After taking a break from my series discussing APE (ADP Principles of Equivalence), it’s time to jump back in and address what I deem to be the proper use of average draft position listings. Recall a couple of weeks ago, I showed that APE suggests that there are a multitude of equivalent players at each draft position. By means of a brief review, players within $2 of projected earnings are fundamentally the same player. If you take away a homer, run, RBI and steal from the higher ranked player and give it to the lower ranked one, their projected earnings are the same. APE is based on the empirical discovery that if you take the round where the player is ranked and multiply by three, that many players above and below the player are within the magical $2 limit. If a player has an ADP of 100 in a 15 team draft, this puts him at pick 7.10. So you take seven times three and 21 players above and below that player are worth the same. This means the player with the DP of 121 is just as viable a pick as player 100. As you proceed down the snake, this distance grows. The result is that it is not nearly as egregious to jump the ADP as some contend. The notion of taking a player too early is squashed as is the perception of a value pick, a player whose ADP is well before the actual pick. The full treatment is available for review HERE.
With that as a backdrop, there is a very viable purpose of an ADP list, so long as you understand exactly what it represents. In short, the ADP is the market value of the players. Similarly, what most are willing to pay for a player in an auction is the market value of the player. It has nothing to do with his intrinsic potential to your team, which is the key.
The intrinsic potential is how much the player contributes to your team’s ability to win. It is dependent on your team construct and your strategy. Different players may have different intrinsic potentials to different teams. It is your job as a fantasy owner to put as much potential on your team as possible.
One way to do this is be better in tune with the player pool. Another is to know the market value of the players so on occasion, you can utilize this to wait on a player with greater intrinsic potential because his market value strongly suggests he will be there in a later round. This allows you to first take another player with a lot of intrinsic potential, but whose market value suggests won’t be available next time around. You need to be careful when doing this and it’s not likely you can play this game with every pick, but you can squeeze an extra player or two onto your roster by knowing the market value of the players.
To give credit where credit is due, this concept was originally crystallized by KJ Duke, a very successful high-stakes player in a forum discussion from a couple of years ago. By day, KJ is also a very successful portfolio manager and compared buying stocks with the greatest intrinsic potential at the lowest market value to assembling a fantasy squad.
Another use of an ADP could be to devise a general strategy in concert with tiered rankings. We’ll talk more about tiered rankings down the line, but the idea is to find pockets of players with similar intrinsic potential and see where they are likely to be drafted. If you pencil in taking a player at that position around that time, you can better decide what players or positions to take earlier. Again, we’ll talk more about this in future columns.
Today’s message is short and sweet. Some live and die by ADP and feel it is the most accurate ranking of players. Others want to make a point and proclaim the ADP as useless. All that matters is what you think. As is often the case, the truth lies in between. ADP is a tool that if used properly, can assist in constructing your team in an optimal manner - nothing more, nothing less. To follow it blindly is a mistake. But so is categorically ignoring it.