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Walking With Giants: Pro Football Focus’ Pat Thorman Reflects On His Biggest Reaches In Evan Silva’s Private MFL25

After recently participating in a MFL25 league arranged by senior editor Evan Silva, I reached out to some of the writers involved to get the thinking behind their boldest picks. 





What would you say is the biggest difference between how you approach MFL10 format versus normal, weekly management, redraft leagues?

I’m more apt to address a position with quantity over quality of players in best ball formats.
Do you approach leagues filled with other writers differently?
Yes, I rely on ADP less than I do in a standard field, realize there will be few if any value leaks, and wait later than normal to pick my quarterbacks and defenses.
Do you worry that with leagues like this the other players know you who like and therefore you have to reach a little bit more than normal?
Yes, but even if they don’t know who I like specifically, I’m aware I usually need to take the players I like a little early if I’m going to get them. They will rarely still be there the next time I pick.
You had the 1.01 spot in this draft, does picking at the turn cause you to reach more than you normally would? Do you believe there is a clear disadvantage to picking on a turn instead of in the middle of the round?
Absolutely, it’s a disadvantage. You can’t value hunt too much, and need to cover your ass in case of a positional run or entire tiers dry up before it gets back to you. I prefer picking toward the middle in any format. Well, except Rookie Drafts. That’s a joke. You can laugh at anytime now.
You took Ryan Mathews and Duke Johnson in back-to-back picks over Latavius Murray, Matt Jones, DeMarco Murray, and Danny Woodhead, who all have higher average draft positions than both, and were the next four running backs taken off the board after your turn. Which of those four do you worry the most about passing on? What puts Mathews and Johnson over that guy for you?
A combination of ceiling, potential workload, passing game involvement, and them being “my guys” who I wouldn’t get another shot to pick while swimming with sharks puts them over for me. I like things about the RBs I passed on – even Jones – but I just wanted the other two. Skipping Lat Murray would be the one I regret the most.

Pat shares more of his thoughts on why he likes Mathews, and seven other players he’s targeting in MFL10s, here. For more on why he may regret passing on L. Murray, he wrote about gameflow here.

Do you think the Eagles have competent enough personnel to find themselves in consistently positive game scripts?

Yes, their defense is generally underrated and their offensive line has been improved — if not fixed.
Do you worry that Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood will spell Mathews’ on the most valuable snaps and limit his targets?
Yes, but don’t feel it’s a foregone conclusion they’ll do it often enough to really hurt his value. 
Who will have the most rushing attempts for the Browns this year?
Isaiah Crowell, but am holding onto my Terrell Watson dynasty shares tightly.
Do you think Johnson has a higher ceiling on this Browns team than Giovani Bernard had the last few years on those Bengals teams?
Yes, I think he’ll see a larger passing game workload due to negative game scripts, and more carries isn’t impossible. He somehow averaged over 4.0 yards per carry between the tackles (his largest predraft knock) even with a 3.6 overall YPC.

 In Bernard’s best season he had 170 carries, eight total touchdowns, 56 receptions, and 224.9 fantasy points. Will Johnson hit any of those numbers in 2016?
Yes, receptions. He may approach the carries if Crowell flames out, but 170 is close to his ceiling on a team that will trail consistently.
Where will Johnson rank on the Browns for team targets? If he doesn’t end in the top three, who other than Corey Coleman and Gary Barnidge is likeliest to out-target him?
Third at minimum. Josh Gordon.
On a scale of one to ten, how likely is it that 2016 Crowell has more fantasy points than 2015 Jeremy Hill (170.3)?
Two. He won’t sniff that number of TDs.
You can find the other interviews in this series at the following links:, Football Guys, and Washington Post’s Matt Harmon – click here’s Alex Gelhar – click here
4for4 Football’s T.J. Hernandez – click here

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