3 Year ADP Grade vs. Final Fantasy Rank: Wide Receiver
Every season fantasy fanatics everywhere have cheat sheets they like to put together. Some prefer to buy them, some spend hours, days, and weeks pulling data and tweaking numbers until they get a system they are mostly happy with. This season, I decided to take my cheat sheet one step further and offer it up here at FantasyData for everyone to use. I have used our historical ADP data along with our stats and season leaders tools to give a unique look at each position. We are going to use a three-year sample size here and compare average draft positions (ADP) vs final ranks (FR) to see which players commonly under or overperform each season. We'll also look at points per game (PPG) totals and ranks to hopefully give you a completely zoomed out, unbiased look at past performances and how they relate to each player's 2019 ADP. If you are into the value-based drafting (VBD) strategy or just prefer a more risk-averse approach on draft day, this is your dream sheet.
My goal with providing this information is also to eliminate too much opinion and look purely at what has happened and then that gives you a jumping-off point to decide for yourself where things will go in 2019. Yearly consensus ADPs are a great indicator of popular opinion, but we will also look here at how often past ADPs have been accurate for each player. I will still give some notes on players that really stand out to me based on this info. I should also mention that since we are looking at three-year samples here, rookies and second-year players won't be included. This is a lovechild of mine that I have spent countless hours on, I hope it helps you better prepare for fantasy drafts this season!
Quick Glossary of Primary Columns
- 2019 ADP vs 3Y ADP Diff: 2019 Average Draft Position vs Three-Year Average Draft Position Differential (column AD)
- 3Y ADP/FR Diff: Three-Year Average Draft Position vs Three-Year Average Final Rank Differential (column AE)
- 2019 ADP vs 3YAFR Diff: 2019 Average Draft Position vs Three-Year Average Final Rank Differential (column AF)
Other 3 Year ADP Grade vs. Rank Articles
2019 ADPs vs Three Year ADPs
Positive Value Plays
There is so much data to filter and sort through here and we will primarily be looking at the last three columns below (AD-AF) for the premise of this article, though there is a wealth of additional information for you to comb through and help develop your own opinions. We will start by filtering strictly ADP data first. Here are the top-24 players whose 2019 ADP has dropped significantly compared to their 3Y ADP. To follow along and analyze these numbers a little more for yourself, this first filter is basically comparing the difference between column T and column U to give us the value in column AD. The number values in column AD represent the exact number of spots players have fallen in 2019 compared to their 3Y ADP, giving them a positive draft value.
A few names stand out to me here as intriguing values. Randall Cobb was being drafted as the WR19 as recent as 2016 and if you look just outside this three-year window, he was an early-second round pick in 2015 as the WR7 in fantasy drafts. He doesn't have the pleasure of Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball anymore, but he is still in good hands in Dallas and there is little risk in taking him at his current ADP in the WR79 range. Cobb has finished 21.7 spots higher than his 2019 ADP on average over the last three years.
Zay Jones is another player whose 2019 ADP value is really interesting. Josh Allen is all the rage as a sleeper pick at QB to take a step forward this year, yet Jones, who will likely operate as the team's WR1, has seen his ADP drop from WR86 in 2018 to WR98 in 2019 despite the fact that he finished 2018 as the overall WR35.
Nelson Agholor is the last interesting player to me personally here whose value ranks in the top-10. The former first-round draft pick is in the final year of his rookie contract and has yet to really be the guy he was drafted to be. With most expecting Carson Wentz to regain MVP form this season, Agholor is an intriguing pick super late with his WR87 ADP. He was being drafted as the WR37 just last year and actually beat that out finishing as the WR34, though he did so in unspectacular fashion averaging just 10.3 PPG which ranked 51st amongst WRs.
Golden Tate is another veteran who has had a change of scenery since his days as a fantasy star. Tate also is dealing with a four-game suspension to open the season so his value will likely continue to grow as his ADP drops. The Giants are a hot mess on offense this season outside of Saquon Barkley, but Tate's ability to create yards after the catch could make him less reliant on quality QB play. He ranked first amongst all WRs with 636 yards after the catch in 2017 and finished 11th in 2018 despite being traded mid-season. It's harder to gauge a current value for players like him based on past data since his situation has completely changed.
A.J. Green's injury woes continue as his ADP has slipped each of the last three years. He is expected to miss the first few weeks of action, but depending on how far he does fall in drafts, he could provide value if he is able to come back and stay on the field. Green has still been a menace when active with a 16.5 3YA PPG total which ranks sixth amongst WRs.
Larry Fitzgerald has been a lock for all of my rosters this season. I am buying into the Cardinals new air-raid offense behind Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury and think that "Larry Legend" can muster up one more year of near-elite production. Fitzgerald is one of few players who gave me a green light across the board this season in my research when looking at his 2019 ADP vs 3YA ADP (+11), 3YA ADP vs final rank differential (+9.7), and 2019 ADP vs 3YA final rank differential (+20.7). We'll get further into the details of the other two differential categories below, but basically, it tells us that Fitz has finished higher than his ADP over the last three years on average and his 2019 ADP is about 20 spots lower than his average final rank over that span as well. There's lots of wiggle room here at hi current price.
Alshon Jeffery popping up on this list alongside Nelson Agholor is interesting because it shows that there is some value in the Eagles WR corps despite the thought that the offense will still run strong this season. Jeffery's ADP was on the decline each year between 2016-2018 falling to WR34 last year. His value is back on the rise slightly this season with an ADP of WR28 which is actually two spots lower than he finished last season. 2018 was the only season in the last three years where Alshon managed to beat out his ADP, so there is still a little risk here, but you're getting a guy who should run as his team's WR1 at a backend WR2 price point.
Negative Value Plays
Now we will basically flip that filter in the same column and look at which WRs 2019 ADP shows signs of risk based on their 3Y ADP. Some of these are a little skewed based on the fact that guys like Adam Thielen and JuJu Smith-Schuster recently had crazy low ADPs in the WR100+ range as you can see by looking at their past years below. We have seen enough from some of them to know that the risk isn't potentially as high as shown here and that will show up in a minute when we look at 3YA ADPs vs final ranks (column AE, the next column over), but it is food for thought that these guys weren't locked in elite performers or prospects from day one.
This is a good indicator though for guys who haven't really broken out yet. If they pop up on this list, you are basically paying for a breakout that hasn't happened yet leaving little room for error. Also, players like Tyler Boyd and Tyler Lockett show up on here because they are just coming off a breakout year but have a history of being drafted much lower in the past, so buying them now at this price is assuming they maintain their 2018 breakout level of performance.
Starting near the top here, the first name that stands out to me as an unproven risk is Curtis Samuel. Coming into his third year, Samuel is expected to take a big jump as he is being drafted as the WR44 despite his best finish so far was WR49 last season. This is an even bigger jump considering he finished 2017 as the WR115. Devin Funchess is now gone and Cam Newton's long-time favorite target Greg Olsen is waining which bodes well for Samuel and he is an impressive playmaker. I just struggle to see him involved constantly enough to pay up for him and we still don't know for sure how healthy Cam's shoulder is.
Geronimo Allison is a huge risk in my opinion and it shows up here. We have a very small sample showing Allison could be decent, but his ADP basically seems entirely fueled based on his situation. He hasn't finished a season better than WR100 yet in his career which is a huge red flag.
Dede Westbrook had a mini-breakout last season finishing as the WR33 which has boosted him to be drafted 42 spots higher than his 3Y ADP this season coming in at WR40. I'm buying the Jaguars offense this season with Nick Foles under center. The Jags also have one of the easiest strength of schedules when looking at opposing pass defenses. Westbrook finished last season seven spots higher than his 2019 ADP so I am not too worried about this risk.
Will Fuller is being drafted 26 spots higher than his 3Y ADP this season despite the fact that he is coming off another injury-plagued performance. Fuller has a legitimate connection with Deshaun Watson and that was evident due to the fact that Fuller managed to average 15.2 PPG last season. He still only registered a final rank of WR69 despite being drafted as WR31. Fuller gives red flags across the board in this research as he has a negative value in his current ADP vs 3YA ADP (-26), he has finished six spots lower than his ADP on average over the last three years, and his 2019 ADP is 32 spots higher than his 3YA final rank of WR65. He's your classic high ceiling/low floor WR who can give top-10 upside on a given week, but when looking at a larger sample size like last season, for example, his 15.2 PPG ranked 20th at WR which you could use to argue as his potential final rank ceiling if he plays all 16 games.
I've been buying Cooper Kupp at his current ADP, but this has me slightly worried about my stock there. Kupp is being drafted 19 spots higher than his 3YA ADP and 10 spots higher than his ADP last season despite an injury-shortened 2018 campaign. Kupp's saving grace was his 16.9 PPG total last season which ranked 14th amongst wideouts, but his 2019 ADP is currently 16 spots higher than his 3YA final rank.
Three Year ADPs vs Final Ranks
This is one of the more interesting parts of this research. This compares how player's ADPs have compared to their final ranks over the last three years on average. We are comparing the difference between column U and column V to get the values in the highlighted column, AE. So, this is where we really see who is actually paying off at their draft price and who isn't. As always with samples like this, a completely lost season is going to tank your average, so that is something to consider here. But there is a difference between single-season outliers and repeat offenders that we will identify.
Positive Value Plays
Like I mentioned with the negative value plays above where their 2019 ADP didn't show as a value based on their 3Y ADP, this kind of counteracts that with the big-name receivers. So Thielen, Tyreek, and JuJu all show up as crushing their 3Y ADP because they were ranked so low to start their career but have ascended. What is interesting here and provides more value are the lesser names like Taylor Gabriel and Mohamed Sanu. These guys have quietly provided flex value with little-to-no expectations coming into each season.
Sanu, in particular, has beaten out his ADP in each of the last three years and has a 3YA final rank of WR37, which itself ranks 26th amongst WRs and matches that of Tyrell Williams who is being drafted 13 spots higher in 2019.
Chris Godwin is another guy who has a solid track record of beating his ADP which can take away a little bit of the risk from his 2019 ADP. He is still being drafted under the assumption that he will have a career year which isn't terribly uncommon for third-year receivers. Bruce Arians took over as coach and the departure of Adam Humphries all bode well for Godwin.
Robert Woods has beaten out his ADP by at least 30 spots in each of the last two seasons. That won't be possible now that he is being drafted as the WR17, but his 2019 ADP has regression built into it after he finished WR11 last season.
Nothing was expected of Tyler Boyd last season as evidenced by his WR120 ADP. That makes his finish as WR17 all the more impressive. This has helped buffer his ADP vs FR differential and negate the fact that he did not pay off his ADP of WR56 in 2016 or even WR81 in 2017. I'm weary on Boyd as the real deal.
Kenny Stills is an interesting positive value play this season. If you like the thought of guys like Will Fuller or Robby Anderson but can't quite swallow their draft price, Stills can offer similar weekly upside at a huge discount. The peaks and valleys are a little more volatile, but that's included in his draft price. If the Dolphins can get more competent QB play this season than what they have seen the last couple years Stills would be a major benefactor. He beat out his ADP two of the last three seasons topping out at WR28 in 2017 where he managed two individual weeks inside the top-three and an additional week inside the top-10.
Negative Value Plays
Now, this is where you don't want your guys to be. These are guys whose 3YA final rank (column V) has not matched their 3Y ADPs (column U). Busts. Again, with averages, a completely lost season like Keenan Allen had will sink your score. If you look at the individual years it kind of helps you see what each player's trend is. You want at least two of the last three seasons to be green in these. Here we go.
Allen Robinson had that one bad year as Keenan Allen did, but A-Rob actually hasn't paid off on his ADP in each of the last three seasons so it has been pretty much all disappointment from him lately. OBJ was also crushed by one bad year, but also hasn't actually paid off on his ADP in each of the last three seasons. That is admittedly going to be harder for him to do when his 3Y ADP is WR3.
Training camp MVP DeVante Parker, not a surprise on this list here. The silver lining to Parker is his 2019 ADP is a "value" based on his 3Y ADP, but when he has missed his ADP by 26 spots on average it's not worth it.
Corey Davis has yet to live up to his expectations in the league and that shows with his negative value here. Davis just barely missed breaking even last season, missing his ADP by one spot. He offers a very small value (+4.5) in his 2019 ADP.
Donte Moncrief has failed to live up to the modest expectations we have had for him at his 3Y ADP of WR51 by registering a 3YA final rank of WR70.7. Even on the Steelers now there is little value in risking a later pick on him. That risk will continue to grow if second-year wideout James Washington can take over the WR2 role through the preseason.
This could finally be the year Amari Cooper lives up to the lofty expectations that are always set on him. Cooper has notoriously busted as a backend WR1 each year and comes in with an average final rank of WR23. That's a WR2, folks.
2019 ADP vs Three Year Average Final Ranks
This is the last piece of the puzzle here and probably the most useful column to look at heading into drafts (column AF). This shows us who is most likely to outperform or underperform their 2019 ADP based on their 3YA final ranks. We will start to see some trends here with some of the players we have seen before in positive and negative values. The number listed below is the exact amount of spots each player has finished above or below their current ADP on average.
Positive Value Plays
We are just going to continue to ignore Demaryius Thomas on top of this list for now due to the fact that he started the season on the PUP list and isn't really a lock to make the final roster. This is why his value is so much higher right now than it really should be. Another guy who is looking iffy to start the season healthy is Marqise Lee. That could bode well for Keelan Cole if he can jump into starting three-wide receiver sets, but the early sounds of camp have Westbrook, Chark, and Conley as the primary trio.
Nelson Agholor pops up again making me think we are all too low on him entering the season. It's never too late to break out and no better time to do it than in a contract year. Fellow Eagle DeSean Jackson pulls up on the bottom of this list who is also an intriguing flyer if he can get in touch with his previous form in Philly.
Gabriel and Sanu continue to show up as value plays, though they don't exactly offer a ton of upside to get excited about. Kenny Stills again is more of the boom/bust type and primed to outperform his ADP this season. Miami, in general, is a complete enigma right now to the fantasy world, so it's worth the dart throw on Stills to find out.
Larry Fitzgerald and Jarvis Landry have been my top-two owned players this season. I am targeting them relentlessly for the exact reason that they are on this list here. Both offer 1,000-yard upside w/ potentially high return in PPR leagues especially, which makes them a steal as players likely to beat out their current ADPs.
Negative Value Plays
Lastly, we will take a look at guys who will need to perform better than they have over the last three years on average to be worth their 2019 ADP. The values below are how many spots above their 3YA final ranks their 2019 ADP is currently sitting. Some of these are legitimate high-risk concerns. A lot of these again are players whose projected breakout is already built into their ADP.
Geronimo Allison is officially the riskiest pick in fantasy this season. There is no way I could take him as the WR35 off the board with this big of a gap. I would rather take my chances a little later with Marquez Valdes-Scantling, though his ADP has risen substantially with camp hype.
Mike Williams is an interesting name to see on some of these negative value lists. His first season was an injury-filled bust, so it's hard to know what to expect from him going forward. His ADP in the mid-20s has felt a little rich to me considering he finished as WR32 last season and with the return of TD maven Hunter Henry, Williams will have to get more done between to 20s to pay off at his ADP.
Kenny Golladay is a guy I have been really high on, but he has shown up with some negative value. His star is still rising, so that is kind of to be expected, and he could take over as the WR1 in Detroit. But, that entire offense needs a serious bounce back before we can fully trust anyone to put up WR1 numbers and this is a kind of a reminder of that. Marvin Jones is also still looming as a threat to Golladay's lock on WR1 duties, making a 1A/1B scenario more likely.
The last guy I will mention from this negative value list is Robby Anderson. I have vehemently been against drafting Anderson at his current value and this is part of the reason. He had a solid campaign in 2017 but took a big step back in 2018 and was a complete liability in standard redraft leagues. My lack of trust falls down the chain of command in the Jets. I don't trust Adam Gase and his slow-motion offense to suddenly find its form with an unproven second-year QB and a lackluster receiving corps. Anderson was being drafted as the WR35 last season and failed to meet that finishing as the WR39, and ranking 43rd in PPG. Now we're going to pay up and take him at WR30? It just doesn't make sense.
That's all I've got for WRs. We will feature this same research and data for each skill position so feel free to check those out as well. If you have any questions about how to maximize this information to your benefit, feel free to hit me up on Twitter. Good luck this season!
Thanks for reading the 3 year ADP Grade vs. Final Fantasy Rank for RB and TE are coming soon!
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John Ferguson is an avid Fantasy Football fanatic with 10+ years of experience in friends and family leagues, paying public leagues, and DFS Tournaments. Ferguson specializes in draft strategies, trade negotiations (Buy Low/Sell High) and DFS value picks amongst other parts of fantasy football analysis. When Ferguson isn’t spending time skimming over stats while at the beach, he follows the Oakland Athletics closely as a diehard fan and enjoys spending quality time with his beautiful wife and three children. A native of Monterey, California, Ferguson now calls Quintana Roo, Mexico home.