Beginner’s Guide to Playing MFL10 Best-Ball Leagues
It’s now been almost two months since we last saw live NFL action on our televisions, which can be depressing for football junkies, especially those who play as much fantasy football as possible. I mean, we have redraft, dynasty, DFS, playoff leagues, and more to keep us busy. But these are the months where most aren’t sure what to do with their time.
You’ve likely heard fantasy pundits or friends casually talking about best-ball leagues, or more specifically, MFL10 leagues. Welcome to the activity that will occupy your free time over the next few months.
You may feel overwhelmed, like the first time you stepped into a fantasy league or the first time you tried an auction draft, but I assure you that it’s nothing like that. You’re going to have fun while doing these because I’m going to walk you through every step of the process. Let’s start with your most obvious question…
WHAT IS AN MFL10?
It’s a draft-only, best-ball format that requires absolutely zero maintenance or attention after you draft. Because there was a time when I didn’t know what best-ball meant, I’ll explain that first. It means that your best lineup is automatically selected after the games have been played.
You don’t ever have to wonder whether or not to start Player X because it automatically takes your best players at each position and accumulates points. You know all those nagging decisions on whether you should start a wide receiver going against a top-tier cornerback like Jalen Ramsey? You won’t have to make those decisions in your draft-only, best-ball league.
The draft-only section of the league is exactly that. No trades, waiver wires, free agents, nothing. You’ll draft a team and never touch it again. While it may seem unsociable, it’s perfect because it won’t interfere with your time needed to dedicate to DFS or your season-long league(s). It also allows you to play in a lot of MFL10s which is the point, right?
HOW DO I PLAY AND WHAT’S THE COST?
Now that you know what it is, how do you get into one? It’s simple. If you go to the link right here, you can select which league you’d like to take part in.
While it started out as just $10 entry fees (hence MFL10), there’s now a multitude of different options, including $100, $50, $25 and $10 leagues. They have recently added some options for the payout, too.
The old way (which is still available) is very top-heavy, almost a winner-take-all scenario. With the $10 buy-in, the first-place team wins $100, while second-place takes home a $5 Fanball credit. That’s considered a “10X” payout, no matter what the buy-in is. It’s important to keep in mind that if you win one in every 10 of these leagues, you are coming out even; everything else is a bonus.
The newest option is called “3X.” It’s not as top-heavy as the 10X option, as this one pays out $75 to first-place, $20 to second-place, and a $10 Fanball credit to third-place. This option will give you a bit more of a safe floor, though it also takes away some of your potential ceiling of winnings.
Now that you’ve joined, here’s the fun part – the draft. It is a slow draft, which allows each of the 12 owners a maximum of eight hours to make their pick. This may seem like a long time, but hey, people have jobs. If you’d like it to move faster, Fanball has introduced a four-hour timer this year that includes a seven-hour overnight pause.
Some choose to use the auto-draft setting that’ll automatically choose the next player on your list in case you’re concerned about not being available for one (or more) of your picks. If the next owner doesn’t have any players on their list, you’ll have to wait. If they were to take up the full eight hours and not make a selection, their pick would come as the next player available based on ADP (average draft position). The eight hours always seemed excessive, so it’s nice to see them introduce four-hour timers this year.
Your draft will be a 20-round snake draft, which can take anywhere from one to two weeks. I’ve been a part of some that only took four days, but that’s a rare occurrence. With the new four-hour timers, I’d expect to be done within a max of one week.
ROSTER REQUIREMENTS AND SCORING SETTINGS
Your best-ball league will start one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end, one flex (RB/WR/TE) and one defense. There is no limit to the number of players you can draft at a certain position, though you obviously don’t want to be drafting five defenses. And again, you will not be setting your lineup, so you don’t need to worry about much.
The scoring settings are based around PPR, with just four points for passing touchdowns, and negative-two points for turnovers (interceptions, fumbles lost). You can find the full scoring settings right on the MFL10 home screen.
Lastly, the league is played through Week 16, similar to most fantasy leagues nowadays. There are no playoffs; just whoever has the most points at the end of the year.
Similar to your re-draft leagues, it’s important that you don’t stick to any one strategy. It’s important to have an idea of what you want to do, but remain fluid, and be willing to go wherever the draft takes you. With that being said, here is a general outline to get you started:
4-7 RUNNING BACKS
6-8 WIDE RECEIVERS
2-3 TIGHT ENDS
In short, don’t draft a quarterback in the first four rounds. In today’s NFL, many signal callers can provide you massive value later in the draft (Matt Ryan was taken after the 12th round in 2016 drafts and Carson Wentz was outside the top 10 rounds in 2017 drafts).
The only other piece of general advice would be that you shouldn’t be taking any defense anywhere inside of the top 15 rounds. Remember, there is so much volatility year over year at the position. Don’t be left chasing last year’s points. I was able to consistently snag Jacksonville’s defense in the 18th round last year.
By now, you should be prepared to start your first MFL10. Even though I told you not to stick to any one particular strategy, you likely have questions about what strategies may work best in an ideal situation. Because of that, we’ll have an article soon explaining the best way to attack your MFL10s. Until then, pleasant drafting!