Jay Ajayi Among Underpriced Players Based on ADP

Average draft position (ADP) can be a valuable tool to consult when constructing your fantasy teams. Sure, identifying and capitalizing on players you value is the most important distinction behind a successful fantasy season, but recognizing and adjusting to how a draft board may break remains an integral part of the strategy in fantasy football. This series will look to identify interesting tidbits that can be gleaned from ADP, starting first with some of better values out there during the opening stages of the 2018 fantasy season. For the purpose of this exercise, we’ll use the NFFC’s ADP although I’ll acknowledge some of the other prominent ADP’s in future articles.

Jay Ajayi

ADP: 49 / RB23

At this point last year, the former Miami tailback was just beginning to skyrocket up fantasy player’s draft boards, imbued with the promise that head coach Adam Gase’s quarterback-friendly offense would once again create enough space for Ajayi to take advantage of his deceptive speed and vision in the open field. For many fantasy players, selecting Ajayi early in fantasy drafts was a chance to rectify wrongs. After all, the Boise State product became a fantasy “sleeper” darling in 2016, blowing through the remains of Arian Foster’s corpse to grab a stranglehold on the starting RB position, finishing his second year in the NFL with 1,272 rushing yards and eight touchdowns to go along with a healthy 4.9 yards-per-carry average. By the time September rolled around, Ajayi was comfortable getting taken in the opening portions of the second round in most leagues, as even a season-ending injury to starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill couldn’t dispel the ever-growing enthusiasm surrounding the RB. In hindsight, Jay Cutler’s insertion into the lineup was a curse rather than a blessing, as the should-have-been-retired signal caller never threatened defenses enough to let Ajayi breathe. By the end of his tenure with Miami, Ajayi was averaging a ghastly 3.4 yards-per-carry while ceding snaps to the likes of Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake. Nevermind that Ajayi flourished after being traded to Philadelphia in Week 9 – by that point he was already deemed a lost cause in the minds of fantasy owners. Fast forward to this year, and many of the same intriguing fantasy elements remain. Situated in an explosive and creative offense lead by a rising QB Carson Wentz, Ajayi should absorb the bulk of the work left behind from the departed LeGarrette Blount, as he figures to be the only goalline back currently on the roster. Wendall Smallwood, Donnel Pumphrey, Darren Sproles and Corey Clement will likely cannibalize any chance at receiving opportunities for Ajayi, but similar receiving concerns never dissuaded anyone last year according to his ADP. And the well-documented injury concerns remain, but given the 25-year-old has only missed three games in the two seasons he’s started, it’s not as if he’s brittle. Considering how high Ajayi was going last year and the relatively cushy home he’s found in Philadelphia, this figures to be one of the better “no-brainer” values out there at the moment.

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RotoWire Vegas League, Part 2

During our annual company retreat to Las Vegas during the All-Star break, one of our activities is to do an early fantasy football draft. This year we had a pair of 14-team drafts being selected simultaneously. You can read about the results from the first of those two drafts by Chris Liss here.

The quick specs on the league:

  • Standard (no-PPR) scoring
  • We start one QB, two RB, three WR and a flex
  • Team K and Team Defense

It’s a pretty basic format, complicated only by the size of the league. With 14 teams, getting on the back end of a run is especially painful. I drew pick 12, here are the results:

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Aloha, Mr. Hand

Brad Hand

The Indians addressed an obvious need Thursday, trading for the Padres’ Brad Hand and Adam Cimber in exchange for prospect Francisco Mejia. What had been a strength last year – and not just merely as strength, but a huge advantage at 8.6 pitching fWAR, second only to the Yankees. This year that strength has been a glaring weakness, with Indians’ bullpen checking in at -1.3 fWAR, worse than anyone other than the Royals. What happened here? The top four relievers for the Indians last year were Andrew Miller, Bryan Shaw, Cody Allen and Joe Smith. Miller has made two trips to the DL, pitching in only 17 games so far. That’s a big domino to fall – losing his contributions from last year alone has cost the Indians slightly over two wins in WAR. Shaw is toiling (really toiling, unfortunately) for the Rockies, Allen has a 4.99 ERA and Smith is on the Astros. Last year’s surprise contributors Nick Goody and Tyler Olson have respective ERA’s of 6.94 and 7.50. Making matters worse, Danny Salazar hasn’t thrown a pitch this year and Josh Tomlin has imploded both as a starter and as a reliever.

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Stopa 10K League

On Sunday night in Las Vegas, I participated in the Stopa League Auction, a 14-team, half-PPR, QB-flex, 2-TE  league with 10K in prizes. We each had a $200 budget. First overall wins the league. spots 2-4 get paid, 14th gets bounced. Here are the results:

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Machado to the Dodgers

In a rare All-Star break blockbuster, Manny Machado has officially been dealt to the Dodgers, in exchange for Yusniel Diaz, Rylan Bannon, Dean Kremer, Zach Pop and Breyvic Valera. My first reaction to the deal was that the Orioles didn’t get enough for Machado … though frequently that’s my reaction when the player dealt is a rent-a-player such as Machado. My cynicism was further fueled because it’s the Orioles, and I’m predisposed to slag any move that they make. Moreover, they didn’t send over any money to help the Dodgers save salary, or more importantly for the Dodgers, luxury tax relief, which strikes me as standard operating procedure for Peter Angelos and the Dodgers.

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