Top 16 Fantasy Football Sleepers for MFL10
Jake Ciely, the @allinkid, stops by to give you his Top 16 Fantasy Football sleepers for MFL10 leagues, or best ball formats.
MFL10s, or MyFantasyLeague.com $10 best ball leagues, are becoming more popular thanks to the offseason thirst for Fantasy Football. The best part about them is you can be in as many as your wallet allows without having to worry about losing track of your weekly lineups, as they are best ball scoring – draft and forget it. Each week, your highest scoring players automatically fill your starting lineup, and in MFL10s, it's winner take all for $100… well, second place gets a free MFL10 entry the following season.
In these formats, drafting high-upside players and proper depth becomes more important. Truthfully, you shouldn't be drafting replacement level players anyway, but in a MFL10, finding those with high ceilings is key. In fact, you don't want the consistent 6-8 FPPG players, you want the Torrey Smith types that can put up 20 one week and three the next. Never cracking double-digits means the player will rarely find his way into your starting lineup.
As MFL10s are in full swing, it's time to look at some undervalued ("sleepers" for those that still love that term) players. I've put together my Sweet 16 of MFL10 Fantasy Football sleepers, and you'll significantly improve your odds at winning your league with a few, or many, of them.
Tyrod Taylor, BUF (QB20, 152) – In just 14 games, Taylor finished as QB16 with 274.2 points. Going by FPPG, Taylor ranked eighth. I've never been the biggest Taylor fan, yet even I'm a bit confused by his ADP of QB20. Are people assuming that Taylor will produce the same amount of points over 16 games as he did over 14? If you include Andrew Luck, Ben Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton and Tony Romo as quarterbacks that should have been better than TT last year, you end up with Taylor 20th. But that assumes Matt Ryan, Ryan Tannehill, Alex Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick and other questionable quarterbacks will repeat their "success." As mentioned, Taylor outscored each in FPPG. In fact, Taylor topped Big Ben and Dalton in FPPG as well.
If we were talking seasonal formats, I wouldn't be making a case for Taylor, as the risk is there. Taylor is limited physically, as he's short and has a slender frame that points to high injury risk. However, Russell Wilson is 5'11" and no one complains about his height (Taylor is 6'1" by the way). Smart quarterbacks will find lanes to pass in, and TT has good arm strength with the rushing ability to rack up yards. That's where the real value lies, as Taylor had 568 yards and four TDs on the ground – only Cam Newton ran for more. Taylor also had six games of 22 or more Fantasy Points, which is what you look for when waiting on QBs in MFL10s.
Joe Flacco, BAL (QB22, 171) – Flacco was on pace for 4,466 yards before his injury last year. He also had at least one touchdown in every game after Week 1 with two or more in four of nine. That's not terrific, but Flacco did have five games of 21.5 or more points with another at 19.7. Steve Smith is back (more on him in a bit) and Breshad Perriman returns after missing his rookie season. Perriman provides Flacco with a deep/big play threat, and Flacco also has a trio of quality pass-catching running backs. Flacco should be square in your late-round quarterback targets.
C.J. Anderson, DEN (RB15, 39) – You know I had to. No, CJA isn't No. 1 anymore for me, but he proved (yet again) in the second half how much upside he has. I'm taking him ahead of Carlos Hyde (who I like), Thomas Rawls and his injury concern, LeSean McCoy and Eddie Lacy, even though Lacy is all slim and fit now.
Jay Ajayi, MIA (RB27, 66) – This should come as no surprise to anyone that knows me. I threw a small party when the Dolphins drafted Kenyan Drake as a complement option, cementing Ajayi as the lead back. As I said last year, Ajayi would have gone much higher in the draft and been in the discussion for more touches if there were no injury concerns. Ajayi has a good blend of vision, balance and quickness with good elusiveness and cutting ability. Gone is the old regime that screwed around with Lamar Miller all year, and Adam Gase, a man who likes workhorse running backs, enters the scene. That's great news for Ajayi, and there is no reason for him to be the 27th running back taken.
C.J. Prosise, SEA (RB42, 120) – MFL10s are PPR after all, and Prosise will have PPR value as a rookie, even if Rawls is 100 percent… which is still a question. Prosise has great balance and lateral agility, and even though he has some ball control issues, the Seahawks will use his talents in the passing game. As mentioned, even if Rawls is healthy, Prosise should see enough work to have RB3/Flex value in PPR leagues and terrific upside if Rawls misses time again or falters in his performance.
Jordan Howard, CHI (RB53, 155) – You've seen me tweet about it, or more likely, you've seen Mike Clay tweet and write about it, but Jeremy Langford just isn't good once you study him. Opportunity in Fantasy Football is king, but I'm not banking on Langford having a tremendous opportunity again this year. Howard is a powerful, between the tackles runner that could easily be the lead option, making Langford the change of pace/passing game weapon. We could be looking at a new Jeremy Hill-Gio Bernard duo in Chicago, and if that's true, well, Bernard was 17th in PPR, but Hill was way up at RB20 too. Howard is a steal here.
Kenyan Drake, MIA (RB55, 175) – As mentioned with Ajayi, there is value for Drake in the passing game, and with PPR scoring, Drake has the potential to provide several weeks of "startable" value. Drake has a terrific side/speed combination and will work well in the Dolphins offense. As with the Bernard, Dion Lewis, Darren Sproles, etc. of the Fantasy Football world, loading up on the late round, PPR-boosted running backs is always smart.
Wendell Smallwood, PHI (RB62, 195) – And here's another running back helped by the PPR scoring. There have been rumors surrounding Sproles and his spot on the team. If the Eagles trade or cut Sproles, Smallwood's value would see a significant boost. As it is, Smallwood has the ability to take a reception to the house at any given time. That alone makes him a nice flier, and the Sproles situation gives him high value potential.
Steve Smith, BAL (WR51, 112) – If there is any NFL player I would never bet against, it's Smith. Last year, Smith was ninth in FPPG. NINTH. He had 46 receptions, 670 yards and three touchdowns in less than seven games… or the 53rd most points. So why is everyone drafting him as that alone? Smith had played in at least 14 games in every year since 2004, and while he's 37 this year, he's Steve.freaking.Smith. I understand the risk, but looking at the options ahead of him – Stefon Diggs? Tavon Austin? The numerous rookies? – I'll happily take Smitty at this cost given the upside. If Smith is toast, so what, he was your WR5.
Tyler Boyd, CIN (WR60, 151) – I've found that Boyd supporters like myself are outweighed by the detractors. I see opportunity here, and I see a receiver that can line up anywhere, is more talented than Brandon LaFell and is dangerous after the catch. But what about the touchdowns, Jake? I'll answer that the same way I have every since the Bengals drafted Boyd: Marvin Jones was WR36 with just four touchdowns. While A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert will rack up the touchdowns, Boyd should be able to get his fair share of receptions and find himself in the Top 50 for receivers.
Rishard Matthews, TEN (WR64, 161) – Dorial Green-Beckham flashed upside last year, but he also showed he's still raw and needs work. Kendall Wright hasn't been able to find his 2013 value and missed time for the second straight year. Enter Matthews, whom the Titans signed this offseason. It came as a bit of a surprise, but it should be telling that they did so with many options already on the team. Matthews is the current favorite for one of the top two options in an offense that has Mariota returning, an improved offensive line and a backfield that will finally keep defenses honest. Matthews had seven games of 13-plus Fantasy points last year with two games over 110 yards. I'd much rather have Matthews than the likes of Nelson Agholor, Phillip Dorsett, Devin Funchess and a few others.
Terrance Williams, DAL (WR69, 185) – Williams has been a disappointment given his potential, but he still finished as WR44 last year. Yes, he is heavily reliant on the big play (52 catches, 840 yards), but Williams does have at least 147 points in all of his three seasons. Williams also caught just three touchdowns last year thanks to no Tony Romo for most of the season with five and eight the two previous years. If Williams can merely replicate last year with just 2-3 more touchdowns, he'd be a Top 40 receiver.
Victor Cruz, NYG (WR77, 204) – Sooo much risk here, I know, but the upside is too great to pass. After all, Cruz at WR77 and 204th overall is the same as drafting Danny Amendola, Spencer Ware or… wait… hold on… I have to stop laughing first… Christian Hackenberg! Maybe Cruz is done and will never have value again. But maybe he's 90 percent of his old self. In the Giants' offense and with Rueben Randle gone, the only thing stopping Cruz is his knee. I will take that risk this late in the draft every.single.time.
Rashard Higgins, CLE (WR81, 209) – The Browns need receivers. After all, they drafted five and cut Brian Hartline. While Higgins was the last receiver taken by the Browns, he has just as much potential as any to start Week 1. Higgins put up 171 receptions, 2,812 yards and 25 touchdowns over his final two college seasons. Higgins is a smooth route runner, sets up defenders to gain separation and can line up anywhere. While the odds are on Higgins seeing work in the slot as a rookie, that's worth taking a gamble on, especially since the door is wide open for anyone to seize a starting gig.
Anquan Boldin, FA (WR93, 216) – This means Boldin is pretty much going after defenses and backup tight ends. If you're in a MFL10 with me, Boldin won't last this long. My money is on Boldin signing somewhere, which would give him value in deep leagues let alone MFL10s. After all, Boldin had 171.9 points last year in 14 games and with awful QB play. Put him on a contender, and I bet he's revitalized a bit. His value is even better in best ball formats with seven games of 14-plus Fantasy points.
Vance McDonald, SF (TE35, 216) – Did you realize McDonald was the 14th-highest scoring tight end after the 49ers' bye last year? He averaged 5.0 targets, 3.5 catches, 43.7 and had three TDs in that span. Okay, I'm not calling McDonald a game-changer or saying he'll be the next TE1, but you're getting the man for nothing! In addition, the passing game pecking order goes Torrey Smith… uh… hrmm… Sure, DeAndre Smelter is a great sleeper, but he's a big question mark, as are the rest of the receivers. McDonald could be the second best option on the team, maybe fourth at worst. No matter how you look at it, there is a high opportunity for targets and production from McDonald.
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