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ADP Analysis of RotoWire/Yahoo Beat the Experts Draft - Part 2

So we’re going to continue our look at the most recent ADP numbers for fantasy football and see how they compare with an actual draft that I completed earlier in the week. For those who need to catch up, here’s a link to the introduction and analysis done on the first five rounds. In this installment, we’re going to look at the middle five – it was a 15-round, 12-team standard scoring league with the scoring rules listed in the previous piece – rounds where people are still picking up starters but where building quality depth for the bye weeks is also a necessity.

An argument can certainly be made that these five rounds are actually the most integral to your success and/or failure during the year. Obviously, smart free agent pick-ups throughout the year can be a serious difference-maker, but a real strong draft can actually allow you to make pick-ups for strategic purposes rather than out of need. You’re playing the waiver wire in a pro-active way as opposed to being reactive.

So let’s take a look at what happened in the Beat Howard Bender Draft from RotoWire and Yahoo.

ROUND 6 Pos Team MDC ADP Diff
61 Vernon Davis TE SF 89.00 28.00
62 Andrew Luck QB IND 58.30 -3.70
63 Robert Griffin QB WAS 51.00 -12.00
64 Tony Gonzalez TE ATL 84.00 20.00
65 Antonio Brown WR PIT 70.00 5.00
66 Pierre Garcon WR WAS 68.30 2.30
67 Ryan Mathews RB SD 51.00 -16.00
68 Greg Jennings WR MIN 66.30 -1.70
69 Eric Decker WR DEN 44.30 -24.70
70 Eddie Lacy RB GB 78.30 8.30
71 Cecil Shorts WR JAC 82.30 11.30
72 Jeremy Maclin WR PHI 106.00 34.00

The most interesting thing about the top three ‘reaches’** is that they are veteran players who, often times, get drafted because of their name; because of who they are and what their history is rather than a real look at whether or not their current situation is actually a favorable one for fantasy owners. Not that any of these guys are technically in unfavorable situations, but there’s enough going on to explain some of the hesitation we are seeing in the MDC ADP numbers.

With Michael Crabtree done for what looks like the entire season, there’s an expectation that Vernon Davis is going to pick up the slack and see a major increase in targets. That belief, coupled with the scarcity at the position thanks to the loss of the two Patriots tight ends, is what seems to be in play in this draft. However, those who owned Davis last year know that there already was an expectation of him and he failed to deliver. Whether defenses were that good about cutting off his routes or offensive coordinator Greg Roman was that unimaginative in making the necessary adjustments, the result was the same – a very disappointing season from a very uninvolved member of the offensive scheme.

For Tony Gonzalez, the pick is also a result of a lack of quality top-tier tight ends and big-name status thanks to years of heavy targets. But Gonzalez is getting a little long in the tooth and Matt Ryan is actually looking more towards Julio Jones and Roddy White for both big plays downfield and third down possession work.

In my opinion, Jeremy Maclin is a reach based solely on name. He’s been a highly-touted receiver since his rookie season and the Eagles offense was once rather explosive. However, with injuries running so prevalent with this team, whether it’s Maclin or Michael Vick or even LeSean McCoy, it’s been tough for everyone to get onto the same page. Perhaps a move away from Andy Reid will help in some of the play calling and routes being run, but you can’t blame injuries on the coach.

As for ‘bargains’** in this round, the one with the largest ADP differential is receiver Eric Decker, by two full rounds. It should be interesting to see who is right in this case. The arrival of Wes Welker in Denver gives the Bronco three outstanding receiving options; four if you want to endorse tight end Joel Dreesen. The fear is that with Welker around, the targets, both in and out of the red zone, won’t pile up for Decker as, essentially, they are the same receiver. But again, that’s strictly assumption. Perhaps he’ll see the same number of targets should the Broncos opt to shorten their running game.

ROUND 7 Pos Team MDC ADP Diff
73 Heath Miller TE PIT ND --
74 Steve Smith WR CAR 77.30 3.30
75 Steve Johnson WR BUF 106.30 31.30
76 Tavon Austin WR STL 101.70 25.70
77 Jermichael Finley TE GB 109.30 32.30
78 James Jones WR GB 65.30 -12.70
79 Greg Olsen TE CAR 107.70 28.70
80 Ahmad Bradshaw RB IND 158.20 78.20
81 Danario Alexander WR SD 79.70 -1.30
82 T.Y. Hilton WR IND 91.70 9.70
83 BenJarvis Green-Ellis RB CIN 66.00 -17.00
84 Lance Moore WR NO 115.30 31.30

I love this round as the differentials are pretty crazy here. Obviously the biggest standout is Ahmad Bradshaw, but that can easily be explained with his recent signing with Indianapolis. His ADP could actually continue to climb if the team feels that he can carry more than just a platoon role. His and Vick Ballard’s ADP ranks will be interesting to watch.

The heavy risings we see with the wide receivers are also fairly easy to explain as nearly all of the higher-quality running backs are off the board, leaving fantasy owners to bulk up on receivers in a pass-heavy NFL. The tight ends have the same thing going on, but also coupled with the lack of depth at the position itself. After all, how else do you explain an ADP increase for Jermichael Finley, a guy who was basically ignored by Aaron Rodgers for most of the 2012 season?

ROUND 8 Pos Team MDC ADP Diff
85 Seattle Defense DEF SEA 217.50 132.50
86 Dennis Pitta TE BAL 92.30 6.30
87 Josh Gordon WR CLE 94.00 7.00
88 San Francisco Defense DEF SF 157.50 69.50
89 Anquan Boldin WR SF 112.00 23.00
90 DeSean Jackson WR PHI 100.70 10.70
91 Miles Austin WR DAL 100.70 9.70
92 Rashard Mendenhall RB ARI 75.30 -16.70
93 Tony Romo QB DAL 56.30 -36.70
94 Kyle Rudolph TE MIN 87.70 -6.30
95 Jonathan Stewart RB CAR 84.70 -10.30
96 Denver Defense DEF DEN ND #VALUE!

Look at these defense picks here. Are you kidding me? In this case, the ADP differential says it all – the eighth round is far too high. I understand that both Seattle and San Francisco have two of the finest defenses in the NFL, for fantasy purposes, they could have been left for a few rounds later. And Denver? Come on. I don’t think I’ve ever picked a kicker or a defense anywhere higher than the final three rounds of any draft and I’ve been doing pretty well for myself.

There’s an obvious lack of faith in new Arizona running back Rashard Mendenhall (probably because of his frailty) and in Dallas quarterback Tony Romo. The Mendenhall drop doesn’t surprise me, but with the productivity increase we saw after Week 12 for Romo and Dez Bryant, the continued lack of faith seems a bit odd. Perhaps it’s concern over the condition of the offensive line.

ROUND 9 Pos Team MDC ADP Diff
97 Andre Brown RB NYG 87.00 -10.00
98 Mark Ingram RB NO 93.00 -5.00
99 Giovani Bernard RB CIN 114.00 15.00
100 Daryl Richardson RB STL 189.00 89.00
101 Michael Floyd WR ARI 122.70 21.70
102 Antonio Gates TE SD 130.30 28.30
103 Chicago Defense DEF CHI 240.80 137.80
104 Michael Vick QB PHI 141.00 37.00
105 Matt Bryant K ATL 170.00 65.00
106 Shane Vereen RB NE 115.30 9.30
107 Kenny Britt WR TEN 103.30 -3.70
108 Jay Cutler QB CHI 167.20 59.20

The Chicago defense pick and the Matt Bryant selection can both be overlooked here. Far too soon in my opinion and the ADP says so.

With the presence and expectations of Zac Stacy, the Daryl Richardson pick becomes a little bit of a surprise with respect to ADP rankings. It obviously has everything to do with the lack of available options, but there’s also the possibility that Stacy fails and Richardson sees a heavier workload.

For me, it doesn’t even matter what the ADP differential is. Any pick of Jay Cutler will be a reach pick.

ROUND 10 Pos Team MDC ADP Diff
109 DeAngelo Williams RB CAR 105.70 -3.30
110 Bernard Pierce RB BAL 186.80 76.80
111 Denarius Moore WR OAK 116.00 5.00
112 Owen Daniels TE HOU 138.00 26.00
113 Jared Cook TE STL 130.00 17.00
114 Stephen Gostkowski K NE 162.70 48.70
115 Eli Manning QB NYG 69.30 -45.70
116 Sidney Rice WR SEA 112.30 -3.70
117 Bryce Brown RB PHI 108.30 -8.70
118 DeAndre Hopkins WR HOU 287.20 169.20
119 Ben Roethlisberger QB PIT 88.70 -30.30
120 Shonn Greene RB TEN 183.80 63.80

Lots of depth to be had here and some seriously differing opinions as to where some players should be taken. I’m definitely astounded by the lack of faith in a rebound for Eli Manning while Ben Roethlisberger’s days of being a fantasy starter are apparently long gone. Both are acting as back-ups here but both could certainly take off and turn in some killer performances.

For the record, that DeAndre Hopkins pick was me and I’m actually still surprised by his MDC ADP. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s a relative unknown or that rookies don’t often make a strong impact in the first season, but as the guy running opposite Andre Johnson, he’s liable to see some killer target numbers this season.

The look at the final five rounds should be out Monday. Until then…

**Side note: Because it’s July, it’s way too early to really assess whether a player truly is a reach or a bargain. We use the terms in this article strictly in the sense of a ‘reach’ is someone taken in this draft at a significantly higher pick than the ADP on Mock Draft Central while a ‘bargain’ is obviously someone who was taken much later than their MDC ADP.

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Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at rotobuzzguy@gmail.com.

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