Drafting In Reverse 2014 Pt. 4

Drafting In Reverse 2014 Pt. 4

The Top 100 and my conclusions
By: Pete Davidson : August 18, 2014 2:15pm

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Drafting In Reverse is a series that I usually put off until later in August, but I was getting requests for it earlier than ever this year and our readers are telling me that they are drafting earlier too. As much as I would like to allow ADP to settle in some more, we exist to serve our readers, so I’m here today with the top 100 and our 2014 Drafting In Reverse Team.  I'll also give you my takeaways and my conclusions.  I hope that makes you all feel special, and of course you all are.  No, really, you are.

You’ll find my full summation at the bottom of the page, but first, let’s take a look at the top 100 players in terms of their ADP. And, remember, I used MFL ADP data here but that’s because I HAD to choose something and it seems to be the most reasonable. The ADP data listed under "ADP" is sourced from Fantasy Pros using all the major sites combined.  In prep for your individual drafts, you really need to access the ADP on the site that your league uses. If you draft live and in-person, then the data here should work well.  You can find links to all the major ADP lists, our cheat sheet and my Top 400 all in The Rotobahn.

If you missed any earlier sections in the Drafting In Reverse series, they are indexed below.

1 1 LeSean McCoy RB PHI 7 1 1 The scheme, the player and the offensive line are all big positives. He’s the easy choice up top right now.
2 2 Jamaal Charles RB KC 6 2 2 He’s value anywhere in the top five though we’re leaning McCoy at the top spot.
3 3 Adrian Peterson RB MIN 10 3 4 In PPR, AP is a step behind, but he’s in a 3-way virtual tie in standard scoring and is good value at any draft position.
4 4 Eddie Lacy RB GB 9 5 7 He's our 4th back in all formats.
5 5 Matt Forte RB CHI 9 4 5 He's percentage points behind Lacy on our board and is a solid value no matter where you take him. Getting a top five pick in straight drafts is a nice advantage this season.
7 1 Jimmy Graham TE NO 6 9 8 We roll top five backs, then Calvin and then Jimmy.
9 3 Dez Bryant WR DAL 11 13 9 He's got big upside at and after his ADP.
17 7 Jordy Nelson WR GB 9 24 23 Nelson is a fringe elite WR like Alshon Jeffery. He should go sooner than he is being taken.
19 2 Rob Gronkowski TE NE 10 29 24 There’s big risk in taking Gronk—even after his ADP, but his pre game stats are so good and they give you a big advantage at the TE position. If you lack confidence in your ability to draft well throughout the draft, then Gronk may be the wrong move. If you tend to draft strong deep teams, then Gronk here is a tactical risk that is probably worth taking.
20 10 Andre Ellington RB ARI 4 31 31 Taking him where we have him ranked has some risk as Ellington still has some things to prove in terms of durability, but he’s a steal at his ADP. In PPR, I am all over Ellington at our ranking and in larger standard leagues, I am more inclined to push the value envelope.
22 12 Doug Martin RB TB 7 23 27 With Charles Sims’ injury, it’s hard to see Martin as less than a strong RB2 and we currently have him at the tail end of the RB1s in 12-team leagues.
25 3 Julius Thomas TE DEN 4 28 28 Does Gronk scare you too much to take him? Thomas could be the guy for you then. He’ll have fewer monster games than a healthy Gronk, but he’s got a great QB and some unexplored ceiling.
32 11 Vincent Jackson WR TB 7 33 41 V-Jax should never see the fourth round, but he often does. I’m loving him at his current ADP.
33 12 Michael Floyd WR ARI 4 62 45 Huge value. Target him in round four and you have a potential steal.
36 14 Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI 4 35 42 Just like with Floyd. He can really help you if you get him in round four right around his ADP.
38 16 Roddy White WR ATL 9 46 44 His ADP is a big value in PPR and a decent one in standard too. I’m not targeting Roddy as much as some others, but he’ll do as a WR2 if he falls to you.
39 17 Ryan Mathews RB SD 10 38 53 If a RB is what you need in the fourth round or even fifth at times, Mathews is a great value. Grab Donald Brown late as a cheap but effective handcuff option.
41 4 Jordan Cameron TE CLE 4 59 47 Liking Cameron a lot at his ADP.
43 19 Percy Harvin WR SEA 4 52 46 He's got enough upside where I am liking him at his ADP. I got him in the 5th round of an MFL10 draft yesterday. I’m good with that.
44 18 Trent Richardson RB IND 10 68 56 Worth the risk in that offense and Ahmad Bradshaw is a cheap handcuff with some stand alone value.
45 20 Torrey Smith WR BAL 11 65 60 Steal. Pure and simple.
46 19 Bishop Sankey RB TEN 9 53 55 He's slipping, but they are pretty well committed to him, so he’s worth a look in round five.
47 20 Ray Rice RB BAL 11 66 64 It’ll be a tough move because he’ll be out until Week 3, but Rice has RB1 upside when he gets back. Well worth the risk if you can get over the scuzzy feel of having him on your roster.
48 21 Chris Johnson RB NYJ 11 60 71 71? CJ at 71 is theft.
49 22 Toby Gerhart RB JAC 11 47 52 Don’t reach for him, but he’s a decent option at his ADP and he has some upside if he can stay healthy.
54 5 Vernon Davis TE SF 8 44 57 Solid value but I am not targeting him.
55 22 Eric Decker WR NYJ 11 90 77 He's a steal every year and 2014 is no different. We have the loss of Manning baked into his rating, but he is STILL a big bargain. Decker is nice action in the 6th or even 7th round.
58 24 Frank Gore RB SF 8 48 70 He's well worth the risk this late, and you can grab Hyde shortly thereafter. Locking up the 49ers ground attack without using a premium pick is a great move if you can pull it off.
59 25 Joique Bell RB DET 9 72 67 He's a value, especially in PPR.
61 26 Marques Colston WR NO 6 77 80 How can he be going this late? I drafted him at 75 overall in a 12-team non-PPR expert league the other day. Madness.
62 26 Lamar Miller RB MIA 5 94 85 The Dolphins’ weak OL limits his upside, but we expect plenty of touches.
67 6 Jordan Reed TE WAS 10 83 74 He has some concussion concerns, but he appears to be doing well in camp and he has huge weekly upside especially in PPR.
68 29 Mike Wallace WR MIA 5 80 75 If you get him at his ADP, you nabbed some nice cheap upside.
69 7 Colin Kaepernick QB SF 8 71 76 I’ll be very happy to land Kaepernick at his ADP. I landed him in the 9th round just a few days ago. #Steal
73 9 Jay Cutler QB CHI 9 101 83 Currently one of the better values out there at any position. Another reason why you can wait at QB.
74 30 Golden Tate WR DET 9 84 92 A bargain WR3 at his ADP.
76 11 Russell Wilson QB SEA 4 95 95 Wilson’s ADP is a great reason to hold off on a QB.
78 30 Stevan Ridley RB NE 10 79 93 Ridley is a conundrum, but he has big upside at his current ADP.
80 7 Greg Olsen TE CAR 12 73 82 Nice value at his ADP. He’s a staple of the Panthers’ offense.
92 32 Carlos Hyde RB SF 8 132 98 He's a potential steal at his ADP. Go to The Rotobahn and check out his scouting report if you don’t know his game.




The Takeaways

Now that we’ve isolated all the value in the player pool, let’s draw some conclusions.

  • RB3-level running backs go on forever. For those who’ve been around a while, this is a breed of RB that scarcely used to exist back in the days of bell cow backs. It wasn’t that long ago that the first two rounds of fantasy drafts were dominated by running backs. More and more, even in the early rounds, it’s just another position. Don’t get me wrong. The true bell cows are still the most valuable commodities in the game, and they get drafted that way. What’s crucial for the fantasy GM is to understand where the drop-offs are. Once the true studs and almost studs are gone, you get to a point where receiver is stronger than running back. This is most evident in the second round. As we showed you in Part 1, there are high upside backs who are slipping through large leagues. You can find potential home run hitters very deep in drafts.
  • Flex-level receivers go on forever. They almost never run out, even in the deeper leagues. With so many teams running three-wide as a base offense or close to it, there are more options that ever before. That means you should never reach for light-weight WR3 or flex options while there is more scarce talent around. High-upside WR3-level receivers are a different story. Kenny Britt and Brian Hartline may have similar value, but in a world of Hartline-types, I will go with Britt’s upside despite the risk that comes with it. I can always find a Hartline.
  • Quarterback depth is absurd. While desirable starting options do run out eventually, there are more of them than ever before. Based on ADP, you can push the envelop until at least the 170s. It’s up to you to read the draft you are in and act accordingly, but I like getting a starter some time after round six and then getting my backup some time after round 11. QB is not a friendly position very late in large leagues. I want to be drafting the other positions at that stage if possible.
  • High upside talent spills over well past the top 100 players. That means you had better be getting good talent in the 11th and 12th rounds. Do not fall off your game just because you look great after eight. You put yourself over the top by going the distance and getting the top talent all the way through. Hold off on that booze on draft night. Toast your success after the draft.
  • Tight end is very deep and you can usually get starting caliber options as late as round 14 in 12-team drafts. TEs with upside are on the board all the way through even the deepest drafts. It’s a go-to position any time you need value, so do not over-fill it too early.
  • Patience is rewarded at most of the fantasy positions and DEF is certainly one of them. I’m liking what I get in the late teens. I usually end up with the Browns or Bucs around the 17th round and that’s just fine by me.


The Drafting In Reverse Team 2014


Just to be clear.  This is not an ideal team. I gave us no breaks here.  We drafted from a non-premium position (7th) and all our players were taken at or before their ADP.  In a real draft, you will have the benefit of slipping players and that should give you even more high-end talent based on our rankings. Think of this team as a near worst case scenario or a conservative estimate.


Final Thoughts

After going through this exercise, my general feelings on this year’s draft class have been confirmed, at least in my view. There is more depth than ever before. The odds of getting boxed out at QB, WR, TE or DEF are infinitesimal, and I always recommend drafting kickers last if you must draft one at all. My preference is to add one before my first game to keep my options open.

The one position where you still need a strong plan is running back. That said, it’s probably best to use a fresh plan versus sticking with the old methods. What I want, is a solid ground game with as much upside as I can safely acquire plus one or ideally two predictably strong receivers who are weekly locks as starters. The rest of my draft will be comprised of as many upside options I can jam onto my roster. The overall strength of the projected free agent pool means that I am very unafraid of missing once I’ve taken care of my essentials.

In short, with a talent pool this deep, you will ultimately win with studs. The team with the most studs will probably win. Be that team. Look for players with the potential to drastically outperform their draft positions. Take the Latimers over the Hartlines. Take the Hydes over the MJDs and take the Hunters over the Bowes. There’s a bowhunter joke in there but I’m moving too fast to think it out.

Obviously, you’ll need a team when you are done. We can’t just take all the highest upside guys with every selection or we could end up with a dysfunctional unit. So you may have to make a strategical concession here or there. Just remember, we will have your back protected once free agency begins, so once you have a team put together, swing for the fences. That’s how you win in 2014.