The FFPC has already opened drafting for 2023 best-ball tournaments, the 1st contest provider that I’ve noticed doing so.
Underdog has also had single-league drafts open for weeks, and will undoubtedly start launching early tournaments soon – with plenty of others on the horizon.
So with the 2022 NFL season nearly done, this seems a perfect time to take a look at some soft spots in early draft lists.
Note that I said “draft lists” and not “ADP.”
Underdog launched its 2023 drafts in early December, but only in the form of 3-, 4-, 6- and 12-person individual leagues. I’m sure a fair number have drafted in the month-and-a-half since. But I’m also pretty sure Underdog has seen nowhere near the volume – or vigor – that will hit once the tournaments get going.
There’s no doubt been some player movement from the original listings, but I’m sure not ready to treat that as a true average draft position ranking.
FFPC, meanwhile, has only just launched in recent days. So there hasn’t been time to develop an ADP. That should matter a lot for your drafting.
We don’t have 2023 fantasy football rankings out yet. Most people don’t. And anyone who has done rankings will face 2 significant revisions by May …
And there will, of course, be many other factors effecting smaller rankings adjustments along the way.
We do plan to have our initial fantasy football projections and the Draft War Room live in March to help you take advantage of less-prepared early drafters. In the meantime, though, beware of the “anchoring effect.”
The anchoring effect is a cognitive bias that for our purposes basically means you’re likely to be influenced in your player valuation and selection by previously introduced information.
For example, you might not believe Austin Ekeler should be the #2 player off the board in 2023 drafts. But the fact that he’s listed #2 in FFPC draft rooms at the moment might make it seem like you’re getting a good deal on him with the 8th pick in Round 1.
Maybe you are. Or perhaps his TDs regress in 2023 and he becomes a mistake anywhere in Round 1.
The point here is that where he’s listed right now will affect where he gets drafted, whether it should or not. And you’ll probably find more drastic examples than Ekeler as you work through early drafts.
Try not to let these early rankings of players influence your drafting too much. As we get further into early drafting, we’ll get more of a sense of ADP across draft sites. Yet even those can still be deceiving. Use them more as guides for where you can expect players to come off the board instead of where you should draft them.
The earlier you become aware of this anchoring effect and try to work against it, the quicker you’ll gain an edge on your draft competition.
Although we don’t want to be influenced by the player listings, it does help to be familiar with them. That will help us find some players who sit much lower than they should. It can also steer us toward guys who are better values on 1 site over another.
As you build your best-ball portfolio, it helps to not only look at player exposures on individual sites. If you don’t like how early a guy is going on Underdog, for example, you might find him at a better value level on FFPC (or elsewhere).
Given that those are the 2 we’ve locked in on here as open for early drafting, I ran through the lists for some early drafting notes – and compared player ranks for some relative early values.
The FFPC draft room currently displays a player “Rank” column and ADP. I’m not sure exactly what the ADP entails at the moment, but it appears heavily influenced by 2022 ADP.
Based on “Rank,” you’ll find 4 RBs listed among the top 12 right now: Ekeler, Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry and Breece Hall. Travis Kelce and 7 wideouts join them to round out the top 12.
Incoming rookies are not listed here yet. We’ll see when they get added. That alters some of what you’ll see vs. FFPC player ranks. But there are interesting things to note before we get to the direct comparisons …
Comparing the FFPC Rank with Underdog ADP, these interesting players just might be going overlooked in FFPC drafts.
These aren’t guys you need to target. But if you do draft them, FFPC looks like the better place for value …
Calvin Ridley, WR, Jaguars
WR16 on Underdog seems too early. FFPC drafters, meanwhile, will have to manually search to find him. That oughta suppress Ridley’s ADP.
Rashid Shaheed, WR, Saints
John Metchie, WR, Texans
Pierre Strong, RB, Patriots
Tyquan Thornton, WR, Patriots
Kyren Williams, RB, Rams
Trey McBride, TE, Cardinals
McBride looks particularly intriguing as a late FFPC selection, with the TE-premium format. Zach Ertz remains under contract, but he’s also 32 and coming off a double ligament tear in his left knee.
Gus Edwards, RB, Ravens
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, ???
Desmond Ridder, QB, Falcons
Underdog drafters appear to be treating Ridder as though he’ll start for the Falcons in 2023. That’s an uneasy bet ahead of the NFL Draft.
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, ???
Michael Thomas, WR, Saints
Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Browns
DPJ sits at the bottom of WR3 territory on Underdog, compared with WR6 range on FFPC.
Jaylen Warren, RB, Steelers
Khalil Herbert, RB, Bears
Underdog drafters have Herbert inside the position’s top 36 so far. That would be solid value if the Bears let David Montgomery walk and don’t draft another RB inside the 1st 3 rounds. Is the upside worth the risk here, though? Eh.
Jameson Williams, WR, Lions
Williams already sits inside the top 30 WRs on Underdog, compared with WR54 on FFPC.
Alec Pierce, WR, Colts
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Dolphins
Tua checks in 9th among QBs in current Underdog ADP. He’s behind Geno Smith (QB13) in FFPC ranks.
Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys
Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys
Deshaun Watson, QB, Browns
Kadarius Toney, WR, Chiefs
Elijah Moore, WR, Jets
Nico Collins, WR, Texans
Just like in the previous section, these aren’t necessarily guys you should draft on Underdog. But if you’re going to target them somewhere, the value currently looks better there.
Robert Woods, WR, Titans
Michael Carter, RB, Jets
Cam Akers, RB, Rams
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Chiefs
Rashaad Penny, RB, ???
Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Eagles
James Robinson, RB, Jets
Cordarrelle Patterson, RB, Falcons
Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints
Najee Harris, RB, Steelers
Skyy Moore, WR, Chiefs
Aaron Jones, RB, Packers
These guys sit among the top 250 overall on FFPC but don’t even carry an ADP on Underdog right now. They’re worth considering near the end of early drafts.
Jarvis Landry, WR, ???
Isaiah Hodgins, WR, Giants
Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Broncos
Landry endured an injury-limited, 25-catch season after settling for a 1-year deal with the Saints. He’s a low-ceiling fantasy option but still not super-old (30 until Nov. 28).
Hodgins and Okwuegbunam remain under contract for 1 more season. Interim HC Jerry Rosburg spoke as though he didn’t understand why Albert O didn’t get more playing time under HC Nathaniel Hackett, “I haven’t seen him much on the field this year, and I’m just curious as to why that was because he is a good-looking athlete.” We’ll see what the next coach thinks.
Hodgins emerged late in his 3rd NFL season, after arriving from Buffalo this year. He caught 4+ balls in each of the final 5 regular-season games and then hung an 8-105-1 line on the Vikings in the playoff opener. The Giants need to add WR help, but don’t be surprised if Hodgins retains a role.