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#SFB7 Mock Draft Recap - How to Tackle a Unique Scoring System

mike evans fantasy football dynasty analysis

For those unfamiliar with the Scott Fish Bowl a.k.a. FF Invitational, let me explain what makes this format unique. First of all, the competition consists of 720 teams with 60 leagues of 12 teams. The roster consists of 22 total players under the following lineup conditions: 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 4 Flex (can flex 1 QB). The draft is done MFL10-style over email in a serpentine style.

The flex spots already necessitate additional planning for participants, but the real twist comes in the scoring. Passing TD count for six points each, while rushing and receiving TD are worth just five points. This obviously puts the QB position at a premium, especially considering you can play two at once. Additionally, instead of a point per reception, players get a point per first down recorded. In other words, tear up your current sheets and be prepared to come up with a whole new strategy if you are lucky enough to enter this tournament.

I recently jumped into a #SFB7 mock draft to see how my strategy would unfold and whether my picks would make for a winning team in this format.


Drafting with Fish Bowl Rules

I was randomly assigned the ninth overall pick, which means the chances of getting an "elite" player at any position were slim. This format heavily favors quarterbacks and running backs over receivers, which is a reversal from most PPR leagues. Nonetheless, I was happy to snag a receiver with my first round pick. Here's the rundown of my most notable picks.

1.09 Mike Evans (WR, TB)

My first thought when it came to making the all-important first round selection was simple: go QB or RB. Then, three factors made me completely scrap that plan. 1) My position toward the end of the round meant the top three RB were gone and I wasn't willing to pass up an elite player like Evans for a second-tier runner. 2) Nobody else was taking quarterbacks, so I knew I could wait. I didn't wait much longer, as you'll see, but again I didn't feel compelled to grab a second-tier QB instead of someone that could be the best at his position. 3) Evans should dominate in this format - he led all wide receivers by far with 81 first downs gained in 2016, giving him an 84.4% first down percentage. The next closest was T.Y. Hilton with 66. In this case, going against conventional wisdom for these rules would still give me an advantage at WR with a player that should be top-five at the position in any format, but could be the top scorer in this league type.

2.04 Jameis Winston (QB, TB)

At this point, only Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck were taken among the quarterbacks, so I could easily have gone with Brees or Brady. I happen to subscribe to the notion that Winston could outscore the two veterans this season. The additions of DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard could propel Famous Jameis into the 35-40 TD range and he's already gone over 4,000 yards in each of his first two seasons. In retrospect, either of the vets would have been safer picks in a single-season league, but the upside here was too appealing to pass up.

3.09 DeMarco Murray (RB, TEN)

In a standard league, this is an appropriate draft spot for Murray, but in SFB7 it's a veritable bargain. The notion that Murray will somehow see his workload drop substantially in favor of Derrick Henry is preposterous. Coach Mike Mularkey has already stated that Murray is the workhorse, with Henry mixing in just a bit more than last season. Murray finished sixth among all RB in first downs gained last season, behind the big three, Jordan Howard and LeGarrette Blount. Only Blount was still available and posted both better first down and touchdown totals, but his move to Philadelphia and inevitable regression made him a non-consideration. I effectively nabbed a high-end RB1 at the end of the third round, so I consider this pick a success.

4.04 Allen Robinson (WR, JAX)

The debate over A-Rob's value will continue up until kickoff of Week 1, but this seems like a good spot considering his 4.03 ADP in two-QB leagues. Despite a disappointing 2016, he finished in the top 20 for first downs gained among receivers. We know his scoring potential from his 14-TD season in 2015. Robinson also saw an encouraging number of red zone targets with 22, even though they didn't translate to scores as often. If he finishes with production roughly between his last two seasons, that would mean 1,150 yards and 10 TD. Not bad for a WR2.

5.09 Alshon Jeffery (WR, PHI)

I debated between Jeffery and Michael Crabtree at this spot, but once again opted for upside. Jeffery will finally see some consistency at the quarterback position and promises to be the main target in Philadelphia. The RB options were already fairly thin by this point, so getting an advantage with an All-Pro caliber player as my WR3 seems more logical than taking a chance on rookie Christian McCaffrey or Dalvin Cook, who were next on the ADP rankings.

7.09 Derrick Henry (RB, TEN)

I don't believe handcuffing is always a plausible strategy for fantasy owners, but this is one of the situations where it's almost a requirement. If you own Murray, grabbing Henry a couple rounds later should become an immediate priority because he immediately becomes a top-10 RB if injury strikes. As it turns out, Henry could have great stand-alone value in this format too. He had the seventh-highest first down rushing percentage in the league at 26.4%.

8.04 Hunter Henry (TE, LAC)

The second of my Henry picks, this one would sit better in a dynasty league, but also correlates with his current eighth-round ADP in two-QB leagues. Make no mistake Henry will be the main tight end for Philip Rivers this season and should still see plenty of red zone targets. If Tyler Eifert weren't taken the pick right before this, I may have made a different selection, but this pick doesn't carry the injury risk and could ultimately prove better.

9.09 Kareem Hunt (RB, KC)

This ninth-round rookie pick could become my RB2, assuming he is the starter in Kansas City. It could be a timeshare at first, but Hunt has a great chance to become the main man. I followed this pick up with its polar opposite of Frank Gore, a veteran with a reliable floor but limited upside.

For the later rounds, I chose to round out my roster by heeding advice from fellow RotoBaller and writer for RotoViz, Charlie Kleinheksel, in his analysis of the best roster construction for this format. Last year, he surmised that the top point-getters used a roster construction format that included three QB, three TE, and two possible combinations for RB and WR. To summarize briefly, teams who went with top-flight WR early should finish with a balance of running backs and receivers, whereas teams that went RB in the first round should load up on receivers in the later rounds. For my purposes, I kept the RB/WR fairly close at 5/7. Following my theme of going for upside mixed with opportunity, I selected Jeremy McNichols, Curtis Samuel, J.J. Nelson, Paxton Lynch and Erik Swoope after round 10. In hindsight, I would have drafted my second QB much earlier, but with some luck either Lynch or Watson would hold onto the starting job all year and be productive.


Here's a look at my final roster:

Although actually joining the Fish Bowl requires an early application and a bit of luck, I would encourage fantasy players to try engaging in a mock draft using these rules. This exercise forced me to think outside my typical rankings and analyze the draft board more carefully. Digging deeper into non-traditional stats such as first downs gained is good practice to understand what makes a player valuable relative to the scoring rules of your league.

For information about the Scott Fish Bowl, check the home site here. To join any of the satellite leagues under the #FantasyCares umbrella and contribute to a worthy cause at the same time, visit the page at this link.


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