Draft Tips

Reanalyzing the 2015 Fantasy Football Draft

2015 ADP Rewind – What Went Right, What Went Wrong?

Most fantasy owners can recall exactly what went right or wrong with their previous year’s fantasy team. Jamaal Charles got hurt, Peyton lost it, hit on Todd Gurley in the 4th or Allen Robinson in the 8th… these moments make or break a season, but often times if it didn’t happen to you, you may not even remember that it happened.

Let’s use last season’s ADP to show a 10 round mock draft and analyze the best and worst picks from last season, compare them directly to this year’s draft and project how we can avoid the misses and target the hits.

round 1 and 2

Rounds 1 and 2

Anytime you have the number one RB and number 2 WR suffer significant injuries, it drastically changes the shape of two fantasy teams. I don’t have a problem with either pick, they were the right picks at the time, it just didn’t work out. What we can learn from in round one are the quarterbacks. I’m of the opinion that you should consider drafting a quarterback until the middle of the draft at the very earliest.

I’m often the last person in my leagues to draft a QB, because I know that drafting Bortles (302 points in 2015) and Stafford (280 points in 2015) in rounds 7 and 14 and playing matchups is always better than spending a pick in the first three rounds on Rodgers (286 points in 2015) or another top level QB.

The biggest duds in the first two rounds were clearly the running backs. 8 of the 10 drafted were complete busts. Excluding Bell and Charles (both would have been studs in not for injury) you had issues with players that hadn’t proven themselves as three down backs in their system in McCoy, Anderson, and Murray. We do have a few players in similar situations at the top of this year’s draft in Lamar Miller, Thomas Rawls, Matt Forte, and Carlos Hyde.

round 3 and 4

Rounds 3 and 4

Anytime you have a RB-heavy round in a RB-down year, it’s going to be tough… One thing I would definitely take from round 3 is that you draft away from runs. If your league goes on a run of RB’s in round three and you draft in the back half, the value at the position is likely gone. Don’t reach and take Melvin Gordon early, load up on top end receivers and draft your running backs when the value is back on the board.

Continuing our trend here, new players in new systems are extremely risky. Jimmy Graham, Joseph Randle, and Andre Johnson looked great at the time, but until you know for sure what a guy’s role is, it’s extremely risky to gamble with an early pick. Again, there is still no value at QB in round 4… Brees average only 1 point per week more than guys like Cousins, Fitzpatrick, Stafford, Manning and Rivers.

round 5 and 6

Rounds 5 and 6

Looking at rounds 5 and 6, you like the picks where you knew what you were getting. Drafting players with guaranteed roles in productive offenses is an absolute must for rounds 5-8. Take risks later in the draft, but we are still in the meat of the draft and you need production here.

The hits from these rounds came from guys that were already productive for their teams. Jarvis Landry, Keenan Allen (on pace for 135 rec, 1500 yards, 8 TD’s before injury), Amari Cooper (rookie but was already named team’s #1 on improved offense), Doug Martin, Chris Ivory, DeSean Jackson, Travis Kelce…

The misses were all gambles on new players/new systems/new roles: Yeldon, Abdullah, Bell (role was in question with Abdullah added). It’s also worth noting that you should never be the first person in your league to draft a defense. Depending on the size of your roster in your league, I would consider using two picks on defenses that have schedules that match up nicely (one has tough matchup, the other has favorable…). If you use this strategy, your last three picks should be Def, Def, Kicker.

round 9 and 10

Rounds 7 and 8

This is why you wait to draft a QB in rounds 7 through 9… While other teams were drafting dud after dud, the two owners that waited on QB’s got the two highest scorers in the league. If Gronk, Cam, or Rodgers don’t fall to you way past their ADP, I’m targeting my QB1 and TE1 in this range. So far in the 2015 ADP draft, owners that drafted QB’s got zero value and 5 of 8 TE’s drafted have been busts. Draft 6 RB/WR’s in the first 6 rounds, then target 2 QB’s and 2 TE’s in rounds 7-14.

The picks that weren’t complete misses in these rounds were clear #1’s on their team. Allen Robinson was a top 5 receiver, and Steve Smith average 15 PPG when healthy. If you can still find #1 WR’s this late in the draft, they are always worth a shot.

round 9 and 10

Rounds 9 and 10

Keeping with the established theme here in these late rounds, #1 WR’s, QB’s and TE’s are hits, everything else is a bust. There are still sleepers on the board, but they are few and far between. Floyd and Fitz were co-WR1’s in an explosive offense, they shouldn’t be on the board this late, but if they are you draft them.

We all know everything until we prove once again that we know nothing… Hindsight is always 20/20, but if you use last season’s lessons to avoid the same pitfalls this year, you can give yourself a better chance to find value in every round, not just the first few.

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