2016 Fantasy Football: MFL10 Draft

By Chet Gresham – @ChetGresham
Updated April 18, 2016

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“Why on earth are you drafting in April?” is what all the cool kids ask me, and I don’t have a great answer other than, it’s fun! But it is fun because you have to draft based on a whole different set of possibilities than you would in September. The good news is that everyone you are drafting against is in the same boat as you. That even playing field – mix metaphors much? – makes all leagues fair at any time you draft. Of course, the league I am drafting in today is an MFL10, which is a best-ball league, which means I don’t have to sit there and agonize over my lineup each week and look back and wonder why I drafted Josh Gordon!

You can check out my MFL10 Primer to see what I’m getting into here, but suffice it to say, you want to pick the players who will score as many fantasy points in 2016 as possible and you don’t have to worry about winning an arbitrary matchup each week.

MFL10s are also nice for giving us a gauge on how players are valued by fantasy footballers and if you are in this hobby in dynasty, best-ball and re-draft leagues, then it all goes into a nice store of information that’s going to help you manage your fake football the best you can.

So for this particular league, I’ve drawn the seven hole. I’m a fan of picking from the fourth to sixth usually, because my Top-6 players are all possible No. 1 picks in my mind. Antonio Brown is the clear-cut No. 1 pick so far in MFL10s, and then Odell Beckham Jr. and Julio Jones. Le’Veon Bell is sitting as the fourth player off the board in MFL10 ADP, then DeAndre Hopkins and Todd Gurley. So the question is, who will be available as the seventh pick? Rob Gronkowski would probably be the safest pick at No. 7, and that’s where his ADP is, but if you want to go with a higher risk/reward player, David Johnson is your man. Right now, I’m not sure where I’ll go there, but I will be hoping that one of my Top-6 guys falls to me at seventh.

In best-ball drafts, you favor high-upside guys who can give you a ton of fantasy points in one game, whereas in draft-and-trade head-to-head leagues, you want players who will consistently give you a nice floor so you can compete week in and week out. Eric Decker would be more sought after in those leagues, whereas someone like Tavon Austin would get a bump in best-ball leagues. Though in the end, these drafts don’t feel that much different than draft-and-trade, because you want the players you think will do the best in 2016 versus those guys you think won’t do well. It really is that simple.

So without further adieu, let’s get into the draft!

  1. Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers
    MFL10s are one-point PPR leagues, and Brown has been the top player in PPR leagues the last two seasons. He’s still in his prime and won’t have Martavis Bryant taking any looks from him. As long as Brown’s healthy, he’s a shoe-in for a Top-3 finish with good odds that he’ll be No. 1.

  2. Julio Jones, WR, Falcons
    Jones had some bad touchdown luck last season, but some reinforcements and an average touchdown rate should put him easily in the Top-3 receivers, which in MFL10s make for the safest picks. Odell Beckham Jr. is the second pick so far in average draft position, but he and Jones are very close, and I think going with either is just fine here.

  3. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants
    Beckham has similar upside to Antonio Brown in the Giants’ pass-first offense, and I’m sure some people will grab him No. 1 overall on occasion. Brown is the safer pick in my eyes, but you could make a case to push Beckham ahead of Brown based on Ben Roethlisberger’s injury history.

  4. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers
    Bell easily has the highest upside of any running back this season. The only reason he isn’t going first is due to the safety that top wide receivers have in comparison to running backs. Bell could finish so far ahead of the running back pack this season that he is deserving of the No. 1 pick, and I’m sure he’ll get picked there on occasion. I’ll always consider him in the Top-3 picks this season and probably will grab him there, especially if I have too many shares of the top wide receivers.

  5. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans
    Hopkins would probably be even higher than this if it weren’t for his mediocre quarterback, but the good news is that Brock Osweiler can’t be as bad as Brian Hoyer and company, and you know Hopkins is going to get plenty of targets in Houston’s offense. The unpredictability of Osweiler could scare some off Hopkins, but we already know what he can do with the worst quarterbacks, so I consider him safe, even this early.

  6. Allen Robinson, WR, Jaguars
    Hey! Robinson goes before Todd Gurley! That’s good news for me, since I pick next and I wanted Gurley, but Robinson is no slouch. We saw what he did last season, and there’s no reason he won’t put up similar numbers this season. My only concern is Blake Bortles and the Jaguars’ defense. Bortles put up big numbers, but also turned the ball over way too often. His numbers were also buoyed by the need to throw the ball in games where the Jaguars trailed and trouble with the ground game. This season, I expect the defense to improve along with the running game, and the touchdown luck for Robinson might not be as great as last year. This isn’t to say I don’t like him in the first round, because I do. He’s a special talent who will win out even if these predictions come to fruition, but I’d rather have Gurley.

  7. Todd Gurley, RB, Rams
    It’s taken me a while, but I do believe in the safety of wide receivers over running backs early in drafts; however, I also still hold to the idea that if you can pick the right running back, he can be much more valuable than a wide receiver who will have other top receivers hovering around his fantasy numbers. It’s risky to be sure. We saw what happened to running backs last season, and it wasn’t pretty. And Gurley has some red flags, which are mainly Case Keenum as his quarterback. We saw Gurley get bogged down last season as teams keyed on him and let whomever was throwing the ball to whomever was trying to catch it have free reign. The Rams did seem to figure out that just giving Gurley the ball over and over again was a decent offensive game plan though, and that’s the kind of plan I want my No. 1 running back to be a part of.

  8. Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots
    Gronkowski, like Le’Veon Bell, but with more certainty, should have a large gap in fantasy points between himself and the rest of the tight end field by the end of the season. If you think Greg Olsen or Jordan Reed or whomever will keep that margin close, then don’t draft Gronkowski this early, but I do think that and I would draft him this early.

  9. Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys
    I like Bryant here quite a bit. The one thing we know about him is that he’s going to score touchdowns, and for wide receivers, that’s not always a given. And if both he and Tony Romo had been healthy last season, Bryant easily could be in the discussion with Brown, Jones and Beckham.

  10. Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers
    Now, here’s an interesting pick. Evans is currently going off the board as the 14th player and eighth wide receiver, so this is a little early in comparison to ADP. He may have still been there at this drafter’s next pick, but it wasn’t a certainty. Evans was not great last season, but a sophomore slump is very much a real thing sometimes and the Bucs have in no way shown that he won’t be a heavily targeted No. 1 receiver. We do need Jameis Winston to take a step forward, which I think will happen, so Evans’ upside is great, if he can up his game. I wouldn’t pick him 10th overall, but I understand the upside.

  11. David Johnson, RB, Cardinals
    Here’s my guy. I love Johnson as a receiver and running back, and at some point, you just have to go with a running back you like early. His MFL10 ADP is eighth overall and the third running back off the board. Adrian Peterson is probably safer, but this is a game and games are won with some hutzpah. I’ll be grabbing Johnson in the first round this season and love him at 11th overall.

  12. Lamar Miller, RB, Texans
    Miller is currently going off the board 15th overall, and that seems about right for the talented back who never got his full shot with the Dolphins and now will be on a team that will run and throw the ball to its running backs. I’m fully on board with Miller at the turn. His upside in PPR leagues with Houston is Top-5. Adrian Peterson and Devonta Freeman are both ahead of Miller in ADP, but I see them as being extremely close and would add Jamaal Charles into that group as well.

Check out Round 2!

Check out Round 3!

For a refresher, check out Chet’s MFL10 Primer.

Also, check out our Fantasy Football Rankings.

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