The Running Backs that Won MFL10s in 2015
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Part three of a series looking at which players won My Fantasy League MFL10s in 2015. If you’re unfamiliar with the format, you’ll find many of the lessons applicable to regular redraft leagues as well.

Before we go too far, I’ll make this disclaimer for the entire series: past results don’t necessarily predict future results. As the MFL10 community incorporates last year’s lessons, certain exploitable inefficiencies may be eroded, and new ones evolve. Don’t worry, we’ll be covering that in real time too. That said, I think there are some things we can take away from last year.

Hat tip to Fantasy Douche for getting the data compiled,1 and RotoDoc for helping me wrap my head around it. The table tells us the average finish for franchises that drafted each player. More importantly, the win percentage column tells us the likelihood that a franchise rostering that DST won its league.

Let’s take a quick look at running backs that won last year’s MFL10s. We’re going to focus much more on the win percentage, since that’s the goal.

Freeman, Devonta ATL4.010.27689.58
Woodhead, Danny SDC4.660.17699.229
Williams, DeAngelo PIT5.140.163169.0215
Ivory, Chris NYJ5.320.14477.487
Johnson, David ARI5.440.132111.9910
Martin, Doug TBB5.580.12665.966
White, James NEP5.860.119189.517
Sproles, Darren PHI5.970.117132.7812
Miller, Lamar MIA5.70.11626.973
Riddick, Theo DET5.850.11519918
Ingram, Mark NOS5.890.10831.783
Forte, Matt CHI5.90.10713.012
Stewart, Jonathan CAR5.990.10743.084
Vereen, Shane NYG5.830.10469.716
Starks, James GBP5.910.103203.7318
Jones, Matt WAS6.170.101162.2815
Allen, Javorius BAL6.220.101188.1317
Murray, Latavius OAK6.070.09640.814
Bernard, Giovani CIN6.190.09554.845
Sims, Charles TBB6.20.095125.811


  • Just showing the top 20 here, that were selected in more than 20 percent of drafts.
  • Notice how many of those RBs were backups, at least at the time they were drafted (June – September, 2015).
  • Okay, I’ll tell you. It’s 13. Thirteen of the 20, or 65 percent, were not starting RBs when they were selected: Devonta Freeman, Danny Woodhead, DeAngelo Williams, David Johnson, James White, Darren Sproles, Theo Riddick, Shane Vereen, James Starks, Matt Jones, Javorius Allen, Giovani Bernard, and Charles Sims.
  • The second back in a committee is often a great way to go, and these results bear that out. Not just any secondary back though – it helps to target those that are drafted reasonably close to their team’s ostensible No. 1 RB, and have decent pass catching skill.
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  • As we’ll see in a future post, that win rate for first round RBs is brutal. The sweet spot for RB selections seems to have been rounds 5 through 9. Rounds 15 and 17 were also good. Don’t be fooled by round 20 – the two RBs driving that high win rate were Bilal Powell and Ahmad Bradshaw. Powell was only selected in 76 drafts; Bradshaw in 131.
  • The one first-round RB who had actually stayed healthy and had a good season was Adrian Peterson. But he sports just a 7.6 percent win rate. That’s not because there’s anything wrong with him, it’s just that there were better selections to be made in round 1 (and very good RBs to be gotten later).
  • Devonta Freeman had the highest win rate of any player at any position.2 His 27.6 percent win rate was significantly better than runner-up Julio Jones 20.9 percent rate. We’ve been having a lot of back and forth in our staff email chain recently about just how valuable Freeman could be in 2016. Admittedly, I’ve never been a fan of Freeman. But a couple of smart guys3 pointed out that there’s no reason to think Freeman won’t be “the guy” again this year, and he’s demonstrated the ability to stay on the field for all three downs.
  • Other than pass catching RBs, the other type of RB that did very well was the discount bellcow. Chris Ivory, Doug Martin, Jonathan Stewart, and Latavius Murray were all taken in round 4 or later; Mark Ingram and Lamar Miller had third round ADPs. Those aren’t exactly late round RBs but waiting until at least round three allowed you to snag WRs in the top two rounds.
  1. I’m using data for MFL10s from June-September, 2015.  (back)
  2. Taken in more than 20 percent of drafts.  (back)
  3. Kevin Cole and Fantasy Douche.  (back)

Charles Kleinheksel

Editor and contributor since 2013. Director of Special Projects August 2017. Occasionally found at numberFire, Rotoballer, and FantasyPros.

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