Best Ball ADP Variance 3/26/18

By Jen Ryan
Jen Ryan

Best ball leagues are up and running and the lobby is full of sharks and degenerates who just can’t get enough fantasy football at this time of the year. As more and more leagues start filling up (81 completed drafts so far on FanBall!) ADP becomes more and more clear. While we have started to settle in on who the consensus top picks are in the first few rounds, there are crazy things happening as we get further into drafts. One thing worth monitoring is ADP variance. Looking at the minimum and maximum draft slots particular players are selected force us as drafters to inquire or speculate why. Here is a look at the 20 players with the largest ADP variance and a few thoughts as to why this could be the case.

Frank Gore, RB, Miami Dolphins
Gore’s minimum pick of 107 in the late 8th-round looks like that selection may have been the result of a time out, but I am much more interested in Gore’s maximum pick of 236 in the late 19th round. That is a screaming value for a player who has reached 1,000 yards in five of his past seven seasons and who came up shy of 1,000 but a combined 72 yards. The fact that Gore even flirted with 1,000 yards in that Indianapolis offense last season is a feat in itself. Gore has landed in Miami in an offense where he will share time with Kenyan Drake and he should have no problem producing a handful of RB2 weeks at the very least. I’ll continue drafting Gore in the 11th/12th round range.

Danny Woodhead, RB, Retired
This data must reflect the early drafts. Woodhead is done and we’ll always remember him as the PPR darling he was. Enjoy life after football, Danny!

Cameron Meredith, WR, Chicago Bears
Injury discounts are the best discounts and that is what we are seeing with Meredith, who has gone as late as the middle of the 19th round. That is damn near a Mr. Irrelevant pick and if Meredith is healthy as he should be, you could be paying bottom of the barrel pricing for a player who was putting up WR1 numbers in a sub-par offense. His eventual landing spot could further influence his ADP and is something we should monitor while we are drafting and looking for late-round values.

Kendall Wright, WR, Chicago Bears (FA)
Why Wright is being drafted at all is beyond me. He could land with the New England Patriots and it likely doesn’t increase his value.

Mike Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
Williams is an upside pick in the 19th round and a homer pick in the 10th. With that said, the Chargers spent a 1st round pick on him just a year ago and if you grab him somewhere in between those minimum and maximum picks, he could return a serious value.

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Buffalo Bills
Benjamin quietly had offseason knee surgery and we still are not sure who will be throwing him the ball this season. Zay Jones’ status could make Benjamin someone to target, but we should be careful that we are not chasing past production with him. His ADP gap is curious and he should certainly be selected closer to his maximum pick rather than his minimum pick.

Corey Clement, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
I have heard a wise man named Bob Harris say that when we are drafting running back committees we should draft the cheapest one. Clement falls into this category and is being drafted as early as the 10th round to as late as the 18th. If he stays at an average draft position of the 14th round, I’ll have more Clement shares that I will be comfortable with.

Rex Burkhead, RB, New England Patriots
Each member of the New England backfield holds his own value. The beauty of best ball is that we do not have to guess which week any of these backs will have their weeks where they contribute. The strategy I am working with at this moment is spreading my Patriot backfield ownership up evenly between Burkhead and James White, and sprinkling in Jeremy Hill in the late rounds with the speculation that he truly fills the once coveted LeGarrette Blount role.

Marqise Lee, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
The sixth round is a bit rich for my blood for Lee, but there are drafts I have been in where he is the best receiver available at that range. As it stands today, Lee sits atop the wide receiver depth chart on a team that sent both Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns packing. Jacksonville is a run-first offense that spreads the ball around but Lee is an ideal best ball pick. You will just want to grab him later than the sixth to get him at a value.

Royce Freeman & Rashaad Penny, RB, Rookies
Over the years I have been rookie averse, especially in leagues that fill before the NFL draft. I recently read in an article written by best ball stats guru Mike Beers that historical data shows the time to draft rookies in best ball is before their ADP sky rockets post-draft. I have thrown a single 1st round Saquon Barkley dart thus far and a few 4th/5th round Derrius Guice darts as well. Seeing where Freeman Penny are going has put them on my radar.

Tyler Kroft, TE, Cincinnati Bengals
The other Tyler (Eifert) must be far along enough in his recovery that the Bengals were comfortable giving him a one year extension loaded with incentives. With Eifert missing significant time in 2017, Kroft put up a respectable seven touchdowns. The Bengals TE is a valuable role and in a few leagues it may be worth flirting with drafting both, but the smart play is to draft either tight end closer to their max pick.

Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The time to draft Godwin is now, before his ADP explodes and while he is still attainable in the later rounds. He has as much upside as any sophomore receiver to take the second-year leap.

Isaiah Crowell, RB, New York Jets
Crowell in the fifth round just may be the most aggressive pick of all the players with the largest ADP variance. His ADP seems to be falling with signing with the Jets and while Bilal Powell still lurks and will be a factor in this offense, Crowell past the 10th round could pay dividends as Chris Ivory 2.0.

Dede Westbrook, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Westbrook showed promise as a rookie and clearly the Jaguars feel comfortable enough with his role in the offense with their offseason moves. To reiterate, this is a run first team and they do spread the ball around. Knowing which Jaguars receivers will contribute will be a headache in season-long leagues, but in best ball some late-round exposure to Westbrook is best to acquire before training camp starts and we get a sense of what role these receivers will be playing.

John Kelly (RB) & James Washington (WR), Rookies
Kelly is a rookie running back and the data I mentioned earlier points to acquiring rookie running backs before the NFL draft. He is another late-round dart that makes for a fine pick just before you take your last defense. That data I mentioned also glaringly shows that one will want to avoid rookie receivers (as well as quarterbacks and tight ends), so I will be fading Washington all together.

Paul Richardson, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Richardson is now with the Washington Redskins and he will have the opportunity to breakout from the shadows of Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett. There are a lot of cooks in the Washington receivers’ kitchen, and Richardson will certainly be competing for targets among Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, and Jordan Reed (when he is on the field). His $40 million contract suggests he will play a significant role, but for now I am drafting for upside in the Redskins receiver corps and that upside is Doctson.

Orleans Darkwa, RB, New York Giants
The New York Giants backfield has quietly been one of the most difficult backfields to nail down in fantasy football for quite a few years. The acquisition of Jonathan Stewart, who obviously has a connection to the Giants’ new GM Dave Gettleman, is a hit to Darkwa’s value but certainly not a major threat. He continues to be available in the 17th round and later at times and is a fine RB5-6.

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Cleveland Browns

The Browns have been playing fantasy football for the past two seasons and they finally landed their late-round quarterback. Taylor is currently my highest owned quarterback and I am drafting him as my QB2 and, at times, QB3. He was emphatically declared as the starter by head coach Hue Jackson and I am buying it, while buying up a lot of Taylor at the same time. He poses the dual-threat trait in quarterbacks that I search for in best ball and will have many opportunities to pile up points in garbage time.

Analyzing the variance between minimum and maximum picks in best ball is beneficial because it gives us a floor and ceiling for players when we are drafting. This data is available on FanBall’s website and I encourage you to download this data and consult it when you are drafting. You do not want to be that person who drafts Rashaad Penny in the 5th round, but if you see him sitting there in the 12th you may want to pounce because you know he has not been drafted later than the 13th round. Best ball is all about value and studying ADP variance is how you find value. Remember to feel free to find me on Twitter @FFdeJENerate to talk all things best ball. See you in the draft lobby!