What is ADP, and what does it mean in fantasy football?

What does the term ADP mean in fantasy football, and how does it differ from ECR? Why is it important for new managers to know the differences?

One of the most important metrics that fantasy football draft managers need to understand is ADP and how it can impact their draft. Knowing when a player is likely to come off the board is essential for draft preparation. As part of our Fantasy 101 series, what does ADP stand for, and how does it apply to fantasy football?

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What does ADP mean in fantasy football?

In fantasy football, the term ADP stands for average draft position. With data from both mock and real drafts, individual picks are compiled together to generate an average draft position for each player. Of all the fantasy abbreviations thrown at new managers, this is one of the most important.

As more drafts are completed, accuracy improves as “outlier picks” have less impact on ADP. Using ADP, fantasy managers can attempt to predict when a player could be drafted and whether they would be a reach at the current pick.

Studying and understanding ADP also allows managers to develop a draft strategy. By paying attention to ADP, managers can target specific rounds or ranges of a draft to target a position or tier of players. This could be helpful for late-round QB targets, getting ahead of the RB dead zone, or finding wide receiver-rich areas of a draft. Without ADP, fantasy football managers would be drafting blind with no sense of value when on the clock.

ADP will vary from site to site, creating more fantasy value

While we are on the topic, let’s use an example of how ADP can vary from site to site. Knowing the ADP on the site you are playing on can be a powerful tool in a manager’s belt. We’ll use Denver Broncos WR Courtland Sutton as the example.

On ESPN, Sutton is the WR26 with an ADP of 74.5 overall. However, over on Yahoo, things change as Sutton is the WR20 with an ADP nearly two rounds higher at 54.3 overall. The difference between snagging Sutton in the middle of the fourth round or the mid-sixth round is substantial.

ADP can also be used to find value in certain rounds and draft players you expect will outperform their ADP. Sutton is one of those players for me. While he’s in the WR20-26 range, he’s my WR11, and someone I feel has top-five upside.

Yet, I won’t draft him that way as ADP tells me I don’t need to. Sure, I might reach a bit earlier to make sure I get him, but knowing that I have a potential WR1 waiting on me in those early middle rounds, gives me a ton of confidence in having that ace up my sleeve.

ADP vs. ECR: What’s the difference, and how can fantasy managers use both?

ADP and ECR are two different fantasy metrics, but each tries to answer the same question: When should you draft Player X?

ADP is a specific representation of where each NFL player is being selected in fantasy football drafts. It’s based on drafts that have already taken place.

ECR, meanwhile, stands for expert consensus rankings. This represents a collection of rankings from industry experts that are mixed together to generate a consensus ranking. These consensus rankings depict how we all feel, not just my voice or someone else’s.

Using an ECR means you’re not banking your entire draft strategy on a single person’s opinion, but rather several analysts as a whole. Where ADP is what people are actually doing in drafts, ECR is a suggestion. Expert rankings make up the cheat sheets you see managers print off and bring to home drafts or the values you see on your favorite fantasy site.

Much like ADP, ECR pulls the averages from all experts/analysts and generates one set of rankings. Let’s stick with Sutton as our example. I have the Broncos’ WR as my WR11, while three other analysts may view him as the WR20, WR16, and WR31, respectively. Put it all together, and Sutton would be the WR19.5.

Much like ADP, the broader the sample set of data, the less a single data point can skew the numbers. In the example above, the analyst with Sutton at 31 significantly impacted the data set. Without that WR31 ranking, Sutton would have been the WR11.75. That’s a difference of over a round of ADP, meaning you could have easily missed out on Sutton.

ADP and ECR should be used in tandem. ECR can help uncover potential value in drafts, especially if the ADP is lower than the ECR. In your preparation for a fantasy draft, it’s crucial to understand when and where a player is being selected. ECR and ADP will help you do just that.

Tommy Garrett is a Fantasy Analyst for Pro Football Network and is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can read all of Tommy’s work here and give him a follow on Twitter: @TommyGarrettPFN.

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