If you’re new to fantasy football, the jargon can feel a bit overwhelming. Differentiating between flex and superflex, IDP and D/ST, and FAAB and PPR is enough to drive you mad. But of all of these acronyms and phrases, the one that’s of utmost importance is ADP.
You’ve probably heard your league mates discuss ADP before and during the fantasy football draft, or when you’re brushing up on terminology — and with good reason. It’s an important metric for a strong draft strategy, where to pick your preferred players, and who to snag on a late-round pick.
If you’re wondering “What does ADP mean in fantasy football?” here’s a handy guide to help you understand the ADP, its importance, and how to apply it in your own fantasy football league.
ADP stands for average draft position, representing where an NFL player is drafted in fantasy leagues based on a subset of real or mock drafts. At its core, ADP is a determination of perceived player value based on the opinions, strategies, and gut instincts of other fantasy football players.
The formula is simple. Take the position that a player gets drafted in each included draft and divided by the total number of drafts to get the ADP. Let’s use a small sample size as an example.
Let’s say Aaron Rodgers goes 20th overall in one draft, 24th in another, and 19th in the last mock draft. To get his ADP, you add 20+24+18 to get 62. Then, divide it by three to get 21. That’s his ADP. In a 12-team league, this would equate to the 9th pick in the second round.
ADP becomes a more valuable tool the closer you are to your actual draft party. The concept is simple. The more real-time drafts and mock drafts that occur, the more accurate the ADP will be. Fantasy football websites — even the most reputable — will often use player rankings or expert consensus rankings (ECR) to determine ADP. This means that you can’t get an actual sense of player value to your opponents — one of the integral factors of ADP itself.
After you gather the ADP of various players, focus on this as one of the many factors
However, you shouldn’t blindly take ADP as the only factor in your draft. It’s just one portion of your draft strategy. Moreover, you should take note of the ADP source. Don’t get an ADP from a random fantasy football website. Stick to credible sites for your ADP such as CBS, ESPN, NFL.com, Yahoo, or DFS/sports betting sites like FanDuel, as these sites factor in every league from their website into ADP as drafts are completed.
Average draft position and expert consensus ranking may seem the same at first glance, but it has notable differences. ADP is where other fantasy football players take players, creating a sense of value for each draft pick. Conversely, ECR doesn’t track draft selections at all. It’s just the opinion of NFL fantasy football analysts based on the past performance and future expectations of the player.
Despite this difference, both ADP and ECR have a rightful place in your draft strategy as part of your cheat sheet. By using ECR and ADP in tandem, you can see where expectation and perceived value divide or align. This can give you the insight to snatch a late-round value pick, take a running back or wide receiver off the board before your opponents, or anticipate what your fellow league mates will do.
Like any other fantasy football tool — especially for drafts — leaning on ADP too much can hurt your chances of a championship. The only common-sense move is to understand the drawbacks of the ADP and how to navigate them once you’re on the clock. Watch out for these pitfalls when using ADP.
One of the errors that many novice ADP users have is that they settle on the ADP too early. As soon as they find the first available ADP, they use it for the remained of their draft strategy, all the way up to the draft.
When you use a preliminary ADP, you aren’t allowing the natural progression of each player’s actual ADP. For example, Derrick Henry might have an ADP of 10 among all running backs when the figures come out. But as the fantasy football season approaches, he may fall or drop in the ADP, giving you an inaccurate representation. The same goes for any player, whether you have your eyes on Davante Adams, Justin Jefferson, Dak Prescott, Jalen Hurts, or Christian McCaffrey.
Almost immediately after the Super Bowl, sports networks are rife with theories, conspiracies, and general hype around the best players and teams for the upcoming NFL season. While some of this information is important — especially the closer you get to the beginning of the season — it can also have a significant impact on ADP.
The 2023 NFL season is a great example. This year, Joe Burrow signed the biggest contract in NFL history, and the Bengals looked ready to topple the Steelers, Browns, and Ravens to claim the AFC North title. This pushed Burrow’s ADP as high as 20 — making him one of the most coveted quarterbacks in the draft.
Well, as you may know, Burrow looked less than sharp, may have had unlisted injuries, and ultimately ended up out for the season with minimal impact on the fantasy football scoreline.
So if you’re hearing huge hype or player news about any player not named Patrick Mahomes, don’t buy into the hype.
As mentioned above, where you find your ADP is as much of a factor in your success as the ADP itself. Avoid no-name websites in favor of those that run hundreds of thousands of leagues each year. Credible websites will give you an accurate ADP so you aren’t drafting Jerry Jeudy or Kirk Cousins in the first round.
What does ADP mean in fantasy football? It can mean nothing at all if you don’t know how to utilize it effectively. Going into your fantasy draft with only an ADP list and no idea what it means other than the number next to the player name will spell disaster. If you want to avoid the dreaded last-place fantasy football punishment, use these tips to your advantage.
As much as you should ignore some of the hype and trends of early ADP results, you shouldn’t ignore them entirely. ADP is predicated on the hype and trends of individual players.
The idea is to sift through the hype to find what information is useful and what player has more upside. First-year players who excelled in college often are at the forefront of the hype, yet rarely pan out due to the speed and changes in the NFL. Zach Charbonnet would be a prime example in 2023.
You can also look for solid players that fly under the radar. Perhaps someone like Josh Jacobs fits that sort of mold — especially being on a perennially underachieving team like the Raiders.
Look at the hype and how it plays into ADP, but don’t take it as gospel until you’ve done your research.
No fantasy football draft is going to go your way all the time. You may have the fourth pick and plenty of great strategies, but by the time you’re on the clock, your plan of drafting Travis Kelce or Saquon Barkley has already been dashed.
Even if you don’t get the picks you want, don’t turn sour or lose your head — essentially drafting like the Bears, Jets, or Titans do in real life. Stick to your guns, have a contingency plan, and let your ADP and other research help you find the right pick.
Now that you know the answer to “What does ADP mean in fantasy football?” you can improve your draft strategy, find potential sleepers, and build a stronger roster. By any means, it’s a great start. But don’t ignore the other factors listed above that can have a profound impact on your fantasy football season.
Once the season starts, the average draft position is merely an afterthought. You need to navigate injuries, opponent’s moves, trades, stats, matchups, current performances, who to drop/add, and the waiver wire simultaneously.
While discipline and a keen eye for detail will undoubtedly aid in your quest for the championship, some fantasy football tools at your disposal are better than others.
Enter the world of Wise Guys Edge.
Using up-to-date statistics and odds from Vegas sportsbooks, you can compare up to five players at a time with ease. No more switching tabs or going from website to website. Wise Guys Edge is all you need in one place. Go beyond the ADP and discover how Wise Guys Edge can give you the advantage — and the extra fantasy points you need — in a competitive fantasy football league.