Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide: Understanding Fantasy Baseball ADP
Published: Feb 20, 2023
Updated: Mar 09, 2023
It is fantasy baseball draft season and it is time for you to start ramping up your draft prep. Whether you are playing in a regular home league or gearing up for some high-stakes work with the National Fantasy Baseball Championships (NFBC), draft day and the start of the 2023 MLB season will be here before you know it, so you want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row. How you actually prepare is entirely up to you, but if you are new to the game or just looking for a way to get over that hump and finally win your first championship, then you should explore fantasy baseball mock drafts and have a very firm grasp of what ADP (Average Draft Position) is and how you can use both to your advantage.
The landscape of the fantasy industry has changed dramatically and money continues to be a driving force. As such, many people have mistakenly replaced mock drafting with best ball drafts so they have some sort of monetary stake in doing a full draft. While I will always recommend playing in some best ball leagues, especially if you dive head-first into your draft prep nice and early, they should not be used to replace a good, solid mock draft. Why? Because best ball draft strategy is not the same as draft strategy for a 12-team league that gets played out with roster and lineup changes, trades and free agent signings. Maybe you think it’s close, but we’re not looking for ‘close.’ We’re looking for accuracy and championships.
This is why I run something called the Mock Draft Army. Some of you may already know what this is. If not, keep reading and I will explain it. For now, let’s take a look at exactly what ADP is, how you use it and why it is important.
What is ADP (Average Draft Position)?
The definition of ADP is pretty straightforward. It is a number calculated based on where a player is drafted in a series of both real and mock drafts. Usually, the number is taken from a series of drafts on a particular site so that when someone says Jose Altuve has an ADP of 36 on ESPN, it means he is usually being drafted somewhere in the third round of 12-team drafts on ESPN.com. To oversimplify just a bit, you can take a player’s ADP and divide by the number of teams in a league and that gives you a rough estimate as to in which round, he is being taken.
Why do you use ADP?
The main function of ADP is to get a look at where most people are taking a particular player in their drafts. It has everything to do with public perception and absolutely nothing to do, or at least it shouldn’t, with how a player is ranked. If a low-ranked player seems to be climbing up draft boards and has a steadily increasing ADP each week, you know that people like him enough to start taking him earlier and earlier in drafts. Conversely, if a guy’s ADP is dropping each week, he is obviously falling out of favor with the public. It is a little early in the spring to provide examples of any real dramatic shifts, but once position battles start to be won and lost, you should be able to track which players the public is high on based on how fast they climb up the ADP charts. This is particularly helpful when bullpens begin to take more shape and managers name who their team’s closer will be.
Know the source of your ADP
Unfortunately, too many people just blindly accept ADP numbers as truth without ever understanding where the numbers actually come from. The reason I started the Mock Draft Army was because I was seeing far too many computer players in mock drafts on the bigger sites. I was also seeing a lot of people start the draft, take players through the first six rounds and then flip to auto-pick and leave the draft room. The big problem with that is the ADP numbers simply become an extension of the site’s default rankings. If the computer players are making selections or people are on auto-pick, then all they are doing is pulling players off the board in the same order the site has them ranked. For me, the best source for ADP right now is the National Fantasy Baseball Championships (NFBC). Every draft has a live player making their own selections for the entire draft and you can also adjust the date-range for drafts so you are getting the most recent and accurate numbers.
ADP is a guideline, not the gospel
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve repeatedly witnessed is when someone really wants a player but says, “well, their ADP says I don’t take them until the next round, so I’ll wait.” When someone snipes their player, they get frustrated and start complaining about ADP numbers and how stupid they are. No. Not the case at all. First of all, my philosophy has always been, if you want a particular player, get him. Don’t be stupid and use a first-round choice on a guy you can probably get in the sixth or seventh round, but if a guy’s ADP says eighth round, you can take him in the sixth or seventh if you really want him and don’t think he’s going to make it back to you. No harm in that. It's supposed to be a fun game anyway, isn't it?
Second, you need to remember that most ADP numbers are made up from a variety of different style drafts. There’s standard roto, head-to-head, mixed leagues, AL-only, 12-team, 15-team, etc. You must ALWAYS take into consideration your league’s rules and roster guidelines. You need to remember things like ‘no trading’ in the NFBC which tends to elevate the ADP of certain players such as starting pitchers and closers. You can look at a player’s ADP for a rough estimate of where he is going, but you have to study the flow of your draft. Are people drafting in accordance with typical ADP numbers or is the Yankees fan in your league drafting Gleyber Torres much earlier than his ADP numbers dictate? Your draft is a very fluid thing and your use of ADP should be used accordingly.
What is the Mock Draft Army and why should I join?
If you are interested in doing legitimate fantasy baseball mock drafts, then you should definitely sign up for the Mock Draft Army. Tired of not being able to find a good mock draft or ADP that didn’t look identical to the site’s default rankings, I put together a group that would do a variety of mock drafts each week as a way to prep for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. Members of the Fantasy Alarm #FAmily joined up in droves, as did listeners to SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and those who happened upon us in their search for proper mock drafting. So what I did was I began to fill half the draft spots with analysts from the industry – Adam Ronis, Jeff Erickson, Todd Zola, Ray Flowers, Vlad Sedler, just to name a few – and then the other half was filled with subscribers and listeners. The drafts became so legendary, I had to put them on hold after a while because there were just too many people to accommodate.
This year, we’re going to pare it down a little but to ensure its effectiveness and keep it manageable. I have an extensive list of analysts ready to mock draft right now, but will open the sign-ups to the public in a limited fashion. If you would like to take part, all you have to do is sign up for at least a free account here at Fantasy Alarm. Once you are registered, you can email me at email@example.com and let me know you would like to be added to the Mock Draft Army email list.
That about covers it. It’s really not that complicated. Mock drafts are an awesome way to prepare for your big day and using ADP will help you as you hone your draft skills. Keep a copy handy when you’re in the war room, but again, use it properly. If you do, you’ll be unstoppable.
Related MLB Links:
- 2023 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide
- 2023 Fantasy Baseball MLB Preseason Projections
- 2023 MLB Fantasy Baseball Rankings
- Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide: Top 5 Fantasy Baseball Catchers
- Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide: Fantasy Baseball First Base Position Depth
- Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide: Fantasy Baseball Second Base Position Depth
- Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide: Fantasy Baseball Third Base Position Depth
- Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide: Fantasy Baseball Shortstop Position Depth