2022 Best Ball Strategy: Exploiting ADP Inconsistencies Between Sites

2022 Best Ball Strategy: Exploiting ADP Inconsistencies Between Sites

This article is part of our Best Ball Strategy series.

After four months spent mostly traveling, I've been cooped up in my Baltimore apartment for eight days now, recovering from a fairly mild case of COVID-19 and waiting to pass a test so I can head out west on a road trip. Can't say it's been the greatest week of my life — missing my dad's 60th birthday celebration was a lowlight — but I've at least had plenty of time to draft best ball teams (silver linings!).

Normally a slow-draft guy, I've pivoted to the DraftKings fast drafts while stuck at home and have been surprised at some of the value consistently available. Diontae Johnson at ADP 48.1? Yes, please. On a full-PPR site? Double yes.

Johnson goes about seven spots earlier (41.4 ADP) on Underdog, where receptions are good for only a half point. We'd expect guys like Johnson or TE Kyle Pitts to be drafted slightly later on Underdog, if anything, considering they have excellent volume projections but also some concerns about scoring touchdowns in subpar offenses.

But it doesn't always shake out the way it should. In reality, Pitts is at ADP 32.6 on UD and ADP 35.6 on DK. He's probably a bit more valuable on the latter site, and also tends to be a bit cheaper. For those playing on both sites, it'd be wise to get most of the Pitts shares on DraftKings. And even for those who aren't on both, all of this can give us an idea of some of the best values on each site.

Of course, there are other players who are cheaper on UD, or at least the same price and better suited to the half-PPR scoring. Let's take a look at both, identifying players that should be targeted on one site over the other. There are a bunch of other best ball sites, and thus more opportunities to take advantage of ADP differences. For today, though, we'll stick to comparing the two sites that seem to have the most action going early in the summer. 

Keep in mind this is all relative. Some of these guys, like Pitts, are players I'll be drafting on pretty much any site, as I have them ranked ahead of where most others do. On the other hand, we have guys like Damien Harris, who won't end up on many of my teams. It's nonetheless worth noting that Harris is a much better value on Underdog, as there are surely some reading this article who hold him in higher esteem.

Underdog ADP/rankings page

DraftKings ADP/rankings page

DraftKings Values

QB Trey Lance

DK ADP: 89.1 — UD ADP: 84.3

QBs tend to go earlier on DraftKings, making Lance one of the few exceptions. In fact, he's the only top-25 QB whose ADP is more than three spots later on DK. It is true that the yardage bonuses (300 for passing, 100 for rushing) favor volume passers over frequent runners, but Lance shouldn't fall too far behind there, perhaps reaching each bonus twice. Top passers usually hit the 300-yard bonus about eight or nine times per year, but that still adds up to less than a one point per week gap — not enough to pass up Lance in the eighth round in favor of someone like Matthew Stafford or Aaron Rodgers.


RB Kenneth Walker

DK ADP: 112.5 — UD ADP: 96.2

I'm either slightly on Team Penny or agnostic, but I'll grab some Walker shares on DK where he's going a full two rounds after his backfield mate. It's the reverse on Underdog, albeit to a lesser extent, with Walker going a half-round earlier. The smart move for those without a strong preference is to draft the rookie on DK and/or the vet on UD. Neither projects for a ton of receiving work, as the Seahawks likely will use Travis Homer or DeeJay Dallas on third downs. It is possible the switch from Russell Wilson to assorted trash-heap QBs leads to the RBs getting more targets. (Silver linings are the theme of the day, right?)


WR Diontae Johnson

DK ADP: 48.1 — UD ADP: 41.4

TE Kyle Pitts 

DK ADP: 35.6 — UD ADP: 32.6

Both guys are discussed above, so let's leave it at this: I want them on Underdog; I need them on DraftKings. Diontae Johnson at the 4/5 turn in full PPR is one of the best things that's ever happened to me, even if it's a sad commentary on the state of humanity as a whole. We can't be too far from Idiocracy at this point.


Others on DK

RB Kenneth Walker (DK ADP: 112.5 — UD ADP: 96.2)

RB Khalil Herbert (DK ADP: 167.0 — UD ADP: 158.2)

WR Stefon Diggs (DK ADP: 11.4 — UD ADP: 8.4)

WR CeeDee Lamb (DK ADP: 15.1 — UD ADP: 14.1)

WR Jerry Jeudy (DK ADP: 54.8 — UD ADP: 47.2)

WR Rashod Bateman (DK ADP: 61.4 — UD ADP: 54.2)

WR Elijah Moore (DK ADP: 77.8 — UD ADP: 68.6)

WR Michael Thomas (DK ADP: 87.8 — UD ADP: 78.2)

WR Jakobi Meyers (DK ADP: 140.3 — UD ADP: 133.5)

WR K.J. Osborn (DK ADP: 157.1 — UD ADP: 146.2)

WR Parris Campbell (DK ADP: 189.2 — UD ADP: 176.8)

WR KJ Hamler (DK ADP: 203.1 — UD ADP: 178.2)


Underdog Values

QB Patrick Mahomes

UD ADP: 50.3 — DK ADP: 35.4

A lot of QBs go later on Underdog, but Mahomes really stands out with a 15-spot gap. I think UD drafters are getting this one right, more or less, putting Mahomes a half-round behind Justin Herbert (it's the other way around on DK). Part of that might be overly aggressive stacking strategy in tournaments, especially for teams that draft Travis Kelce early, but I'd also guess it has something to do with DraftKings attracting more casual players who tend to overvalue Mahomes in fantasy. Whatever the case, I have zero interest in Mahomes around the 3/4 turn, but you might talk me into it him in Round 5.

I'm down on Mahomes, in fantasy, for two reasons. First and foremost, I think Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson offer higher ceilings at a lower price. Murray scored more fantasy points per game last year despite playing on a messed-up ankle late in the season, and Jackson would've averaged more points as well if he hadn't suffered his own ankle injury and been forced out of a game in the first quarter. Sure, Jackson and Murray come with more injury risk, but probably not to the extent most people think. Jackson has a good record for durability dating back to college (apart from getting sick a lot the past 2-3 years), and Murray has played 46 of a possible 49 games since the Cardinals drafted him.

Note: Top QBs are usually slightly less valuable under PPR scoring because it widens the gap between top players and mediocre players at RB/WR/TE (especially with WRs and elite TEs). However, the yardage bonus system on DraftKings benefits Mahomes, Justin Herbert, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford and anyone else with a lot of passing volume and/or excellent efficiency.

The two factors probably work out to about a wash in terms of the valuations comparing QBs to other positions, but it does help the aforementioned volume passers relative to the QBs that throw for fewer yards. Even Lamar Jackson, with his 10 100-yard rushing games in 49 starts, is far behind Mahomes and Co. in frequency of getting the three-point bonuses on DK. 

Jackson only has three career 300-yard passing games, making him 13-for-49 (27 percent) at getting a bonus. Brady has thrown for 300 yards in 16 of his 33 starts (48 percent) with Tampa, and Mahomes has done it in 31 of 63 (49 percent) for the Chiefs). Mahomes has averaged 1.45 fantasy points per game on DK coming from yardage bonuses, while Jackson has averaged 0.8.


RB Derrick Henry

UD ADP: 7.5 — DK ADP: 6.9 

Of all the players typically drafted in the first round this summer, only Henry averaged less than 2.5 catches per game last year. He averaged 2.3, so not far off, but that was also nearly double his previous per-game high of 1.2 (he missed nine games last year but had just one fewer catch than in 2020). Even if the increased receiving involvement holds up, which is far from guaranteed, Henry remains relatively more valuable in non-PPR and half-PPR leagues. No matter, he goes slightly earlier on DK than UD.


 RB Nick Chubb

UD ADP: 24.9 — DK ADP: 24.7 

This is pretty much the same deal as Henry, with Chubb having similar ADPs on both sites despite being one of the most obvious guys who is less valuable in formats that put more weight on receptions. Chubb had one year, 2019, with a respectable total of 36 catches, 2.3 per game. Other than that, he's never gone higher than 20 catches in a season or 1.4 per game. 

While I'm not drafting Chubb much this year in any format, he is worth a look in the playoff-centric tournaments I discussed last week, as that late part of the season is when Cleveland's offense is most likely to have Deshaun Watson (and thus be good). Granted, there's also still some chance Watson misses the whole season, which might work in Chubb's favor from a game-planning perspective but then causes all sorts of other problems once the reality of Jacoby Brissett plays out on a gridiron. Even so, I like Chubb for Best Ball Mania on UD in drafts where he falls to Round 3.


 TE Dallas Goedert

UD ADP: 96.9 — DK ADP: 89.8 

Goedert is more seam-stretcher than dump-off man, ranking top 8 among TEs in aDOT in three of his four NFL seasons (2019 being the exception). He's also averaged better than 10 yards per catch every year, including a career-high 14.8 last season, and his mediocre TD rate (16 on 193 receptions) could improve now that the Eagles offense is likely better. I'd rather have Goedert on a half-PPR site and someone like Ertz on DraftKings, so it works out nicely that Goedert is actually going later on Underdog.


Others on UD

RB David Montgomery (UD ADP: 50.5 — DK ADP: 43.2)

RB Damien Harris (UD ADP: 89.9 — DK ADP: 76.1)

RB Devin Singletary (UD ADP: 101.9 — DK ADP: 86.3)

RB Rashaad Penny (UD ADP: 103.7 — DK ADP: 89.3)

WR Allen Lazard (UD ADP: 83.9 — DK ADP: 77.4)

WR DJ Chark (UD ADP: 152.6 — DK ADP: 151.8)

WR Kendrick Bourne (UD ADP: 192.8 — DK ADP: 177.6)

TE Travis Kelce (UD ADP: 12.2 — DK ADP: 8.9)

TE Albert Okwuegbunam (UD ADP: 145.6 — DK ADP: 136.1)

TE Mike Gesicki (UD ADP: 133.3 — DK ADP: 118.3)


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Jerry Donabedian
Jerry was a 2018 finalist for the FSWA's Player Notes Writer of the Year and DFS Writer of the Year awards. A Baltimore native, Jerry roots for the Ravens and watches "The Wire" in his spare time.
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