Discover more from Real Man Sports
Brainwashed By ADP
It occurred to me today that many people just believe what their peers believe. They might tell themselves there’s some deep basis for believing it (The Science says so!) but whether or not that’s true or they’ve even examined the underlying phenomena, the primary reason they believe x and not y is because everyone they know believes x and not y.
Let me give you a trivial example. Let’s say Cam Akers had a mid-third-round ADP. He’s the starter on the Rams, Matthew Stafford is coming back presumably healthy, Sean McVay is coaching the team — Akers is like Najee Harris, a decent back on what could be an improved offense.
Maybe you’d be out on Akers. Too much dog-house risk with McVay, not enough of a track record. No way you’re taking him in the third. Okay, fine, but let’s say you went WR-WR-WR, it’s late Round 4 and normally-taken-in-the-third-round Akers is there. Many people would take the round-and-a-half discount for a position of need and feel good about it.
But Akers in this universe is going at pick 63 — early sixth in 12-team leagues. Unless you were all-in on him, no chance you’re reaching up a round and a half to take him there. What seemed like a great discount for the exact same player is now a huge reach. The fact pattern hasn’t changed, only what your peers believe about that player.
Now I used Akers as an example, because I think quite plausibly he could be grouped with Harris, and early sixth (his actual ADP) makes him a bargain. But within reason, I don’t think it matters which player I used. If his ADP were three rounds earlier, most people would see him in a totally different light, even though nothing else about the player himself would be different.
And this would be the case even if they were entirely familiar with all the underlying facts about him. It’s one thing to outsource your opinions to the market consciously, not bothering to have a strong opinion, and quite another to believe you are doing your own research and yet still defaulting to the market’s assumptions when aggregating the disparate pros and cons.
You can think, “I have to ding Breece Hall because he’s coming off a mid-season ACL tear” and yet simultaneously believe his third-round ADP has priced that in. If Hall were going in Round 6, you would still know about the ACL tear, but simply explain the three-round drop by the ACL tear.
This is not to argue that ADP isn’t a decent baseline (it usually is) or that you should ignore it entirely — you probably shouldn’t. But if you don’t consider the players for yourself — outside the construct of what other people believe (ADP) — you’re probably better off just taking the best value every round, maximizing the odds you’re benefitting from the large-sample market being more correct than the particular owners in your league.
ADP is good for estimating what your choices will be at a given pick slot, but it should only rarely be the basis for your decision of which player to take.