With the introductory ADP article out of the way, it’s time to get a little more position-specific. We don’t have enough data to begin discussing individual player trends, but what we can start to do here in the early stages of your draft prep is take a look at some of the ADP for each position and how it compares to last year. We can also take a look at individual players should there be some noteworthy facts at the moment, but what we’re trying to do is build the proper framework for your draft strategy.
It’s easy to say that you should take elite running backs first, follow them up with elite wide receivers and wait on a quarterback, but while that strategy was helpful last season, it might not be the way to go this year based on some of these early numbers. Obviously things can change, which is why we are constantly checking in with the latest ADP trends, but it’s important to set something up first and then be able to tweak it as you go along rather than just try to pick a strategy on the fly.
So let’s take a look at each position and see what these early ADP numbers are telling us. We’ll start with the quarterbacks.
|1||Aaron Rodgers||GB||10.0||Aaron Rodgers||GB||7.78||-2.22|
|2||Drew Brees||NO||11.0||Drew Brees||NO||13.46||2.46|
|3||Peyton Manning||DEN||16.0||Cam Newton||CAR||17.72||1.72|
|4||Matt Ryan||ATL||32.0||Tom Brady||NE||18.51||-13.49|
|5||Cam Newton||CAR||35.0||Matthew Stafford||DET||34.57||-0.43|
|6||Tom Brady||NE||37.5||Michael Vick||PHI||50.07||12.57|
|7||Russell Wilson||SEA||38.5||Philip Rivers||SD||52.63||14.13|
|8||Colin Kaepernick||SF||42.5||Eli Manning||NYG||65.28||22.78|
|9||Tony Romo||DAL||69.0||Peyton Manning||DEN||74.78||5.78|
|10||Matthew Stafford||DET||69.5||Tony Romo||DAL||81.78||12.28|
|11||Andrew Luck||IND||70.5||Matt Ryan||ATL||81.90||11.40|
|12||Robert Griffin||WAS||72.5||Robert Griffin||WAS||88.10||15.60|
|13||Andy Dalton||CIN||92.5||Ben Roethlisberger||PIT||96.90||4.40|
|14||Eli Manning||NYG||105.5||Carson Palmer||OAK||110.40||4.90|
|15||Joe Flacco||BAL||119.0||Andrew Luck||IND||120.47||1.47|
|16||Carson Palmer||ARI||120.0||Jay Cutler||CHI||129.99||9.99|
|17||Philip Rivers||SD||124.0||Matt Schaub||HOU||128.24||4.24|
|18||Josh Freeman||TB||148.5||Josh Freeman||TB||143.04||-5.46|
|19||Ben Roethlisberger||PIT||149.5||Joe Flacco||BAL||150.49||0.99|
|20||Michael Vick||PHI||152.0||Andy Dalton||CIN||157.78||5.78|
While it’s always entertaining to look at how the names are laid out from year to year, that’s actually not our focus right now. What’s most important is the ADP number. Based on the above tables, it’s obvious that early on here most quarterbacks are going a lot sooner than they did last year. There’s a definitive top three this year that correlates well to last season’s top four, number five is right about the same, but numbers six through twelve this year are going at least a round earlier and in some cases, two. While you’d like to think that it’s because the QBs are better now, and in some cases they are, but really it has more to do with the lack of elite running backs and the massive depth at the wide receiver position.
The NFL has gradually become more and more pass-oriented over the last several years and coupled with the increase in running back committees, the fantasy world has been forced to make adjustments. It’s neither a negative nor a positive; it’s just about changing strategies. If it’s easier to find quality receivers later on in your draft and the running backs available aren’t going to throw you as many points, then it’s only natural you turn elsewhere. If you don’t and you insist on taking a running back because the position is thin, then, as you can see here, you could get left out in the cold and be forced to roll with a quarterback who won’t earn you as many points.
Now obviously this is something that can change over the course of the next few months. Running back jobs can very easily be won or lost and a few players considered sleepers today could emerge as trendy, mainstream picks later on. But at least now you know that if you had to draft right now, you should be looking a little earlier than before to grab your starting quarterback.
With the loss of number one receiver Michael Crabtree, it should be interesting to see what happens with Colin Kaepernick. Does he run more this year because he’s missing his go-to guy or do the 49ers make up for his loss with more spread formations to give their quarterback multiple options instead of just looking for his main target? Will they turn to a more short-passing game and if so, will that reduce the number of touchdowns Kaepernick poaches? Definitely something to keep your eye on.
How many of these second-year quarterbacks will take the next step forward with their development? Russell Wilson gets a big-time receiver in Percy Harvin, Andrew Luck has a supposedly improved running game to lend its support, and Robert Griffin is working his way back from a serious injury. These early numbers seem to indicate a tremendous faith in each one of them.
Will we see a rebound for those who struggled last season? Philip Rivers has a full year of Vincent Brown and Danario Alexander but is still dealing with a sketchy running game, Alex Smith isn’t even here in the top 20 but has a starting job in Kansas City now, and Eli Manning is obviously tied to the health of his receivers. If they were to start the season strong, we could be looking at some serious bargains based on some of these ADP ranks.
So much can change between now and the start of the season and it’s very doubtful that these ADP numbers stay the same. Follow the trends over the next few months and make sure you keep tabs on those who could turn you a nice profit further down the road. The quarterback position is definitely growing in value so don’t just assume that the depth of the position will allow you to sit back and wait.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By rkinigson, 6/19/2013 8:28 PM
Great article, but I believe you do fantasy owners a disservice when you make the misleading statement that "The NFL has gradually become more and more pass-oriented over the last several years..." In realty, the emphasis on passing has increased at a glacial pace over the past six years. Consider these numbers:
2007: teams averaged 214.3 passing yards and 110.9 rushing yards per game. That means 65.9% of the offense came from the passing game.
2012: teams averaged 231.3 passing yards and 115.9 rushing yards per game. That means 66.6% of the offense came from the passing game.
In six years, the emphasis on the passing game has shifted a whopping 0.7%, and the year-to-year increase has never been more than 0.7% during that time.
While you can argue that statistically it is true that teams are passing more than ever before, your statement (even with the "gradually" disclaimer) suggests there is a trend that warrants consideration when preparing for fantasy drafts. That simply is not the case.
In my opinion, that statement has as much value for draft preparation as stating that "Adrian Peterson has shown no increase in his ability to score touchdowns the past three seasons." Statistically, this statement is true, although his 13 TDs in each of those seasons indicates there is no cause for concern. Still, if other owners wish to heed my warning and pass over AP on draft day, I won't complain.
In fact, I probably should thank you, and others, for making such statements. Last season, I watched other owners grab QBs early in the draft based on this "increased emphasis" on passing, while I assembled a solid group of running backs and receivers. I "settled" on Matt Ryan later in the draft and coasted to an easy championship.
I will now step down from my soap box and return you to your regularly schedule program.
By Howard Bender, 6/21/2013 2:19 PM
@rkinigson -- Perhaps I should have said that the number of passing attempts have increased over the years rather than making the generalized statement. I have also benefited in years past from waiting on a QB (big Matt Ryan fan and perpetual owner as well) and don't think I have ever taken one earlier than Round 5. Now obviously these ADP numbers that we're looking at are crazy early and the sample size could fit into a thimble and still have plenty of room left over, but if the trends in August still indicate that the top 8 QBs are off the board before the 5th round, then it might just be wise to make a move earlier than usual. Especially given the depth at WR and the lack of quality backs. I wouldn't mind going into the year with Philip Rivers and Eli Manning on my roster, but if I could have had someone like Newton or Kaepernick instead of Lamar Miller, well then that's a move I think I would do. Thanks very much for the response. I appreciate the football chatter this early in the summer.