It seems to be a weekly activity for me to genuinely question whether the calendar on my phone is accurate. We’re creeping up on the last week of January and the temperature in the Northeast has convinced me that in some alternate universe, I’ve already drafted my fantasy baseball teams and opening day is right around the corner. Even more terrifying? In this universe, Khris Davis and Chris Davis are actually the same player.

What keeps me sane chronologically, and prevents me from sending my phone back to Apple, is the fact that ADP (average draft position) is continually adjusting, and at a higher frequency as more draft data rolls in.

Instead of boring you to death with simple regurgitation of average draft position data, I decided to pitch the following players based on their minimums and maximums. The highest and lowest they’ve gone in drafts.

Why is this important? Thanks for asking! If you love a player going into a draft, I’m a proponent of looking at this ‘max’ pick and trying to rationalize if you as an owner could possibly take him there. Grey loves Ian Desmond. The max pick Desmond has been drafted at in NFBC leagues is 20th overall. Grey has Desmond 19th in his top 20. Relative to those drafting in NFBC, leagues with the highest correlation to both homelessness and divorce, Grey really does love Desmond.

I look at the minimum and see a slot where any player holds extremely mitigated . Think of this as a standard for guys you don’t like. Even if you say you’re never going to draft a player, if Paul Goldschmidt is sitting on your board at 10th overall, you take him, and invite me to your league in 2018.

Sure, this range can be skewed by outliers, but simply looking at these differences produces a list of players with divisive storylines and some of the better high risk, high reward cases out there. I chose four of the highest min-max variances among the top 300 players. Let’s have some fun!

Hernan Perez (Max 96, Min 240, Difference of 161 spots) –  Although the Brewers are a team with little hope for 2017 (sorry JB, our resident Brewers fan), I have found myself drawn to some of their younger speed/power assets. Perez finished inside the top 100 on most roto valuation lists for 2016, propelled strongly by his 34 stolen bases in under 500 ABs. Steals are a commodity that have become scarcer as the years pass, but you’ll be pleased to know I’m a proponent of the SAGNOF philosophy. Elite power hitters will always be a scarcer commodity than run-first assets, but a blatant disregard for steals in your league will present a steep hill to climb. I’m always drawn to players in the middle rounds of drafts, like Perez who can contribute without the price tag of 6-7th rounders.

Taking Perez 96th overall isn’t too crazy if you expect exactly what he did last season for his near 100 overall finish. That’s a 13HR/34SB season with a .272/.302/.428 slash and sub par counting stats. It doesn’t sound like a top 100 player, but you would be surprised to see who else falls right in that window for 2016 (Tyler Thornburg! Dan Straily!).

Perez is getting knocked due in part to the high K% and lack of OBP skills, but a .281 average in the second half of last year with 15 HR power that will stick makes me a lot more bullish on the Brewers’ third baseman. What we have here is a player with a strong chance to outperform expectations if the steals maintain, 96th overall is admittedly very high, but anything past the 180 overall mark and there is some great value.

Fun fact: Four of the top five teams in stolen bases during 2016 were the Reds, Diamondbacks, Padres, and Brewers. Bad teams tend to run wild.

Michael Brantley (Max 147, Min 295, Difference of 148 spots) – After four years of 520+ at bats, last season alone made Brantley the figurehead for injury prone outfielders. After four years of 520+ ABs it only takes one tweak for his ADP to take a hit. As evidenced by his max value right around the 12th round, there are clearly still believers out there.

The issue with believing in his health is that you’re probably not his physical therapist. As opposed to an educated gamble on a player’s ceiling, this gamble is a blind one on something we won’t know until he hits the field. I’m talking opening day too. We all know the exorbitant frequency of the phrase ‘best shape of his life’ during Spring Training. The re-conditioning required for a player to go from 12 games played, back to 130+ at any age is a factor I believe there is no logical counter to. If Brantley eclipses 120 games, which I would be surprised to see, I have no problem expecting a 14HR/8SB season with a mid .290s average. The counting stats depend on his place in the Indians’ lineup, one that is solidified for success in its current, Brantley-less state.

At any draft slot this season, Brantley possesses a massive amount of risk, and no matter where you take him you’re assuming that risk. At 147th overall, you’re expecting a full season of production with steals comparable to his 2015. Once he falls past 220 overall, the risk becomes much more tolerable. In your draft, I expect Brantley to go to an owner who loves the look of his team and has no problem with this risk. I was high on Brantley last season, and have learned my lesson with gambling on injuries.

Dellin Betances (Max 73, Min  257, Difference of 184 spots)

Relievers were the most common position I saw with massive differences between max and min, not a big surprise. As we all know, relievers tend to go in runs during drafts. If you pass on a closer in the back end of the eighth round and you reach for your inhaler as closers fly off the board, Betances can become a nice handcuff sooner than you think. His 73 overall max is likely skewed by either an owner who really likes the Yankees, or one who has lived in a box that didn’t broadcast the Chapman trade. Is it crazy far off from his potential? Not at all. Who was more valuable according to your typical 2016 roto player rater? Gregory Polanco or Tyler Thornburg? The answer is marginally, Tyler Thornburg. His eight wins put him in a tie for third amongst his fellow Brewers. Along with a gorgeous 34% strikeout rate, in roto leagues you were ecstatic to have him hedging your bad starts.

At this point we have to expect a 40% strikeout rate for Betances, which exponentially helps keep your strikeouts fairly even or more than your innings total. I’m evened more inclined to target a guy like Betances if I focus on pitchers with lower strikeout rates, which shouldn’t be a strategy at all, but sometimes you just really like the look of Dallas Keuchel on your team if you chose the name ‘Dallas Buyers Club’.

Any improvement coming? Betances bottomed out with regards to his strand rate last season, as his 68% was nowhere the 85%+ of his two prior seasons. I expect that to rise back to his career average, and the lost saves have a chance to become wins with the new setup role. Shying away from the elite closers means you’ll likely have decisions to make between guys like Jim Johnson and Ryan Madson, yet I’ll find myself leaning on guys like Betances and Thornburg  6’8″ New York Goliath. If the baseball gods are kind and grant him Andrew Miller, or 2014 Jean Machi level wins, we have a player who could finish inside the top 100 overall.

Yoan Moncada (Max 141, Min 343, Difference of 202 spots) – 

This guy is my #1 prospect in baseball. The playing time is clearly the crux among deciding where to select him, but I’m more confident in the projectability of how many ABs Moncada will get over how many games Brantley will play. Like a lot of owners, I tend to be a bit risk averse. Whether that gives me confidence to select either is a separate story. It seems like the logical move to keep Moncada down in AAA to extend the White Sox’s control, but I don’t think we’re looking at a Kris Bryant scenario, with a hard date for promotion. My advice for owners who really want Moncada is to actually push your drafts back to late March as much as possible. There is a strong chance reaching will be met with a useless roster spot for a few months. In practice you’re more than likely to run into actual needs for your team, and Moncada will stare at you with AAA stats that unfortunately don’t count.

I’m reverting to prospect drafting theory with Moncada because projecting him out is a very difficult task. At 21 years old, a multitude of things can happen developmentally to help or hurt a talent like this. What I expect is his value to come from steals if/when he hits the majors. His approach at the plate (high K%) won’t be good enough to produce a higher spot in the lineup to produce counting stats, and while I think the power will be there in a few years. I don’t expect him to go 20/20 right out of the gate, but I could see something along the lines of 10/20 if he gets around the 350-400 ABs I hope he will. For now, he’s a flyer who I expect to sit on your bench for an extended period of time. That could all change as we receive more information from White Sox camp in the coming months.

 

Not too long ago, I was lingering around the comment sections of Razzball, scouring through the usernames that I still laugh at today, in hopes of unearthing a few bits of information that pertained to one of my artfully crafted fantasy baseball teams. Over the last few years, I have devoted almost all my free time to baseball and fantasy baseball coverage. It’s for that reason, I am more than excited to join the likes of Jay, Grey, Rudy, Mike, Smokey, Sky, and the plethora of Razzball authors who have made this site into the elite resource for fantasy coverage it is today. I merely aim to increase that value as much as I can with the insight I have gained from playing and succeeding at this immersive hobby I will refine my skills at, until the end of time. Cheers to 2017, and my first column with Razzball.

 

 

You can follow Lance on Twitter, @LanceBrozdow, if you prefer to act like a proper millennial.

  1. ROTO OVERLORD says:
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    Great post. Understanding the range in ADP is one of those little secrets to success..These guys wont make or break you, but hopefully you can do this again with some more useful players! If you had to keep 4 of these players in their respective rounds which would you keep?

    Odor-8th-10th rd
    Dahl-15th
    Carrasco-6th
    Darvish 20th
    Desmond 10th
    Polanco 6th

    • Manny says:
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      @ROTO OVERLORD:

      If just 1 or 2 year keeper & no dynasty implications you have to go with Odor, Dahl, Darvish & Desmond based on value alone. If you really like Carrasco or Polanco you can likely re-draft them within a round or 2 of the 6th while the others would go at least 5 plus rounds before where you are keeping them…

  2. Lance

    Lance says:
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    Thanks for the kind words!

    Definitely hope to cover some more ‘worthy’ options in the future, whether that be in an ADP piece or beyond.

    Depends a bit on your team construction, but I’d go Darvish (20th rd is very nice), Odor, Desmond, and Dahl.

    All those values are too good to pass up. I like Polanco and Carrasco both a fair amount this year, but 6th rd value is a smidge high, relative to your other options. Wouldn’t be crazy to swap out Polanco for Dahl if you want a bit more upside.

  3. ROTO OVERLORD says:
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    Two things I didnt like about polanco were his streakiness and the laundry list of nagging injuries that keep him out. I felt that at any point one of those could of ended his season. No doubt he could hit 30 and 20 Sbs. Dahl doesnt look like a huge HR guy but the average was a nice thing to see especially as a rookie.

    Also have Lamb and Aaron Sanchez in the 15th. Any changes to the top 4 I asked above?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @ROTO OVERLORD:

      Grey has been preaching the Rockies auto .250+ hitters and I’m beginning to agree with him. Dahl’s floor is pretty high.

      While I do agree with the fact that Polanco was streaky, it’s too early for me to tag him as injury prone. And the streakiness was built off the injuries. Really he had a torrid first half and then fell off, like a lot of guys. I love the fact that his steals stuck in the second half even with the health issues though, makes me think he’s a lock for 15-20 SBs with some of the better power upside in the young OF core.

      Also nothing changes, Sanchez in the 15th is nice, but gimmie Darvish. If you want to go 2 SPs, take out Dahl and go Sanchez. Really about team construction and preference.

    • Packers says:
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      @ROTO OVERLORD: I’d still go with Darvish, Dahl, Oder and Desmond. Darvish is the easy pick over Carassco because of the round. Sanchez too. Desmond over Polonco for the same reason. My 2 cents.

  4. Packers says:
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    Great post and idea with ADP’s. I write down ADP’s of guys I’m interested in about twice a month to see if they are trending up or down. That could be something you could post in the future. Like Roto Overload I think you may get more interest in guys that are in the 60 to 120 range. I’m not afraid to grab the player I want if it means jumping in a round or two early. That is why ADP’s are a good tool to keep track of.
    Who are you noticing that seems like a good value per their ADP?

    • ROTO OVERLORD says:
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      @Packers: I agree I know this is the early beginnings of the pre season so rankings are still fluctuating, ESPN and others sometimes change rankings when they realize they forgot someone that a place like here is teasing them over forgetting.

      ADP differences I have seen are with guys who were forgotten because of injury who I had targeted in the draft the year prior. One being David Peralta, but im just starting my homework still too much movement

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Packers:

      Completely agree with your point.

      I’m a massive James Paxton fan personally. Starting to move him higher and higher, could see a snag at around 100-20 overall, just a huge fan of his second half and peripherals. Willing to take the chance on his health, I think his natural arm slot will mitigate some of the injury risk.

      I like Franco’s ADP, Piscotty’s ADP, Sano’s ADP on the offensive side.

      Rodon, Jon Gray on the SP side. Betances as I mention above.

      Domingo Santana, Ryon Healy, Tom Murphy later in drafts!

      I’m sure there’s more out there I like as well. Those are a few that stand out to me,

      • Lance

        Lance says:
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        @Lance:
        *100-120 overall

        • Packers says:
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          @Lance: I had ya. All guys to keep our eyes on.

  5. ROTO OVERLORD says:
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    top 3 all great names but I feel like the ceiling has been established with all of them. For me the ADP hunt comes down to those who havent showed the potential, like wild card types. Franco in that offense will never hit for high avg because he has no protection. Now that Howard could go he could have even less. Domingo I had last year, he is someone to watch, tom murphy is a great C prospect to look at, especially if you dont draft C early like I do

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @ROTO OVERLORD:

      I see where you’re coming from, but it’s hard to tell where ceilings are when a guy isn’t at the 28-29 year old window. (Santana, Franco, Sano).

      The Phillies will contend sooner than people think, Howard didn’t have a bearing on Franco’s protection. Altherr, Williams, JP, Joseph, and some of their other minor/young bats will if they can develop. Franco will continue to be the centerpiece for that lineup I think.

      I agree to disagree with you, but I think we both see where we’re coming from.

  6. ROTO OVERLORD says:
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    yeah altherr is the one piece that if they can get something from him can provide a little protection but the phillies are asking unproven rookies to develop at the MLB level and that is usually a disaster. No doubt the pitching is there but kinda sad to see that with that ballpark their offense being the issue. Sano will never bat 275 it looks like and domingo is running out of time.

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @ROTO OVERLORD:

      I think you’re a little low on them, which is fair, but I have a lot more confidence that some of these pieces will come through. Sure Citizens is probably a bottom 5-10 park in terms of runs, but I’m not going to decide prospect potential with bats unless I’m looking at Coors/Great American.

      There will be value in a lot of their young talent as we move forward. It may take a year or two though, so I may be looking a little longer term than you!

      Should be fun regardless, the NL east should prove interesting sooner than later.

      • ROTO OVERLORD says:
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        @Lance: Phillies ballpark was a bandbox when they had their run like 10 years ago there lowest in runs scored in a great hitters ballpark and that should never be the case

  7. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Solid 1st column, Lance! Well done!

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Grey:
      Thanks Grey.

      Nothing better than praise from the Messiah himself!

      • Ryno says:
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        I think you mean, “Nothing better than praise from the Fantasy Master Lothario.” :-P

  8. swaggerjackers says:
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    Nice writeup. I like a good ADP list as much as the next fantasy baseball fanatic but they’re really only useful about 2 days before your league’s draft on the system your league is drafting in.

    Looking at the data this early for sleepers and undervalued players is fools gold since spring training hasn’t happened yet, fantasy sites haven’t rolled out their March editions of their 2017 rankings, and the fantasy experts haven’t read all their competitors sleeper posts yet.

    The undervalued guys will continue to creep up little by little as draft day approaches until most of the guys we’re highlighting now won’t be nearly as salivating as their ADPs were in January. Franco from last season comes to mind. He was pretty well buried this early until he hit all those bombs in the spring. By the time most drafts were happened he shot up from around 150 to the 80’s.

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @swaggerjackers:

      Appreciate the read man.

      I definitely understand your point. But I have to disagree. The reason we look at ADP, at any point, is to understand what the market value of a player is at that point in time and create a baseline for the future. I think of it like buying a stock. Are you going to look at the price just one day before you know you want to purchase it? Or process as much data as you can, increasing that sample to a few months?

      In seeing ADP now, and then comparing it to ADP in March, we can get a much better idea of the market values a player and how that value has changed. If that change is substantial, just how much of the increase can you contribute to factors that caused the spike? And furthermore, are you a believer in the skills outweighing the recent bias in scenarios where a guy takes off from his early ADP.

      This applies perfectly to Franco. He was likely undervalued before his Spring and then became arguably overvalued after everybody wanted the hot hand. While there was always the new school owner in leagues who would pay top dollar for the hot commodity, a majority of the industry paused and tampered the expectations. What that told me was the spike was 90% due to hype, and not the underlying skill of the player.

      Noise caused the ADP change. And if we didn’t have the January ADP we would’ve thought nothing was wrong, and simply that something about Franco caused some disappointment.

      Hopefully you see my reasoning. I encourage you to look into ADP early like this, even if you aren’t drafting.

      • swaggerjackers says:
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        @Lance: I see where you’re coming from and certainly will continue to read/review ADP in advance of drafts.

        I guess the challenge is that if you’re using ADP data in January as draft prep to map out when to take players in a snake draft, it really does feel like a waste of time.

        For example, I’d like to target Danny Duffy in my snake draft this season and I see he’s currently going around pick 109 in NFBC drafts. He’s going anywhere from 92 to 146. If I were drafting tomorrow, I’d pencil his name in around pick 95. If I look at that same NFBC data on March 15 and see he’s now going around pick 85 on average, I know I have to bump him up a round and reshuffle my strategy for picks around 80-100. My opinion of Duffy didn’t change it’s just now others have read sleeper posts on him and the masses caught up so my master plan from January to nab him at pick 95 is irrelevant.

        Don’t you worry, I eat up ADP posts all year long, so I’ll keep reading regardless.

        • Lance

          Lance says:
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          @swaggerjackers:
          You have a good point in saying this, no doubt.

          I guess I’m just coming from it at the angle of learning more so than reacting to the data.

          In your case with Duffy, I would probably observe the ADP bump of about a round and try and determine whether I hesitate in taking him a round earlier. If I do, then I would assess my value on him as more contingent on his draft slot than his actual talent, and probably stay away unless I luck into him at regular ADP. If you’re a believer in Duffy on the other hand, you’re going to have no problem snagging him in the 8th or even 7th round. (As you say though, strategy adjustment is inevitable)

          This is where my mind is starting to trend with Paxton. NFBC had him around 200 overall, I ranked him in the 140s, now with a bit more hype, I can see that climb. I’ll keep looking at how high his ADP and max can go and see where I cap out. If my drafts roll around and I’m still comfortable with him around his max, then I’m even more confident in my investment in his pure talent, no just ADP value.

          Nice debating a little bit with you, always fun. Friendly confrontation always breeds some good insight.

          • swaggerjackers says:
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            @Lance: Agreed on the back and forth. With the exception of Tehol and one other random guy that posted some nonsense last season and then disappeared (https://razzball.com/author/kenyon/), Razzball does a great job bringing in writers that have valuable insights to add to the wonderful world of fantasy baseball. I think you’ll fit in well.

            • Lance

              Lance says:
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              @swaggerjackers:
              Couldn’t agree more, appreciate it a lot!

  9. K3189 says:
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    Great write up. Looking forward to more articles from you.

    Quick trade question (14 team H2H standard ESPN points dynasty) – Giolito/De Leon/Franco vs Hendricks/M. Carpenter?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @K3189:
      Thanks!

      Appreciate the read.

      I’m gonna take the Hendricks Carp side with the qualification that the side getting those two, can contend right now. They’re both more valuable in points leagues too (Carp with the OBP, Hendricks with the control and IP ceiling). It’s a nice swap.

      Giolito and Leon I like, but probably less than others in the industry, and they’re really gambles with their current history of performance. It’s a rebuild move for that side, even with Franco, who I like a lot going forward.

      Good luck!

  10. Ante GALIC says:
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    Hey Lance!

    Excellent post. Keep ’em coming. These will be useful as we get closer to April 2.

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Ante GALIC:
      Thanks Ante.

      Going to be a great 2017!

  11. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    nice job,keepem coming

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @AL KOHOLIC:

      Thanks Al!

  12. Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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    like mentioned above, ADP data vs depth charts at this point have ridiculous gaps. javvy baez, hernan, ketel marte, these players are listed as backups and anybody actually drafting them in anything but actual dynasty leagues at this point with 96th or even like 196th overall (depending on league depth, i play in deep leagues mostly at least 350 drafted players total) spots are nuts until they actually have jobs. betances will always have large gaps (he did last year too, and a.miller) since these guys go very high in holds leagues but not close to that high in saves only leagues. in fact, 2 years ago i’m pretty sure i had miller in every league i’m in (holds in at least 80% of these leagues) and at the time i thought i was getting lucky vs his ADP, nah, the ADP data had saves only leagues significantly lowering his ADP expectations. in holds leagues he probably went right around where i kept grabbing him

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey:

      Sure, very good point.

      The ADP data I’m using in these cases is NFBC data, which is limited only to NFBC leagues (almost all roto, 12-15 teamers, with 5×5 structure). So holds in this case really don’t impact the ADP too much with Betances, he just has inherently high volatility in drafts do to the range in perceived value.

      The reason I pick NFBC data and use it early on is because people are paying on average about $250 per league, which in my eyes, limits the impact of outliers who draft crazy because they aren’t too attached to the league. The effectiveness of this is open to debate, but I think many people will get my point.

      Now that we’re seeing some legit expert league data come in (LABR soon, FSTA mock was last week I believe, CBS has some mocks up – shameful plug cause I was in them) that data will/should be referenced a bit more.

      Baez is a very easy pick to catch in this crop of early ADP, I do agree. I’ll definitely put a filter on who I reference regarding ADP in the future!

      • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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        @Lance: baez wasn’t from you at all, maher’s mock draft he went ahead of 100 though, just brought up him since like hernan he’s currently a backup by depthcharts. it wasn’t your choices i’m particularly critiquing here. it does sound that the NFBC data is certainly more reliable than any espn/yahoo stuff would be at least. but even there, why would any “expert” (or anybody at all) want to draft this early in a league that really matters (i.e. money of that size). i’m mostly in non-money leagues and i make damn sure the money league drafts usually like a day or 2 before MLB season, and the free ones no earlier than maybe 2 weeks before. i’m sure we can all think of many reasons not to draft early, i’ve never heard one that makes sense to draft early. i mean maybe if a group of people know in advance they won’t have internet from exactly now till like april 4th or so that would explain it.

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