Let’s be clear: If you’re reading this, you’re likely a fantasy football junkie. Because, really, who else is looking for average draft position analysis in February? Addicts, that’s who.
Well, you’ve come to the right place. With the new RotoViz FFPC best ball app, we’re going to take periodic snapshots of where, in general, certain players stand at specific times during the NFL offseason. And if you think it’s kind of pointless to do so now, mere weeks after the Super Bowl, then you might be surprised to know that dozens of 2019 FFPC drafts have already taken place, giving us a pretty good picture of player value.1
So with the start of free agency just a couple weeks away, it’s as good a time as any for that first 2019 snapshot. Expect similar looks once most of the high-profile free agency moves are final, as well as after the NFL draft, then more as we approach training camp and the start of the season. Also keep an eye out for my fellow writer John Lapinski’s look at tight end ADP in FFPC best ball.
Of course, it goes without saying that there’s plenty of risk involved in drafting this early. Technically, the new NFL season has yet to even start, so we don’t know where key free agents are signing, which teams will trade for high-profile malcontents, which big names are getting cut or where rookies end up. On the plus side, though, the points threshold needed to win best-ball leagues that draft this time of year is typically much lower, which can be an advantage to owners who pay attention, take some calculated risks and avoid landmines.2
It’s safe to say no one really knew what to do with Kareem Hunt when he was unsigned, and now that he’s on the Browns, no one still has any idea how to value him. His ADP since his February 11 signing is around the late seventh/early eighth round and dropping, but he’s been going two rounds earlier or later – before even knowing how long he’ll be suspended or what his usage will be like. Similarly, Emmanuel Sanders has a 10th-round ADP but has consistently gone up to two rounds earlier, even though he’ll soon be 32, is coming off a December Achilles’ tendon tear and is a likely candidate to start the season on the PUP list. Unless you’re getting a steep discount on either player, both are ones to avoid.
At least, though, we’re fairly sure either of those two guys will get you points next season. Rob Gronkowski, on the other hand, is still being taken in the seventh, as the 12th player at his position in FFPC leagues, which award a weighted 1.5 points per reception for tight ends. Despite the uncertainty of whether he will suit up come September, some folks are gambling on him in the early sixth. If Gronk plays, he could easily be a league-winner, but I’d rather take a reliable receiver in the sixth and see if Gronk drops to the eighth or later if I really want him.
Just before the start of the 2018 season, I wrote about four backfields that lacked much clarity at the time: the Browns, Patriots, Seahawks and Buccaneers. Six months later, it seems that’s still true. Before the Hunt signing, Nick Chubb was going in the early second, so if you’re still crushing on him and can get him in the third, you should go for it.
In New England, James White helped propel many owners to league titles, which is why he’s got a fifth-round ADP, a couple rounds behind Sony Michel, whose three-game, six-touchdown playoff performance certainly seemed to cement his role at a Patriots position that’s notoriously hard to trust. In head-to-head formats, the unpredictable New England backfield always drives me crazy, but that’s easier to tolerate in best ball.3 In Seattle, where Rashaad Penny was going ahead of Chris Carson last season, the roles have so far switched. Penny seems attractive in the eighth if you’re still a believer he can put it together in his sophomore season. Finally, there’s Tampa Bay, which currently sports some of the lowest-valued starting RBs – you can wait until the 15th to grab Ronald Jones, and even later to take Peyton Barber.
For the ultimate in dice rolls, invest in a rookie. Even though the NFL draft is two months away, all rookies are available, with RBs Josh Jacobs going in the sixth and David Montgomery a round later. N’Keal Harry is the top rookie WR with a 13th-round ADP. Although the FFPC has TE-premium scoring, I’d still avoid rookie TEs in the format, simply because they rarely make much impact, even in best ball.
Although he focuses on BestBall10s (formerly MFL10s), take a look at Shawn Siegele’s draft strategy guide. With regard to my own success in FFPC best ball, I’ve done the Bare Knuckle league – the rules allow you to draft with nothing but your memory, the draft board and a 30-second timer – four times, winning it in 2018 and placing second in 2015. Last summer, I wrote about the importance of taking at least three defenses and kickers (my winning team had three and four, respectively).
As shown in the FFPC Roster Construction Explorer, the numbers overwhelmingly favor teams that drafted at least three kickers and three defenses. Those teams sported a win rate of nearly 10 percent — well above the expected win rate of 8.3 percent. Teams that additionally grabbed four tight ends won at a nearly 11 percent clip, rewarding depth at a position ravaged by injuries last year. Teams that took less than three kickers and less than three defenses did considerably worse:
In FFPC’s 28-round best-ball format, I recommend grabbing a couple starting TEs in the first half of the draft, then adding a couple second-stringers later. In most cases, I start grabbing defenses and kickers around the 14th to 16th rounds, as well as a third QB late in the draft.4
As mentioned, stay tuned for FFPC best ball updates throughout the offseason.
- Of course, true junkies would know this. (back)
- We’re focusing on non-superflex best-ball leagues here, but you can search superflex ADP on the app. FFPC also offers head-to-head leagues in its “classic” format that have ongoing drafts. (back)
- You could even consider Rex Burkhead in the 15th or later. (back)
- Obviously, strategies may have to be slightly adjusted this early in the offseason, but probably not by much. (back)