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Mind the Gap: Team RB ADP and Draft Strategy

Back in June, I wrote about what the difference in same-team running back ADP implies about fantasy performance. A player’s ADP represents the market’s best assessment of his individual value. The difference in ADP between two RBs on the same team also tells us something about each player’s relative value.

RB ADP differential is really just a way to screen players, and separate them into different buckets. Since we know how those buckets have performed historically, we can make inferences about who might over or underperform their ADP. As a reminder, same-team RBs are either separated by a big or small gap in ADP and are either the first or second team RB selected. This gives us four buckets.

TEAM RB 1st Drafted 2nd Drafted
Big ADP Gap B1 B2
Small ADP Gap S1 S2

Here’s how each of the four buckets has performed; a full discussion of what these numbers mean can be found here. In general, cheap B1 and S2 backs make good targets.

RB TypePct NAve ADPPct Top 6Ave Applied PtsAve Val AddWin Rt > Teammate?Win Rt > AveRB?Ave Win Rt

Current ADP-Based RB Typology

Johnson, David ARZARZ3.4B1
Edmonds, Chase ARZARZ224.8B2
Freeman, Devonta ATLATL20.4S1
Coleman, Tevin ATLATL62.1S2
Collins, Alex BALBAL39.0B1
Allen, Javorius BALBAL187.0B2
McCoy, LeSean BUFBUF27.2B1
Ivory, Chris BUFBUF200.4B2
McCaffrey, Christian CARCAR16.3S1
Anderson, C.J. CARCAR96.8S2
Howard, Jordan CHICHI24.5S1
Cohen, Tarik CHICHI70.8S2
Mixon, Joe CINCIN21.4S1
Bernard, Giovani CINCIN114.2S2
Hyde, Carlos CLECLE65.1S1
Johnson, Duke CLECLE76.4S2
Elliott, Ezekiel DALDAL3.5B1
Morris, Alfred DALDAL208.3B2
Freeman, Royce DENDEN56.7S1
Booker, Devontae DENDEN126.8S2
Johnson, Kerryon DETDET73.6S1
Riddick, Theo DETDET122.3S2
Williams, Jamaal GBGB79.4S1
Jones, Aaron GBGB93.2S2
Miller, Lamar HOUHOU49.0S1
Foreman, D'Onta HOUHOU135.0S2
Mack, Marlon INDIND94.7S1
Hines, Nyheim INDIND139.0S2
Fournette, Leonard JAXJAX11.0B1
Yeldon, T.J. JAXJAX196.2B2
Hunt, Kareem KCKC9.7B1
Ware, Spencer KCKC197.1B2
Gurley, Todd LALA1.3B1
Kelly, John LALA214.5B2
Gordon, Melvin LACLAC10.2B1
Ekeler, Austin LACLAC169.2B2
Drake, Kenyan MIAMIA36.2B1
Gore, Frank MIAMIA187.4B2
Cook, Dalvin MINMIN13.6B1
Murray, Latavius MINMIN154.6B2
Burkhead, Rex NENE56.0S1
Michel, Sony NENE67.6S2
White, James NENE113.7S2
Kamara, Alvin NONO6.0S1
Ingram, Mark NONO39.3S2
Barkley, Saquon NYGNYG7.2B1
Stewart, Jonathan NYGNYG214.1B2
Crowell, Isaiah NYJNYJ84.8S1
Powell, Bilal NYJNYJ139.9S2
Lynch, Marshawn OAKOAK72.8S1
Martin, Doug OAKOAK170.5S2
Ajayi, Jay PHIPHI41.3S1
Clement, Corey PHIPHI134.3S2
Bell, Le'Veon PITPIT2.3B1
Conner, James PITPIT216.4B2
Penny, Rashaad SEASEA59.1S1
Carson, Chris SEASEA100.6S2
McKinnon, Jerick SFSF26.5B1
Breida, Matt SFSF150.9B2
Jones, Ronald TBTB69.2S1
Barber, Peyton TBTB135.7S2
Henry, Derrick TENTEN36.0S1
Lewis, Dion TENTEN49.8S2
Guice, Derrius WASWAS54.7S1
Thompson, Chris WASWAS66.0S2
Perine, Samaje WASWAS146.3S2


  • Alex Collins is the cheapest “B1” back. That means drafters are expecting him to dominate the backfield. I’m all in.
  • Drafters took LeSean McCoy down a full round after recent allegations against him, so there’s clear concern about his value. On the other hand, after a brief spike, backup Chris Ivory’s ADP has fallen, and he remains nearly 200 picks behind McCoy. In other words, we’re worried about McCoy’s value, but not because we think another RB is going to steal work from him. That keeps McCoy in the B1 bucket, and from this point of view, makes him a player to target.
  • Alvin Kamara appears overvalued. Despite his suspension, Mark Ingram’s ADP remains closer than average to Kamara’s. Historically, backs of Kamara’s type (S1) have performed the poorest vs. both their same-team counterpart and the average RB in terms of win percentage. Drafters are signaling that they expect Ingram to have a valuable role, and yet Kamara is being drafted ahead of players I prefer like Kareem Hunt, Melvin Gordon, and Leonard Fournette, among others. Those are all B1 backs, without the market-implied threat from someone of Ingram’s caliber. That doesn’t necessarily mean Ingram is a target. He’s sporting an S2 profile but is the most expensive of that type.
  • Likewise, Christian McCaffrey and C.J. Anderson’s ADP are closer than average. Anderson’s S2 profile is the most desirable profile in this analysis, and I like him as a later round RB.
  • When people draft Jordan Howard, they’re probably expecting to get a B1 back. But they’re really getting an S1. Howard’s ADP is on the high end for this type of back, and there are plenty of enticing options later on. I’m fading. Tarik Cohen is an S2 back, but his ADP is also on the higher end for this profile. I’m holding in dynasty, but not targeting in redraft unless he falls a bit. Note that Shawn Siegele makes an excellent case for Cohen as a Zero RB target.
  • Joe Mixon is going even earlier than Howard, but his counterpart Giovani Bernard is going much later than Cohen. Bernard obviously has a better track record, and I like him at his price point.
  • Lamar Miller is being drafted as an S1 back, but D’Onta Foreman’s ADP has been trending down. There’s a decent chance that Miller is a B1 back by the time the season starts, which makes him very appealing at his price.
  • Drafters are treating Kenyan Drake as a B1 back. Despite his track record, the draft market doesn’t consider Frank Gore a threat to Drake’s workhorse role. Since Drake is one of the cheapest backs of this profile, he makes an excellent target at his ADP.
  • James White fits the S2 profile and carries a modest price tag. He’s a popular target of mine.
  • Bilal Powell also fits the S2 profile and is even cheaper. Go on, do it.
  • Doug Martin is the cheapest S2 back. He’s had an up and down career, but the up is really enticing.
  • A month ago, Rashaad Penny was a B1 back. Now, he’s an S1, and drafters are buying what Pete Carroll is selling as far as Chris Carson’s role is concerned. newplot (9)It still makes sense to target Carson at this price, but he’s approaching the higher end of the range for his S2 profile.
  • In much the same fashion, Peyton Barber was a desirable S2 target, but his stock has risen drastically and his ADP is close to surpassing Ronald Jones’. I’m still buying, but if their ADPs flip, I’ll target Jones instead. The S-type backfields really lend themselves to just rolling with the cheaper player.
  • Corey Clement isn’t a player I own anywhere, but he’s being drafted (S2) with the expectation of having value.
  • McCoy, Collins, and Drake are the three cheapest B1 backs. The fourth-cheapest is Jerick McKinnon. That makes him a target.
  • Matt Breida and Austin Ekeler are two of the most expensive B2 backs. This is the least desirable profile; I don’t generally target players in this bucket, and certainly not the most expensive ones.
  • Chris Thompson’s ADP is a bit puzzling. He’s one of the more expensive S2 backs but doesn’t expect to be fully recovered until November. I’m passing.
  • In Minnesota, despite reports that Latavius Murray could see a big role, drafters are treating Dalvin Cook as the undisputed backfield boss. He’s in the cheaper half of the B1 backs, so I’m targeting.

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