Average draft position (ADP) is one of the most important pieces of information that you can have heading in to your draft. And while your draft may be months away, it's never too early to start preparing.
Over at Fantasy Football Calculator, you can run as many mock drafts as you wish, and if you register with the site, you can track each of your drafts and access them at any time for review. The site is great for getting a feel of how your draft might go.
The more experience you have drafting, the less quick choices you have to make, thereby allowing your draft to unfold smoothly and according to your plan. So I'd advise that you head over and take a look around.
The purpose of analyzing ADP is two-fold. First, you get a gauge of where players might fall in your draft allowing you to make a plan on who you will take at each of your draft spots.
Second, ADP allows you to estimate which players are being overvalued, and conversely, which are being undervalued. And value is the name of the game when it comes to a fantasy football draft. So with that in mind, let's take a look at the average draft positions for the first round of a mock draft.
1.1 Adrian Peterson (MIN) –
"All Day", as Peterson is affectionately known, is the first overall player taken off the board. This should be no surprise as last year's debate was whether to take Peterson or Tomlinson first overall.
Peterson's now secured the top spot in a large majority of this year's drafts. Peterson's said that he is going to be running heavier this year coming in to camp with twenty more pounds on his frame.
It shouldn't significantly impact his performance. You certainly can't argue with anyone who selects Peterson with the first pick, but he is by no means a complete running back.
He's often taken out of the game on third down plays. But even not playing on third down, Peterson put up 1760 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. AP's yards may decrease slightly during the 2009 campaign, but the touchdowns should increase, making him worthy of the number one overall pick.
1.2 Michael Turner (ATL) –
Turner had a very solid, and somewhat unexpected, season in 2008 posting 1699 yards with 17 touchdowns, and finishing second among running backs in most leagues. Interestingly, Turner and Peterson are the only two running backs finishing in the top ten to not have a single receiving touchdown in all of 2008.
If you were a Turner owner last year, you no doubt remember being frustrated by his boom or bust production. Don't expect anything to change this year.
The Falcons face the NFC East with stout defenses all over their schedule. In fact, the Falcons have the worst strength of schedule for running backs based on last year's defensive numbers.
While the Falcons have added a Hall of Fame tight end in Tony Gonzalez, that addition alone won't help Turner's numbers in the upcoming season, and in fact may hurt his production. Expect to see a drop off from last seasons stats.
At the second overall player taken, Turner is currently overvalued. Watch to see how the ADP changes going in to August, as I suspect that he will drop to the fourth or fifth overall pick.
1.3 Matt Forte (CHI) –
Matt Forte was the rookie sensation last season. If you grabbed Forte in the eighth round last year, you probably rode him to a playoff game, if not the championship.
The 1238 yards and 12 total touchdowns Forte posted last year should increase this year with the addition of a gun-slinging quarterback in Jay Cutler. Additionally, Forte's sub-par 3.9 yards per carry should increase as defense won't be able to key in on the running game with a true down-field threat tossing passes.
There is always a fear of a sophomore slump, but I'd look for Forte's numbers to increase. At the third overall pick, he's valued fairly accurately, if not slightly undervalued.
1.4 Maurice Jones-Drew (JAC) –
MJD only rushed for 824 yards in 2008, but put up 1389 total yards, and 14 total touchdowns. While those stats wouldn't normally propel a player to the fourth overall pick in a fantasy draft, the departure of Fred Taylor to New England makes MJD the default feature back.
The coaching staff must believe that MJD can carry a full load, but others have their doubts. In all likelihood, some form of a RBBC between MJD and either Chauncy Washington or Greg Jones will develop.
If MJD averages more than fifteen carries a game, I would be surprised. That should still be enough to put up very nice numbers combined with his receptions.
One could make an argument for drafting MJD anywhere from 1.2 to 1.5 this year. He is currently valued fairly, and depending on what he shows during training camp, his drafted position could climb through August.
1.5 Steven Jackson (STL) –
The oft-injured Jackson missed four games last season due to injury and only rushed for 1042 yards, and 8 total touchdowns. After coming back from injury last year, Jackson posted respectable yardage totals and four touchdowns during the last five games to close out the season and averaged 21 carries per game.
As with MJD before him, Jackson's current draft position is based on talent and potential. When healthy, Jackson is a punishing runner and a goal line god.
Unfortunately, the departures of Torry Holt and Orlando Pace won't do anything to help the St. Louis running game. Assuming that Jackson can stay on the field for all sixteen games this season, expect solid output.
At the fifth overall pick, Jackson is valued accurately as there isn't a player currently below him that should go before him, and there isn't a player going before him that should go below him.
1.6 Brian Westbrook (PHI) –
Look who's turning 30. And Westy is not aging gracefully. Westbrook hasn't played a full complement of games in the last three seasons.
Don't expect that to change this year either. Last season, Westbrook's yards per carry were at an all time low of 4.0.
But Westbrook put up nice touchdown numbers totaling 14 and respectable total yardage of 1338. He finished as the ninth best running back in non-ppr leagues, and I wouldn't expect anything more this year.
While Donovan McNabb is expected to have a good year, possibly a career year, things just won't translate the same for Westbrook. If I were to draft Westy, and I wouldn't at 1.6, I would do whatever it took to make sure I grabbed LeSean McCoy later in my draft. At 1.6, Westbrook is overvalued, plain and simple.
1.7 Chris Johnson (TEN) –
Rookie sensation, part deux. I owned him in every league, and was able to grab him in the twelfth round or later: an absolute steal.
Not this year though. Johnson is still in a RBBC with LenDale "Ya, I ate it" White. White also happens to be in a contract year.
White showed up to mini camp fleet of foot and light as a feather (okay, a ton of feathers). Welcome to an actual competition, Mr. Johnson.
Chris Johnson is special in the same way that Adrian Peterson is special. Just know that.
The kid's the real deal, but his touches will continue to be limited this year. He finished the season averaging an astounding 4.89 yards per carry posting 1488 total yards and 10 touchdowns, which was good enough for only 14th best running back in non-ppr leagues.
His numbers should increase with an increase in carries from only 251 to at least 275+. In reality, Johnson is probably slightly overvalued at the seventh overall pick, but if I were in the first year of a dynasty league, or a keeper league, I'd draft him here, if not higher.
This won't be his “breakout” year (as if last year wasn't), but only after this season, when LenDale finds tastier pastures, will "CJ3" truly be able to shine (and for many years to come).
1.8 Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) –
Madden Jinx. I'm done.
Okay, I'm not done. Last year was spectacular, but let's be real.
Last season was the first time in his career that Fitzgerald played all sixteen games. The first.
Last season was also the first time that Kurt Warner played all sixteen games. Heck, it was the first time Warner played more than fourteen games in a season.
The stars and moons aligned for a magical season. One likely not to be repeated.
If Warner goes down, Fitzgerald's value plummets like Circuit City stock. If Anquan Boldin is traded, then his value drops even more.
A risky pick, at best. At 1.8, Fitzgerald is overvalued based solely on last year's performance.
As we all know, last year isn't this year. If you are going to take a wide receiver in the first round, you need to get it right. I don't think Fitzy is the right pick.
1.9 LaDainian Tomlinson (SD) –
Old reliable. King of the running backs. And look who is also pushing the wrong side of 30.
As anyone who drafted LT first overall last year can tell you, he had a bit of a down year. He still finished in the top ten, but definitely did not put forth an elite performance
LT put up a pedestrian 1536 total yards and 12 touchdowns in his down year. Not bad, but he can do better, and likely will.
Rivers proved last year that he is a solid quarterback, even without a solid running game. Because the air is now open, and LT is finally healed up, expect an increase in numbers from last year, but don't expect the old LT either.
At the ninth overall selection, LT is currently undervalued. I wouldn't draft him here in a dynasty or keeper league, but in a redraft league, I'd be thrilled to get him at the end of the first round.
1.10 DeAngelo Williams (CAR) –
The top running back last year won't be the top running back this year. Williams put up incredible numbers last year, 1515 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns, but has to push through the NFC East's defenses this year.
That alone will drop his numbers. Williams outscored all other running backs by 14 points, and put up five more touchdowns than his closet competition.
Expect those numbers to regress to the norm. At 1.10, Williams is slightly overvalued.
I couldn't argue with taking him at the end of round one, but I would feel more comfortable snagging a guy who has put up good numbers over the last couple of years, not just last year.