The relation between fancy the average draft position (ADP) and the actual draft position are quite strong and also linear. Therefore, I used historical fantasy football data from the past three years to construct a valuation curve between actual NFL Draft positions and where rookies are taken in fantasy drafts. We can see when fantasy editors have been too low on a player who went early in the NFL Draft and vice versa. This piece will focus on the ball carriers, following a earlier analysis on beginner wide receivers.
Part of the value disconnect between the NFL Draft and fantasy drafts is based on the perception of bad landing spots, and some is due to a fundamental disbelief in how the NFL views players’ chances of success. Each is a valid concern, though both can be overplayed in the minds of fantasy writers.
The ADPs on the plots come from drafts conducted since May 1, the day after the 2022 NFL Draft ended.
Only looking back a few seasons means there aren’t a ton of rookie hits to highlight, and even one such as Javonte Williams is a bit suspicious. What you find, unsurprisingly, is that productive rookies have mostly been high draft picks, and the relative overvaluation of someone like Jonathan Taylor to his draft position didn’t really matter.
Antonio Gibson was undervalued immediately after the NFL Draft as the first third-round pick due to uncertainty surrounding his rookie role. Similar opportunities could exist this season.
The biggest takeaway is how difficult it is to predict later-round value for rookie running backs, as a handful of better-drafted rookies haven’t all managed to produce significantly as rookies.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Sermon Trey and Michael Carter are considering subset roles, at best, in the 2022 season. AJ Dillon was severely undervalued as a rookie but probably had better contingent value with injuries than others taken much earlier.
BACK RUNNING ROOKIE 2022
Dameon Pierce and Isaiah Spiller are the favorite last-round recruits among fantasy drafts, but none have jumped into the top 100 at this point. Makes sense with Pierce’s lack of competition and Spiller’s handcuff value.
the Brece Room The love fest continues in the fantasy world, as his post-draft ADP has increased to a point of relative overvaluation. Kenneth Walker remained stable, despite some poor optics on its landing spot.