The use of ADP (Average Draft Position) data has been debated for years in fantasy baseball circles. While it’s quite clear the information should be considered on some level, the exact importance or weight has been the main sticking point among people who tend to argue about rather unimportant (in the grand scheme of things) issues.
Personally, I’ve used ADP analysis in a wide variety of ways over my two decades playing rotisserie baseball. I’ve constructed entire draft plans based on late-march ADP information for draft and hold leagues (NFBC) and won the league. I’ve used ADP analysis more as a background tool to check and see if I could buy another player and snag the player I was considering at that point in the draft a round or two later.
The point being, you might not be a huge fan of ADP, or you might love it, but to enter a draft without knowing at least a little bit of information regarding how the general overall market views the available player pool seems silly and risky in my opinion. Just like when you invest or trade in a stock or currency market, the more information you have the better. To maximize profit (or win the league in the case of fantasy baseball), one must deal in a market they know best. Studying ADP is a part of fully understanding the player pool market we use for fantasy baseball.
For this post we will be referring to NFBC ADP. I prefer to use this data as some of the best fantasy baseball players participate in the NFBC (and put up a good chunk of change to do so). That said, like any one data pool, quirks can be found. In particular, NFBC drafters tend to like to draft pitchers earlier than some “home leagues”. Take this into consideration as we go forward.
I like to look at each position individually and attempt to find 1) potential value and 2) pools of similar players/talent/statistics to create a plan A, B, C at any particular point in a draft. Potential value in this context is defined by the gap between how I have a player valued/ranked (say 50th overall) and where the market is currently drafting that player on average (say 85th overall). I prefer to find groupings of players rather than lock onto one individual player simply for options.
Options in life is always a good thing and it’s no different in fantasy baseball. Say I really want Paul Goldschmidt in 2017 drafts. Well, he’s being drafted 7th overall and perhaps I’m towards the wheel with the 14th overall pick. Chances are I’m not getting him. But say I decide I want a first basemen capable of hitting 25-30 home runs with a .270+ batting average and plenty of run production. Well now I’ve brought in the likes of Anthony Rizzo (ADP 13th), Miguel Cabrera (ADP 14th), Joey Votto (ADP 22nd), Edwin Encarnacion (ADP 25th) and Freddie Freeman (ADP 26th). Suddenly I have options. Not only that, but I can rank these five first basemen and have my preference, but if three of the five are all drafted prior to my pick, I do not need to panic and can simply refer back to my pre-draft worksheet and see that my target/need/desire for a particular skill set at a particular position can still be met.
This process can be carried deep into the draft as well. Take catcher for example. No one likes drafting catchers. Most leagues still use a two catcher setup as well, which means after you bite the bullet on your first catcher, you have to dive even deeper into a gross pool in an attempt to find another backstop. Let’s say you decide to wait on both your catchers in a 15-team mixed league. Using ADP analysis we can see that catchers such as Matt Wieters (ADP 191), Stephen Vogt (ADP 202), Tom Murphy (ADP 219 - now hurt) and Cameron Rupp (ADP 243) are all available in the same general area (rounds 13 to 16 in a 15-team mixed league). For the second catcher, we can continue this exercise and find players such as: Austin Hedges (ADP 302), Yan Gomes (ADP 305), Francisco Cervelli (ADP 308) and James McCann (ADP 318), all going after pick 300 in the 20+ round range. Sure, some of them might be drafted slightly higher and you might miss them by waiting this long, but more than likely, at least one will be available and all will provide similar overall value/production at season’s end.
I’d like to finish out this post by highlighting some players at each position that I feel are being under drafted by comparing my personal 2017 fantasy baseball rankings to their current ADP/market price. Hopefully this will help steer you in your fantasy baseball drafts over the next few weeks.
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Ranking VS ADP By Position
Ranking VS ADP - Starting Pitchers
We will be back next week to discuss some of the larger variance players listed above. Following that discussion we will dive into the players that I feel are being over drafted based on their current ADP.
Join the discussion and leave a comment below with any player you feel is being undervalued in the current fantasy baseball draft market.