In working on the six parts of DLF’s recent Breaking Down the ADP series with Dan Sainio, one of the things I continued to take notice of were the discrepancies between a player’s ADP and my ranking of them. My first reaction when I disagreed with the mock drafters was to guffaw, point, and laugh. How dare they disagree with Jeff Miller, Senior Writer and all around fantasy football bad-ass? When my cackling ceased, I remembered how I am wrong sometimes. Then I cried. Then I took a nap. Then I played Overwatch and forgot I was supposed to be writing an article.
While putting together the series I didn’t make any adjustments to my rankings. That may be about to change, for today we will be discussing a single player at each position I disagree with the ADP data on and if I am considering adjusting my valuation as a result.
Tyrod Taylor – ADP QB18/186th Overall
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Among quarterbacks who have started at least 16 total games the last two seasons, Taylor has scored the eighth most points per game at 18.2. If you think that’s impressive, look at this table:
Oops. Wrong one.
The following table shows how Taylor ranks among the aforementioned group of quarterbacks over the same two year period.
The poor showing in the first two categories is directly attributable to Rex Ryan. If you aren’t allowed to throw the ball, odds are good you won’t pile up yards either. Skipping ahead to touchdown percentage, I see that as partially a Rex thing and partially an awful receiving corps thing. As the adjusted yards per attempt ranking shows, it isn’t like we are looking at a player unwilling to throw the ball down field, making it hard to believe the low TD% is only Tyrod’s cross to carry.
The rest of the table is awfully pretty. Most encouraging has been Taylor’s ability to protect the ball despite not being an Alex Smith-ian dink and dunker.
Detractors may point out the rushing volume will drop without Ryan in town. The flip side is the passing attempts will climb. I have high expectations this will balance out fairly neatly, with Taylor posting a third consecutive QB1 type season.
As you may guess, I’m not planning to move Taylor off my rank of QB10. I know it is an incredibly aggressive ranking, but everything I’ve seen and studied does nothing but give me confidence I’ve got this one right.
Mark Ingram – RB15/51st Overall
There are three top-30 running backs I am way off the consensus on. Two of them, C.J. Anderson and Isaiah Crowell, will only see a dip in my rankings once we insert rookies, something ADP has already done. The other, Ingram, my RB7, should maybe be lower, if only I could force myself to do it.
Part of the reason I have Ingram as high as I do is for lack of other options. He leads my third tier, which is a group of backs I have very clearly behind my top-six. Boiling it down to just that probably isn’t fair to Ingram though. Most notable among the reasons the Saints’ back climbed the ladder this far are his 4.7 YPC the last four seasons (674 carries) and 3.05 receptions per game the last three, a 49 catch 16 game pace. If Ingram could just stay healthy, RB7 wouldn’t look so bad. Or maybe that is unfair to him considering four of the five players right behind him had injury issues last year.
Alas, running back is impossible to sort.
Jordy Nelson – WR26/39th Overall
I have Nelson all the way up at WR18. Considering his age, it is a bit tenuous to say the least. As with Ingram, though, I find myself having a difficult time moving the players ranked just after him past the veteran stud.
Perhaps the most intriguing option is my WR19, Davante Adams. Considering they play for the same team, it is an interesting situation that is reminiscent of the last few off-seasons when we were trying to weigh Nelson against Randall Cobb. The difference, of course, is Cobb never profiled as a true WR1, while Adams potentially does.
Of the players I’ve mentioned thus far, I feel the least confident Jordy will be ranked this highly this time next year. To counter that, I feel the most confident he will have an elite season. With three consecutive years, not including a missed 2015, of at least 85 receptions, 1250 yards, and eight touchdowns, it is hard to envision a scenario in which a healthy Jordy isn’t a top-six or eight performer.
Delanie Walker – TE15/131st Overall
With Taylor I was resolute in my ranking. Ingram and Nelson are guys I have really thought about the past couple weeks before ultimately leaving them alone. In Walker, who as I write this sentence is my TE5, we finally have somebody I am going to move down at least three or four spots, if not more.
When I ranked Walker this high earlier this off-season, it was based largely off a comp I made between him and Greg Olsen. Believe it or not, the two have performed incredibly similarly the last three seasons, with Olsen posting 13.2 PPG to Walker’s 12.7. Both are getting up there in years, but the Tennessee tight end is some five months younger.
The reason I’m backing off walker comes down to a couple things. First off, aside from an outlier season in 2015, his target volume is usually around 20 off of Olsen’s pace. I don’t see that getting better in the short term with both DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry pounding the ball a bajillion times a game. Perhaps the bigger reason is Tennessee being so heavily thought to be using one of their first round picks on a receiver or tight end. Carolina should also be in the market to upgrade their pass catching corps, but they don’t have the draft capital the Titans do.
Hopefully this wasn’t a letdown, as I didn’t come out as a house of fire, changing my mind all over the place. If I had, I think that would probably indicate I don’t put enough thought into my rankings in the first place. If you’ve been reading the Mind of Miller thus far, you’d know that isn’t the case. If anything, I obsess over these damn things more than I should. Whether or not that makes me more right than our ADP is a discussion for another day.
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