In a perfect world filled with fantasy “experts,” the draft software of major fantasy football hosts would list players in alphabetical order instead of by default rank. Listing players that way would neither showcase the work of the outlets’ analysts nor offer an easy on ramp for novice fantasy players, however, meaning that perfect world will never exist.
There is a good side to the default ranks, though. While the work of fantasy analysts at Yahoo!, ESPN, CBS Sports, and NFL.com is outstanding, there are rankings on each site which seem either too high or too low. Because novice and veteran fantasy players alike tend to be influenced by the default ranks in whichever draft software they are using, these high or low rankings can be exploited.
Inside the NFL Draft Guide, I identify overall trends in the rankings at each of the major sites, discuss players ranked higher or lower than their ADP average by each outfit, look at how 10 buzz players are ranked throughout the industry, and scroll to the bottom of the rankings so you do not have to during your draft.
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*Note: Rankings accessed on August 13
With Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension being announced so close to the heart of draft season, starting with how each site handled the complicated process of ranking him makes sense. NFL and Yahoo fell right in line with us, ranking him 18th and 19th respectively, while CBS and ESPN went lower, ranking him 24th and 25th. The rankings suggest Elliott’s ADP is unlikely to fall out of the second round, but he could end up being something of a steal in ESPN and CBS drafts. If he ends up falling to the two-three turn, that would be incredible value even if he is forced to serve the entire six-game suspension.
As for Darren McFadden, there is a wide range of rankings throughout the industry, with ESPN slotting him in at 83, CBS at 108, Yahoo at 134, and NFL at 182, although it is likely McFadden climbs the NFL ranks as this situation shakes out. We have him at 99, so we are much more on the ESPN side of the argument than the others. Looking at the rankings, Elliott owners will likely have to pay a premium for McFadden in ESPN leagues, but he could be a good value at the other sites.
In other late-breaking news, getting traded to the Rams is apparently a bad thing for fantasy value, with Sammy Watkins falling to 42nd, 50th, and 54th at ESPN, CBS, and Yahoo respectively. NFL still has him near his pre-trade ADP, but that could also fall when all is said and done.
Quarterbacks have found a home at Yahoo, with three – Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees – ranked among the top 37 and nine among the top 75. Both numbers are well above what we see at the other three major sites, and that seems to be reflected in the ADP, with the top quarterbacks coming off the board slightly earlier than their ADP average and quite a few more quarterbacks overall being selected within the first 75 picks. All of that makes waiting on quarterback more painful, but it also means more quality running backs and wide receivers will be pushed down the draft.
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