There are several ways Fantasy owners should prepare for Draft Day if you want to win your league. You should check out our rankings, projections and updates and participate in as many mock drafts as possible. But public perception should also be a part of your preparation.
That's why Average Draft Position is so important. It's a way to see how the Fantasy Football community views certain players in their drafts.
What we're doing here is a weekly series looking at the ADP. We're starting with the ADP prior to preseason games, and we want to see what changes each week leading up to the regular season.
While I will highlight players moving up and down at certain positions and also look at the changes in Round 1, you should use our interactive visualization below for a complete look at the ADP. You can view the changes in standard and point per reception formats, as well as guys who are being undervalued and overvalued based on our rankings.
So stay tuned each week to our ADP review. It's just another tool we're providing owners to help you win your league.
The first round looks like this ...
Adrian Peterson is No. 1 overall
It's no surprise that Peterson, Arian Foster and Chris Johnson went with the first three picks. That's standard in any format. The surprise is Peterson still being selected No. 1 overall.
I have Foster at No. 1 overall in my rankings, and Dave Richard has Chris Johnson in that spot. Now, I can understand the concern with Foster (hamstring) and Johnson (holdout), but I would still draft Foster first on Draft Day since he is expected to be 100 percent when the season starts.
Aaron Rodgers is No. 6 overall
I have no problem with a quarterback being drafted in Round 1, especially in standard leagues where passing touchdowns are six points. But Rodgers should not be drafted ahead of LeSean McCoy. Rodgers also shouldn't be the No. 1 quarterback drafted. Michael Vick has higher upside, and he's going in Round 2 at No. 14 overall. It's better value to wait on Vick and pass on Rodgers in the first round.
Andre Johnson is No. 8 overall
This is a great spot for Johnson, who is the No. 1 receiver coming into the season. He is going ahead of running backs like Darren McFadden, Michael Turner and Maurice Jones-Drew, and I agree with this move. The next Tier 1 receivers aren't being drafted until Round 2 with Calvin Johnson at No. 15 overall and Roddy White at No. 17, and those guys are slipping. But if you want to take the best receiver first, you take him in Round 1.
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Quarterbacks on the rise
Matt Ryan is the No. 7 quarterback
We're expecting big things from Ryan in 2011 with the additions of Julio Jones and Jacquizz Rodgers, but he's being drafted ahead of Tony Romo and Matt Schaub. That could be risky. I would rather have Romo and Schaub simply because they have a track record as being elite Fantasy quarterbacks. Ryan could easily get to their level, but it's safer to draft him after Romo and Schaub.
Josh Freeman is a starter
This is the perfect spot for Freeman, and he should be drafted after guys like Romo, Schaub, Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger. Some owners will reach for quarterbacks like Matthew Stafford and Sam Bradford, but Freeman showed last season that he can be a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback. He is currently being drafted in Round 6, which could be a little high for standard 12-team leagues, but once Roethlisberger is drafted you should plan to pull the trigger on Freeman.
Cam Newton is going too soon
Newton might have his moments as a rookie quarterback, and he could end up helping Fantasy owners toward the end of the season like Tim Tebow did as a rookie in 2010. But there's no way Newton should be drafted as a clear-cut No. 2 Fantasy passer. If you're inclined to draft Newton in standard leagues, he should only be taken if you draft the elite quarterbacks that aren't injury risks like Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers. If Newton plays well early then trade him. If not, cut him when your starter is on a bye.
Quarterbacks on the decline
Joe Flacco is a backup
Last year, Flacco was looking like a No. 1 Fantasy starter prior to the season with the addition of Anquan Boldin to go with Derrick Mason and Todd Heap. But after losing Mason and Heap as free agents, the Ravens' receiving corps looks a little thin. Now, Flacco looks like a top backup for Fantasy owners. The Ravens have an excellent schedule this season, but Flacco needs a better year from Boldin and unproven receiving options like Torrey Smith and Ed Dickson to step up. If that happens then Flacco's value could improve, but he should only be drafted with a mid-round pick.
Jay Cutler is a backup
The addition of Roy Williams has done little to improve Cutler's Fantasy value. He is still being drafted in Round 9, and that's a safe spot for him. While Cutler will likely have some big games in 2011, he remains too inconsistent to trust as a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback. Continue to view him as a high-end No. 2 option, and if he plays better than he did in 2010, you can either trade him or use him as a starter if your No. 1 quarterback struggles.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is going too late
I don't understand this one at all. While Fitzpatrick is far from a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback, he should be considered a quality No. 2 option. Last year, Fitzpatrick was the No. 18 Fantasy quarterback in standard leagues, and he should finish around that spot again this season. As a bye-week replacement, especially in Week 8 vs. Washington, you could use Fitzpatrick if you draft Rodgers, Ryan or Freeman, who are all off that week.
Running backs on the rise
Peyton Hillis is being drafted in Round 2
Hillis was a Fantasy star last season and will return as the starter this year for the Browns with little competition for carries. But asking him to repeat last year's performance will be difficult. We still consider Hillis a No. 2 Fantasy running back, but he should be drafted in Round 3 at the earliest. If you reach for him on Draft Day this year you could be disappointed.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis is being drafted as a starter
Green-Ellis is on my bust list this season after the Patriots drafted two running backs in Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, and they haven't thought about signing Green-Ellis to a long-term contract. New England also brought back Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk. While Green-Ellis should remain the starter and get the majority of carries, Ridley could work at the goal line, and Green-Ellis is off the field during passing downs. He should not be the No. 20 running back drafted in early Round 5, but instead is more of a No. 3 running back that should be taken in Round 6.
Ryan Grant is back as a starter
Grant is back as the starter for the Packers, and his Fantasy value is back on the rise. James Starks will take away touches, but Grant will get the majority of carries. While his ADP is slightly high for me, I understand why he is being drafted in Round 5 as the No. 21 running back. But he might not have as much upside as guys like Knowshon Moreno, Jahvid Best, DeAngelo Williams, Mark Ingram and Daniel Thomas, who are all being drafted after Grant.
Running backs on the decline
Steven Jackson is being drafted in Round 2
There was a time when Jackson was a Top 5 pick for Fantasy owners, but age and injury have slowed him down. Still, to see him in Round 2 is a little odd. But it speaks to owners who want to draft a quarterback or wide receiver in Round 1, and getting Jackson early in Round 2 is a steal. We don't advise drafting running backs with your first two picks, but if you come away with Jones-Drew and Jackson to start your Fantasy team then you are in great shape.
Frank Gore is being drafted in Round 2
Like Jackson, Gore was always considered a lock as a first-round pick. But Fantasy owners are concerned about Gore after he finished last season on injured reserve with a broken hip. Gore is falling to the middle of Round 2 at No. 16 overall. Based on the ADP, you would then have Johnson and Gore as your first two picks. That's the beginning of a championship squad.
DeAngelo Williams is being drafted after Jonathan Stewart
This is expected to change by the time we get closer to the season, but with Williams back in Carolina he is the better Fantasy option than Stewart. The Panthers killed any chance Stewart had for a breakout season when they brought Williams back. Williams' ADP puts him in Round 6, which is a steal. Meanwhile, Stewart is being drafted, on average, in Round 5. By the time we get to Labor Day, look for Williams to be drafted in Round 4, and Stewart will likely be taken in Round 6 or later.
Wide receivers on the rise
Steve Johnson is being drafted as a starter
Johnson was fantastic in 2010 and had a breakout year in his third season in the NFL. But it will be hard for him to repeat that performance for Fantasy owners in 2011. He is currently being drafted as the No. 20 receiver in Round 6. While that's about where he should be drafted, I would not take him ahead of Santonio Holmes or Percy Harvin.
Brandon Lloyd is being drafted as a starter
Like Johnson, Lloyd was a Fantasy star last year, and he finished as the No. 1 receiver in standard leagues. But he could be a potential bust this season and also should not be drafted ahead of Holmes and Harvin. Lloyd is being drafted as the No. 21 receiver in Round 6. By comparison, Harvin is going one round later, and he has more upside and is better value.
Donald Driver is being drafted as the No. 2 Packers receiver
Even though the Packers brought back James Jones and have a promising receiver in Jordy Nelson, Driver is still being drafted as the No. 2 receiver in Green Bay behind Greg Jennings, which I don't understand. Driver is being drafted as the No. 44 receiver in Round 12, with Jones one spot behind him in Round 12 and Nelson at No. 61 in Round 14. I have them ranked Jones, Nelson and Driver, and I wouldn't draft Driver in any standard leagues. He might have the most seniority of any receiver for the Packers, but he doesn't have the most talent any more.
Wide receivers on the decline
Johnny Knox is being drafted ahead of Roy Williams
Williams doesn't have an ADP yet, but that will change as we get closer to Labor Day now that he's with the Bears. He should be drafted in Round 10 at the earliest as a No. 4 Fantasy receiver. I don't understand what the Bears are doing with Knox in playing him behind Williams and Devin Hester, but he is currently the No. 30 wide receiver and is being drafted in Round 8. He will start to fall on Draft Day, but he still presents great value with a late-round pick. By the end of the season he could still end up as Chicago's best Fantasy receiver.
Michael Crabtree is being drafted ahead of Braylon Edwards
Fantasy owners might think Crabtree still has potential as a starting Fantasy receiver, which is why he is being drafted as the No. 28 receiver in Round 8. But he may never live up to his talent level, and he enters this season behind Edwards. When the 49ers signed Edwards it was a clear message that Crabtree is not a No. 1 receiver and also that his foot injury could linger. Edwards is being drafted as the No. 39 receiver in Round 10, but he should be taken ahead of Crabtree on Draft Day in all leagues.
Mark Clayton is being drafted as the No. 2 Rams receiver
Earlier this offseason, Fantasy owners expected Clayton to re-sign with the Rams, but St. Louis added Mike Sims-Walker instead as the potential No. 2 option behind Danny Amendola. The Rams also have Danario Alexander, and he is being drafted after Clayton. Clayton is being drafted as the No. 46 receiver in Round 12, with Sims-Walker one spot behind him and Alexander at No. 70. In my rankings I have Sims-Walker and Alexander ranked ahead of Clayton, and I would not draft Clayton in any leagues. Sims-Walker is someone with sleeper potential in Josh McDaniels' offense.
Tight ends on the rise
Jason Witten is the No. 2 tight end
Antonio Gates is the No. 1 tight end on most draft boards, but Dallas Clark is usually No. 2. Not so, according to the ADP, which has Witten in that spot. Clark is going one spot behind Witten in Round 5, but it's interesting that Fantasy owners don't consider Clark the No. 2 option. It's hard to argue against Witten, who finished as the No. 2 tight end last year and was No. 1 in targets, but Clark showed in 2009 that he's also a dominant force. I still give Clark a slight nod ahead of Witten in my rankings now that he's back from last year's wrist injury.
Rob Gronkowski is the No. 6 tight end
Gronkowski is being drafted too high since he likely won't finish as a Top 5 Fantasy tight end this year following the addition of Chad Ochocinco this offseason. While I still consider Gronkowski a No. 1 Fantasy option, he should not be drafted in Round 7, ahead of Owen Daniels. Plan on drafting Gronkowski after Daniels, Jimmy Graham and Kellen Winslow at the earliest, and you can argue that Brandon Pettigrew also has more upside than Gronkowski this season.
Jimmy Graham is the No. 8 tight end
Graham is one of my favorite sleepers this season as the No. 1 tight end for the Saints, and I'm glad Fantasy owners feel the same way. He's being drafted just after the first tier of tight ends in Round 9, and he has tremendous upside. There's a good chance Graham could lead New Orleans in receiving touchdowns, and you should plan on drafting him once you see Daniels come off the board in Round 6.
Tight ends on the decline
Tony Gonzalez is barely a starting option
Gonzalez, statistically, is the No. 1 tight end in NFL history, and he's been an elite Fantasy option nearly his entire career. But we're seeing the decline in his production, and he's only being drafted as the No. 12 tight end in Round 10. I agree that Gonzalez is the No. 12 tight end, but he still presents tremendous value with a late-round pick. He will lose targets and production to Roddy White and now Julio Jones, but he's not going to disappear on offense. If you build your Fantasy team the right way then Gonzalez could be a steal in Round 10.
Chris Cooley is not a starting option
Cooley is being drafted as the No. 13 tight end in Round 11, and that's a steal. He should still be considered a No. 1 Fantasy tight end as long as his knee is 100 percent. The Redskins need someone to help Santana Moss in the passing game, and Cooley showed last year he can be a reliable Fantasy option with 77 catches for 849 yards and three touchdowns. His value is higher in leagues where receptions count, but I still consider Cooley a starting option in the majority of formats.
Greg Olsen is not being drafted
This will likely change as we get closer to the regular season, but Olsen has sleeper potential now that he's with Carolina. He goes from a system in Chicago that did not use the tight end to one with the Panthers where he could be the leading receiver. I would draft Olsen with a late-round pick in all leagues, and he should be drafted ahead of guys like Jared Cook, Brent Celek and Dustin Keller, who all are listed on the ADP.