MFL10s: Ten Role-Playing Receivers
Pat Thorman looks at some low-cost receivers who could come in handy for MFL10 participants.
MFL10s: Ten Role-Playing Receivers
One of the best features of MFL10s is that it’s a “best ball” format. It spares us from agonizing over who to start, and makes it easier to roster boom-or-bust players since their points never spike while on the bench. We can also smooth high-variance pass catchers’ rough performances by backing them up with steady, if unexciting, receivers. MFL10s also present opportunities to deploy the rarely utilized receiver handcuff. With no in-season roster management, injuries to stars can be crippling. You don’t want to overdo it with handcuffs, but major investments in wideouts can be shielded by affordable backups.
Below are receivers who fit the above descriptions (spiker, smoother, and shielder) at an attractive cost. Post-June 1st ADP will be referenced, but bear in mind that there has been movement over the last two weeks.
Dwayne Bowe (WR40; early 9th round) – Last year’s WR42 in PPR formats actually averaged 14.4 points per game over his last eight, including playoffs. That would have landed him as the WR18 if he did it for 16 games in 2013. Of course, he was consistently inconsistent. Bowe had eight games of double-digit points (16.8 per game), with eight more below that benchmark (6.1 per game). They were maddeningly dispersed, with four “good” weeks coming before the Week 10 bye. He looks good so far, and the Chiefs should need to throw more aggressively in 2014. The tricky part is predicting when. Spiker
Tavon Austin (WR43; early/mid 9th round) – Austin averaged 2.96 fantasy points per target (FP/T) over his last six games. During his first seven, with Sam Bradford healthy, he saw 6.57 targets per game. That’s 311.2 points if extrapolated to a full season, and it would have been the third-highest total in 2013. The FP/T pace won’t hold, and he’ll have his share of quiet games in a questionably coordinated offense, but he has plenty of room to fall and still deliver tremendous equity. He’s less than half as expensive as Cordarrelle Patterson and is an ideal arbitrage play on the overhyped Vike. Spiker
Justin Hunter (WR47; early 10th round) – He may be a bit more touchdown-reliant in his sophomore season than we’d like, but that’s less of a concern in “best ball” formats. An additional 15 pounds will help him out-muscle defenders in the end zone, where he’s already showed promise. Hunter converted all four red-zone targets into scores as a rookie and helped passers to a 107.2 quarterback rating when they targeted him. Ken Whisenhunt has a history of giving passing games a jump start, and Hunter’s growing role in the offense makes him a solid breakout play. Spiker
Jarrett Boykin (WR55; late 11th round) – This might be a little early for a pure insurance policy on Jordy Nelson and/or Randall Cobb, but Boykin is also currently the third receiver in an extremely potent offense. The Packers drafting of Davante Adams, among others, took some bloom off of Boykin’s fantasy rose. However it shouldn’t diminish what he accomplished while taking passes from a wide range of quarterbacks, and can still achieve this year. In the nine weeks where he ran at least 30 pass routes, he was fantasy’s 14th best receiver, and Aaron Rodgers only played in three of those. Shielder/Spiker
Brian Hartline (WR57; early 12th round) – Just seven times in his last 31 games has Hartline seen fewer than six targets, and he still averaged 4.9 in those contests. He’s received 122.5 targets per season in his last two. Even if there are fewer passes to go around in Bill Lazor’s offense, Hartline will hold onto his consistency. He may not be flashy, a weekly matchup-winner, or even very good at all. But at this price, and for the purpose of setting a floor that maintains consistent point production while your heavy hitters collect themselves for their next weekly explosion, he more than fits the bill – and everything else is gravy. Smoother
Andrew Hawkins (WR67; early 15th round) – Finally getting his shot at a large offensive role, Hawkins will enjoy copious targets whenever he’s on the field. That’s been an issue in the past, but injury prediction is about as accurate as Brandon Weeden, and at his cost it won’t kill you if Hawkins gets hurt. He’s been catching everything in site during impressive early workouts and that’s no surprise considering his 4.4 percent career drop rate, which would have ranked fourth best among receivers with at least 50 percent of snaps in 2013. Smoother
Harry Douglas (WR68; early 15th round) – After Atlanta’s Week 6 bye, and without an injured Julio Jones, Douglas averaged 10 targets, 7.1 catches, and 98.3 yards over the next seven games leading into Roddy White’s re-emergence in Week 13. He was the fourth highest scoring PPR receiver during that time, and that was with Tony Gonzalez soaking up 43 targets and a pair of scores (Douglas also scored twice). Replacing the future Hall of Famer’s production is still a projection, and Jones or White cost enough to insure with the dirt-cheap, underrated Douglas. Shielder
Marquess Wilson (WR78; mid 17th round) –Wilson’s prospects of moving into a top-two receiver role took a hit when Brandon Marshall signed an extension, but it’s kept his ADP very affordable. We know what an exciting physical specimen he is, and that he’s been working hard to push his abilities to new heights. He is languishing in draft purgatory at the moment, but with Marshall or Alshon Jeffery costing a pretty penny to draft, Wilson is an ideal back up plan. He also now has the third receiver role to himself and, with best-ball scoring, could be an occasional asset even if the two big guys stay healthy. Shielder/Spiker
Malcolm Floyd (WR82; early 18th round) – It’s no surprise that Floyd is a forgotten man. He was out-of-sight, out-of-mind last year when Keenan Allen blew up, and is being discounted as a candidate for the number two receiver role. That’s a mistake, and Floyd will see a good amount of red-zone looks in 2014 when he’s healthy. That’s a chance worth taking this late in the game if your wideouts are in need of some upside juice. He’s the second best talent among Chargers’ receivers, will turn in several nice weeks, and would be their WR1 without (the expensive in MFL10s) Allen. Spiker/Shielder
Jerricho Cotchery (WR83; mid 18th round) – Counting on raw rookie Kelvin Benjamin to be on the same page as Cam Newton when the quarterback missed OTAs is wishful thinking. Cotchery hasn’t worked with Cam either, but the veteran knows his way around a passing game and should be a top target while playing multiple receiver positions. He won’t repeat his 10 scores or 22 red-zone targets from 2013, but he will get consistent work, and that’s all we are looking for at this price. If you went heavy on the boom-or-bust wideouts, target Cotchery right before grabbing defenses and kickers. Smoother
Pat Thorman is a Lead Writer for PFF Fantasy and was named 2013 Newcomer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. You can follow him on Twitter at @Pat_Thorman