Bargains & Booby Traps: MFL10 ADP vs Initial 4for4 Rankings
John Paulsen has released his 2017 initial rankings, which means there is finally a concrete point of reference for anyone that is currently dabbling in MFL10s. To kick off the rankings season, Paulsen has already published a series taking a closer look at the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends he is highest on.
The following will go beyond the players in Paulsen’s series and uses 4for4’s MFL10 ADP Data to offer a look at both undervalued and overvalued players in MFL10s at the time of this writing.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (4for4 Rank - QB6; MFL10 ADP - QB12)
Tyrod Taylor, Bills (4for4 Rank - QB13; MFL10 ADP - QB17)
Paulsen gives a full breakdown of Roethlisberger and Taylor here.
Of all running backs being drafted among the top 24 at the position, none is more undervalued relative to 4for4 rankings than Ingram. He has seen his ADP drop nearly two rounds since New Orleans signed Adrian Peterson a month ago. However, Paulsen has the Saints projected as one of just five teams to offer their backs over 500 total touches. With Tim Hightower out of the mix and AP on the wrong side of 30, Ingram could easily approach the 250+ touches he received in 2016 that allowed him finish as the PPR RB8.
A player ranked as an RB4 might not get the juices flowing, but in a format where most teams are drafting five or six running backs and lineups are automatically optimized each week, players drafted in the 18th round are often the type of value plays that help win leagues.
Since joining New York, Vereen, who reportedly is squarely in the teams plans for 2017, has averaged 3.3 receptions per game, which extrapolates to 53 catches over a 16 game season -- a catch total that would have ranked sixth among all backs last year.
In fantasy circles, it’s no secret that Crabtree has dominated red zone targets since joining the Raiders, but MFL10 drafters don’t expect him to repeat his top-12 wide receiver finish from last season. Even if Amari Cooper finally starts to get looks inside the 20, there’s evidence that there could be even more touchdown upside for Raiders receivers this year than there was last year.
Only three quarterbacks scored further below red zone expectation last season than Derek Carr, who was expected to throw roughly 25 red zone touchdowns, but had just 19. If Carr does improve his red zone efficiency, Crabtree could surpass double-digit touchdowns in 2017.
All Landry has done since 2015 is see the fourth-most targets of any receiver in his first two seasons in the league since the merger (O. Beckham, L. Fitzgerald, A. Green) while finishing no worse than the PPR WR13. Still, fantasy owners refuse to move the needle on Landry’s price, who can be had at the end of the third round in most leagues.
Paulsen has the Dolphins receiver catching the fifth-most balls at the position, and even in a league that favors upside over consistency, ignoring that kind of volume at his current price is likely bad process.
Truth be told, I was dying to write ‘Eric Decker’ in a column for the first time this season, but the rankings call for it, so who am I to argue? Since he came into the league in 2010, Decker has converted 36.7% of his red zone targets into scores, the third-highest touchdown rate in that span (min. 40 targets) ... in a career where he’s had to catch balls from Tim Tebow, Geno Smith, and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Regardless of who his quarterback is, or if he even stays with the Jets this year, Decker has the touchdown upside that owners should crave in a winner-take-all league.
Over the last three seasons, only three quarterbacks have thrown more touchdowns from outside the red zone than Drew Brees. Enter Ted Ginn. In the aforementioned time span, Ginn has averaged 32.4 yards per touchdown, the sixth-highest mark of 75 qualifying players (min. 10 TDs). With Brandin Cooks now in New England, Ginn will take over the deep threat role for the Saints. His boom weeks are well worth his 12th/13th-round price tag.
Witten has seen at least 19% of the Cowboys targets for 10 straight seasons -- a target share bested by just four tight ends in 2016 -- and there’s no reason for that number to drop in 2017. Witten will jockey with Cole Beasley for the second pass catcher role behind Dez Bryant and is available in the middle of the 14th round.
The Ravens are one of just three teams to ever throw at least 670 times in consecutive seasons and did nothing in the offseason to address the departure of Steve L Smith. Given their current roster, Pitta could easily improve on his 18.6% target share from last season and continue as one of the few tight ends in the league to receive 100+ targets.
This rankings discrepancy is more of a nod to how deep the position is than a knock on Carr. Paulsen’s QB6 and QB15 are separated by just 18.2 projected points over the entire season, so reaching for the Raiders signal caller early in the ninth round of MFL10s is a bit unnecessary at this point.
After Tampa Bay acquired DeSean Jackson via free agency and drafted tight end O.J. Howard, drafters seem a bit overzealous on Winston. Like Carr, Winston falls smack dab in the middle of a logjam at the position, but the Bucs’ quarterback is a tad pricier. Unless you think Jameis’ new weapons can catapult him to top-five status at the position, it might be best to wait until the excitement dissipates on Jaboo before biting.
Even after the arrival of Jamaal Charles, MFL10 owners are still pricing CJA as an RB2. With Mike McCoy in place as the new OC, Anderson could have limited touchdown upside if McCoy decides to use Charles in the Danny Woodhead role in his offense, not to mention that there’s an outside chance that Jamaal is still actually good and could see more touches than expected.
Now 31 years old, Peterson has played in just 20 games over the last three seasons and finds himself on a team that prefers that their backs be heavily involved in the passing game. With rookie Alvin Kamara, one of the best pass-catching backs in the college ranks, in tow, AP could see a surprisingly light workload if he looks like the 1.9-yard-per-carry version of himself that showed up in 2016.
DeMarco Murray finished as the PPR RB5 in 2016 and should still have plenty left in the tank at 29 years old, but MFL10 drafters seem to think that Henry will cut into Murray’s workload in 2017. Paulsen currently has Henry projected to see just a third of Tennessee’s backfield touches on a team that may be shifting their focus more to the passing game after investing a first-round pick in wide receiver Corey Davis.
The thought of Brandin Cooks catching passes from Tom Brady has MFL10 owners taking Cooks as a borderline WR1, but there is cause for concern. Consider Cooks’ career splits between indoor and outdoor games.
In a dome, Cooks has posted numbers that mirror his PPR WR10 finish last season, but in outdoor games, his fantasy points per game drop to the equivalent of last year’s WR28. Add in the fact that Cooks has never commanded more than 19% of his team targets -- and is unlikely to surpass that number as part of a crowded receiving corps in New England -- and Paulsen’s projection looks more realistic than Cooks' asking price.
There may not be a player in the league with a wider range of outcomes than Sammy Watkins. When healthy, Watkins has averaged 14.4 PPR FP/G with Tyrod Taylor, or borderline WR1 numbers...when healthy. If we were guaranteed even 14 healthy games out of Watkins, his third-round price would be much more palatable, but in a winner-take-all format, he still might be worth the investment on a team that has been freed from the shackles of a Rex Ryan and Greg Roman-run offense.
Last season, Edelman saw 29% of the Patriots’ targets after never being targeted more than 24% of the time in his career, but it was in a season where Gronk only played eight games and the second-most targeted player on the team was a running back. With Brandin Cooks now in the mix and Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell proving themselves to be legitimate options, Edelman could see an abrupt decline in targets.
Since coming into the league, only four qualifying wide receivers (minimum 200 PPR FPs) have been more touchdown-dependent than Moncrief, with 25.8% of his FPs coming from touchdowns. For his career, he’s seen 21% of the Colts’ red zone targets, a number that would have ranked 27th in the league last season, and Moncrief has seen double-digit targets in a game just five times in three seasons. If Moncrief’s touchdown rate comes down to earth (7.6% career TD rate, league average 4.7%), he’ll have a hard time living up to his ADP.
It’s been well documented that rookie tight ends rarely offer much fantasy value, but early MFL10 drafters are taking the bait on Howard. The first-year tight end could find himself as low as fifth in the pecking order for targets if Cameron Brate continues his trajectory from last season and Dirk Koetter keeps his running backs heavily involved in the passing game, as he’s historically done.
Of the rookie tight ends drafted in the first round, Njoku has the clearest path to a large workload in an offense that has over 200 vacated targets, but investing in a rookie tight end is chasing an outlier. Anyone hoping to acquire Njoku shares should do so in drafts where he falls a bit further than the 13th round.
The entire Falcons offense is due for regression after over 35% of their drives ended in a touchdown last season, up from 21% in 2015, and the highest touchdown rate of any team since the 2013 Broncos. Fewer points would obviously lower the fantasy expectations of every skill player, but it could be especially detrimental to the ancillary players, such as Hooper, who rely on touchdown upside for fantasy relevance. Priced as a solid TE2 in the 13th round, fantasy owners may want to invest elsewhere.
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- 2017 Initial Rankings: A Closer Look at Tyrod Taylor, Ben Roethlisberger and Marcus Mariota
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- When Should You Draft Your Quarterback?
- How Often do Top-12 PPR Running Backs & Wide Receivers Repeat in the Following Season?
- Optimal MFL10 Roster Construction: Part 2