ADP, better known as Average Draft Position, is possibly one of the more overrated fantasy football terms. Except for the fact that it isn’t overrated at all. Many like to loudly proclaim that ADP, much like rankings and mock drafts, are a waste of time, as each league drafts differently than the next. Not taking those three things seriously – ADP probably the most – only sets yourself up for failure.
Rankings are key for you. You need to know who you value and who you don’t really want to draft. Your rankings may not mean jack to the next guy, though, so going only off of your rankings is fairly silly. While they help serve as a reminder for value and for who is remaining, rankings alone rarely tell the whole story. Nor do mock drafts. Mocks, just like live drafts, are a beautiful (albeit sometimes heinously ugly) smalling snowflake. No mock is alike, and you can even run into an epic mock draft ruiner (protect yourself with the Mock Draft Simulator and thank me later). Mocks are mostly about practice for environment, rare happenings, discovering ADP over time and of course, perfecting your own strategy.
Average Draft Position, however, rounds everything out, weeds out the bad apple mocks, lessens the horribleness of dramatic reaches and epic free falls. With ADP, you generally get a pretty good idea as to where each player’s true value lies. Naturally, ADP can and will change based on league size, scoring and who you’re playing with. It can also quickly change based on in-draft trends and swings. As always, you need to be ready to draft accordingly.
But ADP is an awesome prep tool. Understanding the common, agreed upon value of most players is key is projecting where some guys might fall. A great way to take advantage of ADP, though, is find out where sneaky guys you like are falling, and pluck them before anyone else can. Heck, maybe you even take him a round early. Yeah, now we’re getting somewhere.
Long winded intro aside, there are a good amount of fantasy options going pretty late in drafts. Let’s see who they are:
Note: this ADP info is taken from FantasyFootballCalculator.com and is based off of a standard, 12-team league. All fantasy players in these findings can be found in round 12 or later.
I love me some Johnny Manziel. I’m sorry to all the haters who think he’s a rich prick who doesn’t deserve anything he gets, but the kid is awesome. I don’t buy the “Alex Smith is his ceiling” talk, either. Manziel is and plays faster than his 40 time and his unique running style can’t even be summed up by how fast he can run in a straight line. Oh, and the guy can throw like a beast. Brian Hoyer is as much of an obstacle as a tiny wax statue of Gary Cooper. Manziel will get past him, and he’ll get better and better each week. No, he won’t be RG3 or Cam Newton in week one, but he just might get to that level by mid-season. Right now he’s a fringe top-15 fantasy quarterback with legit upside to get very high inside the top-5. It’s not like you’re drafting him to be your weekly starter just yet, either. Go get your first team guy and then crack a Manziel smile as you make him your high upside QB2. He’s worth the plunge.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins (14.06)
Ryan Tannehill sure did look solid in his first preseason game. He also looked good in 2013, when he wasn’t bent into 26 different shapes behind the worst offensive line (in so many ways). Miami went to work this off-season and pieced together a new makeshift line, but this time it might work out. Tannehill was fantasy’s 16th best fantasy passer even when he wasn’t taking rib shots, so just imagine what a souped offense and better protection will do for him. Hey, if Andy Dalton can vault himself into the top-10, you have to give Tanny a chance at it, too. He is a rock solid QB2 with legit weekly QB1 upside.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Indianapolis Colts (12.02)
Trent Richardson is awful. He was once a top-5 pick, so I truly hope he proves me wrong. But he probably won’t, which probably means Bradshaw and his stiff neck will get thrown to the wolves at some point in 2014. That’s fine, too, because Bradshaw was actually awesome last year before he got hurt. Also, Donald Brown is gone and Vick Ballard’s corpse is once again on the sidelines. Bradshaw’s value is heating up. You need to snatch him up before the 12th round.
Tre Mason, RB, St. Louis Rams (12.11)
Zac Stacy is a marginal talent that lacks versatility and absolutely needs to be force fed to retain his current value (ADP = round 3). I’d much rather pass on him and take a shot on someone like Toby Gerhart, Andre Ellington or C.J. Spiller. Take one of them and then snatch up Mason later in the draft as a nice stash that could pay off. Grab him if you do take Stacy, anyways. He’s handcuff gold.
Ronnie Hillman, RB, Denver Broncos (13.11)
Hillman will serve well as a pure handcuff for Montee Ball, but he’s much more than just that. Ball had random weekly Flex value last year thanks to Denver’s high octane system, and the same could very well be the case for Hillman. Hillman is actually much more explosive than Ball, and at the moment has #2 duties locked up. If Ball were to go down, his value would skyrocket through the roof. You need to get him before round 13.
Kenny Britt, WR, St. Louis Rams (12.03)
Britt looked to be washed up a year ago, but now healthy again, is slated to be the Rams’ #1 wide receiver. He fits the bill when it comes to size and ball skills, and might the most overlooked option at receiver beyond round 10 – or maybe just in general. He carries some risk, but in the 12th round the risk is minimal.
Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee Titans (12.05)
Josh Gordon busted out and became fantasy football’s top wide receiver last year, so naturally everyone is on the hunt for the new Gordon in 2014 fantasy drafts. He might not even exist, but you have to try. Hunter is a decent stab, as he has a beautiful size/speed combo and could elevate into the number two role at some point in his second season. He’ll start primarily as the third receiver and mostly a red-zone option, but the upside is there to be had.
Markus Wheaton, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (12.08)
Wheaton is virtually locked into a huge role as Pitt’s #2 wide receiver in his second season. He has some serious wheels and with rookie receiver Martavis Bryant coming up lame in preseason action and just the aging Lance Moore getting in his way, Wheaton is a lock to get some chances to prove himself this season. He has serious WR3 upside and is worth a stash.
Martellus Bennett, TE, Chicago Bears (12.03)
Why the hell is Bennett being taken behind Ladarius Green and Eric Ebron? This isn’t dynasty ADP data, people. Bennett couldn’t have possibly slid this much due to a small team-given suspension. Regardless, a plummet to Bennett being the 14th tight end off the board is insane. Marc Trestman’s offense is a thing of beauty and Bennett is going to continue to get his in 2014. He’s an elite TE2 and makes for a very solid TE1 in the second half of drafts.
Baltimore Ravens Defense (Undrafted)
Am I the only one that doubts a Jim Harbaugh-led defense will stay grounded? The coaching is too good and Baltimore added more talent to their defense. The Super Bowl hangover is over. This unit has a chance to get back into the top-10 and was still relatively decent last year (finished 15th). Wait until the final round of your draft and snag the Ravens. If you do and someone else is as smart as you and already takes them, hopefully the Saints, Buccaneers or Steelers are still hanging around.
*Photo Credit – Erik Daniel Drost