h2h Corner ~ Knowing ADP – How To Win Your League Before the Season Even Starts IX

Maximizing every drop of value in every pick is hugely important. Taking a player in the fifth round that you could just as easily have taken in the sixth round is a major mistake. To avoid this, you need to know all about Average Draft Position (ADP).

While no two drafts are identical, knowing where a player typically goes gives you a general idea of where he will go in your draft. That said, be sure to do homework on your league mates subjective tendencies. For example, if there are Red Sox fans, be sure to snag guys like Lester and Youkilis a bit earlier than you normally would. In addition, you should talk up your sleepers before the draft (discreetly of course) to see if anyone is on to them. If you don’t, an opponent with an itchy trigger finger who hasn’t done his ADP homework might snag one of your sleepers a round before anyone else is typically taking him.

Now that you know WHY ADP is important, I want to show you HOW to exploit it by highlighting those players who are going too low compared to players with similar ADPs. You can grab an ADP report at Mock Draft Central.

Carl Crawford – Current ADP 15 – It’s no secret that I love speed (it never slumps, it kills, etc.). But, there is one real reason: stolen bases can be a reliable statistic week-to-week. If you can grab a 60+ base stealer (there were only three last year, and the fourth most steals was 42), you have an immediate step up on your weekly opponent. With Crawford’s steals, your opponent will have to dedicate two roster positions to stolen bases just to catch you and in the process sacrifice another statistic. It’s all about winning categories, which Crawford will help you do. Aside from an injury shortened 2008, Crawford has averaged 50 SBs a year, which would have given him the third most SBs last year. While cheap speed might be in abundance, 60+ SBs certainly are not. That’s why I’m grabbing Crawford over the likes of David Wright, Joe Mauer, Ryan Howard, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Mark Teixeira, Ian Kinsler and others.

Jacoby Ellsbury – Current ADP 20 – If I like Carl Crawford, I must be in love with Jacoby. In fact, I am. Ellsbury had ten more stolen bases than Carl Crawford –not a small number. Another reason to buy into Ellsbury: his OBP. In 2009, the Red Sox centerfielder posted a .355 OBP. In one AAA season, he posted a .360 OBP and in two AA seasons, he got on base at a .422 clip. If the Sox keep him at the top of the line-up, he’ll steal and score plenty. Because of his legs, Ellsbury alone can win you one category each week. To replace his stolen base production you’d need someone like Chone Figgins and Jimmy Rollins. And, even then, it would be a far less than perfect replacement as that would greatly diminish your power potential. I’d take Ellsbury over Crawford (which implies the above mentioned players), Mark Reynolds, Troy Tulowitzki, Jimmy Rollins and others with similar ADPs.

Justin Upton – Current ADP 25 – Man do I like Justin Upton this year (and for the next several). In just 138 games last year, Upton hit 26 HRs, scored 84 runs, knocked in 86 and stole 20 bases. He also managed a .300 AVE and a .366 OBP. Really, the only downside to Upton at this point is his health. While his health should certainly be accounted for (he missed 54 games in 2008 and 24 in 2009), his upside makes him a tempting draft pick. Typically, you don’t talk about upside with players ranked in the top 25 or so – given that most are at or near their peak performance. For this coming season, I think he could have a very similar year to a Miguel Cabrera – maybe a little worse average, but vastly more stolen bases. I’d be taking him over Jose Reyes, Victor Martinez, Matt Holliday, Jimmy Rollins, and many others.

Ryan Zimmerman – Current ADP 33 – I like to hate the Nationals, mostly because I’m a disgruntled and pathetic Orioles fan. This makes what I’m about to say about Zimmerman even more powerful. Zimmerman is only 24, yet he has played four full seasons in the majors. In those seasons (including just 106 games in 2008), Zimmerman has averaged 86 runs, 23 HRs, 90 RBIs, a .282 AVE and a .345 OBP. The more I look at it, the more I think Zimmerman is the second coming of Aramis Ramirez. Look at the obvious comparisons: Ramirez starred for a crappy team (the Pirates) and played four full seasons by his 25th birthday in which he averaged 77 runs, 29 HRs, 98 RBIs, a .282 AVE and a .332 OBP. I think Zimmerman has a tad more upside than 2004 Aramis, and could be in for a great year. I’d certainly be drafting him over Mark Reynolds, Adrian Gonzalez, Joey Votto, Jason Bay, Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins and others.

Jon Lester – Current ADP 58 – I don’t usually condone taking pitchers this high, but if you can build hitter depth with your first four – five selections, you could do worse (and many people are) by picking Lester at his ADP. Lester has posted amazingly consistent numbers over the last two years (2009: 3.41 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 2008: 3.21 ERA and 1.27 WHIP). However, something incredibly important to fantasy sets his 2009 campaign apart: 225 Ks (an increase of about 70 from 2008). That is a huge number; the fifth most in the majors last season. I’d be very comfortable with Lester as my first pitcher off the board, especially over Adam Wainwright, Cliff Lee, Javier Vazquez and others.

FB 101’s 411: Speed, not greed, is good. Success at a young age presages more success. Jon Lester will continue to be awesome.

Feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner)/Facebook pages.

10 responses to this post.

  1. I’m sorry, I started reading this article and couldn’t get past the first player before I needed to comment.
    Carl Crawford before Ryan Howard and/or Prince Fielder?
    I know Howard Ks alot, but he brought up his average last year and he’s a garaunteed bopper. 40+ HR atleast and 120+ RBI
    As for Prince Fielder? I love this guy. .300BA to go along with 103R, 46HR, 141RBI and last but not least, a wopping .412OBP. Are you kidding me?
    This guy should be after before the like of Texiera and Utley.


  2. Wow, I just got to the second player, Jacoby Ellsbury, and now I’m blown away.
    You would honestly draft Jacoby Ellsbury before guys like Carl Crawford, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, and Miggy Cabrera? …that’s ridiculous.
    Stolen bases are important, but not that important.


  3. Posted by Albert Lang on March 15, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Not quite sure what your last sentence means, but I understand why you like Howard/Prince Fielder. They are great players. However, what they do, while elite, doesn’t separate them from the HR-hitting pack.

    How many players hit 40+ HRs? 5, with an additional two hitting 39. In fact, nine players hit 36 or more HRs (i.e., within 10 of Fielder).

    How many people stole over 60 bases? 3. How many stole over 50? 0. How many stole over 40? 7.

    While nine players were within 10 HRs of Fielder, only nine players were within 30 SBs of Crawford.

    Quite simply, Crawford’s dominance in his category is shared by 3 players. Fielder’s/Prince’s dominance is shared by at least 11 players. I’ll take the SB dominance in the first round and then pick someone like Mark Reynolds or Adrian Gonzalez or Joey Votto in the later rounds. If you take Howard in the first round, how do you make up the SBs? Nyjer Morgan in the 6th round? Well, you’re still 20+ SBs short. So you need to take another 20+ SB, thus diluting your team even more.

    Basically, Crawford provides a pretty scarce statistic, Howard and Fielder dont.


  4. Posted by Albert Lang on March 15, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    As always, i appreciate you reading and commenting on my stuff.

    If you’d like to compete against my theories, check out: http://www.fantasybaseball101.com/2010/03/15/fb-101%E2%80%99s-writers%E2%80%99-challenge/


  5. Posted by Albert Lang on March 15, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Not sure why you would draft Crawford over Ellsbury. He had 9 Sbs on Crawford last year. He’ll outperform the nearest guy by way more than Fielder/howard will. At most they’ll have a one HR margin on someone, whereas Ellsbury will have at least 5+ steals on his nearest competitor, with upside to a much healthier margin.

    You can get elite HR hitting talent, you cant get elite SB talent.


  6. Posted by Patrick on March 15, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    I play in a league that counts OPS as a category. Surely you wouldn’t recommend taking Crawford/Ellsbury over the likes of Fielder/Howard in my league?


  7. Posted by Albert Lang on March 15, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    I definitely would not, you’re correct. I write about standard 5×5 leagues. If OBP were a category instead of AVE that would change things dramatically as well.

    If you have a category that skews to power hitters, they should move up your draft board accordingly.

    Is your league 6×6? If you let me know the categories i can tell you how far a Crawford/Ellsbury will fall.


  8. You make great points as always.
    I’m in a 7×7 league which includes OPS. That’s why we disagree I’m sure.
    Thanks for another great post.
    Over the past few weeks you’ve provided me with some great knowledge for my upcoming draft. I’ll thank you when I win my leagues championship in 6 months.


  9. Posted by Albert Lang on March 16, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Oh heck yeah. If you are in a league that puts weight on OPS, then the weak hitters (Ichiro, Ellsbury, etc.) lose significant draft spots to the big boppers.

    Sounds like you have a very good strategy in that league. Also, players like Morneau and Carlos Lee should be picked a lot higher in your league — maybe even over the Crawfords/Ichiros of the world.

    Good luck in your draft!!! Let me know how it turns out.


  10. Posted by hubcity on March 20, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Thanks for these articles. I agree with much of what you say here. Like the other guy I’m in a 7×7 so it really skews the rankings from anyone’s 5×5 list or any ADP lists I see.

    My cats:
    R, H, HR, RBI, SB, AVE, SLG

    Nearly makes me wish I were in a 5×5 so I could take better advantage of people that overrate the sexy players. Unfortunately those overrated guys are exactly the ones I need.


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