Do you know who succeeds the most at fantasy drafts?
They have this uncanny ability to know exactly when players are going to be drafted, and it allows them to either let certain guys fall to them or go out and grab someone that might go earlier than expected.
When you're drafting on a web-based platform (i.e. ESPN, Yahoo, CBS, etc.), it actually puts you - a premier drafter - at a major advantage. Everyone is at the will of that particular site's rankings, whether consciously or subconsciously.
For example, at one point before fantasy drafts in 2016, Mark Ingram was ranked 8th (or so) overall on ESPN in PPR. I'm personally not a huge fan of Ingram - something that Sean Payton and I have in common - but at points approaching draft season I kept catching myself trying to justify reasons why Ingram was better than I thought initially, simply because there was a time in the offseason where I saw a big sexy 8 next to his name.
If you're aware of this and you can tune out that site's rankings, you can go ahead and scoop up all of the guys that your platform may have too low. Everyone else will be looking at the next 10 guys in their little scroll bar while you're down in the weeds scooping up a 149th ranked Marcus Mariota in the 10th round.
Donald, what are you getting at?
Okay, okay. I've been casually mock drafting lately, and there are a bunch of players whose ECR (Expert Consensus Ranking on FantasyPros) and ADP (Average Draft Position) just don't jive. The experts (myself included!) may have a guy going in the third round. Why is his ADP in the sixth?
Let's find out why.
Note: these are PPR rankings and ADP according to FantasyPros
Doug Baldwin - ECR: 19, ADP: 25 (-6), Donald's rank: 18
I was never the biggest fan of Doug Baldwin, mostly because the Seahawks offense used to revolve around Marshawn Lynch, and all of the receivers were completely hit or miss on a week-to-week basis. I avoided Baldwin in season-long leagues and DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) because I just never trusted him.
I'm kind of coming around now, as the Seahawks have realized that they have to throw now since their run blocking is horrid. Baldwin only had two games in 2017 with less than four receptions, and he's always good for a monster touchdown week at any given time.
I honestly just think people are stuck in the same mindset that I used to have: Seahawks receivers can't be trusted. Baldwin and Jimmy Graham are the only legitimate receiving weapons there now, and I think Russell Wilson realizes it.
Alshon Jeffery - ECR: 25, ADP: 36 (-11), Donald's rank: 28
This one is pretty easy to dissect. Fantasy analysts are spreading out Carson Wentz's targets, and Jeffery is getting the lion's share...and for good reason. He is clearly the most talented receiver on the Eagles and also one of three receivers on the roster that can actually catch a football (Jeffery, Jordan Matthews, Zach Ertz, definitely not Torrey Smith or Nelson Agholor).
Drafters are letting Jeffery fall a round or so because he's extremely fragile and can't seem to stay on the field. His last full season was in 2014, but if Wentz can utilize Jeffery - in the red-zone especially - the sky is the limit.
Travis Kelce - ECR: 28, ADP: 33 (-5), Donald's rank: 37
There are two things that most fantasy drafters don't like to do:
1) Draft TEs not-named-Rob-Gronkowski early
2) Draft Chiefs
Kelce was a beast in 2017, but I, and many other drafters apparently, am probably not going to be willing to pay a third-round price for him when I can still get guys like Keenan Allen, Alshon Jeffery, Marshawn Lynch, or even Sammy Watkins at that spot. If you are willing to pay for Kelce, however, there's a good chance you can grab him.
Leonard Fournette - ECR: 30, ADP: 22 (+8), Donald's rank: 23
I really wish I had a time machine.
I would LOVE to know what this ECR/ADP would look like had Ezekiel Elliott not been drafted early last year and subsequently gone on to snag the NFL rushing crown. If Zeke disappointed, I bet Fournette's ADP would be down four or five rounds.
Regardless, he didn't and it isn't, and drafters are actually reaching for Fournette eight spots ahead of his ranking. Everyone knows Fournette was a lunatic in college, and we all expect him to be the focal point of the Jaguars offense after spending the fourth overall pick on him. Everyone is willing to pay a premium for a workhorse running back, and I don't blame them.
Brandin Cooks - ECR: 34, ADP: 24 (+10), Donald's rank: 16 (actually laughing out loud)
So go ahead and re-read what I said about Alshon Jeffery above. Analysts are projecting his production, and drafters are afraid of his injury so he drops.
The exact opposite is happening with Cooks.
Analysts are crunching the numbers and saying that there are way too many mouths to feed in New England, and there's no way he can exceed - and often times match - what he did the last two seasons in New Orleans.
Drafters as well as the author of this article don't care. He's a dynamic receiver that moved from an offense led by a 99.9% future Hall of Famer to a 200% future Hall of Famer, and we all want to cash in.
Update: yes, I'm still delusional...clearly.
Golden Tate - ECR: 38, ADP: 47 (-9), Donald's rank: 31
I love Golden Tate. Even after starting 2016 on a horrible note that had plenty of fantasy owners jumping ship, Tate still finished with 90 receptions and 1,077 yards. After week 5, Tate only had one game with less than 5 catches. I think Stafford has accepted that Tate is his number one option, and I can't wait to see that grow in 2017.
I'm assuming that drafters are discounting Tate because he's a slot guy and not a red-zone threat (only four TDs in 2016), which is understandable. I personally tend to draft for involvement in the offense and avoid trying to chase touchdowns, so that explains the difference.
Larry Fitzgerald - ECR: 41, ADP: 50 (-9), Donald's rank: 48
Would anyone like to guess who led the league in receptions in 2016?
Antonio Brown? Odell Beckham Jr.? Julian Edelman?
Nope. Larry Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald did average only 9.6 yards per reception, which ranked 116th in the NFL in 2016. Regardless, in a PPR format, the guy who leads the league in catches will be valuable.
My issue with Fitz is his QB. I'm very concerned about Carson Palmer, as his TD:INT ratio dropped from 3.18 in 2015 to 1.86 in 2016, plus his yardage, completion percentage, and touchdowns all decreased. I'm worried that his regression is going to continue and Larry's production will suffer as a result.
Danny Woodhead - ECR: 52, ADP: 73 (-21), Donald's rank: 38
I've mentioned it plenty of times before, but I'm from Baltimore and get the pleasure of watching one of the most frustrating offenses on this side of the asteroid belt.
Joe Flacco checks down ALL THE TIME. If Woodhead stays healthy, I legitimately think he'll break the RB receiving record by like a million receptions. He's perpetually under-drafted and just fell into an offensive scheme that fits his skill set like a glove.
Tyreek Hill - ECR: 63, ADP: 43 (+20), Donald's rank: 80
Player A's rookie season: 61 receptions, 593 receiving yards, 9.7 yards per reception, 6 receiving touchdowns, 24 carries, 267 yards, 11.1 yards per carry, 3 rushing touchdowns
Player B's rookie season: 45 receptions, 469 receiving yards, 10.4 yards per reception, 4 receiving touchdowns, 12 carries, 158 yards, 13.2 yards per carry, 3 rushing touchdowns
Player A is Tyreek Hill. Player B is Cordarrelle Patterson.
Patterson followed up an explosive ending to his rookie season with a whopping 501 total yards and 2 touchdowns in his sophomore season. I can't help but draw comparisons to Tyreek Hill, as they were both late bloomers that flourished in the rushing, receiving, and return games. I'm on board that Hill is more explosive than Patterson, but these all-or-nothing players scare the hell out of me. I won't have any Tyreek Hill this year.
Doug Martin - ECR: 91, ADP: 64 (+27), Donald's rank: 94
Just wanted to take a second to remind everyone that Martin is suspended for three games and has been *ungood* over the past few seasons. He could absolutely be a steal, but I'm not spending a seventh rounder or earlier on him.
Adrian Peterson - ECR: 101, ADP: 68 (+33), Donald's rank: 60
As I mentioned previously, Sean Payton hates Mark Ingram. If Adrian Peterson stays healthy, I'd be willing to bet that he will win his owners plenty of championships. I don't think one can ignore how dominant he is when he's at his best, and he's now on a top five offense with Drew Brees at the helm. The Saints offense will be terrifying, and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he lights the league on fire. Yes, I do have him ranked higher than Ingram (81).
At his current ADP of 68, a lot of your team is probably settled. In a 10-team league, I'd probably have 2 RBs, 3 WRs, and a TE by the time I can consider AP. That's the part of the draft where you should start looking at upside, and it's hard to pass up one of the best running backs in NFL history, especially when he's sitting among the likes of Kelvin Benjamin and Mike Gillislee.
That's all for now. I'll probably do this again as drafts get closer and the ADPs get refined, so don't hesitate to reach out if you're looking for a write-up on an intriguing player.
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