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Average Draft Position (ADP) Fantasy Football Draft Guide: What It Is and How to Use It (2022)

by Matt Barbato | @realmattbarbato | Featured Writer
Aug 6, 2022
JuJu Smith-Schuster

The acronym ADP might be the most widely used acronym in fantasy football vernacular. It stands for Average Draft Position, which is an important tool that can help us identify value in our drafts.

But what exactly is ADP? And more importantly, how can you use it to your advantage? Here’s everything you need to know about the most popular three letters in fantasy football:

Fantasy Football Redraft Draft Kit

What is ADP?

ADP is a tool that compiles draft data to give us a reflection of where players are going on average in fantasy football drafts. It’s our version of a stock ticker, or the price tag on an item at the 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.

Of course, ADP can vary between different platforms. For instance, Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook has an ADP of 10th overall on ESPN, but his ADP is fifth overall on Yahoo!.

This is where the FantasyPros Consensus ADP tool can be even more useful, as it provides the average draft position across multiple platforms, such as ESPN, Yahoo!, Fantrax, Fantasy Football Calculator, and Sleeper. This gives you access to a larger sample size and more refined information.

Calculating and Understanding Consensus ADP

Looking at ADP on a single site is pretty straightforward. The platform essentially identifies where a player is most often going in every draft conducted. So how does FantasyPros’ Consensus ADP work? To explain, let me use an example:

Visit the link to the tool and take a look at Cam Akers. The Rams running back is going 28th on ESPN and RTSports, 25th on Fantrax, 41st on Fantasy Football Calculator, and 36th on Sleeper. Add up those five draft positions and divide by five, and you get a Consensus ADP of 31.6. That means Akers is going in the middle of Round 3, on average, in 12-team PPR leagues.

In the case of Akers’ ADP, this exercise is particularly useful. Our tool tells us that Akers has a pretty wide ADP range, which means there’s less market consensus on his fantasy value right now. Pay close attention to those differences, as they could shape your strategy. If you’re drafting on ESPN, you may need to get Akers earlier than you’d like. But if you’re drafting on Sleeper, you may have more time.

Beyond our fantasy football content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our free mock Draft Simulator – which allows you to mock draft against realistic opponents – to our Draft Assistant – that optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football draft season.

When you should start caring about ADP

Now that you know how to use ADP, it’s critical to know when to use it. Because ADP is a tool that gets more useful the closer we get to drafts.

Think about it: How many fantasy drafts are you doing in July? And if you’re drafting in July, you probably should get out of that league ASAP.

Like a fine wine, ADP gets better over time as more drafts are completed and more data is compiled. The ADP you see now will likely change significantly by the end of August as news, injuries, and developments come in.

However, you can use ADP earlier in the summer to get a sense of whether the market sentiment on a player is improving or declining. For instance, Chris Godwin is currently 55th in ADP on July 29, which is a mid-fifth-round pick. However, if the Buccaneers announce Godwin won’t be healthy to start the season, his ADP could drop. Taking note of how ADP changes between now and your draft is a useful way to identify value opportunities.

Using ADP and Rankings to Find Draft Values

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 really high on JuJu Smith-Schuster this season and have him ranked inside my top 55 players. However, Smith-Schuster’s Consensus ADP is 81st.

What does that mean? I likely won’t have to draft Smith-Schuster in Round 5 and could likely wait until Round 7 or Round 8. 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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If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Trade Analyzer – which allows you to instantly find out if a trade offer benefits you or your opponent – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

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