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Early ADP Trends – What do they mean?

Who says you have to draft a running back in the first round? Those who abide by this principal are merely conformists in the big picture, but 2009 could be the season that these conformists may rule the fantasy world. Why?

After taking a peek at the
MyFantasyLeague.com early ADP Rankings from the 84 drafts that were conducted as of June 7th – 3:00 p.m. CST, I found it very peculiar that of the Top 12 overall players, there sat three: count ‘em – uno, dos, tres – wide receivers named Fitzgerald and Johnson. So I did what any other good writer or fantasy owner would do and compared this year’s early, staggering results to those of the last two seasons, and thanks to Tony’s brilliant plan to keep a history of ADPs, I was able to bring you what you see below.

Top 30 ADP Results (Number of players drafted at each position in re-draft format in percentage form)





















I chose to use the re-draft format only because with dynasty drafts going on it could skew the early results.

Other Notes:

In 2007, 13 running backs ranked in the Top 14 picks.   
In 2008, two quarterbacks and one wide receiver ranked in the Top 12 overall.   
The last time a tight end ranked in the Top 30 was 2006, when Antonio Gates ranked 27th.

Based on the data that I collected I came to a few conclusions:  

1) Based on the down trend of percentages when it comes to running backs being taken in the Top 30 overall, it’s safe to assume that fantasy owners are starting to sway away from the Stud RB Theory.

2) Based on the fact that no tight end is in the Top 30 and hasn’t been for three years, it’s safe to assume that the position has evolved and now it’s becoming more irrelevant to draft a tight end in the first three or four rounds of any fantasy draft.

3) Based on the data, it’s clear that the new “Running back by Committee” fad is keeping fantasy owners from going on a running back frenzy.

4) And finally, and this one is most important, based on the upward trend of wide receivers being taken in the Top 30, it’s safe to say that not only has the NFL game evolved to encourage big plays from some of the dancing, prancing pass-catchers, but the game of fantasy football is evolving as well to encourage more points for wide receivers in an effort that can be defined by one league format – PPR, or Points Per Reception.

What’s even more compelling is that until now you couldn’t find three wide receivers ranked in the Top 12. In fact, since 1999, two wide receivers have ranked in the Top 12 just twice before this (upcoming) season. As of right now, Larry Fitzgerald ranks fifth overall, Calvin Johnson eighth and Andre Johnson ninth.

Now I do realize it is probably too early to start making a solid case for this to be a normal occurrence in every fantasy draft, but the signs are pointing in that direction. Yes, ADP can be manipulated, but more times than not it sheds a valid light on what fantasy owners are to expect when they prepare for their upcoming draft(s).

The bottom line is that if there was any year to reap the benefits of still believing in the Stud RB Theory, it’s 2009. With higher value being placed upon guys like Fitzgerald, Johnson (pick one), and even Greg Jennings (13th overall) there are bound to be a few running back steals to be had in the first three rounds; you just have to know where to find them.

Good luck as you prepare for your 2009 fantasy draft.

Thanks for reading!


This article was strictly meant to be informational.

Eric Huber is a staff writer for FantasySharks. You can now follow him on

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