Fantasy Football Rankings 2013: Players Who Will Outclass Average Draft Position

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIAugust 14, 2013

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 25:  Cecil Shorts III #84 of the Jacksonville Jaguars celebrates following a touchdown during the game against the Tennessee Titans at EverBank Field on November 25, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The 2013 NFL regular season is approaching, and fantasy football is taking the world by storm. That seems to be the case with every passing year, as fans try their hand at ownership via the fantasy approach.

The question is, which NFL players will outperform their average draft positions?

ESPN calculates a player's average draft position, or ADP, in the exact manner that it sounds. The position in which these players are selected is averaged out through every draft held, thus resulting in a player's ADP.

As one might imagine, certain players are rated lower than expected.

Fortunately, there is a way to avoid relying too heavily upon the ADP in order to find the proverbial diamonds in the rough. Evaluating statistics and studying a player's current situation, for instance, will offer insight into how productive he will be.

After all, fantasy football is all about the numbers.


Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts

ADP: 75.7

Position: Running Back

Age: 27

Experience: 7 Seasons

2012 Season Statistics

14 GP; 221 CAR, 1,015 YDS, 6 TD; 23 REC, 245 YDS


According to ESPN's fantasy football player rankings, Ahmad Bradshaw is the No. 29 running back in the NFL. That has Bradshaw checking in with an average draft position of 75.7.

Injuries play a major role in that, but let's be real—the Indianapolis Colts have needed a running back since Edgerrin James, and Bradshaw promises to carry a heavy workload.

Despite missing two games last season, Bradshaw managed to top 1,000 yards rushing and found the end zone six times. On a Colts team with a potential superstar at quarterback and a cast of playmakers at wide receiver, those numbers are likely to be duplicated, if not improved.

Quote me on this: If he stays healthy, Bradshaw will outproduce at least half of the running backs in front of him.

Bradshaw's ability to break into the open field will be on full display in Indianapolis, against which opposing defenses remain focused on the quarterback position. Unlike his experience with the New York Giants, there won't be countless running backs biting into his playing time, either.

This all adds up to one ting: Bradshaw, who carried the ball 13 times or fewer in seven separate games during his 1,000-yard campaign, will have a monster season.


Greg Jennings, Minnesota Vikings

ADP: 80.6

Position: Wide Receiver

Age: 29

Experience: 8th Season

2012 Season Statistics

8 GP, 36 REC, 366 YDS, 4 TD


Greg Jennings is 29 years old and has missed 11 games over the past two seasons due to injury. With that being said, there's one question that we must ask that will define Jennings' value as a receiver.

Who else does Christian Ponder have to throw to on the Minnesota Vikings?

Kyle Rudolph is a star tight end, but his Pro Bowl bid came as a result of 53 receptions for 493 yards in 2012. If that's not enough, only two other players had more than 40 receptions in 2012.

Both of those players, Percy Harvin and Michael Jenkins, are playing elsewhere in 2013.

Cordarrelle Patterson has upside, and Rudolph is a touchdown machine, but the former is a rookie who projects to be amongst the first-year players who serve as secondary options. Jennings, meanwhile, will be Ponder's top option.

As for why that's important, 80 percent of Jennings' 425 career receptions have gone for either a first down or touchdown.

Not only does this bode well for Jennings' production in Minnesota, but it means fantasy owners will reap the benefits of drafting him. Adrian Peterson will force opposing defenses to attack the backfield, leaving Jennings available against man coverage on deep and intermediate routes.

Jennings' health offers rationale for his ADP dropping to 80.6, but for a player with a career average of 15.4 yards per reception, Minnesota is a dream fit.


Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars

ADP: 83.2

Position: Wide Receiver

Age: 25

Experience: 3rd Season

2012 Season Statistics

14 GP, 55 REC, 979 YDS, 7 TD


Despite playing with what was arguably the worst quarterback crew in the NFL, Cecil Shorts managed to catch 55 passes for 979 yards and seven touchdowns during the 2012 regular season. More impressively, Shorts did this while playing in 14 games, receiving five or fewer targets in four of his first five.

With the Jacksonville Jaguars improving their offensive line and Blane Gabbert entering a shine-or-bust season, expect Shorts to top 1,000 yards.

The Jaguars were in complete disarray last season, but in 2013 they promise to be significantly better on offense. Maurice Jones-Drew projects to be healthy after playing just six games in 2012, and Justin Blackmon's improvements paralleled those of Shorts.

Jacksonville may not have an answer at quarterback, but it has its two star wide receivers of the future.

Blackmon will be a force to watch, but it's Shorts who offers the most intrigue here. No. 1 cornerbacks will focus on Blackmon, and Shorts topped 100 yards receiving in four of his final eight games in 2012.

Specifically in point-per-reception leagues, Shorts will be a fantasy football star in 2013.