This article is part of our The Z Files series.
It's fashionable to pan ADP (average draft position). Sure, it has its flaws. However, categorically dismissing its utility is a mistake. When incorporated properly, ADP can be a useful tool.
RELATIVE, NOT ABSOLUTE
The primary shortcoming of ADP is lack of uniformity across all leagues. While this is obviously an issue, so long as the scoring system for your league is similar to the ADP, players can be viewed in terms of relative market rank. The best example is 5x5 leagues, since there isn't a universal scoring system for points leagues. The actual ADP doesn't matter. What's relevant is the relative ranking of players at the same position or who provide similar categorical contributions.
LEAGUE SPECIFIC ADP
Not slighting other sources, but currently the NFBC (National Fantasy Baseball Championship) ADP is the industry standard. Once drafting season begins in earnest, all the major sites (ESPN, Yahoo, CBS) will compile their own. Until then, the NFBC ADP will be prominently discussed.
Feeding into the "relative, not absolute" mantra, many unfairly judge the NFBC ADP. NFBC Draft Champions leagues comprise the current ADP. These are 15-team, draft-and-hold leagues with 50 roster spots. There's an individual league component along with everyone lumped together to crown an overall champion. Any time there's an overall element, non-conventional strategies will be deployed, skewing ADP.
Even more important is the NFBC has its own economy, with a myriad of monkey-see, monkey-do strategies. Drafting at least one, if not two aces is the chief ploy rendering the NFBC