Average Draft Position is one of the best tools you can use to study for your Draft Day. It gives you an idea of what the Fantasy community thinks of players you plan to target.
For example, you might be thinking Andre Ellington could be a great pick in Round 5, or Cordarrelle Patterson is someone you hope to get in Round 7. Well, based on ADP on CBSSports.com heading into the first weekend of preseason action, Ellington is being drafted in Round 3 and Patterson in Round 5.
You can still look to get Ellington and Patterson if you're so inclined. But now you have to adjust your planning since they likely won't last as long as you hope. And ADP is something you can use to gauge all your potential sleepers and breakouts and where you might have to draft them.
Along with our rankings, projections, updates and mock drafts, scan the ADP a few times prior to your Draft Day. Public perception is useful information that should help in your preparation to win your league.
The first round
1. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs
2. LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles
3. Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings
4. Matt Forte, RB, Bears
5. Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos
6. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions
7. Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers
8. Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints
9. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos
10. Montee Ball, RB, Broncos
11. Drew Brees, QB, Saints
12. Arian Foster, RB, Texans
Barring an injury, the first four picks will likely remain the same, in some order, throughout the preseason. Charles, McCoy and Peterson will likely jockey for the No. 1 overall pick, with the knock on Charles being the changes on the offensive line, and McCoy detractors being worried about the addition of Darren Sproles. Peterson also has his flaws with injury concerns and fear of a potential breakdown based on career workload, but the Fantasy owners who believe in him tend to overlook that.
I don't mind Manning in the first round, but No. 5 overall is too soon. You're expecting him to again be 88 Fantasy points better than the No. 2 quarterback like he was last year (he outscored Brees 523-435 in standard leagues) and 170 Fantasy points better than the No. 3 quarterback (Andy Dalton scored 353 points). I'd prefer to see Manning in Round 2 personally, but if you want him in Round 1 it should be around No. 9 overall.
It will be interesting to see if Ball remains in the first round following his appendectomy. I'm fine drafting him there, but he could fall back to Round 2 behind other running backs like DeMarco Murray, Marshawn Lynch, Giovani Bernard and Le'Veon Bell.
I didn't mention Ball falling behind Foster because I also expect Foster's ADP to drop. He recently said he considered retirement prior to this year, and he's missed practice time with an undisclosed injury. After having a back problem last year, he might be too risky for some Fantasy owners in the first round.
Colin Kaepernick too high: I'm very much a Kaepernick supporter this season. The receiving corps is solid with a healthy Michael Crabtree to go with Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin, and the 49ers added Steve Johnson, Brandon Lloyd and Bruce Ellington this offseason. The team invested in Kaepernick with a hefty contract, and the defense could be worse with NaVorro Bowman and Glenn Dorsey nursing injuries and Aldon Smith facing a lengthy suspension, meaning more passing for Kaepernick this year.
But he should not be the No. 5 quarterback off the board. And he should not be drafted in Round 4 of a 12-team league unless it's a two-quarterback format.
If someone wants Kaepernick that much then they can have him in that spot. I'll gladly pass on him there for a handful of quarterbacks going later in Tom Brady, Andrew Luck, Matt Ryan, Robert Griffin III or Tony Romo. Even though I have Kaepernick ranked higher than Brady and Griffin, the value for those guys is better than Kaepernick in Round 4 with the same type of upside.
Matt Ryan too low: Ryan is someone most Fantasy owners should target instead of avoid, and maybe the appearance on Hard Knocks during training camp will push up his ADP from his current spot as the No. 9 quarterback in Round 6. He should be a stud with a healthy Julio Jones and Roddy White and an improved offensive line.
Prior to Jones going down last year in Week 5, Ryan was on pace for more than 5,200 passing yards, 32 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He would have been a Top 5 Fantasy quarterback, and I'm expecting him to reach those heights this year as long as Jones and White are healthy.
If you're a Ryan supporter like I am, you have to hope he doesn't look too good this preseason so his ADP remains this low relative to the other quarterbacks.
Cam Newton falling: Fantasy owners should get used to seeing Newton as the No. 12 quarterback being drafted in Round 8. And depending on your feelings on Newton this season that could either be normal or a great thing.
If you believe Newton will remain a Top 5 Fantasy quarterback like he was last year then you'll be happy he falls this far. Or if you're worried about his revamped receiving corps and offensive line and his expected reduced rushing totals then you'll pass on him altogether.
I have Newton ranked No. 13, but I don't mind drafting him and pairing him with someone like Jay Cutler or Nick Foles. I'd rather start Cutler or Foles, but if they falter then Newton could step into my lineup and hopefully shine.
Running back breakdown
Andre Ellington going too high? Ellington is someone I'm excited about this season, but his price tag might be too high in Round 3 at No. 31 overall. He's going ahead of guys like Alshon Jeffery, Julius Thomas and Randall Cobb, and that could be a mistake.
Now, I understand if you want to draft Ellington, you take him when he's available. But guys like Jeffery, Thomas and Cobb are safer picks in that range with similar upside. If you can draft Ellington in late Round 3 or early Round 4 then that's probably a better spot for him.
Rookie report: This rookie class isn't getting a lot of hype, but there are plenty of quality targets for Fantasy owners in Bishop Sankey, Terrance West, Devonta Freeman, Carlos Hyde, Jeremy Hill, Tre Mason, Andre Williams, James White and Charles Sims.
Their ADP is as follows: Sankey (No. 37), West (No. 88), Freeman (No. 105), Hyde (No. 125), Hill (No. 127), Williams (No. 132), Mason (No. 136), White (No. 137) and Sims (No. 144).
Sankey should be going in Round 4, I'm OK with West and Freeman in their spots, and I love the value for Hyde, Hill, White and Sims, although their ADP could rise. Williams' ADP will definitely rise after he had a nice preseason debut against the Bills in the Hall of Fame game, and Mason might fall since he's not shining in training camp.
Three failures from last year: Three running back busts from last year in C.J. Spiller, Ray Rice and Trent Richardson, who were first-round picks in the majority of leagues, have some interesting ADP this season. None are being drafted before Round 3.
Spiller is the highest at No. 36, and he could be worth the price tag based on his upside. Rice is next at No. 51, but I expect him to fall with his two-game suspension and expected shared role with Bernard Pierce. And Richardson is at No. 56 overall, but he should rise barring a disappointing preseason. Ideally, you'd get Spiller in Round 4, Richardson in Round 5 and Rice in Round 6 – not on the same team – but that's better value for these running backs considering what happened to them last season and what their circumstances are this year.
Late-round fliers: Some great bargain buys right now in Round 10 or later are Hyde, Hill, Williams, Chris Ivory (No. 133), Stepfan Taylor (No. 137), Mark Ingram (No. 146) and Dexter McCluster (No. 148).
Ivory could easily make the Jets a tandem backfield with Chris Johnson if he can stay healthy. Taylor could help replace Rashard Mendenhall's eight touchdowns for the Cardinals as the No. 2 running back behind Ellington. Ingram could end up being better than Khiry Robinson, who is being drafted in Round 9. And McCluster could play the role of Danny Woodhead in Ken Whisenhunt's offense in Tennessee. Whisenhunt was the offensive coordinator for the Chargers last year.
Wide receiver breakdown
Target elite receivers: Last year, there were five receivers drafted in the first two rounds in the majority of leagues with Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, Dez Bryant, Julio Jones and Demaryius Thomas. Four of the five finished as Top 6 receivers with Jones missing out because of his foot injury.
This year, there are six receivers being drafted in the first two rounds (Brandon Marshall joins the previous group), with Jordy Nelson just outside the Top 24 picks at No. 25. Your Fantasy team would be in great shape if you can lock up one of those studs, and you could even try for two of them to guarantee an amazing roster.
Changing teams, changing values: Some high-profile receivers changed teams this offseason with DeSean Jackson, Emmanuel Sanders, Golden Tate, Eric Decker and Hakeem Nicks the biggest names. All are being drafted in Round 6 or later.
I like the value for Sanders (No. 68) and Tate (No. 77) the best since they get an upgrade in offense. Sanders goes from Pittsburgh to Denver, and Tate moves from Seattle to Detroit.
I don't want Jackson in Round 6 at No. 62 overall compared to Sanders or Tate with his move from Philadelphia to Washington. Decker is probably fair value at No. 97 overall going from the Broncos to the Jets, but Fantasy owners recognize the downgrade coming in his production. And Nicks is only worth a late-round flier at No. 122 overall with his move from the Giants to the Colts since he's the No. 3 receiver behind T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne.
Rookie report: This rookie class has plenty of talent with Sammy Watkins, Brandin Cooks, Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin and Odell Beckham since they were all first-round picks in the NFL Draft. But where do they stack up for Fantasy owners?
Watkins (No. 87) is being drafted in Round 7, Cooks (No. 99) and Evans (No. 108) in Round 9, Benjamin (No. 132) in Round 12 and Beckham (No. 145) in Round 13. My favorite receiver based on his opportunity and value is Cooks.
I'd be OK with Evans in Round 9 and Benjamin in Round 12. Watkins is being drafted a round too soon for my liking since I'm expecting his offense and quarterback to bring down his production. And Beckham is having trouble staying healthy.
The only other rookie receiver I'd consider drafting this year is Jordan Matthews, and his ADP is No. 143 in Round 12. He's well worth it in that spot.
Late-round picks to target: There are so many receivers being drafted in Round 10 or later that I'm excited about, including Benjamin, Marvin Jones (No. 132), Kenny Stills (No. 135), Matthews, Justin Hunter (No. 143), Jarrett Boykin (No. 144), Aaron Dobson (No. 147), Kenny Britt (No. 151), Rod Streater (No. 153) and Andre Holmes (no ADP data yet).
I wouldn't be surprised if all these guys exceed their ADP if they stay healthy.
Tight end breakdown
Gronkowski the steal of the draft? If Rob Gronkowski (knee) is 100 percent healthy and ready for Week 1, he could be the steal of the draft at No. 30 overall in Round 3. That would be more than 20 spots lower than Graham, and the two are basically equal when they play 16 games.
The difference between them is health since Gronkowski has suffered through forearm, back and knee injuries the past two years. But if you knew Gronkowski would play 16 games, and he appears on track for that this season, he will be better value than Graham based on their ADP.
Three worth discussing: Three tight ends stand out to me based on ADP with Vernon Davis (No. 49 overall), Jordan Cameron (No. 68 overall) and Dennis Pitta (No. 77 overall). I'd rather have Pitta over the other two.
He's healthy this season after last year's hip injury, and he's Joe Flacco's No. 1 target in arguably the best tight end offense in the NFL. Gary Kubiak, the Ravens' offensive coordinator, had more targets for tight ends over the past six years as the head coach for the Texans than any other team.
Now, Davis and Cameron are still Top 10 options, but Davis will regress this year and Cameron is being overhyped. Davis was the No. 2 tight end last year behind Graham with 13 touchdowns, but he averaged just six touchdowns the previous three years. If his touchdowns drop, which I expect, he'll suffer.
And Cameron, who is battling a shoulder injury, could struggle with the additional coverage he'll receive with Josh Gordon facing a season-long suspension. If Gordon's suspension is reduced then I'll change my opinion on Cameron and move him up in my rankings.
Late-round value: If you're looking for good value at tight end then put these names on your list since their ADP is in Round 8 or later: Kyle Rudolph (No. 98), Zach Ertz (No. 107), Eric Ebron (No. 111), Ladarius Green (No. 131) and Heath Miller (No. 135).
Rudolph benefits with the addition of offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who helped Cameron have a breakout season last year and has a great history with tight ends. Ertz could be a star this year as he helps the Eagles replace Jackson.
Ebron could be a red-zone threat for the Lions even as a rookie. Green is everyone's favorite breakout candidate even with Antonio Gates still on the roster. And Miller should rebound this year as the No. 2 target for Ben Roethlisberger behind Antonio Brown.