MFL10 Xtreme ZeroRB Strategy August 21, 2016  |  Justin Edwards


Grab yer body board and a 2 Liter of Crystal Pepsi, we’re going surfing through late RB value. Back in June I took a look at applying the Zero RB Strategy to MFL10’s and came away with what I thought was pretty decent success. Upon further review it really wasn’t all that bold to just wait the first few rounds to stay away from running backs. If I wanted some results that would end up on the ‘interesting’ end of the spectrum I need to take more of a season-long approach, waiting as late as I could, or, as late as I was comfortable with, to select my RB1. So, that’s what I did. Below are the results of waiting on my running backs until the 7th round or beyond, a blueprint that is sort of difficult to map out when you are in a league with no use of a waiver wire.

(Don’t know what an MFL10 is? Click here and get learned! Think this strategy is silly? Maybe read up on an RB-RB-RB start?)

 

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I would have liked to get us a bigger sample size but drafts are running longer as the summer goes along and I wanted to get this info out in enough time for everyone to fire up some more drafts before the August 25th deadline!! Thus, below is a four draft sample of an extreme Zero RB approach:

 

Results

There is certainly no question that this line of drafting will yield you some monster wide receiver crews. I only bothered to include my first five wide receivers below because honestly it’s almost all that I needed. In many situations (as long as my bye weeks weren’t heavily coincided) I only took 6 players from the position, where I’d normally take 7 or 8 if I weren’t going so heavy early.

Player Times Owned My Average Draft Position
Demaryius Thomas ||| 3.01
Jordy Nelson || 2.105
Julio Jones | 1.02
Odell Beckham | 1.03
AJGreen | 1.04
Dez Bryant | 1.11
Alshon Jeffery | 2.02
TY Hilton | 3.04
Jeremy Maclin | 3.11
Julian Edelman | 4.02
Eric Decker | 4.09
Jordan Matthews | 4.10
Doug Baldwin | 4.11
Michael Floyd | 5.02
Kevin White | 5.03
Emmanuel Sanders | 5.04
Allen Hurns | 6.02

 

No real surprises here. I just plugged in my rankings and kept going until I was comfortable with foregoing wide outs until double-digit rounds or –  in one case – taking another in the 6th round and not drafting any more at all.

-DT has been one of the steadiest, mostest highest scoringest, top-endest WR1 fantasy plays over the last four seasons, averaging 100-1,447-10 on 162 targets, most of which came from a Peyton Manning who experienced a late-30’s explosion of efficient TD chucking seasons. Demaryius ended up having the worst production in 2015 in this span, finishing as the overall WR9 behind the questionable play of Manning’s last year in the NFL and the now Texans’ QB Brock Osweiller. The two QBs combined for a 19:23 TD:INT and a 60.7 completion rate, even though their combined Yards per Attempt was 7.0; a mark that ranked them 25th among all starting quarterbacks. That dink-and-dunk nature would kill most wide receiver production, but it didn’t do enough to affect Thomas, a Bubble Screen Master who still received 177 targets, just 7 less than his career high set in ’14. We can’t just assume that whatever QB Denver chooses to start will automatically be better, but it’s safe to assume they won’t be a lot worse. Emmanuel Sanders (who I also have been drafting a lot a couple rounds later) is pretty much the only other player on the team fighting him for targets. A safe floor for targets would be 140 (hasn’t been targeted fewer than 142 times while starting 16 games), which would equate to something around an 84-1,050-6 statline which would be a top-15 WR. I’ll absolutely take that as what amounts as my WR3.

 

 

-I literally just poo-poo’d Kevin White in my most recent Monthly ADP Reflection, but here I am with a share of him. Hypocrite. What’s even more hypocritical is the fact that I’m upset I only have one share of him in this strategy. In a case like this I’m drafting him as my WR5, behind an incredible posse of receivers with massive floors like Julio-Jordy-Hilton-Decker. If he does explode and gets into my lineup in 3 or 4 weeks with huge games then that is all I’ll need from him. If he can’t find his way into my lineup consistently he’ll at least be a very solid bye week backup plan.

How it is affecting the RBs I end up with

So apparently selecting four or five receivers right off the bat gives you some pretty decent pass catchers, huh? Who would’ve thunk it. But what about my guaranteed 20+ touch running backs? I’m SOL there for the most part and I’m going to have to try and squeeze the value out of later rounds:

Player Times Owned My Average Draft Position
Theo Riddick ||| 10.06
Jonathan Stewart || 7.03
Rashad Jennings || 9.035
LeGarrette Blount || 12.07
Buck Allen || 13.105
JamesStarks || 14.105
Karlos Williams || 16.065
Jeremy Hill | 7.03
Jeremy Langford | 8.02
Frank Gore | 8.09
Isaiah Crowell | 9.11
Derrick Henry | 10.10
Darren Sproles | 12.11
Shaun Draughn | 16.09
Keith Marshall | 18.02

 

This is every running back I drafted, so full disclosure here. I’m going to need a good amount of these guys to outplay their projections for me to have a shot at scooping the gold. Lucky for me I shouldn’t need a running back to fill my Flex spot in any week so I only need two of them to get on the board.

-The Lions’ backfield is and has been a terribly difficult thing to predict for years now, and I completely understand why people feel the need to avoid it until there is a screaming value. The 44th RB off the board at 10.06 is screaming value. Especially when I’m screaming because the other running backs on my roster are everyone else’s throwaway. Theo Riddick rushed the ball a measley 43 times last season, only 1 of which came inside the 5-yard line. That sort of red zone usage likely won’t be changing this year but neither should his 99 targets. We’ve seen a season where Riddick barely received any hand offs and still finished as the overall RB18, should Ameer Abdullah falter in his role we could see Pro Football Focus’ highest graded RB receiver stay on the field a little longer.

-What’s the best way to figure out when New England will have a ‘Blount Game’? Draft LeGarrette in a Best Ball league and never think about it. In his 6 highest scoring weeks from last year he averaged 92 yards and 1.2 scores, in the 6 other games he averaged 33 total yards and didn’t score. With Dion Lewis still on the PUP list, Tyler Gaffney seems to be the only thing standing in the way of Blount handling early down snaps once the real season starts. He should have full ownership of goal line carries when New England isn’t throwing the ball to their tight ends.

-Most of the rest of my running backs are littered with guys that are stuck behind a starter but could provide some high upside games even if they do not usurp the throne; Buck Allen, James Starks and Karlos Williams should each have a role in their offense, even if it’s not the starting one. We’ve also had to settle for guys in split backfields like Jeremy Hill and Isaiah Crowell (Jeremy Hill v2.0) who will likely have a 2 TD game sprinkled throughout the season; something that would drive us insane in re-draft leagues when we guess wrong.

 

 

How it is affecting the QBs I end up with

In contrast to how I treated the QB position in my last trial, I tried to sneak in an ‘elite’ level QB when they slipped to me or wait until after my batch of running backs:

Player Times Owned My Average Draft Position
Tyrod Taylor || 12.08
Russell Wilson | 5.12
Andrew Luck | 6.10
Ben Roethlisberger | 9.02
Kirk Cousins | 12.09
Matthew Stafford | 13.04
Jay Cutler | 15.03
Teddy Bridgewater | 16.11
Sam Bradford | 20.02

 

Much like the tight ends down below, there’s not a whole lot to decipher. I couldn’t get my hands on any high end TEs, but I have been taking a good bit of Eifert as he continues to drop, I think his 12 or 13-game upside is worth an 8th or 9th round pick.

Player Times Owned My Average Draft Position
Jason Witten || 11.075
Will Tye || 15.08
Tyler Eifert | 8.10
Kyle Rudolph | 15.04
Jared Cook | 16.10
Jace Amaro | 20.10

 

-Jason Witten is about to have one last WR1 year, stealing all of Ezekiel Elliot’s touchdowns.

—–

I am very stubborn with my D/ST strategy in MFL10’s and just can’t break off of it; I always draft three unless I need some extra help in another position and I try to avoid syncing Bye Weeks. Call it lazy if you want, but it just makes sense to me. I want to luck into those weeks where I get a TD or two from an unlikely spot. For some much more in-depth analysis on the opposite end of the spectrum make sure to check out Doug Shain’s MFL10 DEF strategy.

This has definitely forced me to re-evaluate my thoughts on guys in the 7th-13th round because, well, I had to if I was ever going to draft the ‘right guys’ to make a running back crew. Going forward I feel more comfortable using this more ‘Xtreme’ version of Zero RB, but I’d prefer to take one of the guys in the first few rounds and then wait until the 7th-8th to get my RB2. I will certainly implement this train of thought into my year long drafts over the next few weeks.

 

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