What’s up Razzballers? Can’t believe I’m already up for two-a-weeks. I can barely type [pant] this [fast]. How do football players do two-a-days? I’m baffled! [squirts Gatorade all over self] I probably shouldn’t have worn my white T-shirt, eh? ENYWHEY.
Y’all know that I’m pretty big on abandoning the concept of ADP because as our favorite writer Steve Paulo puts it, “ADP is the consensus of 11 people who lost their fantasy football league.” Please, Hammer, don’t hurt ’em! And for the most part, I agree. But, there’s a market in fantasy sports, and the last thing you want to do in a market is to look at a house and say, “Sure, the market’s high right now, but I’m buying that house even if it is on fire and $2 million over asking price.” See, I could be a real estate agent! So, let’s take a look at some players who are going a lot higher in ADP on ESPN compared to RT Sports [my “sharps” pick for an ADP site] to see where amateur fantasy footballers might be getting influenced too much by groupthink or bad process.
Michael Carter — Current ESPN ADP 137
- I’m a historian by trade, so here’s where I step in and use my historical analysis (called “Searching Stathead”) to understand what other running backs drafted in the 4th round had meaningful snaps in their rookie NFL year. Oh, you didn’t know that Carter was a 4th rounder? Yup. I know groupthink and Zero RB hype have you thinking that he’s basically the next James Robinson, but the next James Robinson is…James Robinson. So what about those post-4th round drafted running backs? Benny Snell got 100 attempts and 400 yards in 2019, and Paul Perkins got similar numbers in 2016, and Samaje Perine got a whopping 175 carries for 600 yards (3.4 yards/attempt) in 2017. You get the picture. Your best example of a rookie running back drafted after the 4th round getting meaningful snaps for fantasy relevance is Jordan Howard. In 2016, 5th round draft pick for the Chicago Bears, Jordan Howard, started 13 games and amassed 1300+ yards on the ground. That was also the year the Bears basically gave up football to start the crash course to what they have now. They unloaded Matt Forte that year, and opted to go with a trio of quarterbacks that each garnered one win (hey Jay Cutler!) while Jordan Howard was allowed to play for his life. That’s one scenario — and is it the scenario playing out for the New York Jets this year? Possibly. The vast majority of RBs taken after round 4 don’t take a starting role at any point during their first season. Given the presence of Tevin Coleman on the Jets and a new offensive overhaul (see Wilson, Zach), Carter could be buried like the majority of later-round RB draft picks. At ADP 137 — an 11th/12th round investment — Carter is a make-or-break player that’s best deployed in best ball scenarios. If you’re in a home league, you might discover that Carter gets fewer carries than expected the first few weeks and then you drop him to the waiver wire. If you’re in redraft, you’ll likely be better off drafting Tevin Coleman (ADP 190), who will likely take the majority of RB1 snaps to start the season.
Javonte Williams — Current ESPN ADP 80
- How about a second-round pick? They’re bound to be more utilized in an offense, right? Well, sure. But Melvin Gordon is under contract this year with a $6.5 million dead cap hit, so the Broncos can’t just cut him. Well, they can cut him, but he costs as much as 2-3 replacement players to do that. Plus, Gordon gained 4.6 yards per attempt last year while hauling in 32 receptions on a Denver offense that was lost and even started wide receiver Kendall Hinton at QB one week. In other words, Gordon — all of 28 years young — performed well (all things considered) and is slotted to take the early share of snaps ahead of 2021 draftee Javonte Williams. So, why is Williams going 4-5 rounds earlier than Melvin Gordon? Are fantasy managers excited about the Denver offense behind Teddy Bridgewater? Are managers looking forward to the return of Courtland Sutton? The pathway for Javonte to get meaningful RB2 snaps — or RB1 snaps for Zero RB teams — is really convoluted. On a Denver team that was 28th overall in points scored last year and brought back most of the gang to rehash the same spiel in 2021, is that where you want to invest your 6th/7th round pick on a rookie RB that’s actually behind an established starter with a hefty dead weight contract? For me, that’s not a risk I want to take at that point. Instead, draft Melvin Gordon, who has gained nearly 2500 yards, 27 TDs, and caught 124 passes over the past three years. At ADP 113 on ESPN, he’s a steal. Gordon likely breaks camp as the RB1 and will be the primary ball carrier until he inevitably sprains his ankle and misses some time like he does every year. Only, will it be in week 1, or week 14? That’s the risk you’re taking when you draft Javonte Williams.
What ADP wackiness are you seeing this year? Let me know down in the comments, and have an awesome day!