The first 150 players off the board certainly shape the roster for all fantasy owners. In 15-team leagues, they represent the first ten players drafted by each participant, and therefore it’s wise to know them not just the ADP itself, but also the key trends of players moving up or down.
The full grid is below for your information, but first some facts about the player universe:
1. ADP is drawn from NFBC with a baseline of the two-week period February 14-28 (91 drafts)
2. This was compared to the NFBC ADP for the two-week period February 1-14 (95 drafts)
3. All non-auction drafts were included, so there are 10, 12, and 15-team leagues in the data
4. The players drafted in the top 150 in the last two weeks of February include 95 hitters, 44 starting pitchers, and 11 relievers, so on average for 15-team leagues, each team has 6 hitters; 3 starters, and 1 reliever after 10 rounds
5. The players were divided into five groups in the grid below:
a. Those with a 5% or earlier ADP (purple)
b. Those with a 3-5% earlier ADP (blue)
c. Those with an ADP within 3% of the prior period (white)
d. Those with an ADP 3-5% later (yellow)
e. Those with an ADP 5% or more later (red)
Building on our last analysis, starting pitchers are still being drafted later over the past two weeks. Of the 44 starters, 14 have an ADP 5% or more later and 11 have an ADP 3-5% later. Meanwhile, just one starter has an ADP 3-5% earlier than the prior period (Sixto Sanchez) and no starting pitcher in the top 150 is being drafted more than 5% earlier than in early February.
Meanwhile, a few of the top relievers are going slightly earlier – with Trevor Rosenthal leading the way. Rosenthal is being drafted 33% earlier after signing with Oakland Feb, 18, so his new ADP reflects his role as Oakland's likely closer. Three relievers – James Karinchak, Kenley Jansen, and Kirby Yates - are being drafted 3-5% earlier than before, and just one reliever has lost significant ground – Raisel Iglesias - down 3% from early February. The other 6 relief pitchers are fairly stable through these two periods.
So for now at least, all that draft capital is going towards hitters. Out of the 95 hitters drafted in the first 10 rounds, 11 hitters moved up over 5%, and all of these players are early targets - drafted in the first four rounds of 15-team leagues. Juan Soto’s 12% improvement leads the way, as word came out Feb. 18 about his offseason agility work that could lead to more stolen bases, but fantasy owners have also drafted Christian Yelich, Freddie Freeman, Bryce Harper, Eloy Jimenez, Xander Bogaerts, Anthony Rendon, Rafael Devers, Marcell Ozuna, and Aaron Judge 5-10% earlier than in the first two weeks of February. There are also 15 offensive players being drafted 3-5% earlier than in the prior period. On the flip side, just 3 hitters have dropped significantly in the second half of February – Teoscar Hernandez and Tommy Pham, who are being drafted 3-5% later, and J.T.Realmuto, who dropped 9% after the announcement that he had fractured his right thumb on Feb. 18.
I STILL expect starting pitchers to be drafted earlier during the height of draft season, but this February trend is nevertheless something I did not anticipate. I’d therefore expect that fantasy owners participating in early March drafts will find it easier to acquire starting pitchers before the usual shift takes place.