ADPs are perhaps the single biggest obsession and reference point for the great majority of fantasy baseball drafters. And it makes sense: you can see where a player is being drafted, judge whether you like him more or less than his ADP, and poof, you’ve spotted the guys to avoid or target in your draft. Do it successfully and you may just have found yourself a few draft day bargains. What’s not to like? BUT, there is a huge, elephant-sized hitch: not everyone in your league uses the same ADPs to do their research. Not even everyone uses ADPs at all. So if you’re deciding when to draft players based solely on their ADPs, and your fellow fantasy GMs don’t even reference those ADPs, your ADPs wind up being meaningless because you really have no good way to tell when your fellow GMs will actually draft a player! Whatever direction the ADP data steers you in will be the wrong one. You will be targeting players based on their ADPs, while your competition may take some of those players way earlier because they’re not using that ADP data at all!
This is the gift and the curse of ADPs. They can be valuable tools to get an idea of which players are being overvalued and undervalued, but if you rely on them too heavily, especially while your competitors are not, you will be making decisions in an information vacuum. And that, RotoBallers, is a recipe for draft-day disaster. If you’ve been relying on ADP data to find your “sleepers” and you just read the above, your reaction might be - “oh shiz, what if no one else in my league is using ADP data”? Well worry not, Rotoballer has the key strategies you can use to maximize value from ADP data and make sure you get your sleepers and draft-day bargains.
1. Make sure you are including ADP / Rankings data from your league provider - If you play in Yahoo!, use Yahoo!'s ADP data and their rankings. CBS? Use CBS’s ADPs and ranks. This is extremely important! Why? Because when people are drafting and they’re having a tough time choosing a player, they will err on the side of taking a player on the top of the draft board, aka the top ranked players according to that site’s rankings. It is human nature to go with the guy at the top of the list when in doubt! When hundreds of drafts happen, and GMs are selecting players at the top of the list a few times each draft, ADPs start to take shape to closely mirror the original player rankings put out by that site. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Rankings influence ADPs, and ADPs reinforce the rankings that players have. SO, net net bottom line, if you are using Yahoo! for your fantasy league, make sure to pay attention to Yahoo! rankings and ADPs, and less so on Mock Draft Central or NFBC or CBS or ESPN or what have you.
2. Rely on projections to find good value, not just ADPs - No one really knows how players will perform at the end of the day-- no expert, no projection formula, no one. So the best you can ever hope to do is to consider a variety of important factors, including the existing projections for a player, and make your own projection. If you think Jay Bruce is going to take a step forward and finish the year with a .270-38-110-90-10 line, then you should feel very confident drafting him in the second round-- those are legit 2nd round numbers. If you feel Evan Longoria is going to finish the year with .290-25-80-75-5 line because of injuries, then you should stay away from him until the fourth (which means you won’t wind up with him at all!). Sound projections are the best way to figure out where to draft and reach for players.
3. Pay attention to ADP trends - ADP trends are a good way to get a pulse for the market. Chances are if a guy is rocketing up the ADP charts because of a hot spring (hello Julio Teheran), then his buzz is being heard by all your league mates and you can't wait as long to draft him. If you really like a guy who is trending upwards, make sure to jump a little early so another GM doesn’t get him first. The key here don’t reach too high! Most players who will have huge ADP jumps are unproven players with hot springs (hello again Julio Teheran). In cases like this you can make a projection, but without much history to base your projection on, you will really be shooting from the hip. I could say Teheran is good for 10 W, 150K, a 3.5 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over 170 IP, and that sounds pretty tasty late in drafts, but really, honestly, truthfully, I have no clue if Teheran is going to put up numbers like this. The bottom line here is that trends are important, and can be helpful in knowing when to pounce a little early on a player, but you shouldn’t reach too high because it’s tough to project these types of players very accurately.
Good luck in your drafts, and be sure to check out Rotoballer’s rankings and cheat sheets. If you guys have any questions at all about your fantasy baseball draft, your league format, your keepers, your draft strategy, your cheat sheet, anything at all, find us on Twitter @RotoBaller or in our fantasy baseball chat room in the lower right-hand corner and get at us with your questions or discussion topics. You can submit a question to us for a complete and detailed analysis, as well. We will always do our best to get back to you as fast as possible and give you the advice or analysis you are looking for to help you win your fantasy baseball leagues in 2013.
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