Fantasy Football

7 Compelling Facts About Top 2 Picks & Fantasy Football ADP History

We can learn a lot about what might happen in the future, if we’re smart enough to look back to see where we’ve come. Average Draft Picks (ADP) is the perfect lens to use to look back on “what we thought,” and that will help us understand “what we should think” going forward.

The folks at have been kind enough to share their ADP history dating back about 20 years. Those early years are a little cloudy because there were fewer drafts to combine, but if you look at the Year 2000, going forward, you can learn a lot about Fantasy Football and ADP history.

You likely already know I’m a freak about Fantasy Football history. I’ve been playing since 1989, and I have Fantasy Football magazines dating back to 1992 (I shared those 1992 Fantasy Football rankings here!). I’ve broken down the history of the No. 1 Fantasy draft picks over the past 50 years or so, and I track the best rookie players at each position each season.

Meanwhile, the fine folks at asked me to write a couple articles for their Fantasy Football preview magazine once again this year (last year, too!). So one of the articles I wrote was about some interesting facts about Fantasy Football you might not know about!

One of those facts is the basis of this article –

58.8% of No. 2 Overall Picks Outperformed No. 1 Picks Since 2000

That’s right, over the past 17 seasons, the No. 2 pick has scored more Fantasy points than the player picked just before them – the No. 1 overall pick – 10 different times.

So that kernel of fact made me dig a little deeper to see what else we can learn about Fantasy Football history and ADP history specifically. What can we learn from looking at the top two picks over the past 17 seasons? Some of this is trivial, and some of it is important for future Fantasy Football drafts.

But all of it – is fun and interesting!

7 Facts About Top 2 Picks & Fantasy Football ADP History

Those who don’t learn from Fantasy history are doomed to – miss the playoffs.

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The 2nd Pick Can Be Better Than the First

OK, so we already covered this one. But to know that over the past 17 years, 10 of the second overall picks outperformed the No. 1 picks means you can rest easily knowing the owner ahead of you has more than a 50/50 shot at screwing up his pick!

Plus, you’ll get to draft your next player before he does in Round 2!

Adrian Peterson was a Better 2nd Pick Than a 1st Pick

Adrian Peterson was the No. 1 overall pick three times (2009, 2011, 2013), and he was the second overall pick three times, too (2008, 2010, 2015). He was tied with LaDainian Tomlinson as being the only players since 2000 averaging a top-two ADP spot six times each. (Interestingly, they only went head to head once, in 2008, when L.T. was No. 1 and A.P. was No. 2 – and A.P. scored more points in the end.)

The Widest Margin of ADP Difference Came In 2002

In 2002, Marshall Faulk had a 2.44 ADP, and Ahman Green had a 5.67 ADP, with an ADP difference of 3.23 spots, with the widest difference between the top two picks. But Faulk’s ADP was 11th-lowest among the top picks in these 17 seasons. That means there might have been several different players among the top overall choices that year, and even more second overall choices.

The Most Difficult Decision Came Just 1 Year Later, In 2003

In 2003, Fantasy owners chose between LaDainian Tomlinson and Ricky Williams for the top two picks. In the closest comparison ever between first and second overall ADP, L.T. had an ADP just 0.31 spots better than Williams. L.T. also rewarded those on the right side of that decision by scoring more than the Dolphins tailback that year.

The Easiest No. 1 Overall Draft Pick Ever Was Adrian Peterson in 2009

A.P.’s 1.57 ADP was the highest over this 17-year span, and it came after he led the NFL in rushing with 1,760 yards, and yards from scrimmage (1,885). Maurice Jones-Drew (3.62) was the second overall pick in ADP.

In 16 of 17 Seasons, The Top 2 Picks Were From the Same Position

The only year that the second overall pick was a different position than the first overall pick was in 2012, when Arian Foster went first and Aaron Rodgers went second in most drafts. Rodgers ended up scoring more Fantasy points (because he’s a QB), but Foster ended up with the higher Value-Based Draft number.

2016 Was the Only Year WRs Were Among Either Top 2 Picks

It’s amazing to think that no wide receiver had an ADP high enough to crack the top two spots until 2016, when Antonio Brown (2.17) beat Odell Beckham Jr. (4.53) for the top spot. Everyone was down on running backs, and PPR leagues were sweeping the nation!

Sure, these seven Fantasy Football ADP history facts won’t make you a Fantasy genius, and they might not even affect your first-round pick this year. But taking a look back can help you gain perspective on the current ADP outlook in My Fantasy League drafts.

Featured Photo Credit: SD Dirk

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