MFL10 Early Round QB Strategy July 22, 2016  |  Justin Edwards


In what has become my least favorite plan of attack in MFL10’s I decided to fight all of my instincts and snatch up one of the projected Top-4 QBs in the early going. It felt awkward each time I clicked ‘Draft’. It’s not a bad idea to get out of your comfort zone and hey, I’m here doing the dirty work so you don’t have to if you don’t want to. The results weren’t terrible, even if it was difficult to stay the course every once in awhile.

If this strategy makes you as queasy as it made me, maybe you would prefer to check out an RB-RB-RB mindset, or even a Zero RB plan. If you’re a brave soul, keep scrolling and see the types of players I was able to fill out my roster with.

 

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Even though I pushed myself to grab QBs earlier than I’m typically comfortable with I still only ended up with one share apiece of Cam, ARod and Russell Wilson. To get last year’s overall fantasy QB1 I sunk a 4th round pick, an area where I’d usually be taking a high-end skill position player. Besides one accident on my part (more on that a little further down), I waited until the 15th round to take my 2nd QB so I could make up for my lost early round WR or RB with volume. Keeping it to 2 QBs as opposed to my normal 3 allowed me to add on an extra guy where I needed it the most.

-I blame that lone Tom Brady pick on the fact that I was in 6 different slow drafts through four different scoring settings at the same time. Also, #DraftSober. But hey, no excuses here. That was the only league where I took a third QB due ARod’s Week 4 Bye coinciding with Brady’s last week of his ‘suspension’. The silver lining here is the incredible ceiling I’ll have from the QB position in the second half of the season, though I would almost never suggest taking two QBs in single digit rounds, no matter the strategy you’re employing.

 

 

-Andrew Luck is quite obviously my main squeeze here, as I continually clicked on him after missing out on Rodgers and our two high volume rushing quarterbacks. Don’t forget that Civil War bearded friend of ours has some legs under him as well; he ended the three seasons prior to 2015 as the 5th, 7th and 4th most voluminous QB rock toter while scoring with his legs 12 times over that span. In a healthy 2014 he led the position with 27.6 FP/G while Trent Richardson fell forward 159 times. Frank Gore should prove to be more of a help but he’s 33 years old and carried the ball 20+ times on only three occasions in his first year with his new team. Even though Indianapolis was depending on Matt Hasselbeck, Charlie Whitehurst and Josh Freeman to run the offense they still didn’t give Gore a heavy workload. With Robert Turbin, Jordan Todman and UDFA Josh Ferguson behind him on the depth chart, it’s safe to say that Andrew Luck’s arm will be very much depended on to get the ball towards and into the end zone.  Expect another 600+ attempt season throwing to what might be the most explosive receiving triple threat in the league; Hilton-Moncrief-Dorsett each have a 40-yard time at 4.40 or under.

-OK, OK, so aiming for floor in a Best Ball league is probably not the greatest idea. But when a quarterback is going off the board as the QB25 yet hasn’t finished outside of the top-20 in three seasons, we’re missing out on some easy late round consistency. That incredibly not flashy consistency is that of one Alex Smith. While scoring 25+ fantasy points in only two games last year, he also scored less than 15 only twice. Guys like Eli Manning, Kirk Cousins, Philip Rivers, Derek Carr and even Aaron Rodgers had more ‘dud’ games then the steady KC QB. Hopefully I won’t have a lot of Alex Smith weeks on my teams but he is a stopgap in case one of my high price tag guys has a terrible game, and he’s the perfect Bye Week replacement; guaranteed – even if not astronomical – points.

How it affected the RBs I ended up with

The extra slot I briefly mentioned earlier was often used to choose a sixth RB since the early rounds were spent bolstering my receiving crew and grabbing one of those headlining QBs. I’m not gonna give you a rundown of every runner I selected because at some point it just turns completely into personal preference and has nothing to do with a type of strategy.

 

*accounting for the my first four RBs off the board

 

 

One thing I’ve been trying to incorporate a little more recently is handcuffing across different leagues. It’s not something that’s very present in this table but I like to take Charcandrick West in leagues I don’t have Jamaal Charles, Buck Allen where I don’t have Justin Forsett, C.J. Prosise where I don’t have Thomas Rawls, etc. Of course not all of these instances are mutually exclusive wherein two guys from the same team couldn’t both produce over a season or have some “blow up” games, but I’m giving all of my stocks a higher ceiling by not spending one of our 20 picks on a handcuff.

-I don’t have a lot of “my guys”, as I typically let the draft fall around whatever type of strategy I’m employing. That being said, I keep finding Melvin Gordon on my team regardless of what plan I’m using. I understand that he had a disappointing year and that he scored exactly zero touchdowns. That sucks, I know. Danny Woodhead and his dumb facial hair are probably standing in the way of tons of touches. That also sucks, I know. But mayyybe behind an un-injured offensive line San Diego can stay in games more often, meaning more rushes and less 31 year old Woodhead on the field. Through 14 games in a rookie season with a team falling apart around him, Gordon still managed to touch the ball 217 times, good enough for 21st in the league.  A first round pick last season, the Chargers added nothing to their backfield in 2016. Oh, wait, except Melvin Gordon’s old Wisconsin fullback, Derek Watt. With an upside in the RB20-RB25 range, taking him between the RB35-RB40 is robbery.

-Jamaal Charles is often lasting until the back end of the 2nd round. It’s just much too late for the type of upside he can potentially provide. He’s done this ACL thing before, and let us not forget that this offense is built for his success.

-With all of the question marks and ‘what-ifs’ going into the season for Detroit, there should be one thing we know for certain: Theo Riddick is going to catch a bunch of balls. Riddick remained just as prevelant in Jim Bob Cooter’s offense as he was in Joe Lombari’s. Through the first 8 weeks Theo was targeted 53 times for 42 receptions, in the second half of the season he was targeted 46 times and caught 38 of them to finish the year with 99 targets and 80 receptions, an 81% catch rate. Unless we are to believe that Marvin Jones will soak up all 149 targets that Calvin Johnson is leaving behind, there is plenty of reason to believe that Riddick has a chance of building on his successes. And what if Ameer Abdullah goes out there and continues to fumble? Whew-wee!

 

How it affected the WRs I ended up with

Putting early equity into receivers made it so I didn’t feel compelled to add on an eighth pass catcher, and actually finished 100% of the drafts with seven. Same disclaimer as with the running backs, just giving you an idea of the landscape of my receiving picks.
Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 2.30.02 PM
*accounting for the first four WRs off the board

 

 

 

Through seven drafts I only let my WR4 sneak out of the 8th round once. I made sure to frontload a little more than usual, knowing that one of the guys I aim for in the 5th or 6th would be replaced by a play caller. Although it’s easy to get enamored with one of your favorite guys on top of Wide Receiver Mountain, I am very happy with the fact that I got to spread the wealth with my first round picks, getting one share each of Brown-ODB-Julio-Green-Bryant.

-Working on the assumption that he will pack most of his yearly points into a select few weeks, I like Dorial Green-Beckham in this format and this format alone. While the 8th might even be a little high for him, I like his weekly upside and was willing to spend some capital on him. Barely finding the field in his rookie season, he managed to pack in a 17 and 22 point game in weeks 12 and 14. At 6’5″, 237 pounds with a 4.49 40-yard dash, PlayerProfiler.com has DGB’s Height-adjusted Speed Score as a 123, or, the 98th-percentile among his peers. His best comparable player according to PP is Marques Colston, a fact that would support the thought of Green-Beckham’s possible propensity for boom-bust play. Through his career Colston had as many 100-yard games (28) as he had games under 35-yards and 44% of his 72 career touchdowns came in 15 games (he played in 146 games). Despite “moving Tajae Sharpe and Rishard Matthews ahead of him on the depth chart” I don’t see how Tennessee can keep him off the field with the likes of Harry Douglas, Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter clogging up the roster.

 

How it affected the TEs I ended up with

This and the defensive position are the two spots that were completely unchanged by this strategy. The 10th-14th rounds are usually where I’m targeting my two tight ends (three if I’ve got an extra pick to spare) and my three defenses are almost exclusively the 18th-20th. Since those two groups of rounds were not being touched by my QB picks it should look about the same for me as it does with any other strategy. But just for argument’s sake, here’s who I took:

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Pretty much all you can gather here is that I’m not really into any one guy and HOLY CRAP I FINALLY DRAFTED GRONK. I think this might literally be the first time I’ve had a share of him in any format outside of DFS. Ever. I’m not even kidding. The middle of the 2nd round is perfectly reasonable to me. It’s when he goes in the top-10 where I cringe.

So, there we are. I’m terrible at transitions, and I’m even worse at closes. Is this strategy for you? Do you dig having that big gun slinging fantasy producer on the top of your lineup week in and week out? Are you willing to pass up on one of the big name wide receiver or running backs to acquire him? Tell me all about it down below or on the tweet machine. And whatever draft style you decide on I wish you all the best of luck. Unless, of course, you’re in a league with me.

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