WR – TEN) ECR: WR47, ADP: WR56
He’s a similar type player to Stills, but there’s reason for the public to doubt that his trend continues, as there’s a lot more talent on the roster now than there was the last two seasons. With most expecting a leap from Corey Davis, it’s natural for Matthews to see a bit fewer targets, but enough to drop from WR37 (where he finished last year) to WR56? Not likely.
Marvin Jones (WR – DET) ECR: WR24, ADP: WR32
I’m not going to lie – I was kind of shocked to see Jones this low in ADP considering he finished as the WR5 in 2017. Just because someone has success in one season, it doesn’t automatically trend into the next season, but it seems drafters are drawn to players like Tyreek Hill, who the same can be said about, though Jones has the same exact situation, whereas Hill has a new quarterback with a better wide receiver playing beside him. It seems the experts are lower than I thought they’d be, but they’re definitely closer to where Jones should be valued.
Jared Cook (TE – OAK) ECR: TE19, ADP: TE24
This one is pretty easy for me to explain, as experts know the value of targets to tight ends, which will automatically put Cook in the top-20 conversation, but the public doesn’t want to draft boring fantasy players. This gap is unlikely to change much, but as far as drafting goes, I’d side with the public on this one.
Vance McDonald (TE – PIT) ECR: TE22, ADP: TE26
Here’s the polar opposite to Cook, but the divide between experts and public is similar. This is odd because McDonald presents upside, but the reason the public hasn’t bought in is because they saw him play 10 games with the Steelers last year and netted just 24 targets. Keep in mind that he came there just weeks before the season started, which didn’t give him an opportunity to learn the offense. I believe his price moves up by the time we get to August.
Players the Experts Are Lower On
Baker Mayfield (QB – CLE) ECR: QB34, ADP: QB28
While I expected there to be a divide here, this area makes little sense. With the QB34 ranking among experts, it says that most expect him to be sitting behind Tyrod Taylor for a few games. If the public does, in fact, think that Mayfield starts Week 1, his ranking should be a lot higher than it is, as he gives you a lot of upside with his legs. There’s likely a lot of deviation with his rankings, but he’s unlikely to start for a while after the Browns gave up the first pick in the third-round for Taylor.
Derek Carr (QB – OAK) ECR: QB21, ADP: QB16
I’m siding with the experts on this one, as Carr hasn’t ever lived up to the expectations most set for him. Did you know that he was a QB1 in just 4-of-15 games last season? He just lost his favorite red zone target and his coach wants to “turn the clocks back to 1998” and run the ball. The upside is there with the weapons they have, but by drafting him where the public is, you’re removing most of the equity.
Ty Montgomery (RB – GB) ECR: RB59, ADP: RB37
It seems that the public didn’t realize that both Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones were the featured backs when healthy last year. It’s possible that they think Montgomery was fighting through his rib injury through most of the season, but it seems like he could be used in more of a hybrid wide receiver/running back role in 2018. There’s some sort of middle ground here, though, because Montgomery still finished as the RB53 in 2017 despite playing in just eight games.
LeGarrette Blount (RB – DET) ECR: RB48, ADP: RB29
It seems that the public believes the Lions will use Blount as the starting running back, despite using a second-round pick on versatile running back Kerryon Johnson, while the experts have quickly shifted Blount down draft boards. If you look at the history of Jim Bob Cooter’s offense, running backs who cannot catch passes don’t stay on the field very much, meaning Blount would be lucky to play more than 20 snaps per game. You don’t take a running back in the second-round to put him behind a two-down veteran who’ll be 32 years old later in the year.
Latavius Murray (RB – MIN) ECR: RB55, ADP: RB40
This one is a bit interesting, as I’ve heard a few analysts talk about Murray being a great value in drafts this year. According to ADP, he’s going much earlier than experts think he should. It’s possible that drafters think it’ll be a similar split in the backfield as it was in 2017 with Murray and Jerick McKinnon, but that’s not the way things were before the Dalvin Cook injury. Murray is one of the better handcuffs in fantasy, but at his current price, that’s exactly what you’re paying for.
Tarik Cohen (RB – CHI) ECR: RB43, ADP: RB32
Another shocker here, as I thought the experts would be higher on Cohen after the Bears got a complete overhaul on offense. While I was really high on Cohen when they hired Matt Nagy, he’s had to move down a bit with all of the other additions they’ve made, as there are only so many targets to go around. If he is used properly, the public may be closer on this one, though it’s close.
Terrelle Pryor (WR – NYJ) ECR: WR78, ADP: WR53
This is somewhat laughable, as Pryor was drafted as a top-24 wide receiver last year, only to get benched for Ryan Grant. Now with the Jets, it seems the public hasn’t given up on him being fantasy relevant, while the experts have moved on. He’ll be 29 years old when the season starts and it will be his first year in a new system, so it’s fair to be skeptical.
Jordy Nelson (WR – OAK) ECR: WR41, ADP: WR24
It’s easy to see why this is happening, as Nelson has a long history of producing as a top-10 wide receiver, so the public sees getting him outside the top-20 as a deal. Meanwhile, the experts believe Nelson is towards the end of his career and just got a big downgrade in the quarterback department. Truth be told, when the Raiders traded for Martavis Bryant, it caused me to move Nelson up a tad, as it seems they’ll move him to the slot in a similar role to Larry Fitzgerald. Still, the public is too high on him.
Courtland Sutton (WR – DEN) ECR: WR74, ADP: WR57
Another puzzling place for the public, as Sutton is buried on the depth chart behind both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, so it’s difficult to project him for anything more than maybe 50 targets, and that would be generous. The draft pick used on Sutton was likely preparing for 2019 when both Thomas and Sanders are likely gone. He’s not going to be an asset in fantasy leagues without an injury in 2018, so the experts win this one.
Martavis Bryant (WR – OAK) ECR: WR54, ADP: WR41
Another Raiders wide receiver being overvalued by the public? I guess it all makes sense after seeing Derek Carr much higher in the quarterback ADP. The question in all of this has to be, “what happens to Amari Cooper?” The experts and public are in lock-step with him at WR15, so something has to give here. Carr has the arm to get the ball down the field to Bryant, but he’s unlikely to get a large target share with both Cooper and Jordy Nelson on the field.
Hayden Hurst (TE – BAL) ECR: TE26, ADP: TE18
This is one where I’m siding with the public, as experts are stuck on the notion that rookie tight ends don’t produce. While there’s a lot of truth to that, TE18 is well within reach for the most pro-ready tight end to come out of this draft class, especially when you consider that he’s playing for a team that’s targeted their tight ends 285 times in the last two seasons. I’m not putting this type of hype on him, but if there’s any tight end who can replicate Evan Engram‘s rookie season, it’s Hurst.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TE – JAX) ECR: TE21, ADP: TE19
The difference isn’t too big among tight ends, so this isn’t a massive disagreement, but I’d probably side with the public again. The Jaguars have enough threats on the team to take attention away from Seferian-Jenkins, who is likely to score at least six touchdowns if he stays healthy. If Marcedes Lewis can finish as the TE20 in this offense, so can Seferian-Jenkins.