2017 Fantasy Football Draft Kit

2017 Fantasy Football Projections vs ADP

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Say what you will about projections, but when you combine them with ADP, they paint a pretty telling story. Most of us will have some sort of strategy going into fantasy football drafts this summer, but it should adapt as we approach the season and nothing should be set in stone.  Fantasy Pros currently has consensus projections using three websites projections for the 2017 NFL season – FFToday, ESPN and CBS.

2017 Fantasy Football Projections vs ADP

I combined those PPR projections with 12 team PPR ADP data via FantasyFootballCalculator.com. After merging those two data sets, I then calculated the Relative Position Value (RPV) for ADP 1-12, picks 13-24, the third and fourth rounds.  I also looked at the top 12 projected players at each position (RB1/RB2, WR1/WR2) to find their value.

When sorted just by total projected points, there were just nine RBs in the top 24. That includes three of the first four picks.  That means six of the next 20 draft picks should be a RB. What is actually happening is 12 RBs in the top 24, making it a 50/50 RB/WR split after two rounds, according to ADP.  Unless you have a top 5 pick, there is almost no reason to draft a running back in the first two rounds, and no I am not suggesting going zero RB.  I am suggesting that you take the most valuable players in each round.

RB1/WR1 Value

RBProjADPRB1 RPV
(261.7 Avg)
WRProjADPWR1 RPV
(261.5 Avg)
David Johnson363.31.639%Antonio Brown320.64.023%
Le'Veon Bell347.52.333%Julio Jones299.25.414%
Ezekiel Elliott310.53.019%Odell Beckham287.06.310%
LeSean McCoy272.67.64%Mike Evans282.77.88%
Melvin Gordon249.29.6-5%A.J. Green267.810.02%
Devonta Freeman268.911.33%Jordy Nelson270.812.14%
Jay Ajayi221.713.3-15%Michael Thomas263.814.41%
DeMarco Murray242.615.0-7%T.Y. Hilton245.716.6-6%
Jordan Howard236.916.1-9%Dez Bryant222.818.4-15%
Marshawn Lynch210.320.2-20%Amari Cooper234.819.1-10%
Todd Gurley215.322.0-18%Brandin Cooks210.624.0-19%
Leonard Fournette201.622.3-23%DeAndre Hopkins231.625.0-11%

Round 1

PlayerProjADPRPV
(295 Avg)
David Johnson363.31.623%
Le'Veon Bell347.52.318%
Ezekiel Elliott310.53.05%
Antonio Brown320.64.09%
Julio Jones299.25.41%
Odell Beckham287.06.3-3%
LeSean McCoy272.67.6-8%
Mike Evans282.77.8-4%
Melvin Gordon249.29.6-16%
A.J. Green267.810.0-9%
Devonta Freeman268.911.3-9%
Jordy Nelson270.812.1-8%

Melvin Gordon is projected to be the worst first round pick.  At 249.2 projected points, he is owns a -16% RPV among the top 12 ADP.  As the fifth RB coming off draft boards you can more than likely afford to pass on Gordon and grab DeMarco Murray or Jordan Howard on the way back, if your strategy is one RB one WR after two rounds.  Both running backs are projected to score within 3-5% of Gordon’s projection.

Instead, you should target, Mike Evans, A.J. Green or Jordy Nelson in the first round.  All three WRs have a positive RPV among the top 12 WRs.  Even if you end up missing on the RBs in the second round, Saints WR Michael Thomas own a 16% RPV, based on projections of picks 13-24.  T.Y. Hilton and Amari Cooper also have a positive RPV in round two.  Jay Ajayi, ADP 13, has a negative RPV as well.

I would advise you pass on Melvin Gordon in the first round.  He still averaged less than four yards per carry in his sophomore season and failed to rush for 1,000 yards.  Also, even though he did score 12 touchdowns, I would expect some regression as he failed to score in his rookie year and only scored two touchdowns after Week 7 last year. This is despite averaging 155 total yards in his final five games.  Last point against Gordon is he missed the last three games (injured during week 14) with a sprained PCL.

Pro Football Focus ranks the Chargers O-Line 2nd to last, ahead of just the Seahawks.

He is one of the few remaining bell cows, and with Danny Woodhead in Baltimore, that should allow even more targets (4.6/gm ’17) from Philip Rivers, but the risk is just too high for me to draft Gordon with my first pick.

Round 2

PlayerProjADPRPV
(228.1)
Jay Ajayi221.713.3-3%
Michael Thomas263.814.416%
DeMarco Murray242.615.06%
Jordan Howard236.916.14%
T.Y. Hilton245.716.68%
Dez Bryant222.818.4-2%
Amari Cooper234.819.13%
Marshawn Lynch210.320.2-8%
Todd Gurley215.322.0-6%
Leonard Fournette201.622.3-12%
Brandin Cooks210.624.0-8%
DeAndre Hopkins231.625.02%

As mentioned above, Michael Thomas is the projected favorite pick of the second round.  Brandin Cooks will be catching passes from Tom Brady in New England this year.  According to Bob Lung’s 2017 Fantasy Football Consistency Guide, Thomas did what only two other rookie WRs have done – earn over a 80% clutch rate in their rookie year.  Those other two receivers? Odell Beckham and A.J. Green.  If you were confident enough to draft Gordon in the first round and Thomas is available, you need to pair them together! You should be comfortable “settling” for T.Y. Hilton should Thomas go a pick or two before you.

Round two is split 50/50 RB/WR – but only two of the RBs have a projected positive RPV.  Even among just those six RBs, only DeMarco Murray and Jordan Howard earn a positive RPV.  Jay Ajayi falls to zero, while Marshawn Lynch, Todd Gurley and Leonard Fournette all go negative.  That is how swift the drop off is at the RB position.  With all of that being said, if you pick 1-5 and miss out on the stud RBs, go WR/WR and aim for Lamar Miller or Isaiah Crowell with your third draft pick.

RB2/WR2 Value

RBProjADPRPV
(177 Avg)
WRProjADPRPV
(214.7 Avg)
Lamar Miller217.426.323%Doug Baldwin247.625.415%
Isaiah Crowell201.029.214%Keenan Allen207.830.7-3%
Christian McCaffrey179.031.81%Demaryius Thomas231.633.18%
Joe Mixon177.735.51%Allen Robinson214.934.10%
Ty Montgomery200.640.614%Alshon Jeffery199.034.5-7%
Spencer Ware179.243.51%Terrelle Pryor198.135.4-8%
Carlos Hyde171.244.2-3%Jarvis Landry232.039.08%
Doug Martin139.049.9-Davante Adams194.040.3-10%
Adrian Peterson130.452.6-26%Sammy Watkins208.241.7-3%
C.J. Anderson158.155.4-10%Tyreek Hill200.042.2-7%
Ameer Abdullah149.258.0-16%Michael Crabtree225.846.45%
Tevin Coleman178.958.71%Julian Edelman217.647.61%

I can completely understand why any owner would draft and stash Doug Martin, who is serving a four game suspension.  We witnessed what Tom Brady was capable of doing last year after serving his suspension, but he had a 6th round ADP, not a top 50 pick.  I have removed his projection from the average used to find RPV for RB2’s and the fourth round.

Round 3

PlayerProjADPRPV
(208.3 Avg)
Doug Baldwin247.625.419%
Lamar Miller217.426.34%
Isaiah Crowell201.029.2-4%
Keenan Allen207.830.70%
Christian McCaffrey179.031.8-14%
Demaryius Thomas231.633.111%
Allen Robinson214.934.13%
Alshon Jeffery199.034.5-4%
Terrelle Pryor198.135.4-5%
Joe Mixon177.735.5-15%
Jarvis Landry232.039.011%
Davante Adams194.040.3-7%

So we have reached the third round and you are searching for your RB1.  Lamar Miller and Isaiah Crowell both own a double-digit positive RPV among RB2’s.  If you are not going for a zero RB draft, now is the time to draft them.  Let other owners go out and grab the rookies in Christian McCaffrey and Joe Mixon.  Both RBs have double digit negative RPV based on projections.  However, the real value in the third round is found at the WR position in Doug Baldwin, Demaryius Thomas and Jarvis Landry.

Round 4

PlayerProjADPRPV
(195.1 Avg)
Ty Montgomery200.640.63%
Sammy Watkins208.241.77%
Tyreek Hill200.042.23%
Spencer Ware179.243.5-8%
Carlos Hyde171.244.2-12%
Michael Crabtree225.846.416%
Julian Edelman217.647.612%
Martavis Bryant171.948.1-12%
Doug Martin139.049.9-
Golden Tate221.652.414%
Adrian Peterson130.4052.6-33%
Larry Fitzgerald219.353.812%

Here in the fourth round, if your league utilizes the flex position, I would be ok drafting a fourth WR.  Michael Crabtree, Julian Edelman, Golden Tate and Larry Fitzgerald are the safe picks. Sammy Watkins health continues to plague him and who really knows how the Chiefs will utilize Tyreek Hill now that the is the No. 1 option on offense.  Then there is the wildcard in Martavis Bryant.

I would play it safe with this pick and leave my RB slots empty as I know that in the coming rounds, Bilal Powell, Mark Ingram, Frank Gore, LeGarrette Blount, Mike Gillislee, Danny Woodhead and Theo Riddick will still be out there.  Those are good options to pick from while other owners draft Eddie Lacy, Dalvin Cook, Paul Perkins, Derrick Henry, Samaje Perine.  Later in drafts you can add to your RB depth, veterans like Duke Johnson, James White, Latavius Murray, Jonathan Stewart and Jeremy Hill.  It is also a good time to select rookie RBs Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara.

I will mention Doug Martin’s suspension one more time because Charles Sims & Jacquizz Rodgers are great late picks for those who waited on RBs early in the season as they try to figure out who will be slotted in on a weekly basis after the first quarter of the season is over.

So from the fifth round on, you can draft some combination of three or four RBs, a TE and a QB before having to add another WR to your bench.  That is another thing I am against – drafting a bench player ahead of a starting roster spot (ignoring K, Def/ST).  It does you no good, trade bait is not all that useful and it is not worth the headache of having to pick between who to start each week, especially in the early weeks.  Draft your starting lineup and then add depth to your bench!

Here are the results from a 12 team mock draft I did on Fantasy Pros Mock Draft Simulator, 6th pick.  Trust the process.


For more F6P preseason coverage please visit our 2017 Draft Kit section.

About Keith Lott

We have one goal...to help you win your league. It does not matter if you are a fantasy rookie or a veteran. Everyone has questions, and we have opinions. Lots of them! http://www.wetalkfantasysports.com/

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