written by Brandon Gdula on Aug 11th, 2014
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Using Our Draft Kit to Win Your Fantasy Football League

Which players should you target and avoid if you have a league on

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It's really no surprise that the NFL is making a push to become a popular fantasy football league hosting site. I mean, it's their product out on the field, so their online domain has started to host its own leagues, as I'm sure you're aware from the plethora of fantasy football commercials all over the NFL Network.

So if you've made the transition to from other sites, this article is for you. I've already discussed the premise when focusing on Yahoo, ESPN, and CBS Sports leagues in case you're still drafting on those sites, too, but there are some pretty big differences in opinions on certain players across the sites.

This can ruin your draft strategy unless you've studied your site's default rankings.

Even if you don't use them, the rest of your league probably will, and this could give away some of your hidden gems or, worse, make you stumble on draft day when you see a player you've been getting in round six rated as a third-round talent. Do you reach? Or do you hope he is valued like his on your favorite mock draft or ADP site?

That's what this article can help you avoid - hopefully - on draft day.

These articles aren't meant to suggest that certain sites are wrong about certain players but rather to introduce you to players whose ranks just don't really match up with the ones we have based on our fantasy football cheat sheet when set to's standard scoring settings and roster construction in 12-team leagues.

So without further ado, I'll let you know some overarching themes I noticed in's rankings, and target specific players who are overvalued or undervalued based on our projections.

Fundamental Differences

1. Don't expect many steals in the first two rounds. ranks the top three rushers as Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy, and Jamaal Charles, the inverse of our top three. A few of us discussed who we'd pick first, but it's hard to consider any of them the wrong choice. However, we project that only one player in's top-24 as being undervalued by at least 6 spots (or half of a round): Drew Brees There are a few guys, though, who may be taken sooner in leagues than we'd recommend.

2. expects bigger years from some young receivers than we do. If you're at all familiar with our projections, then you'll know that the algorithm doesn't really get excited about potential. There are some breakout candidates with significantly higher rankings on than in our rankings.

3. Our projections suggest the top tight ends are being overvalued significantly, but that is pretty low on the rest of the tight end pool. If your league mates were to adhere to the rankings, then four tight ends would be drafted inside the top 54 picks. But the next tight end wouldn't be drafted until pick 80. In fact, Jason Witten is ranked 80th, Greg Olsen is ranked 86th, and Jordan Cameron is ranked 88th. A little patience could land you a solid tight end, unlike on most sites.

4. Quarterbacks and old running backs aren't getting much respect. There are 13 players inside our top 100 that our algorithms think are being undervalued by at least 24 picks (or two full rounds) in's draft rankings. Of the 13, 7 are running backs, and 5 are quarterbacks. You'll find out who they are below.

Overvalued Players According to Our Projections

The math behind numberFire tends to be bearish on unproven players - players whose hype makes other people bullish. This mathematical approach quells the unrealistic expectations surrounding ostensible breakout players and approaches these guys in an empirical sense. RanknumberFire RankDifferential
Keenan Allen4452-8
Cordarrelle Patterson4780-33
Michael Floyd5575-20
Torrey Smith5883-25
T.Y. Hilton6585-20

I'm pretty excited about three of these players (hint: not Cordarrelle Patterson or T.Y. Hilton), but I'd probably have to take them off my radar in leagues because of the asking price, something I run into all the time when I neglect to familiarize myself with default site rankings available in drafts. Of course, not all of them will be gone immediately, but jumping up two full rounds (or a full round for Keenan Allen) in the middle of the draft could prove to be a big risk.

While we're on the theme of overvalued pass-catchers, there are some red flags in the early-goings of drafts, per our projections. Dez Bryant is being ranked 14th overall and is our 26th overall player (a difference of 12 spots), and Julio Jones is ranked 18th but is our 29th player (11 spots).

Additionally, Jimmy Graham is's 8th overall player and our 32nd overall (24 spots). These big-name players will have their share of big-time weeks, but our math thinks the asking price on is a bit steep in the early rounds.

Undervalued Players According to Our Projections

It seems like waiting to draft your fantasy quarterback has become such a staple for some drafters that elite options can fall in the draft, but if your mates are easily swayed by the default rankings, then they'll be waiting, too. ranks just 1 of our top 12 quarterbacks higher than we do, and 8 of our top 12 are suggested to be at least 10 spots less valuable than have them ranked. RanknumberFire RankDifferential
Peyton Manning1914+5
Drew Brees2111+10
Aaron Rodgers2513+12
Andrew Luck3341-8
Matthew Stafford5952+7
Cam Newton6639+27
Nick Foles6861+7
Tom Brady7057+13
Matt Ryan7559+16
Russell Wilson9455+39
Philip Rivers9762+35
Jay Cutler10369+34

Waiting on a fantasy quarterback in single-quarterback leagues has plenty of merit, but if you don't like waiting until some owners have two quarterbacks to draft your first, then you should be fine if you can wait on guys like Russell Wilson somewhere close to Round 9.

There are also some familiar names who can be had at a bit of a discount - primarily running backs of the veteran variety. Like I mentioned before, 7 of the biggest 13 values of players inside our top 100 come from running backs. (In case you're curious, Steve Smith is the non-quarterback, non-running back big value. He ranks 138th on and 96th on numberFire, a difference of 42 spots.) RanknumberFire RankDifferential
Frank Gore5627+29
Trent Richardson6440+24
Steven Jackson7242+30
Fred Jackson7444+30
DeAngelo Williams9247+45
Darren McFadden10576+29
Shonn Greene12795+32

It's fair to have reservations about guys like Trent Richardson, but with such a depressed price tag on these guys, who all have a decent fantasy track record, there's value to be had. If this crop doesn't really sound enticing and you want to look a few rounds earlier to shore up your running back situation, there are four players inside both our top 50 and's top 50 who we like at least 10 spots more than does. RanknumberFire RankDifferential
Zac Stacy3020+10
Ryan Mathews3221+11
Toby Gerhart4628+18
Chris Johnson5038+12

Toby Gerhart and Ryan Mathews become good values inside the first four rounds of your draft. Likewise, Zac Stacy is an intriguing name this season because opinion on him is diverse. ESPN has him ranked 13th, has him 30th, and we have him 20th. That's a wide margin for someone on whom I'd be willing to spend a third-round pick.

If I was drafting on ESPN, I would have to approach the draft assuming I couldn't get Stacy where I'd feel comfortable drafting him. On, he becomes an instant target, as his ranking there is lower than on ESPN, Yahoo, and CBS Sports. This is how familiarity with your league host's ranks can help make or break your ability to draft certain players.

Know your enemy and know the draft rankings he's going to be seeing on draft day if you want an extra edge in your fantasy leagues this year.

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In This Article

Adrian Peterson
RB, Minnesota Vikings

Dez Bryant
WR, Dallas Cowboys

Drew Brees
QB, New Orleans Saints

Greg Olsen
TE, Carolina Panthers

Jamaal Charles
RB, Kansas City Chiefs

Jason Witten
TE, Dallas Cowboys

Jimmy Graham
TE, Seattle Seahawks

Jordan Cameron
TE, Miami Dolphins

Julio Jones
WR, Atlanta Falcons

Lesean McCoy
RB, Buffalo Bills

Trent Richardson
RB, Oakland Raiders

Russell Wilson
QB, Seattle Seahawks

T.Y. Hilton
WR, Indianapolis Colts

Cordarrelle Patterson
WR, Minnesota Vikings

Zac Stacy
RB, New York Jets

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