Fantasy Football Strategy: Running backs with large standard deviations on ADP

Mike McGinnis

Sometimes the players in demand can fluctuate on draft day and here are a few running backs and receivers that you might want to consider.

Timing is everything. You've probably heard that a million times, but it's worth repeating. That's the case in fantasy football, too. It's paramount to know when you have to pounce on players in drafts. Most people in your league should be getting the same news about players, so they might like a guy just a shade more than you do.

Basically, if you can get a guy you really like in the seventh round instead of the fifth or sixth, you're giving yourself some added value. Standard deviation of ADP (average draft position) can tell us a lot. For those that didn't pay attention in statistics class, standard deviation tells you how dispersed the data is among a sample size. The more variance, the higher standard deviation.

For example, let's say there are two sets of data. The first one is: 1, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1; with the second one being: 1, 100, 400, 3, 4, 50. Obviously, the second set of data has a much larger standard deviation than the first. In fantasy, players like Adrian Peterson will have a tiny standard deviation on his ADP because he's not going to slip past four in even the craziest league.

On the other hand, some guys can really vary. A lot of it is based on league style, so quarterbacks also have larger standard deviations. Also, PPR being a factor will impact this data. Guys like Darren Sproles will have bigger SDs because their added value in those formats, so we won't talk about those either. Most of the time, these players are big-time injury risks, rookies or some guys without a clear role will have larger variations in their ADP. In these cases, someone is just a little more willing to gamble. It's important to take risks in fantasy, but know when and how to take them can be immense. Here are some players with larger standard deviations based more on their buzz. All of this data is via

Eddie Lacy - The Packers haven't had much in their running game in the Aaron Rodgers era. Ryan Grant was a productive player back in 2008 and 2009, so while the lack of promise over the past couple years at tailback is discouraging, Lacy is going to offer a high ceiling.

He's been one of the most impressive players in the preseason and has been running extremely hard. The Alabama product has gone as high as 2.08 and slipped all the way to 5.04 in another draft. If you want to target Lacy, it's probably a good idea to do so in the early-fourth round.

Lamar Miller - He was surging a little while ago, but the second-year back is facing some unwarranted competition from Daniel Thomas. DT has been useless since the Fish took him, so Miller should be able to beat him out. He went as high as 2.09 and slipped to 5.08 in another. The Dolphins have a nice schedule, but losing Jake Long is going to hurt them quite a bit. Miller is a relatively safe player to take in the fourth.

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Giovani Bernard - Hard Knocks is not helping those that wanted to sneak Gio in the later rounds. The Tarheel is a much more talented runner than lame duck BenJarvus Green-Ellis and should be taking over as the starter in short order. What's more, the Bengals really look like they can score a lot of points this year. Andy Dalton is coming on as a passer and their tight ends can stretch the field, so Bernard may be a popular check-down option. He's gone as high as 3.01 and as late as 6.02, so early fifth seems like a fair price. If you're feeling saucy, Round 4 might OK, too.

Daryl Richardson - He was named the starting running back on Monday and it's subsequently launched his ADP. He went as high as 3.04 and as low as 6.08. For what it's worth, in the SB Nation League that took place Monday night (here's the link for my analysis), I was able to snag him a 7.10, so it's still possible to get him a bit later. He's going to catch a lot of balls for the Rams, so being aggressive in the fifth round makes some sense.

Ryan Mathews - Someone was crazy enough to take him at 3.04, while another snapped him up at 6.09. Mathews has a big chance for the Chargers, but he might not catch many passes. They also figure to be trailing in games, so he won't get many carries in the second half. If you're sitting there in the sixth round and he's still there, it's not that crazy to take the plunge. I took him at 6.03 in the SBN League, which seems fair.

Chris Ivory - The Jets get a lot of press for the wrong reasons, but Ivory hasn't really been discussed much. The team put Bilal Powell as the starting tailback in their first depth chart and Powell has also been used a lot as a wildcat QB. Ivory had a ridiculous slide to 8.09 in one draft and went as high as 4.04.

There is room for upside with Ivory, though. The Jets have a decent line with two Pro Bowlers in D'Brickashaw Ferugson and Nick Mangold. Ivory has loads of talent and knows how to get downhill, so it should be a matter of time until he's the featured back. The fifth and sixth rounds seem like fair prices for a guy that has RB2-type upside.

Let's check out these guys and how their ADP has changed:


As mentioned, August 19 was a big day. D-Rich's ADP shot up an entire round in one day and it's going to continue to climb. On the other hand, that day began Lamar Miller's slide based on the report of him getting competition from Daniel Thomas.

These trends are likely going to continue, so keep them in mind when you draft. is pretty cool, so go and check it and and see what you can find. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter @MikeSGallagherwith some cool stuff you found out.

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