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Hacking the draft room: Finding value with Sleeper average draft position | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


Have you ever spent a month preparing for a Sleeper league using rankings from a different site, then once the draft begins, you realize the list you showed up with starts disappearing wildly out of order? That’s when the draft panic starts to set in. Unless, of course, you were equipped with inter-site values, so you knew who to push up and who you could wait on. We’re reviving a David Gonos classic here at The Athletic as we use FantasyPros Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) to hack the Sleeper draft room.

All ADP data is PPR per FantasyPros as of 8/25/23

Quarterback

QBs Going +10 Picks Earlier on Sleeper (You’ll have to jump site ADP to get them)

QBs Going +10 Picks Later on Sleeper (You can wait and let them come to you)

  • Deshaun Watson, CLE — 87 Sleeper, 74 ECR
  • Daniel Jones, NYG — 137 Sleeper, 121 ECR
  • Russell Wilson, DEN — 155 Sleeper, 142 ECR
  • Matthew Stafford, LAR — 194 Sleeper, 171 ECR
  • Kenny Pickett, PIT — 187 Sleeper, 174 ECR

The Sleeper crowd is buying the Anthony Richardson hype, steaming the Colts’ fourth overall pick more than a full round ahead of consensus. As much as I love the potential of the rookie phenom, I’m slamming the brakes and pivoting in another direction.

Being extremely strict this draft season in only rostering dual-threat QBs, you know I was stoked to see a couple of my guys going at a discount. As sweet as a full-round bargain feels for Deshaun Watson, the opportunity cost is still very high.

I’m keeping my third eye squared firmly on Daniel Jones, going nearly twenty picks (!) after ECR. How is Daniel Jones coming off the board as the QB14 after last season?  He excelled in his first year under Brian Daboll, finishing T-8th among QBs in FAN PPG. The Giants outperformed expectations in 2022 and then added actual pass-catching weapons to the fray. I’m fully expecting another step forward from Big Blue’s signal caller due to experience and continuity within the system.  No need to fret if you get clipped on Daniel Jones either. There are viable options left at the back of the board in Russell Wilson and Kenny Pickett, both worth the price of waiting if you can’t get your QB earlier.

Running Back

RBs Going +10 Picks Earlier on Sleeper (You’ll have to jump site ADP to get them)

  • Alexander Mattison, MIN — 57 Sleeper, 67 ECR
  • Antonio Gibson, WAS — 94 Sleeper, 112 ECR
  • Brian Robinson Jr., WAS — 99 Sleeper, 110 ECR
  • Rashaad Penny, PHI — 106 Sleeper, 134 ECR
  • De’Von Achane, MIA — 117 Sleeper, 134 ECR
  • Damien Harris, BUF — 142 Sleeper, 166 ECR

RBs Going +10 Picks Later on Sleeper (You can wait and let them come to you)

It stands to reason that site-specific discounts will impact us all differently depending on our personal ranks. I can tell from a single glance at these lists that my own personal RB plan needs a facelift for Sleeper. A few of my favorite discounted backs, namely Alexander Mattison and Rashaad Penny, are being drafted much sooner than I’m used to. Similar to Anthony Richardson at QB, I’m not chasing the name up the board. In Mattison’s case, it’s a matter of opportunity cost — there are still high-quality WRs remaining at pick 57. When it comes to Rashaad Penny, you might call it stubbornness. He’s being drafted on Sleeper where I thought he should be going universally all along. I get the argument for Penny at pick 106, but it’s nearly thirty picks (!) earlier than I’ve been drafting him for months. NOTE: To be clear, if you don’t happen to draft a hundred teams like I do, and there are no other solid RB2s remaining after pick 100, draft Rashaad Penny.

The back-end of my reasoning to fade the entire first list of RBs on Sleeper is the two-name list of bargains at the bottom. I guess sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good because I happen to be really high on both Rachaad White and Jeff Wilson. White’s being drafted as the RB24 even though he’s on a short list of players with a chance at three-down duties. Wilson’s price might reflect the uncertainty in Miami but it does not compensate for the upside of taking over the lead role for the Dolphins. For more detail on why Jeff Wilson’s on as many of my teams as I can draft, he was a subject of my depth chart piece.

Wide Receiver

WRs Going Earlier on Sleeper (You’ll have to jump site ADP to get them)

  • Drake London, ATL — 55 Sleeper, 68 ECR
  • Marquise Brown, ARI — 73 Sleeper, 89 ECR
  • Jaxon Smith-Njigba, SEA — 79 Sleeper, 95 ECR
  • Kadarius Toney, KC — 92 Sleeper, 117 ECR
  • Quentin Johnston, LAC — 97 Sleeper, 121 ECR
  • Zay Flowers, BAL — 104 Sleeper, 120 ECR
  • Elijah Moore, CLE — 113 Sleeper, 149 ECR
  • Allen Lazard, NYJ — 116 Sleeper, 141 ECR
  • Rashod Bateman, BAL — 140 Sleeper, 156 ECR
  • Rashee Rice, KC — 151 Sleeper, 198 ECR
  • Romeo Doubs, GB — 159 Sleeper, 176 ECR
  • Alec Pierce, IND — 202 Sleeper, 220 ECR
  • Jayden Reed, GB — 214 Sleeper, 231 ECR
  • Marvin Mims Jr., DEN — 218 Sleeper, 244 ECR
  • Rashid Shaheed, NO — 223 Sleeper, 250 ECR

A list this large deserves separate attention, and the real clue won’t be found in micro-player takes. Zoom out on the list in its entirety — you may notice an interesting and actionable wrinkle. For all the wideouts who will cost you extra on Sleeper, not one of them is inside the Top 50 overall. Therefore, you can still avoid overpaying in a WR market wrought with demand by simply drafting wideouts early. Though the draft cost is still high by definition, the price itself is in line with the market. Then, when the other GMs start reaching for players on this list +20 picks ahead of ECR, pounce on the other positions.

WRs Going Later on Sleeper (You can wait and let them come to you)

  • Mike Williams, LAC — 74 Sleeper, 64 ECR
  • K.J. Osborn, MIN — 196 Sleeper, 187 ECR
  • Donovan Peoples-Jones, CLE — 215 Sleeper, 196 ECR
  • Marquez Valdes-Scantling, KC — 222 Sleeper, 204 ECR
  • Parris Campbell, NYG — 231 Sleeper, 220 ECR

I’d be remiss to leave out that somehow there’s only one relative WR discount within the first two hundred picks. Chargers wideout Mike Williams goes later on Sleeper than anywhere else, so here’s your chance to prioritize him. Frankly, I’m surprised there are only two rounds of separation between Williams and rookie Quentin Johnston. As much as I like the prospect of Johnston for the second half, Williams has a chance to explode right out of the box for the Chargers.

Tight End

TEs Going Earlier on Sleeper (You’ll have to jump site ADP to get them)

  • Pat Freiermuth, PIT — 83 Sleeper, 96 ECR
  • Cole Kmet, CHI — 112 Sleeper, 126 ECR
  • Dalton Kincaid, BUF — 115 Sleeper, 128 ECR
  • Chigoziem Okonkwo, TEN — 122 Sleeper, 147 ECR
  • Sam LaPorta, DET — 156 Sleeper, 172 ECR

TEs Going Later on Sleeper (You can wait and let them come to you)

If I ever recommend paying a premium for a tight end in fantasy football, that’s the signal I’ve been abducted and am in dire need of rescue. Kidding aside, the TE position is weak and the scoring’s too consolidated to reach for anyone. Even names I’m interested in like Sam LaPorta are not worth sacrificing a round of value. On the other hand, I’m not at all enamored with the bargain bin. Sometimes you get what you pay for, so my Sleeper TE strategy is this: Eat the porridge that’s just right. If the top list is too hot and the bottom is too cold, then give me any of my other preferred options like Darren Waller, Luke Musgrave, or Jake Ferguson right at ADP.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @JohnLaghezza where I have a link pinned to my podcast with colleague Michael Salfino as well as inexpensive off-site ranks that also include formatted cheat sheets with a free downloadable .CSV.

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

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