MFL10 Hit List
June 12, 2015 | Chet
The days between NFL Draft excitement and NFL training camps trudge on at a snail’s pace, but thankfully the good folks at MyFantasyLeague have provided the fantasy football community with a fantastic tool for sharpening our draft skills with their MFL10 best ball leagues. If you are not familiar with these leagues, hop on over to MyFantasyLeague.com and check them out, and pass my condolences to your boss for your upcoming lack of production during work hours. This format is truly a blast and provides a constantly evolving snapshot of fantasy Average Draft Positions as the summer months meander ever closer to fantasy draft season.
Last summer, I did a fair amount of MFL10 coverage here at The Fake Football and am planning to do the same this year, but while drafting a far higher number of teams. I am personally shooting for 50 leagues by the time Week 1 rolls around, and I will be providing periodic glimpses into my thoughts as I carefully craft my 2015 MFL10 portfolio. Complete transparency is the goal here, so feel free to drop me a line on Twitter with any questions about my MFL10 perspectives. Today, I would like to take a few minutes to cover the players I am hoarding through my first batch of drafts, and touch on roster construction as well. Let’s get rolling!
MFL10 Roster Construction
There are many different ways to build a best ball roster, and a bit of flexibility goes a long way in making sure each team you draft has a chance to be successful. Obviously spending 6 of 20 draft picks on team defenses will leave you mopping up the standings basement, but how many of each position should your roster contain after 20 rounds are in the books? The crew over at Rotoviz has done a ton of data analysis on the optimal MFL10 roster, and their research is extremely helpful. The most successful MFL10 rosters contain somewhere in the neighborhood of 2QB, 4-6RB, 7-8WR, 2-3TE and roughly 3 team defenses. Now, this doesn’t appear to be an exact science on the surface, but this gives us a nice baseline to shoot for. The rest is up to in-draft management and actively analyzing your roster as it blossoms.
Through 19 completed drafts, my current positional averages look like this: 2.3 QB, 5.4 RB, 6.4 WR, 2.9 TE, and 3.0 defenses
I am admittedly a bit heavy at RB on most of my teams, and my most recently drafted squads have morphed a bit more into 7 or 8 WR looks, depending on how the draft plays out, of course. I generally feel comfortable with three teams defenses and three tight ends, due to the fact that I normally wait until the later rounds to stock up on both of those positions. If I am able to snag two mid-late round quarterbacks, I usually stick with that pair and only add a third if I feel like the first two possess too much volatility for my liking. The running back and wide receiver positions are the spots with the most in-draft decision making, as early-round selections often dictate which position can hold up with less roster support.
Early MFL10 Hit List
I keep a running spreadsheet (NERD ALERT) of all my MFL10 selections that calculates the percentage of teams in which I own each NFL player. Just in case I get swept away in a two week bender and begin drafting players from the bottom of a bottle of Fireball, this handy sheet helps to ensure I don’t end up with one individual player on 90% of my teams. The following are my most heavily drafted players through 19 completed drafts, some of which I am more proud than others. It will be fun to see how this list changes as the summer progresses, so be sure to check back for updates in coming weeks. All snap and target data courtesy of ProFootballFocus.
Nelson Agholor, WR PHI
Chip Kelly’s newest rookie weapon has been the obsession of many of my early MFL10’s, as Agholor is currently rostered on 42.1% of my teams. His post-NFL Draft ADP has crept up to 75th overall (early 7th round), and he has been getting swiped in the 6th round in many of my more recent drafts. Despite the rising draft position, I still like Agholor this season and feel that he provides a great boost to a best ball roster that goes heavy on running backs in early rounds.
Philadelphia was 5th in the NFL in pass attempts and 6th in pass yards last season, so Agholor is hopping into a situation where targets will be plentiful, especially with Jeremy Maclin now removed from the picture. Maclin’s departure to the barren wide receiver wasteland of Kansas City has opened up the door for Agholor, with 1,043 snaps, 140 targets, and 85 catches now available with Maclin gone. Agholor is primed to take advantage of this opportunity, and our man Rich Hribar highlighted Agholor’s excellent catch rate and physical profile beautifully in his Nelson Agholor Dynasty Draft Profile. The PPR format should give this rookie a nice boost, with plenty of upside to spare.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR HOU
Hopkins is a player that will end up on a ton of my 2015 fantasy teams, and I will giggle like a giddy schoolgirl each and every time I draft him. Hopkins is currently on 37% of my MFL10 teams, and has been a third round selection each time I have been lucky enough to acquire his services. Yes, I understand that the Houston quarterback situation is sketchier than the dude who whistles Katy Perry songs to himself in the cubicle next to you, but Hopkins is on the verge of a monster season. Last year, with Andre Johnson racking up 141 targets of his own, Hopkins was still able to finish 12th among NFL wide receivers in receiving yardage (1,210) and catch 76 passes to go along with six touchdowns. Houston quarterbacks targeted Johnson and Hopkins a combined 261 times in 2014, and Andre Johnson packed his bags and drove his U-Haul to Indianapolis over the offseason, only to be replaced by Cecil Shorts. Yes, Cecil Shorts. With a third round price tag, Hopkins is a crazy value and will provide WR1 numbers for teams that start RB/RB in rounds one and two.
Tyler Eifert, TE CIN
I enjoy drafting my tight ends in the later stages of MFL10 drafts, so Eifert’s 12th round ADP has been on my radar this offseason. Eifert only played eight snaps last year before busting up his elbow and shoulder and missing the rest of the 2014 season, but he has serious potential for the 2015 campaign. The sluggish Jermaine Gresham is no longer in Cincinnati, leaving behind 900 snaps, 78 targets, and 62 catches to be soaked up by our man Tyler. Although Hue Jackson’s offense finished 25th in passing attempts and 21st in passing yards in 2014, the 6’6” Eifert should easily push the 70 catch range and form a nice red zone duo with A.J. Green. If Gresham was able to slot himself 11th among NFL tight ends in receptions last season, the far athletically superior Eifert should return TE1 numbers at a very friendly price.
Latavius Murray, RB OAK
Murray is a personal favorite of mine and I have been snapping him up at his late 4th round ADP quite often this offseason. The potential with Murray is very real, and the Oakland Raiders didn’t add much to compete with the youngster outside of passing down specialist Roy Helu. With a lead back opportunity knocking on the door, Murray is a fantasy running back dripping with upside who could easily be a 2016 first round pick. The Oakland Raiders ran the ball just 337 times in 2014 (last in the NFL), but new head coach Jack Del Rio has already stated his plans to pound the ball this season, and new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has shown an affinity for running the football in his past as an OC. Murray boasted a 5.2 ypc average last season on 82 carries and I couldn’t be more excited to see how he handles a full workload. A 4th round gamble seems fair for this type of potential.
Jordan Reed, TE WAS
The vast majority of my Jordan Reed selections were early in the offseason, when he was commanding a very reasonable 14th or 15th round pick and hadn’t yet undergone a knee procedure that further clouds his 2015 outlook. Reed is notoriously injury prone, and although Jay Gruden’s offense targeted Reed and fellow tight end Niles Paul a combined 116 times in 2014, I will be hammering the brake pedal on my Jordan Reed stock moving forward.