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Fantasy Football Rankings: Expert Consensus vs. MyFantasyLeague ADP (2020)

by Sam Hoppen | @samhoppen | Featured Writer
Mar 26, 2020

Matthew Stafford is coming off one of his best years statistically, even though he only played half of the season.

Similar to the stock market, fantasy football success can be found by exploiting market inefficiencies. As it applies to fantasy football drafts, Average Draft Position (ADP) is one of the data points we can use to identify. There is a tremendous amount of information out there that fantasy football drafters can use, but ADP is highly relevant because it can guide you on whether you’ll need to reach on a player or when you can wait for an extra round or two to get the guy that you want.

Each fantasy provider has its own ADP data, and for the purpose of this article, I’ll be comparing the ADP from to FantasyPros’ Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) in order to identify the current discrepancies in data (note: I selected experts that updated their rankings as of 3/18 in order to reflect free agency changes). If you want to run an analysis like this of your own, check out FantasyPros’ Dissenting Opinions tool!

While the ADP data and ECR will both surely change over the coming months, it will help us get a sense of who players are already lower or higher on relative to the rankings. It’s (very) early in the 2020 redraft fantasy preparation process, but how fantasy football drafters feel about players now will often translate similarly to draft season.

Complete early mock drafts using our free draft simulator >>


ECR likes him more

Quarterback Team ECR ADP Difference
Matthew Stafford DET 12 18 6
Ryan Tannehill TEN 14 25 11
Ben Roethlisberger PIT 16 27 11

ADP likes him more

Quarterback Team ECR ADP Difference
Jared Goff LAR 18 13 5
Sam Darnold NYJ 22 14 8

The group of quarterbacks that are favored by the experts is a trio of veterans. The first being Matthew Stafford, who is coming off one of his best years statistically, even though he only played half of the season. Had he continued his same pace for the second half of the year, he would have set career-high marks in touchdown percent (6.5), adjusted net yards per attempt (8.15), quarterback rating (106), and passing yards per game (312.4). Similarly, through the first nine games of the 2019 season, when Stafford was healthy, he was the QB6 in fantasy football on a points-per-game basis.

Ryan Tannehill also hopes to continue the momentum from his career year now that he has signed a four-year, $118 million deal to remain the Tennessee Titans’ starting quarterback. Tannehill’s 7.7 touchdown percent was only second to MVP Lamar Jackson last year. Furthermore, in the ten games that Tannehill started, he was third in quarterback fantasy points per game. It appears that the public doesn’t seem to believe that these trends will continue for each of the veterans.

Ben Roethlisberger is obviously coming off a lost season, playing in only two games last year. Prior to that, Roethlisberger had strung together five straight seasons as a top ten quarterback in points per game. It may be tough for him to return to these elite levels given the depth of the quarterback landscape these days, and drafters don’t want to touch him with a ten-foot pole.

On the other side, the two quarterbacks that ADP prefers are considered back-up options by ECR in 1QB leagues. However, the public thinks the young gunslingers are both nearly worthy of a starting roster spot. After taking the Los Angeles Rams all the way to the Super Bowl, Jared Goff stumbled a bit in 2019, despite throwing a league-high 626 attempts. A major contributor to this was that his touchdown percent (3.5%) fell off precipitously from the year before (5.7%); he also threw for a career-high 16 interceptions.

Sam Darnold also had a less-than-ideal season, primarily overshadowed by the fact that he missed three games due to mononucleosis. When he was on the field, though, things weren’t that great. Darnold’s 5.5 adjusted net yards per attempt and 232.6 passing yards per game were both bottom 12 in the league among qualified quarterbacks. Despite all of this, ADP suggests that the public expects both Goff and Darnold to have bounce-back years and be valuable fantasy quarterback options.

Running Back

ECR likes him more

Running Back Team ECR ADP Difference
Austin Ekeler LAC 12 22 10
Le’Veon Bell NYJ 20 34 14

ADP likes him more

Running Back Team ECR ADP Difference
Damien Williams KC 23 11 12
Raheem Mostert SF 29 14 15

Austin Ekeler was one of 2019’s breakout stars, leading to a promising 2020 campaign as the Los Angeles Chargers’ starting running back. ECR tends to think his 2019 stud performance will roll into 2020, but ADP doesn’t agree with the experts or the Chargers, who gave Ekeler a four-year, $24.5 million deal this offseason. Assuming the Chargers don’t bring in more competition, Ekeler will be in line to be the workhorse like he was early last year, which makes his ADP all the more perplexing.

Le’Veon Bell has a rather impressive track record of success throughout his career but didn’t perform nearly as well in his first year with the New York Jets. For the first time in his career, Bell failed to record 100 yards rushing in a single game all season. He was given plenty of opportunities to produce, though, as one of 12 running backs to average at least 16 rush attempts per game. Coming off of a down year, a lower ADP is justified, but one this low seems a bit extreme, and ECR agrees.

The running backs that ADP favors are a pair of backs that started for their respective teams in the Super Bowl. Both Damien Williams and Raheem Mostert are coming off of impressive playoff performances.

The Kansas City Chiefs officially chose to pick up Williams’ 2020 option, meaning he’ll be in the fold as the team’s likely starter unless they bring someone else in through the draft. Williams entered last year as a high-end RB2 based on ADP, but disappointed owners by missing several games and sharing time with LeSean McCoy throughout the year. However, his playoff performance seems to have reassured drafters of how high Williams’ ceiling is, especially in one of the league’s best offenses.

Similarly, Mostert spent most of the season in a committee with the likes of Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida but separated himself towards the end of the season. Mostert recorded double-digit carries in each of the San Francisco 49ers’ final eight games of 2019 (including the playoffs), signaling that he may be the team’s starting running back heading into 2020. Despite how often the 49ers use a committee, however, drafters don’t seem to be scared off by Mostert.

Wide Receiver

ECR likes him more

Wide Receiver Team ECR ADP Difference
Allen Robinson CHI 12 16 4
A.J. Green CIN 26 31 5

ADP likes him more

Wide Receiver Team ECR ADP Difference
Keenan Allen LAC 16 12 4
Michael Gallup DAL 29 21 8
Deebo Samuel SF 35 25 10

Allen Robinson and A.J. Green each find themselves discounted by public perception. Throughout his career, Robinson has performed well with lackluster play from his quarterback. That didn’t stop him from posting the second WR1 season of his career in 2019. Shockingly, Robinson saw a career-high 154 targets, turning that into 98 receptions and his second 1,000-yard receiving season.

Similar to Roethlisberger (mentioned above), Green was a perennial fantasy weapon before his 2019 season was lost due to injury. Though he’s only played 16 games twice in the past four seasons, he’s still finished in the top 16 in points per game among wide receivers in each of the four seasons prior to 2019.

Moving onto the receivers that ADP prefers, Keenan Allen finds himself at the top of this list despite recently losing his quarterback in free agency. Through his seven-year career, Allen has only ever caught passes from Philip Rivers. It remains to be seen how the quarterback change will impact his numbers, but he has still shown the ability to command a large target share. Last year, Allen was one of two receivers (Michael Thomas being the other) to eclipse a 50 percent share of his team’s wide receiver targets.

The remaining two players are rising stars in the NFL, the first of which just finished his second season as the WR2 in Dallas. Michael Gallup showed some promise in his rookie season, and he took it to another level in his sophomore campaign. In only 14 games, Gallup recorded over 1,100 receiving yards and finished in the top 12 in yards per target (9.8) among wide receivers.

Deebo Samuel improved throughout his rookie season, setting himself up for a breakout second year. Samuel was one of the most efficient wide receivers last year as he was second in fantasy points per target (1.98). Part of this is due to his elusiveness as a rusher – he carried the ball 14 times for 159 yards and three touchdowns last year. With Emmanuel Sanders now gone and an extra 53 targets on the table for Samuel, things are pointing up for the 49ers receiver.

Each of these three players’ higher ADP is warranted, given what they’ve shown in the past and the promise that they show for the future.

Tight End

ECR likes him more

Tight End Team ECR ADP Difference
Tyler Higbee LAR 8 14 6
Eric Ebron PIT 18 24 6

ADP likes him more

Tight End Team ECR ADP Difference
Austin Hooper CLE 10 5 5
T.J. Hockenson DET 14 10 4

Though it took until the second half of 2019, Tyler Higbee was one of the year’s biggest breakouts at tight end. Higbee finished as the TE9 last year but made most of his hay in the last five games of the season. Higbee finished 2019 with five straight games of at least 75 receiving yards, a feat that only three other tight ends have done since 2000. Drafters must think 2019 was an aberration for Higbee, given nearly half of his career receiving yards came in just 2019 alone. However, ECR seems confident that Higbee can continue to be a valuable fantasy tight end.

On the other end, Eric Ebron is now a couple of years removed from the breakout year he had with the Indianapolis Colts. During free agency, Ebron signed a two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’ll now be competing with Vance McDonald on an offense that doesn’t tend to target the tight end position – the Steelers have been among the bottom ten in tight end target share each of the past three seasons. ECR already suggests he’ll have a tough time providing fantasy value, and ADP is even more bearish on his outlook.

Another free agent mover, Austin Hooper, is still being considered near-elite based on his ADP. Last year’s TE4 in points per game will be heading to a Browns team run by new head coach Kevin Stefanski who is a fan of using tight ends in his offense. Last year, as the Vikings’ offensive coordinator Stefanski used two-tight end sets on 45 percent of plays, the second-highest rate in the league. This translated to a 24 percent target share for tight ends in Minnesota’s offense last year. Hooper may have trouble seeing targets with several great weapons around him, but he can be efficient with his volume as he showed last year with 1.2 fantasy points per target.

Rookie T.J. Hockenson showed promise in his first career game, posting 131 yards and a touchdown on six receptions. But, he wasn’t able to do much after that. Although he averaged nearly five targets per game throughout the year, he topped 50 yards receiving only twice and scored only two touchdowns all season. Drafters must be expecting more of what he demonstrated in his debut, otherwise a TE10 cost may not pay off.

Complete early mock drafts using our free draft simulator >>

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Sam Hoppen is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Sam, check out his archive and follow him @SamHoppen.

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