Draft Strategy

MFL10 Draft Strategy Guide: Setting the Stage

By Jason Phelps and Jared Smola 8:31am EDT 6/22/15

MyFantasyLeague.com public draft-only leagues (MFL10s, MFL25s, MFL50s, MFL100s, MFLZeros, and MFL Quickie DO 10s), first introduced in 2013, have boomed in popularity over the past couple of years. The number of leagues tripled from roughly 450 in 2013 to over 1,300 in 2014. As of mid-June this year, nearly 1,100 leagues have already finished drafting. That’s created heaps of data that we can use to our advantage.

In case you’re not familiar, these leagues are hands-off after the draft. No waiver wire adds or trades. And no need to set a starting lineup. Your optimal lineup of 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 Flex and 1 DEF is chosen from your roster of 20 after the conclusion of each week’s games. The team with the most total points after Week 16 wins.

These draft-only leagues – also known as draft masters or best-ball – require some different drafting strategies that we’ve covered in the past.

But for the 1 st time, we have data from real MFL draft-only leagues that can show us optimal drafting strategies. Instead of using just our personal, anecdotal results, we’ve collected, organized and analyzed data from the 1,700+ leagues and 21,000+ teams over the last 2 years to find out what separates winning teams from losing ones.

There are two differences in the data set we are analyzing and the 2015 MFL10 rules. In 2013 and 2014, kickers were part of rosters, but they’ve been eliminated this year. Also, the number of roster slots went from 20 in 2013 to 22 in 2014 and back to 20 in 2015. With the removal of kickers this year, we’ll have a couple of leftover roster spots to apply to other positions. We can also expect to see little change in the value of picks before the final rounds.

Before we dig in too deep, it’s important to note that these strategies are meant as general guidelines. Following them increases your odds of winning, but that doesn’t mean you should blindly adhere to them. With only 2 years of available data, the short time span may skew our perception of reliable year-to-year trends. Also, the data is heavily weighted toward drafts in the later part of the preseason, especially August. So for those of you that like to get involved early, be aware that suggestions for early-season drafting might differ compared to what we’ll share over this series of articles.

It’s also important to recognize the relative importance of these roster construction strategies, which we'll address in a summary article. Based on our models, player selection still explains the majority of a team’s expected total points. But remember that we are trying to build competitive advantages, and the strategies outlined in this guide are significant.

All things being equal, each player has a 1-in-12 (8.3%) chance of winning the league and making a $90 profit. If you can improve your win rate to 1-in-10, you'll see an 8% return on investment. Bump that to 1-in-9 and your ROI climbs to 20%. If you can win 1 out of 7 leagues, you’ll have a stout 50% return on your entry fees. The goal of this MFL10 Strategy Guide is to give you strategies toward attaining that positive ROI.

Now, savvy fantasy players know that every draft is different. You need to be able to adapt on the fly. Picking the right players, and more importantly, picking them at good value is still the primary key to winning in fantasy football. That’s why our MFL ADP Explorer Tool and award-winning projections are important weapons in your arsenal.

The MFL Draft Strategy Guide is broken down into 6 parts:

QB Strategy

RB Strategy

WR Strategy

TE Strategy

DEF Strategy

Putting it all Together To Profit in MFL10 Drafts

Data Processing notes:

-- Because roster sizes differed in the 2 years, team points were standardized to more accurately evaluate the combined data.

-- Any leagues with 100% auto-pick rates were ignored.

-- The results used in this series are based on drafts from the entire drafting season.

Next up: MFL10 QB Strategy

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