Finding Value in Drafts: The Fantasy Footballers Rankings vs. ADP
Every year, there is a discrepancy in rankings versus average draft position (ADP). As fantasy football players, understanding the differences between the two is the best way to find value and build a roster that has both high upside and a safe floor. For this article, I decided to take a look at the consensus rankings between Andy, Mike, and Jason and I compared them to the PPR ADP in the Ultimate Draft Kit.
I’ve chosen two players at each position who are ranked higher in the Ballers’ ranks relative to ADP. As of now, it appears these are the names to target in your draft for value.
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Ballers Rank: QB8
Josh Allen was a boom-bust QB in 2018 as a rookie, but he was as steady as they come in 2019, finishing the year as the QB6 on the season. Allen certainly has question marks as far as being an elite passer in this league, but there’s good news in that department. His passer rating improved from 67.9 as a rookie to 85.3 last year, and the team just added Stefon Diggs. But, even if his passing numbers don’t take a huge step forward, his rushing floor should keep him firmly inside the top 8 at the position. Over the past two years, he leads all QBs with 17 rushing TDs and is second behind only Lamar Jackson in rushing yards at the QB position.
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
Ballers Rank: QB9
Wentz bounced back in a big way in 2019, finishing as the QB10 in fantasy while throwing for more than 4,000 yards to a group of backup WRs and depth TEs. He stayed healthy, playing in all 16 games and if that trend continues (which I think it will), Wentz seems to have a floor of QB10 given what he did last year without Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Zach Ertz, Jordan Howard, and Miles Sanders for part of the year. He’s got an up and coming star in Miles Sanders, and the Eagles were aggressive in getting more weapons for Wentz, drafting Jalen Reagor in Round 1 and trading for Marquise Goodwin while also drafting a couple of rookie WRs late in the NFL Draft.
Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers
Ballers Rank: RB8
Is regression coming for Aaron Jones in 2020? Yes, of course, it is. He scored a whopping 19 total TDs last year, 11 of which came inside the 10-yard line out of a possible 19 attempts. To put into perspective how insanely efficient this was, Ezekiel Elliott and Dalvin Cook both had 31 attempts inside the 10 but converted those attempts into just 11 TD. After the team selected A.J. Dillon in the 2nd round, it’s reasonable to expect his TD production to take a dip. However, he still plays for a coach who wants to run the football and plays in an offense void of playmakers not named Davante Adams.
David Johnson, Houston Texans
Ballers Rank: RB15
There are two schools of thought when it comes to David Johnson in 2020. Is he washed and a declining player at this stage of his career, or were injuries to blame for his down year in 2019? If you believe he’s done from a performance standpoint, you’re probably out completely on DJ. But, even the doubters should find confidence in the fact that Bill O’Brien wasn’t hesitant about putting the ball in Carlos Hyde‘s belly 245 times last year, tied for 11th most in the NFL. Hyde wasn’t particularly explosive or effective last year from an advanced analytics perspective, but he still topped 1,000 yards on a healthy workload. Carlos Hyde’s 2019 is probably the floor at a minimum for DJ, but there’s reason for some optimism given the fact that DeAndre Hopkins‘ 150 vacated targets have to go somewhere.
D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers
Ballers Rank: WR9
D.J. Moore enters his third season in the NFL in what appears to be the perfect recipe for an explosion into fantasy stardom in 2020. Last season, Moore’s ceiling was significantly capped by the poor QB play of Kyle Allen. In steps Teddy Bridgewater, who say what you want about the guy, can get the ball to his receivers in the short to intermediate passing game a la a point guard in basketball. Moore’s run after the catch ability is perfect for Bridgewater’s play style, and after posting just four receiving TDs in 2019, there’s optimism for him to push for 6-8 TD in 2020. Oh and by the way, in steps Joe Brady from LSU as the Panthers’ OC. In 2019, his offense ran nearly 72 plays per game, which would have ranked #1 in the entire NFL last season. Volume + upgraded QB play + positive TD regression = Yes, please.
D.J. Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars
Ballers Rank: WR14
D.J. Chark was a revelation in 2019, coming out of nowhere to post the first 1,000-yard season of his career. Prior to being hampered by injury, Chark was the WR5 in fantasy from Weeks 1-11, playing most of those games with now starter, Mr. Jorts himself – Gardner Minshew. He’s entering year three in the NFL and has 2nd round NFL Draft capital to support the fact that last year was probably not a fluke. He finds himself as the alpha in that passing game and should have every opportunity to finish as a top 15 WR in 2020…but he’s barely being drafted as a WR2.
Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins
Ballers Rank: TE7
Mike Gesicki is the perfect mold of a breakout candidate at the TE position. He’s athletic (95th percentile speed score), young, and plays for a team void of established playmakers. DeVante Parker finally broke out last season, but can we trust that trend to continue in 2020? Preston Williams flashed upside, but he is coming off a torn ACL. Gesicki has the athletic tools and could have the targets as well to cement himself as a top 10 option in 2020. If interested, I wrote more about Gesicki’s role in the Dolphins’ offense here.
Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints
Ballers Rank: TE6
Jared Cook surpassed either 50 yards or a TD in his final 11 games of 2019, demonstrating an established rapport with Drew Brees. He probably won’t be a high target type of guy, especially with Emmanuel Sanders now on the roster, but he should still make noise in the TD department last year. Finding the end zone with frequency last year helped Cook finish as the TE3 in fantasy from Week 5 on. Look for Cook to return value yet again in 2020.