We are still a few months away from draft season, but it’s never too early to start doing legwork in preparation for the big day. In order to minimize your reaches, it’s usually a good idea to know what the general masses are doing.
So throughout the next few months, I’ll be tracking the most current mock drafts and spotlighting various trends and average draft positions (ADP's) that are on the move throughout the offseason.
There are a few notable trends from early mock drafts. The top six in standard scoring leagues seem to be dialed in with Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Ray Rice and Michael Turner and Frank Gore.
Beyond that, the drafts are opening up a bit. I’ll briefly go through each position and as the offseason moves along, I will update the movers and shakers.
Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers appear to have solidified themselves as the top tier at quarterback, with each going in the first 15 picks.
After that, Tom Brady goes off the board around the 25-26th slot; then the next quarterback run is occurring around the 35th pick, where four quarterbacks (Philip Rivers, Tony Romo, Matt Schaub and Ben Roethlisberger) are going among the 35th-50th positions.
After this point, some of the notable names include Jay Cutler (the 15th quarterback taken), Vince Young (16th quarterback) and Brett Favre (20th quarterback). Cutler in particular interests me greatly at this point if early returns remain true. Favre undoubtedly will rise if/when he declares himself fit for another season.
Once the top six running backs are off the table (see above), the position in general is falling as it appears that QB and WR are being addressed more frequently in the second round.
And that number could increase, as right now, Shonn Greene and Jamaal Charles are being selected in the first 20 picks. I actually think both of them could drop a little in the coming weeks now that there are names attached (Tomlinson, Thomas Jones) to the carries they'll be sharing with.
Not very much love being given to LeSean McCoy, whose ADP is 34th among running backs. McCoy is being drafted after guys like Ricky Williams (31st) and Justin Forsett (32nd). Keep an eye on that as he offers magnificent value at that spot.
Felix Jones (36th) is another running back that is being drafted later than initially expected, but I fully expect both Jones and McCoy to start trending upwards as draft season gets closer.
An average of 13 wide receivers are being drafted in the first 32 picks, led by Andre Johnson (No.7 ADP overall) and Larry Fitzgerald (No.10 ADP overall). Between the middle of the second round to the middle of the third round is where the monster run on WR is occurring.
This presents an interesting dilemma to those that draft at the end of round 1. This run almost forces teams at the back end of round 1 to take a wide receiver with one of their first two picks.
If they go the old school route and draft RB-RB in the first two rounds—waiting until the third round to address their WR1, they could be choosing from guys like Santonio Holmes, Brandon Marshall and Steve Smith(s) as their lynch pin.
Dallas Clark and Antonio Gates appear to be the elite this year, with both having an ADP between the 30-35th slots.
After that, Vernon Davis leads the next wave of tight ends, along with Jason Witten and Tony Gonzalez. And if early returns are any indication, forget getting value on Jermichael Finley, as he is being selected as the 6th tight end, just five overall ADP picks behind Tony Gonzalez.
A couple guys that aren’t getting early love include Brent Celek and Kellen Winslow (12th and 13th among tight ends, respectively).
Brandon Pettigrew and Zach Miller (Raiders) are a couple of other guys that are not being drafted nearly as high as their potential/consistency would suggest. If these trends continue, these players could present tremendous value for fantasy teams waiting until the later rounds to draft their tight end.
Written by Jon Rascon
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