In this day and age, there is a virtual smorgasbord of sources to help you prepare for the upcoming fantasy football season. Metrics, analytics, projections, rankings ... you name it, it's out there. But one of the best known preparation tools for drafts is good old ADP, or Average Draft Position. If you're unaware, ADP is a list of players who are ranked by the average position they're being taken across a large number of drafts. This gives you a good idea as to where players are likely to fall when it comes time for you to pick your own squads, therefore making it a useful resource.
There are a lot of ADP lists out there on the web, including our own on NFL.com that is based off a standard (non-PPR) scoring system. But in a world where PPR is the new standard, I want to examine what the ADP is telling me for the growing number of PPR leagues I'm playing in year in and year out. So, I landed some terrific data from one of the world's best fantasy players, Derek Pierson, in order to unearth some of the more interesting trends.
Running backs rule the first-round roost: Based on the ADP data, a total of seven backs and three wideouts are coming off the board in Round 1. The trio of exceptions includes Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins and Odell Beckham Jr. Overall, 10 of the first 15 picks are running backs while the other five are wideouts.
No one is afraid to draft Saquon Barkley: Remember when drafting a rookie running back in the first round was considered a serious gamble? No longer, my friends. Over the last week, he's remained steady as the seventh to eighth overall pick and has even seen a slight uptick (7.97-7.49) in that time. Believe the hype.
Derrius Guice is the second rookie picked: In a class with a ton of talented running backs, Guice is being drafted at 36.11 (or almost 30 spots behind Barkley). Rashaad Penny (42.82) is third, Ronald Jones (44.19) is fourth, Sony Michel (50.23) is fifth and Royce Freeman (52.29) is fifth among the top rookie runners.
Julio Jones isn't a first-round pick:Fantasy owners seem to have grown tired of Jones' lack of consistent production to the point where he's now coming off the board in the second round (13.7) rather than the first, even in PPR formats. While we expect some positive touchdown regression, J.J. won't break back into the top 10.
Joe Mixon is moving up on ADP boards: One of my favorite breakout candidates, Mixon is now settling in as a third-round pick (24.1). That might seem high for a player who averaged just 3.5 yards per attempt during his rookie campaign, but there's a popular sense in the fantasy community that Mixon is a rock-solid No. 2 runner.
LeSean McCoy is now a third-round pick: McCoy was already considered a bust candidate entering his age-30 season on a team with limited offensive talent, but now he's dropped into Round 3 due to some recent off-field question marks. His current situation is one of the more important to monitor over the next few weeks.
T.Y. Hilton has moved up almost half a round: This should be considered a surprise to no one, as Hilton's value is linked to the health of Andrew Luck's right shoulder. Now that he's back under center and looking good, Hilton should be back in the 130-150 target range and a legitimate candidate for 80-plus receptions.
Strangely, Andrew Luck has not moved up much: Despite glowing reports out of Colts camp, Luck is still stuck in the later rounds of drafts. In fact, his current ADP is 125.81. Based on the fact that he's been a top-four quarterback in three of his last four full seasons, you have to like Luck as a potential steal in drafts.
Aaron Rodgers is the unquestioned top quarterback: This should come as a shock to no one, but here's what is notable: Rodgers is now being picked, on average, at 46.65. That's more than a full round lower than he had been picked earlier in the month of July. At what is a very deep position, quarterbacks are continuing to lose value.
Deshaun Watson has moved into the second position: The talented Clemson stud is being picked second among quarterbacks (56.29), less than one round behind Rodgers. That says a lot considering he's started six games as a pro but is still being picked ahead of guys like Russell Wilson (65.91), Tom Brady (78.52) and Cam Newton (82.0).
Not one quarterback moved up. Not a single one: From Watson (-6.12) to Andy Dalton (-59.63) and everyone in between, signal callers aren't getting any respect. Even stars like Carson Wentz and Kirk Cousins have declined two or more rounds based on the data. It's further proof that you should wait on drafting a quarterback.
Josh Gordon isn't dropping down too far ... yet: Gordon's status with the Browns is a mystery at this point, but he's still coming off the board among the top 40 picks. Furthermore, he's still being picked more than a full round ahead of his new teammate, Jarvis Landry. Clearly, folks think the risk is worth the reward.
The fantasy football world digs Stefon Diggs: Diggs, who just landed a big extension with the Vikings, has seen his stock rise in drafts. In fact, he's moved up into the middle of the fourth round based on the latest data. If he can avoid injuries, which has been a problem in the past, Diggs should break out this season.
D.J. Moore is a big movers among wide receivers: A potential sleeper under the guidance of offensive coordinator Norv Turner, Moore has seen his stock rise almost two full rounds. He's still being picked in the last few rounds of drafts, but he's closing in on being a top 100 pick in PPR formats. He has a chance to turn into a real draft value.
Dak Prescott is losing value at a fast pace:Dez Bryant and Jason Witten are gone, and so is Prescott's value apparently. He's dropped more than three full rounds based on recent ADP data, making him no more than a mid- to late-tiered No. 2 fantasy quarterback. He'll need a strong camp to see that trend reverse itself.
Marlon Mack leads the Colts backfield trio: Mack is getting picked at 83.27, almost two full rounds ahead of Nyheim Hines (102.54) and almost eight rounds ahead of Jordan Wilkins (161.37). With that said, Hines has moved up more than a full round in the past week. Clearly, this is a situation that fantasy fans need to monitor.
There's confusion in Green Bay's backfield:Jamaal Williams (90.39) is the leader of this pack, but he's going just over four spots ahead of Aaron Jones (94.67) and just over a round ahead of Ty Montgomery (103.44). I like Jones, despite his suspension, as the back with the highest ceiling. But a committee is looking likely.
Is Carlos Hyde the Browns runner to target? You might be shocked, but Hyde (84.22) is the highest-picked Browns back based on recent ADP data. Of course, he's going less than two picks ahead of Duke Johnson (86.18) and less than a full round ahead of Nick Chubb (94.91). Clearly, this is a backfield to avoid at this point.
The tight end position is sinking, even in PPR drafts: Just five tight ends have seen their ADP rise, with O.J. Howard being the biggest gainer at just +3.35. On the flip side, players like Cameron Brate (-13.02), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (-16.46) and Jared Cook (-24.39) have declined. It's another position to wait on in drafts.
The first defense isn't being drafted until Round 12: A lot of fantasy fans go after a defense in the single-digit rounds, and that's a huge mistake. This data proves it, as the Jaguars and their great defense aren't getting picked until 114.49 in drafts. The second defense coming off the board, the Rams, come in at 138th.