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As the 2016 NFL season approaches, most seasoned Fantasy Football players have already begun participating in mock drafts, in preparation for their season-long leagues. The problem with mock drafts these days, however, is too often we find that fantasy players are using mock drafts to test out draft strategies they would probably never actually use in a real draft setting.

For instance, one strategy I’ve employed in mock drafts is to only select players I would never consider taking, so I can see how late players I am actually targeting, fall. This means that I often choose players a round or two early, and negatively affect the mock draft for all others involved.  As a result, I started using an alternative resource for my draft prep — MFL10s.

MFL10s (from MyFantasyLeague.com) are 12-team, full-point PPR leagues where players draft against other MFL members at a cost of only $10 per league. So not completely free, they are a cost effective way of simulating a real life draft environment. Expect unlike traditional season long formats, you draft a deeper bench, since there are not any in-season transactions or roster moves allowed. Perfect for anyone who doesn’t want the hassle of managing another league throughout the year, but still wants to beef up their draft preparation.

Another difference to most traditional season long leagues is that they use a best-ball format. For those unfamiliar with best ball, this is a format where the host website software aggregates your team’s best performers each week (after the fact) to come up with your weekly score.

Therefore, it puts emphasis on not only drafting a solid starting lineup but also drafting a bench with upside, since you can’t rely on the waiver wire throughout the year.  Thus, it is also important to understand that with a best ball format, you need to alter your draft strategy slightly from traditional season long mock drafts.

MFL10s Best Ball Roster Construction

Here are 5 tips that should consider when drafting your draft MFL10s roster.

1. Wide Receiver Selection

Like many season-long Fantasy drafts, a good majority of MFL10s participants adopt a zero running back strategy. This implies targeting top, reliable wide receivers with your first 3-5 selections.  With MFL10s, however, once you have selected your top wide receivers, you should continue to target other lower ADP wide receivers who score a bulk of their points in 3 or 4 games in the middle rounds.  Consider options like Tavon Austin and Travis Benjamin.  Both players only scored 5 TD’s each in 2015 but both had one game where they scored 2 TDs.  Someone like Benjamin can be had in the 9th or 10th round of most MFL 10s but could easily win you a week now that he has Philip Rivers as his QB instead of his former Cleveland QBs.

2. Consider Your QB1 Selection When Selecting Your QB2

While MFL10s are a one QB format, you still need to have at least one backup QB in case of injury and to use during your QB1’s bye week.  If your strategy for instance, is to target Tony Romo later in your draft as your QB2, try and pair him with someone like Russell Wilson or another QB you expect should play all 16 o his games. If you select Ben Roethlisberger as your QB1, look at someone with a better history of durability than Tony Romo as your QB2, unless you plan on taking a 3rd QB – which is a very viable option, especially if you want to wait on QBs.  A combination of Romo, Dalton and Cousins could yield you QB1 production throughout the season if you would prefer to pass on the likes of Luck and Rogers.

3. Select Your Defense With your Last Two Picks

In the MFLs 10s I have participated in so far in 2016, the selection of the Denver defense almost always start the run of defenses – usually around the 15th round (out of 20).   If you want to go and grab one of the top one or two projected defenses in the mid-teen rounds, that has some merit.  But if you miss out this run, you are much better off waiting until your very last two picks.   It’s important to remember that Fantasy defensive production can be very different than the actual NFL defensive production.  Even if your defense team gives up 30 pts against in a given week, if they force turnovers and/or sacks, they can still have a very productive week.  And unlike individual players, team defenses can’t get injured, so there is really no scenario where you should consider selecting 3 defenses like you might at QB, because you are worried about being shut out of a 2nd defense with your last pick.

4. Bye-Week Considerations

As suggested in point number 3, for defense and probably tight end, you are only going to select two from each position, so make sure you double and triple check your selections don’t share bye weeks.  Sounds simple, but if you take Gronkowski in the 2nd round and you don’t select your 2nd tight end until the 15th round, it can be very easy to forget and leave youself with an empty roster spot.

5. Target at Least 1 Running Back With Consistent Opportunity

In traditional season long, you can rely on the waiver wire to help you fill out your running back position in the 2nd half of the season if you run into injury.  With no in-season roster management, you need to carefully weigh your running back bench.  While it is great to target a handful of handcuffs with your late picks, why not consider adding someone like Darren Sproles to your bench.  While he may not be Fantasy relevant more than one or two weeks, history suggests he probably plays 16 games and gives you a solid floor in a best ball format for your RB2 in weeks where you run into the injury bug or a bye week.

Now you’re all set up to dominate your MFL10s for this season and beyond!

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