MFL10 Battle: Smola vs. Schauf
Smola and Schauf randomly ended up in the same MFL10 league that drafted in mid-June. (OK -- it wasn’t random at all. Schauf finally scrounged together 10 bucks, and Smola couldn’t resist a shot to take said money.)
You can view the full draft results here. This is how the 2 Draft Sharks squads turned out:
Now for a round-by-round recap of the action.
Schauf (1.01) -- Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings
I'm not sure I'd take the same guy at 1 every time. (In fact, the other time I drew that top pick, I took Le'Veon Bell.) I don't think there's a clear answer at the top of the board this year. But I definitely wanna get me some Peterson in case he roars back to do more Adrian Peterson things like when I way underestimated him coming off the shredded knee. That's not a very technical explanation of my pick, but this is 1 of the few players who defies pure analysis.
Smola (1.04) -- Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers
I was hoping for Gronk here but have no problem with Lacy. We’re talking about a feature back on 1 of the most explosive offenses in the league. Lacy tied for 4th among RBs with 11 top-24 weeks last year, including 7 top-6 finishes. That’s a nice combination of reliability and upside.
Smola (2.09) -- Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions
Justin Forsett, Andrew Luck and Jordy Nelson going ahead of me here helped Johnson slip to #21 overall. That’s about 5 spots after his June ADP. Johnson has missed 5 games over the past 2 seasons but ranked 3 rd and 10th, respectively, in PPR points per game.
Schauf (2.12) -- Randall Cobb, WR, Packers
Justin Forsett went fairly early (2.03), so I only liked 1 of the remaining RBs enough to pick him at this turn. I preferred Cobb as the safer bet over Alshon Jeffery and Mike Evans with no less big-game potential. He hit 120 yards in a game 4 times last year. Only Odell Beckham, Antonio Brown and Demaryius Thomas beat that total. And Cobb's 12 TD catches tied for 4th in the league, despite teammate Jordy Nelson snagging 13.
Schauf (3.01) -- Frank Gore, RB, Colts
Here's that aforementioned "only" RB I liked. We project Gore 13th among PPR backs, and I think there's upside beyond the reception and TD totals we're giving him. Running in Indy only makes him more of a weekly threat.
Smola (3.04) -- Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears
Here’s where I -- perhaps regrettably -- went against the mountains of data that say you should select 4 RBs in the first 5 rounds of MFL10 drafts. But the best available backs -- Andre Ellington, Lamar Miller and Alfred Morris -- felt like reaches. Especially compared to Jeffery, who has posted back-to-back top-10 fantasy finishes. And those same mountains of data tell us that grabbing guys after ADP is another key to profiting in MFL10s. I got Jeffery about 4 spots later than his ADP.
Smola (4.09) -- Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles
Screw the data! Seriously, though, I would have loved Jonathan Stewart here. But he went the pick ahead of me. So instead of reaching for a RB, I went with my man crush. Matthews was 12 th among WRs in PPR points over last year’s final 10 weeks. He should be even busier this season.
Schauf (4.12) -- Todd Gurley, RB, Rams
I'm as concerned and hesitant as the next guy when it comes to Gurley. But I wanted at least 1 piece of him just in case he steps in at some point and becomes the backfield version of Beckham 2014. I weighed him against Chiefs TE Travis Kelce but felt just fine about my decision after seeing the unexciting RB crew that made it back to my next turn.
Schauf (5.01) -- Golden Tate, WR, Lions
I love this guy as a player, and I think we're going to see Calvin Johnson limp through at least a couple of games a year at this point. My only hesitation with Tate is my distaste for Matthew Stafford, whom I blame for Tate's ranking just 30th among PPR wideouts over last season's final 7 weeks. But I'll take the consistent hands, terrific run-after-catch ability and benefit of playing across from Megatron (re: coverage).
Smola (5.04) -- Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs
DS Data Scientist Jason Phelps really hates my draft now. Drafting a TE in the 4th or 5th round of MFL10s has been a horrible idea over the past 2 seasons. But Kelce can buck that trend. Finally given a full-time role in last year’s final 4 games, he averaged 7.5 targets, 5.8 catches and 71 yards.
Smola (6.09) -- Roddy White, WR, Falcons
Sniped at RB again with Isaiah Crowell and LeGarrette Blount going the 2 picks in front of me. Might as well continue bolstering a WR corps that will need to carry this team. White has noticeably slowed recently but still finished 21 st among WRs in this format last season -- and 17th in points per game.
Schauf (6.12) -- Vincent Jackson, WR, Bucs
By this point, I'm a little worried my pal Jared has forgotten he actually needs some RBs on his roster. But I put that aside enough to take a big-play wideout who drew some bad TD luck last season. V-Jax scored just twice after tallying 17 TDs from weak QBs over his 1st 2 Bucs seasons. Sure, Mike Evans will continue to take some of that. But Jackson still saw 25.6% of Tampa's pass targets over the final 10 games -- after Evans had taken over as the lead receiver. Last season also marked the 1st time among Pro Football Focus' numbers that Jackson failed to score at least twice on deep balls (20+ yards in the air). Jameis Winston will help him.
Schauf (7.01) -- Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos
I could have taken Allen Robinson here, but the RBs and WRs staring at me gave me no sense of urgency. At the same time, I figured -- correctly -- that a QB run was coming. And I still believe that Manning's going to give me more starter weeks than any of the guys who went after him in this draft (plus Russell Wilson). I'd have been OK with waiting longer at QB, but picking Manning also allows me to comfily wait a while for my #2.
Smola (7.04) - Shane Vereen, RB, Patriots
Time to start adding RBs with high weekly ceilings. Vereen should, at minimum, play an extensive pass-catching role for the G-Men. And reports from spring practices say his role could be much bigger than that.
Smola (8.09) -- Bishop Sankey, RB, Titans
Yep -- the dude who averaged 3.7 yards per carry with just 2 total TDs last year. Sankey was a major bust as a rookie, which is exactly why you can get him 4-5 rounds later this summer. He’s worth a shot at this price based on his impressive college production and measurables. The threat of QB Marcus Mariota’s legs should open up running room for Sankey this season. And even if he loses early-down and/or short-yardage work to David Cobb, Sankey should at least dominate passing-down work.
Schauf (8.12) -- Torrey Smith, WR, 49ers
A year ago, you might've heard me (often) speaking out against Smith on the podcast. Now I think he's being undervalued. The speedster went 43rd among wideouts, despite a situation that doesn't look a whole lot different from last year's. Colin Kaepernick threw the deep ball more proficiently over his 1st season and a half as starter than you probably realize before 2015 left him with basically no one to target downfield. New OC Geep Chryst appears poised to bring that facet back to the passing game, and Smith has already showed us he can complement Anquan Boldin well. This is the perfect format in which to roster him, especially as a 4th wideout.
Schauf (9.01) -- Chris Ivory, RB, Jets
Jets OC Chan Gailey has made quite a bit more in his career than what we need from a 9th-round pick, with quite a bit less than what Ivory offers as a runner. The crowded backfield and Ivory's injury history might make him frustrating in lineup-setting leagues, but I think he'll turn into a best-ball steal.
Smola (9.04) -- Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
I don’t have a ton of Big Ben shares so far because his 8th-round ADP is a round or 2 earlier than I usually start looking at QB. But he dropped 11 spots past his June ADP in this draft, so I pounced. Roethlisberger was the #2 QB in fantasy football with WR Martavis Bryant in the lineup over the final 10 games.
Smola (10.09) -- David Johnson, RB, Cardinals
This is the pick that could put this WR-heavy team over the top. Johnson should handily win the backup RB job behind Andre Ellington, 1 of the biggest injury risks in the league according to Sports Injury Predictor. A lead job could make Johnson a borderline RB1. He’s big (6’1, 224 pounds), fast (4.5 speed) and can catch (141 receptions in 4 college seasons).
Schauf (10.12) -- Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys
Witten as the 12th TE off the board, after Josh Hill and Dwayne Allen. OK. Gimme. I like Travis Kelce, but this is another reason I'm fine with passing on him at the 4-5 wheel.
Schauf (11.01) -- Terrance Williams, WR, Cowboys
This Eagles fan ain't too proud to take 2 Cowboys at 1 turn. I argued up Williams last year, and he delivered a strong TD rate despite a lot fewer targets than I was hoping for. No matter what the Dallas coaches say, I expect DeMarco Murray's departure to produce more passing this year. And Williams has the downfield speed -- plus the positive situation -- to keep posting above-average TD rates.
Smola (11.04) -- Roy Helu, RB, Raiders
A poor man’s Shane Vereen. At minimum, Helu should tally strong receiving numbers as Oakland’s passing-down back. But he also has a shot to take on a much bigger role with only the unproven Latavius Murray in his way.
Smola (12.09) -- Donte Moncrief, WR, Colts
It’s unclear how big a role Moncrief will play in a loaded Colts pass-catching corps. But I love his talent and I love his QB. Worst case, Moncrief should be good for a few big games.
Schauf (12.12) -- Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins
With replacement points for his projected missed games, Reed makes the top 12 in our PPR rankings at TE. I like his chances of delivering per-game scoring at that level for my best-ball squad. The fact that I'm planning to draft a 3rd TE only makes me more comfy with him.
Schauf (13.01) -- DeAngelo Williams, RB, Steelers
Barring some summertime pickup by the Steelers -- or a reduction of Bell's suspension -- we know that Williams will start at least 3 games in 1 of the league's top offenses. That's more than enough to make him a value in the double-digit rounds and a strong RB5.
Smola (13.04) -- Percy Harvin, WR, Bills
The situation in Buffalo sucks. But that’s more than baked into the price tag. Harvin remains an electric talent squarely in his prime. Like Moncrief, he should at least supply a handful of starter weeks. He’s reached 100 total yards in 7 of his last 23 games.
Smola (14.09) -- Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens
Flacco has finished just 1 of 7 NFL seasons as a top-12 QB. I wouldn’t necessarily bet on a 2 nd top-12 finish in 2015, but he has a shot. New OC Marc Trestman has never had an offense finish lower than 16 th in pass attempts. And he’s produced a QB1 in 7 of 10 seasons. I’m more than comfy at QB with Flacco and Roethlisberger.
Schauf (14.12) -- Robert Griffin, QB, Redskins
Might he bust and lose his starting job again? Maybe. But drafting Peyton Manning earlier allows me to take that risk. And if Griffin finally rebounds, actually gets the offense and looks anything like the player who dominated as a rookie, he'll provide some big weeks as a fantasy backup.
Schauf (15.01) -- Charles Clay, TE, Bills
Clay sits 13th in our PPR rankings at TE. I drafted him 22nd among TEs in this league. That happens way more often than it should.
Smola (15.04) -- Eric Ebron, TE, Lions
Like most TEs, Ebron struggled as a rookie. But he enters 2015 as a 22-year-old plus athlete in an explosive passing game. I got Ebron as the 23 rd TE off the board -- a few spots below where he sits in both ADP and our Rankings.
16.09 -- Green Bay
17.04 -- Virgil Green, TE, Broncos
18.09 -- Jacksonville Jaguars DEF
19.04 -- Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers
20.09 -- Tennessee Titans DEF
Filling out my requisite 3 TEs and 3 DEFs. The Packers have been a top-16 fantasy unit in 4 straight seasons; the Jaguars finished 5 th in sacks last year and could be better in Year 3 under Gus Bradley; the Titans added OLB Brian Orakpo and defensive mastermind Dick LeBeau as a consultant.
Green is a favorite late-round flier at TE. If the elite athlete can beat out veteran Owen Daniels for pass-catching duties, he’ll boast TE1 upside.
Just like last year, Floyd looks like a prime late-round target at WR – especially in best-ball leagues. He’s ranked among the top 40 PPR WRs in 3 of the past 4 seasons.
16.12 -- Denver
17.01 -- Minnesota Vikings DEF
18.12 -- Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks
19.01 -- Indianapolis Colts DEF
20.12 -- Tavon Austin, WR, Rams
Knowing that I could take a pair of defenses at the 16-17 turn and another at 18-19 made it easier to pass on them before that point. Denver, Minnesota and the Colts simply looked best on my list at that point.
In Lockett, I see a guy with the big-play ability of the NCAA's top return man last year. His true upside, though, could take him all the way to Seattle's top wideout as soon as this season. (Really. He only needs to pass Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse.) Lockett's ability and Russell Wilson's efficiency make him a very attractive late-rounder for me this year.
As for Austin with the last pick of the draft ... why not? OC Frank Cignetti has talked about getting the former top-10 pick more involved. At the least, Austin has the speed to produce a big week or 2 with long TDs. And if he does nothing, then I'm out a WR7. Meh.