NFFC ADP: First Look at the Top 50
As NFL training camps begin to open, we’re moving closer and closer to fantasy football draft season. The National Fantasy Football Championships have their series of drafts at the end of August, but many of you are likely to have your home or work league drafts set up before that. So with that, we’re going to start taking a more detailed look into the recent ADP numbers and hopefully begin marking trends we witness in both real and mock drafts. We’ll set today (July 22) as a start date and each week we’ll do a comparison of the numbers and discuss the week to week trends. If you’ve seen the ADP Trend Report over at Mock Draft Central , then you know exactly what we’re going to do.
We’ve had a lot of discussions regarding NFL Standard leagues, so we’re going to switch it up and take a look at the PPR (points per reception) side of the fence. And with the ADP over at the NFFC (courtesy of our friends over at Stats, Inc.) loaded with more data, we’re going to use that as our starting point. While normally I’d start going position by position, I think it best that we take a look first at the top 50 players. The first few rounds are always crucial as you lay your team’s foundation. They are your core players and they will be the ones on whom you rely on the most. The last thing you want to do is make an early mistake. So let’s just take a look at who’s going where…
We all know that in past years, most drafts, regardless of scoring style were top-heavy with running backs. Well, in looking at a positional breakdown of the top 50, we can see one trend that doesn’t really change as 22 of the top 50 picks (44-percent) in PPR leagues. The bottom line is that those who touch the ball the most tend to score the most in fantasy. So while some of the names might move up and down when you’re comparing PPR and standard leagues, it’s the running backs who are coveted the most.
Once you get through that heavy dose of running backs in the first two rounds, the wide receivers take over quickly. Pretty much a no-brainer given the scoring system, but especially because of the significant drop-off in talent once you make your way through the first dozen backs. Even a second-tier wideout such as Marques Colston should outscore most of the running backs found outside the top 10. Their value cannot be ignored and if you’re sitting there wavering between Colston and say Lamar Miller who sits right above him in the ADP ranks, I’d say there’s a pretty strong argument to take Colston unless Miller would be the first back you’ve drafted.
The quarterback position has been a bit of a surprise to me even here in the early goings. If you’re talking about leagues of 14 teams or more, I can understand the need/desire to lock in a top-tier QB, but given the wealth of talent at the position, I still have a hard time using a top four draft pick on one. Sure, the drop-off in talent is fairly significant once you get out of the top 12, but even here, where you see the top six come off the board, there are still so many great fantasy quarterbacks still out there. Grabbing yourself two solid running backs and either two solid receivers or a receiver and a tight end should put you ahead of the game as you’re still landing yourself a top 10 quarterback in round five.
With just two tight ends taken here in the top 50, you get a firm understanding that the position has taken a significant hit in the last year. With Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez somewhat out of the picture, it may elevate the ADP of Jimmy Graham, but for the most part, most of the tight ends are interchangeable and therefore you might find yourself just as happy with a Rob Housler in the 12th round as you would a Jermichael Finley in the eighth.
While the data from Mock Draft Central isn’t quite as abundant as we’d like to do a comparison right now, there are still a few things of which to take note when discussing the two lists.
Reggie Bush (-37.85) – Maybe it has to do with the timing of his signing with Detroit, but the NFFC have it on the money here as Bush should see plenty of work, both rushing and receiving. Mikel Leshoure will still see his fair share of carries, but he’s a between-the-tackles type running back and the Lions are going to want to keep their offense fast and open. When you’ve got a QB who likes to air it out and you have fast options like Calvin Johnson and Bush, a slow and methodical drive is not usually a part of the game plan.
Darren Sproles (-37.28) – In truth, I don’t know what the folks at MDC were thinking. Sproles may have seen a reduction in carries, but all this guy does is catch the ball and run.
Percy Harvin (-28.00) – The only thing I can think of is the injury risk that comes with owning Harvin. Between the migraines and the knee, I can understand why there would be some hesitancy. But on an offense like Seattle’s with an up and coming QB like Russell Wilson looking to air it out, Harvin should rack up some serious targets.
Reggie Wayne (-19.93) – Age? Is that it? I guess so. But I certainly don’t agree with it as Wayne should, again, be Andrew Luck’s go-to guy. He may develop into more of a possession receiver with T.Y. Hilton being the deep threat, but that just means more targets.
Wes Welker (-18.59) – So here’s where I think the NFFC folk have it wrong. Yes, Welker is a great receiver with great hands and runs strong routes, but Peyton Manning developed a very strong rapport with Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas last season and I don’t see him deviating from that very much. Welker should get his number called a fair amount, but not worthy of where people are drafting him here.
Matt Ryan (+18.00) – While I still feel that Ryan is going too early, I couldn’t agree more that he should be considered a better option than some of the other QBs taken ahead of him in NFFC play. Brees and Rodgers, for sure, but Cam Newton and Peyton? I’m not so sure. With weapons like Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez, complemented by a bigger running back in Steven Jackson, I see big things happening for Ryan…again. Oh, and did we forget to mention to health track record? I thought so.
Rob Gronkowski (+17.15) – This just tells me that Gronk is going just by name over at MDC and not really with regard to his injury status. A failing grade to those taking Gronk far too early.
I don’t really see the need to discuss the next two biggest disparities that MDC is showing the love to because that would be Manning and Newton. I could elaborate but that horse is dead and beaten.
Stevan Ridley (+11.49) – The jury is still out as to whio is right or wrong in this case. His ADP numbers are fairly close, so probably not either, but if Shane Vereen really does take it to another level this year, then Ridley’s value is closer to where he’s going in the NFFC.
Again, this is just an introduction to the PPR ADP. Some of what I’ve discussed is just basic common knowledge, some isn’t. But watch over the next few weeks when we can look closer at some of the individual player trends and see who is rising within the ranks and who is slipping through. There’s still plenty more to come.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.