Fantasy football draft prep: How to use ADP

      June 13, 2013 @ 15:04:14 PDT

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We're approaching the time of year when three little letters start to creep into the minds of fantasy footballers. Though many excellent web sites produce informative lists based on it, the phrase remains taboo, dirty, misunderstood and capable of altering the course of history ... OK, at least the course of your team's.

Cleveland Browns RB Trent Richardson
T-Rich's ADP may change

To paraphrase an entertaining former professional wrestler and current fitness guru:

"It's me.... It's me.... It's A ... D ... P."

Average Draft Position: simultaneously one of the most useful and least revealing tools in fake sports -- not gospel, but not something to ignore.

Using ADP from mock drafts equates to telling a white lie. You know it has plenty of flaws, but you recognize its place in society. And in our game's twisted world, the common spot where an NFL player is picked by drafters of varying levels of experience and sobriety can guide how many value commodities. Imagine the stock market being swayed by amateu--- oh, wait.

In economics and the topic at hand, psychology exists behind the numbers. In this world, it reveals what places someone in high demand and what frightens Joe Picker. In turn and in theory, it offers an effective way to try manipulating the marketplace.

A market with vague boundaries, however, only can be mastered to a certain degree. ADP can lay the foundation for your strategy but doesn't account for vulnerabilities in logic and execution. Properly connecting the dots of all the components it offers will improve your experience in both tune-ups and the real thing while weeding out the unnecessary distractions from building a winning squad.

Select the proper scoring system to match your league(s), if available.

Knowing your league's point allotment is Rule No. 1. Always. If an ADP site doesn't have your format, use your best instinct to choose what listing comes closest, and apply a loose connection to your league.

Account for a mock draft ranking set's sample size and date.

The aforementioned many excellent URLs that focus on this sector gather more data as the offseason and preseason move along. The amount of drafts from which they extrapolate their numbers as of today will be far less than those in August, maybe July, so you can hardly call anything you see today a trend.

Track how news alters ADP over time.

In concert with the last point: While early numbers aren't all-encompassing, they can serve as a solid base from which to determine changing opinions on players based on injury, preseason performance, etc. This can be your early signal to spot players you want to grab at a discount or avoid.

Remember that practice drafters may have different motives.

Always consider your audience. They advanced or beginners? Also, some sites distinguish single-year games from keeper setups in terms of mocking to make sure everyone stays within the same time scope of player valuation. However, if it's a randomly pieced room without a clear establishment of the conditions under which people are drafting, results could be deceiving, notably if you're mocking with strangers.

If you're putting together a team for 2013, and others are cultivating one for 2013-2018, you're not learning much.

Examine figures that are published as close as possible to your draft date, but don't bring an ADP list to your table.

Determine an idea of where players might go. Use your own rating system and denotation on your cheat sheets to mark which players have upside and downside, which assets may be over- or undervalued, etc. Get a general pattern on where position rushes tend to occur.

But trying strictly to follow any ADP set lines you up for trouble, and any belief that numbers always translate goes haywire pretty early in most drafts. By the time you reach Round 3 or 4, things really go nuts because of varying needs and strategies. Those without prepared alternate courses will be scrambling.

Thusly, and chiefly:

ADP should never ever ever ever forever ever (forever ever?) outweigh your own judgment.

ADP figures are useful because they monitor the practice methods of many drafters, but you must only keep this information as a loosely applied supplement to your own management and the other, more in-depth research you gather. Your flexibility and ability to read trends in your room is more important.

Information wins. Putting your strategy in a box ... doesn't.

Hope that cleared things up. Time for a self-high-five.

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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