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Average Draft Position Explained: How to Use ADP In Your Fantasy Football Draft

by Matt Barbato | @realmattbarbato | Featured Writer
Aug 4, 2021

One of the most commonly-used acronyms in fantasy football is “ADP.” It stands for Average Draft Position, and it’s a useful tool when preparing for your upcoming drafts.

ADP is a reflection of where players are going on average in fantasy drafts. But it’s much more than that. ADP is the stock ticker. It’s the price tag at your local grocery store. It represents what it’ll likely cost to land a player on draft day. And it will tell you the market’s sentiment on a player’s perceived value.

In this article, I’ll break down the value of ADP and tell you to maximize it when preparing for your draft.

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Calculating and Understanding ADP

As I mentioned above, ADP is a tool that gives you an at-a-glance look at where players are going on average in fantasy football drafts. Using the FantasyPros Consensus ADP Tool, I’ll run through a quick example of how it’s calculated, and what it could be telling us.

Visit the link to the tool and take a look at Jonathan Taylor (RB – IND). The Colts tailback is being drafted 12th overall on CBS, seventh overall on Fantasy Football Calculator, and seventh overall on Fantrax. Add those draft positions up, and you get 26. Then, divide that by three (since we’re looking at the ADP for three platforms) and you’ll get an average draft position of 8.7, which is the eighth-highest among fantasy players in a standard league format.

You can also gain insights by seeing a player’s ADP at his respective position. For instance, Taylor’s eighth in overall ADP, but is the seventh running back off the board. Why? Because Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (TE – KC) is sixth in ADP. This may suggest that the market views Taylor a slight notch below the top five running backs.

ADP gets more useful with more data. The more drafts that are conducted, the more accurate it gets. It’s also more useful with more resources. The FantasyPros Consensus ADP Tool pools draft data from four different fantasy platforms, giving you more data and a wider variety of market opinions to work with.

Finally, ADP is also different from rankings, and that’s where we can start to use it to craft a draft strategy.

Comparing ADP to Rankings

There’s a significant difference between ADP and draft rankings. ADP is objective and simply identifies the fantasy football community’s consensus opinion on a player. But when we rank players in fantasy football, we don’t rank them based on where we think they’ll go in drafts. We rank based on our own personal opinions of players.

That important difference is where the advantage lies. Whether you create your own rankings or use our Expert Consensus Rankings, you can identify players the market is higher or lower on, creating opportunities to find value on draft day.

For example, I’m pretty high on Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (WR – IND) and think he’s in line for a year two breakout. I’ve got him ranked as my 30th overall wide receiver, but he’s being drafted as the WR43, according to ADP.

What does that mean? I likely won’t have to draft Pittman as the 30th receiver off the board on draft day. Instead, I should be able to wait a couple of rounds later and draft him at a cheaper price. Thanks to ADP, I probably won’t have to overpay for a player I really like.

Consult your personal rankings or an expert’s rankings and see how it compares to ADP. You’ll probably be able to identify similar value opportunities.

Obviously, not all drafts go according to ADP. I’ve been in plenty of drafts where players go way higher and way lower than their ADPs. ADP is not infallible, but it’s a useful guide that can give you an edge come draft day.

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Matt Barbato is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Matt, check out his archive and follow him @RealMattBarbato

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