How to Prioritize Scooping Value in Your Best Ball Drafts: Adjusted ADP Value Reveals Some Surprising Positional Strategies
Image Credit: Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Brock Purdy.

As the 2023 home league draft season kicks into gear, I’m reminded of the frustratingly sharp Underdog average draft position (ADP) landscape. I’m cruising through home league drafts, snagging fifth-round Christian Watson, sixth-round Brandon Aiyuk, and seventh-round Jahan Dotson with ease. In Underdog best ball drafts? I’m praying for a wide receiver with some semblance of upside at the end of the sixth round. It’s a reminder that the way we approach an Underdog portfolio must differ from the way we approach redraft leagues. It is too difficult to win on Underdog through individual player analysis alone; effective strategy is mandatory.

I recently published an article quantifying ADP value to help drafters develop an edge regardless of their individual player takes. This article will go a step further and explore ADP value at each position. At which position is ADP value most important? Is it possible to scoop too much ADP value at a position? 

The Setup: A New Metric to Understand Positional ADP Value

Full-team ADP value, like I discussed in my initial article linked above, is relatively easy to wrap your head around. You subtract the ADP of each player from the pick you selected them at and add it all up. No problem. When we’re looking at each position individually, it’s not so simple. 

The first challenge is that drafters aren’t taking the same number of players at each position. You’re grabbing two or three quarterbacks and anywhere from six to 10 WRs on each team. If you’re focused on scooping ADP value, you’ll almost always end up with more total ADP value at WR than at QB. We’ll correct for this by looking at the average ADP value per pick for each team in our analysis. 

The second challenge is that ADP value isn’t equally available in every part of the draft. You’re more likely to get major values later on in the draft than you are in the first few rounds. This means that a drafter taking WRs early in their draft cannot scoop as much value as a drafter taking WRs late in their draft. However, the drafter selecting WRs early can still scoop significant ADP value. Garrett Wilson typically goes around pick 14, but what if he falls to pick 20? That’s a significant value — much more significant than a WR with an ADP of 160 falling the same number of picks to pick 166. To account for this, we’re going to weight ADP value to make early value worth more. With this weighting, these selections all garner the same “adjusted ADP value” (aADP value) of +10:

  • Player ADP: 1, selected at: 9
  • Player ADP: 40, selected at: 50
  • Player ADP: 103, selected at: 119
  • Player ADP: 153, selected at: 191

Now that we’ve developed an appropriate metric, let’s take a look at each position!

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