ADP is a weird thing. Each site that does mock drafts has it, so a lot depends on the users and numbers. I'm no "mathmagician," but I do know the bigger the sample size, the better. With Fantasy Football ADP, however, you also have to take into account the quickly changing injury and depthchart news. Then, you want the most recent ADP information, which may contain just a small amount of usable drafts. Next, there's the question of who is drafting. If you are looking at MFL Best Ball ADP, you're looking at quite a few hard-core fantasy players - who are drafting all summer long for cash -, which makes for a different kind of ADP from say Fantasy Football Calculator (FFC), which gets its data from its own mock drafts.
I prefer MFL ADP because these are the players I'm usually playing against. "People who sit on twitter and argue if Tyrod Taylor should be ahead of Matt Stafford in the rankings" kind of people. Of course, FFC has plenty of hardcore fantasy players, but you tend to see things like quarterbacks and D/STs going earlier than at MFL. What you need to do is get a feel for the league you are going to be in.
If it's a league with friends, family, people at work or all three, then maybe FFC ADP is more in your league's wheelhouse. If you joined a $500 league with people you don't know on the internet, then maybe MFL ADP is going to get you a little closer to where the value is. And these are just two examples. There is a lot of ADP information out there, so just try to build some context around those numbers if you can.
For this look at ADP I'll be using FFC because I do feel like it's the most relatable to a larger audience.
- 2.12 - Aaron Rodgers, Packers
This is a bit early for me with any quarterback, and that will likely be a complaint for the ADP on any of these early players, so I'll just make it this once. With just one quarterback needed to start on your team, value-based drafting leads you to wait on them to field the best team overall. Rodgers is the best fantasy quarterback, and he should be first, but I wouldn't take him until, at highest, the third round.
- 3.03 - Tom Brady, Patriots
Brady at his age is the No. 2 quarterback, yet nobody is blinking an eye, including me. He has one of his best offensive complements so far in his career and hasn't showed much slowing down.
- 4.06 - Drew Brees, Saints
Like Rodgers, Brees has been the epitome of consistency. He will sometimes fall in drafts, which makes him a target for me when he does.
- 5.12 - Andrew Luck, Colts
Luck's injury is the only thing bringing his ADP down below Brees most likely. Since I wait on these stud quarterbacks, it makes it easier for me to skip Luck on the chance that his shoulder lingers into the season and starts smacking fantasy players around.
- 6.02 - Matt Ryan, Falcons
I think Ryan is a good quarterback and finally has the right offense and offensive players around him, but that doesn't mean his huge 2016 season is going to be the norm now. His ADP is driven by what, at this point, is an extreme outlier of a season. Can the Falcons catch lightening in a bottle again? Sure, but a better defense will likely end up slowing down their offense since they won't need to score as much. Their extreme efficiency last season was just that, extreme. They could win just as much and go to the Super Bowl again, and the chances of Ryan putting up those efficiency numbers would still be slim. I would much rather have Russell Wilson or Kirk Cousins ahead of Ryan.
- 6.11 - Derek Carr, Raiders
Carr has shown he can put up good numbers, but he has yet to hit the true consistency of a top quarterback. Last season and the season before, he had just five games where he threw over two touchdowns. He also doesn't rush for touchdowns, which is always a nice little boost for these top quarterbacks. I like him and saw enough last season to have him on my radar as a starting fantasy quarterback, but not at this ADP. As the No. 6 quarterback coming off the board, I need some tangible upside.
- 7.07 - Russell Wilson, Seahawks
Wilson gives us some value here in the seventh round. I'd still likely wait because I am fond of a couple guys whose ADP is later, but when I'm feeling frisky, Mr. Wilson is a high-upside pick at his ADP. Yes, his 2016 was painful if Wilson was your quarterback, but so was it for him, as he was injured for much of the first half of the season. He upped his numbers in the second half of the year when he got past his injuries and should build off his strong finish. I can understand his ADP, as he has yet to put together a complete season, but he has shown elite upside with 24 TD passes in the final six games of 2015 and good rushing numbers with healthy.
- 7.11 - Cam Newton, Panthers
Newton was a huge dud last season, and I find it difficult to project him to return to his huge 2015 numbers. Signs, however, are looking up for Newton due to the addition of Christian McCaffrey. Like Le'Veon Bell, David Johnson, etc., McCaffrey can turn easy short passes into big gainers and also free up work down field to Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen. Newton's rushing touchdown numbers are a big concern, as he was beat up last season and slowed down around the goal line. Newton is near this tier of quarterbacks for me, so I'm okay with his ADP here even though I have him ranked a little lower.
- 8.04 - Jameis Winston, Bucs
Winston could be Ben Roethlisberger or Blake Bortles, but even with the addition of DeSean Jackson, I'm not going to risk this early a pick on him. Winston's offense just isn't built for big fantasy numbers unless he really supplements his touchdowns on the ground. Give me Roethlisberger, Cousins, Mariota, Rivers or Prescott before him.
- 8.05 - Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
Yes, Roethlisberger gets dinged up too much and his numbers on the road have gone criminally low, but he will get Martavis Bryant back this year alongside Antonio Brown and an unsuspended Le'Veon Bell. The Steelers and Roethlisberger really missed Bryant's deep threat last season, and you can see by Roethlisberger's splits with and without Bryant, Bryant made a real difference. Over the last three seasons, Roethlisberger has played 19 games with and 23 games without Bryant, and has averaged 25.5 fantasy points with him compared to 21.5 without. And those include "down" games on the road as well. Roethlisberger's upside with Bryant is as high as anyone in the league.
- 8.12 - Kirk Cousins, Redskins
Cousins continues to put up good numbers, and I see no reason he won't again this season. Washington will have trouble running the ball and its defense won't be elite, so expect Cousins to throw the ball as much as anyone in the league. Add in Terrelle Pryor, Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, Chris Thompson and hopefully Jordan Reed, and Cousins is as safe a play as you can find, especially this late in drafts.
- 9.04 - Marcus Mariota, Titans
Mariota has great upside, but also a fairly low floor. His team would like to run the ball and pass when advantageous instead of the other way around, so game flow could be a problem, but all signs point to him taking another step forward with the additions of Corey Davis and Eric Decker this season. Add in the fact that Mariota showed top-5 upside for an eight-game stretch last season, and I like his chances to give you an advantage at his ADP.
- 10.02 - Philip Rivers, Chargers
Rivers is one of my favorite quarterbacks this season, and even if his ADP weren't so appealing, I'd still be on board. Injuries to his offensive line and wide receivers have hurt him over the last two seasons, but the Chargers have beefed up the line this offseason and a core of Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams and Hunter Henry makes for a strong group. The key though is keeping Allen healthy. Over the last three seasons, Rivers has passed the ball a fraction less when Allen was on the field, but for more yards, touchdowns, fantasy points, and fewer interceptions. Allen's sure hands over the middle allow Rivers to work the ball to Williams deep and Gordon short, and it really all hangs on health, because if Rivers has the weapons, he will put up good fantasy numbers.
- 10.04 - Dak Prescott, Cowboys
Prescott is a value at this ADP. He doesn't have the upside of many of these quarterbacks, but his floor is higher than most and he looks like he will continue to take advantage of good running situations when they are given. His six touchdown runs might be tough to replicate, but with the Cowboys' offensive line, he should have good opportunities again, and he'll also have a healthy Dez Bryant.
- 10.12 - Matthew Stafford, Lions
Stafford has blossomed under Jim Bob Cooter and appears to have settled in as a good quarterback who has some fantasy upside. He's not going to get the 650-725 attempts like earlier in his career, but now he's become much more efficient with the attempts he does get. The trouble is I don't see an avenue for him to push his upside up much further. At this point, Stafford is a good fantasy play with top-10 upside and is worth a pick if he falls.
- 11.03 - Eli Manning, Giants
I very much want to be in on Manning this season because the offense is set up perfectly for any quarterback to put up big numbers, but he sure makes it hard to like him. The addition of Brandon Marshall to Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard makes the Giants' receivers the best group in the league, and then add in Evan Engram at tight end and two good pass-catching backs in Shane Vereen and Paul Perkins. How can Manning not lead the league in fantasy points? Well, because he's just not that good unfortunately. There is some upside due to all these weapons, but he's yet to show us he has it in him.
- 11.1 - Tyrod Taylor, Bills
Really, the only worries with Taylor are his health and Sammy Watkins' health. When they are both playing and healthy, Taylor is a top fantasy quarterback in this league. Even when Watkins isn't playing, Taylor can make up with it through his legs, but that's what gets him in trouble with his health. The risks are there of course, but we've seen Taylor put up good fantasy numbers, and he even finished as the ninth-best fantasy QB last season. I'll take him this late every time.
- 12.02 - Andy Dalton, Bengals
Dalton has shown his upside when his team is healthy, so we know it's there and it's quite high. If A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert play 16 full games each, Dalton will be a top-10 quarterback.
- 12.1 - Carson Wentz, Eagles
Wentz has the weapons, but will need to show a consistency he has yet to find. He'll have weeks that make you want to pick him up if he's on waivers and then weeks that will make you want to drop him.
- 13.03 - Carson Palmer, Cardinals
Palmer is my last-ditch plan in drafts, but one I don't hate. He's old and needs a clean pocket, but he also has David Johnson causing defenses a ton of strife while Larry Fitzgerald and now hopefully a healthy John Brown collect receptions. Injury and just falling off the old-age cliff are worrisome, but Palmer did actually play better at the end of last season than at the beginning. I don't want him as my starter, but he has a lot of upside, especially at this point in a draft.
- 13.12 - Blake Bortles, Jaguars
Bortles may come around at some point, but I don't think the coaches want to give him that chance, as they've explicitly said they want to run the ball and, in turn, hide Bortles on offense.
- 14.07 - Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
Like the Jaguars, the Dolphins want to hide their quarterback and let their running game and defense do the heavy lifting. Leave Tannehill for the 2QB leagues.
- 14.09 - Deshaun Watson, Texans
Watson has gotten a bunch of praise early in camp and would have good upside if he wins the job. Unfortunately, we have to wait to see if he can win the job.
- 14.12 - Joe Flacco , Ravens
Flacco is not elite, and he's never finished a fantasy season higher than the 11th-best fantasy quarterback. Leave him be.
Not listed at FFC:
Sam Bradford, Vikings
I will take Bradford as my backup quarterback more often than not. He has a nice schedule and a good core set of offensive players to work with. He's not going to surprise us all with a huge fantasy season, but he should be stable in deeper leagues with some actual upside.