Generally speaking, I think consensus ADP is the most accurate predictive tool in fantasy. The wisdom of the crowds phenomenon hammers out the edges and hits the mark more than any one analyst can. Notwithstanding, I still did my 2017 rankings (which vary quite a bit from ADP) and put them out for you to read. Not because I think I’m an exception, but to spur thinking on where players are being drafted. I bring up ADP accuracy because I want to suggest this strategy: focus on the ADP round of a player you like and take him at the beginning of that round or at the end of the preceding round, depending on how much you covet his ownership. In that spirit I want to highlight a player from each round that I think offers arbitrage on his value. ADPs based on FantasyPros PPR consensus and assuming a 12 team league.
Round 1: WR AJ Green, ADP 7. Death, taxes, and AJ Green being a top WR, these are the things you can count on. A crumbling O-Line may also lead to more passing attempts by the Bengals. If rookie speedster John Ross ever gets on the field it should also prevent safeties from focusing solely on AJG.
Round 2: RB Todd Gurley, ADP 20. It’s been a tale of two seasons for Gurley, but I’m willing to wipe the slate clean for anyone coached by Jeff Fisher last year. His upside is the best running back in the league. I think the O-line stabilizes with the addition of top free agent LT Andrew Whitworth. The new staff also wants to give him more targets, which would be nice.
Round 3: RB Marshawn Lynch, ADP 35. Coaxed out of retirement to play for his hometown (for the moment) Raiders, Lynch is in an ideal situation. The team wants to run the ball, but has the QB and weapons to keep defenses honest. A downhill runner like Beastmode behind a top 5 O-Line is a recipe for success. Recall that this offense delivered 12 TDs from JAG Latavius Murray last season.
Round 4: WR Larry Fitzgerald, ADP 48. Fitz just keeps humming along, now more of a possession receiver out of the slot. The targets will be there overall and he could see an abundance of red zone targets giving him a spike in TDs similar to 2015 when he was a top WR in the early going. The definition of floor and ceiling.
Round 5: WR Emmanuel Sanders, ADP 60. Sanders is perennially underrated. His numbers stack up to Demaryius Thomas every year but he’s drafted rounds later. Maybe it’s a short guy bias. He catches the ball all over the field and is a big play threat. His biggest detriment is not having a QB with an NFL arm.
Round 6: RB CJ Anderson, ADP 63. It seems like we go into every year thinking this will be Anderson’s break out season. It’s yet to materialize. Look, he has his fleas and there are internal threats to his workload, but that’s why you’re getting him in the sixth instead of the third. Feature backs are going extinct in today’s NFL. If CJA delivers on some of his workhorse promise, this price is a win.
Round 7: TE Tyler Eifert, ADP 75. You want to put your lineup over the top in a given week? Get touchdown production from your tight end. Eifert is one of the best at the position for TD upside. Andy Dalton trusts him and frequently looks for his 6’6″ target, who has premium athleticism. Injuries are the main concern with him currently, but don’t over weight his history. TE is a physically demanding position.
Round 8: TE Martellus Bennett, ADP 91. Marty B showed what he can do with an elite QB when Gronk was out last year. He’s a nightmare to cover and knows how to get open. You do that and Aaron Rodgers finds you. He may score the most TDs of any tight end. Think back to the buzz he garnered when the Bears signed him in 2013. I think he finally delivers that upside.
Round 9: WR Randall Cobb, ADP 99. I, personally, will be drafting Cobb well before this. He’s had two down years but I see his stock rising. We’re talking about a guy who’s a shoe in for 125 targets if he’s healthy all year. Cobb’s also most effective when the rest of the Packer offense is clicking, which they were in 2016s second half. PPR gold here.
Round 10: WR Corey Coleman, ADP 107. When he was on the field he produced last season. I expect that continues on a Browns team that projects to frequently play from behind. He’s adept at taking short passes for large gains as well, which is a plus with the QB situation there.
Round 11: RB Matt Forte, ADP 120. It’s pretty clear Forte’s career is coming to an end. He’s a professional, though, and will slog through a season on yet another bad team. There’s no chance he plays sixteen games, but he’s always been productive on the field. The same reason you’re high on Bilal Powell is why you should consider Forte. Don’t forget this is a back who caught 103 passes just three seasons ago.
Round 12: RB Jonathan Stewart, ADP 121. Mistakenly getting a significant downgrade with Carolina drafting CMC early in the first round. I don’t think they play the same position in the offense, though. Stewart is a downhill runner. I believe they’ll even be on the field together a good amount. The Panthers want to be a more efficient offense and running straight ahead is part of that. His TD potential has also risen with Mike Tolbert departing and the coaches wanting to run Cam Newton less.
Round 13: RB Gio Bernard, ADP 141. Another back being overshadowed by a flashy rookie. Gio isn’t a feature back, his role has transitioned to pass catching specialist over the last two seasons. If his knee is fully recovered he still owns that role, and I expect Cincinnati to be in plenty of third and longs, remember. That’s when Gio is at his most dangerous.
Round 14: WR Josh Doctson, ADP 144. I was so excited for Doctson to debut in the NFL. He ended up missing most of the year with an achilles injury to many owners disappointment. The raw ability is still there, though. He’s ferocious with the ball in the air and a tough open field tackle. He might end up being what his teammate Terrell Pryor was last year for the Browns.
Round 15: WR Kevin White, ADP 163. If you want a late round receiver that can pull a ‘Michael Thomas’, then look no further. He has the size and skill to be a WR1, it’s why the Bears used a first round pick on him two years ago. He’s had a star-crossed career, but at this price it won’t matter if you cut him. If the Bears have to throw it in the second half as much as last season he will be the guy getting looks for his big play potential.
Bonus Waiver: That’s right, I said fifteen but I just can’t leave this guy out. Has a WR ever caught 9 TDs and been drafted this low? I can’t remember one. I’m talking about Kenny Stills. The Dolphins resigned him to legit money, so I don’t think it was a fluke season. Cutler has the arm to throw deep, he just has to show Adam Gase he won’t throw to the wrong jersey. He might not match 9 touchdowns, but anywhere in the neighborhood is a homerun with your last pick.
Follow Roto-Wan on Twitter @Roto_Wan. May the sports be with you.