How the Best(ball) was Won: Player Win Rates in 2016 MFL10s

The following looks at the win rates1 of players drafted in close to 5,000 MFL10 best-ball leagues in 2016. The great thing about the win rate statistic is that it distills the combination of player performance and draft cost into a single number. We know that David Johnson was the top scoring running back this year, but was using a first round pick on him a winning move? (Spoiler: it was.) This data will be an important reference for me as I develop my draft strategy for 2017. Here are some of my observations.

The Early Rounds

It seems that success in the first few rounds of 2016 drafts was as much about avoiding landmines as it was about finding stars. There were 14 players within the top 36 of ADP who had win rates of less than 5 percent – that’s six more than in 2015. For context, the average win rate is 8.3 percent (1 in 12). There were only 20 additional players in the entire player pool with win rates below 5 percent, underscoring the importance of those early round picks.

The injuries and disappointments were not concentrated within a particular position this year – those 14 biggest early-round disappointments comprised seven wide receivers, six running backs and the lone tight end with a top-36 ADP (Rob Gronkowski).

Brown; Antonio PIT WRWR1.113.9%
Beckham; Odell NYG WRWR2.69.9%
Jones; Julio ATL WRWR2.78.8%
Hopkins; DeAndre HOU WRWR5.83.4%
Gurley; Todd RAM RBRB6.43.3%
Green; A.J. CIN WRWR6.96.3%
Johnson; David ARI RBRB7.626.3%
Bryant; Dez DAL WRWR9.54.3%
Bell; Le'Veon PIT RBRB9.615.9%
Robinson; Allen JAC WRWR10.84.2%
Elliott; Ezekiel DAL RBRB11.912.0%
Gronkowski; Rob NEP TETE122.7%
Miller; Lamar HOU RBRB13.54.7%
Peterson; Adrian MIN RBRB13.52.1%
Allen; Keenan SDC WRWR15.31.5%
Evans; Mike TBB WRWR17.212.3%
Nelson; Jordy GBP WRWR18.416.5%
Freeman; Devonta ATL RBRB18.413.1%
Jeffery; Alshon CHI WRWR18.54.7%
Charles; Jamaal KCC RBRB19.73.4%
Marshall; Brandon NYJ WRWR20.45.7%
Cooper; Amari OAK WRWR20.88.0%
Cooks; Brandin NOS WRWR22.112.6%
Hilton; T.Y. IND WRWR25.414.4%
Ingram; Mark NOS RBRB25.911.7%
Thomas; Demaryius DEN WRWR25.910.3%
Watkins; Sammy BUF WRWR26.53.9%
Lacy; Eddie GBP RBRB293.0%
Landry; Jarvis MIA WRWR29.310.5%
Martin; Doug TBB RBRB314.1%
Cobb; Randall GBP WRWR31.76.1%
McCoy; LeSean BUF RBRB32.920.5%
Edelman; Julian NEP WRWR35.78.1%
Tate; Golden DET WRWR36.29.8%
Maclin; Jeremy KCC WRWR374.3%
Benjamin; Kelvin CAR WRWR37.97.0%


Drew Brees had the highest win rate among quarterbacks in 2016, at 13.4 percent. While Cam Newton’s disappointing performance (4.7 percent win rate) probably has many people thinking otherwise, 2016 was not a bad year for the early-ish round QB drafter. I say “early-ish” because the top quarterbacks were drafted materially later by average than in previous years. Five of the top seven quarterbacks by ADP ended up with above average win rates. The bigger late-round success stories were Matt Ryan (12.1 percent win rate) in the 13th round, and Kirk Cousins (11.4 percent) and Matthew Stafford (10.5 percent) in the 12th round.

PlayerPosPosADPOvrADPWin Rate
Brees; Drew NOS QBQB58213.4%
Ryan; Matt ATL QBQB2015312.1%
Cousins; Kirk WAS QBQB1413411.4%
Rodgers; Aaron GBP QBQB25311.0%
Stafford; Matthew DET QBQB1513910.5%
Brady; Tom NEP QBQB79810.3%
Mariota; Marcus TEN QBQB171439.9%
Roethlisberger; Ben PIT QBQB6919.6%
Luck; Andrew IND QBQB3669.1%
Manning; Eli NYG QBQB101178.9%
Carr; Derek OAK QBQB121308.9%
Prescott; Dak DAL QBQB271908.7%
Taylor; Tyrod BUF QBQB161428.6%
Palmer; Carson ARI QBQB81068.2%
Dalton; Andy CIN QBQB181468.2%
Flacco; Joe BAL QBQB221708.2%
Bradford; Sam MIN QBQB312118.0%
Bortles; Blake JAC QBQB91117.9%
Smith; Alex KCC QBQB251797.9%
Wilson; Russell SEA QBQB4687.8%
Garoppolo; Jimmy NEP QBQB382227.8%
Kaepernick; Colin SFO QBQB352187.6%
Winston; Jameis TBB QBQB131337.5%
Rivers; Philip SDC QBQB111207.2%
Tannehill; Ryan MIA QBQB211586.7%
Griffin III; Robert CLE QBQB291976.6%
Osweiler; Brock HOU QBQB261886.5%
Sanchez; Mark DAL QBQB372206.4%
Fitzpatrick; Ryan NYJ QBQB231745.8%
Siemian; Trevor DEN QBQB362195.8%
Bridgewater; Teddy MIN QBQB281925.7%
Cutler; Jay CHI QBQB241765.5%
Gabbert; Blaine SFO QBQB342165.4%
Romo; Tony DAL QBQB191535.1%
Wentz; Carson PHI QBQB322125.1%
Goff; Jared RAM QBQB332125.1%
Newton; Cam CAR QBQB1434.7%
Lynch; Paxton DEN QBQB302094.0%

Running Backs

The three highest win rates of 2016 each belong to running backs. While it is not uncommon for a running back to appear at the top of this list (last year’s win rate king was Devonta Freeman at 28 percent), it is noteworthy that each of the top three – David Johnson, LeSean McCoy and DeMarco Murray – had an ADP in the first five rounds. This speaks to how treacherous the first few rounds were this year. Notable late-round winners include Jordan Howard (15th round), Tim Hightower (18th) and Rob Kelley (18th).

PlayerPosPosADPOvrADPWin Rate
Johnson; David ARI RBRB2826.3%
McCoy; LeSean BUF RBRB123320.5%
Murray; DeMarco TEN RBRB195619.4%
Bell; Le'Veon PIT RBRB31015.9%
Gordon; Melvin SDC RBRB287715.2%
Howard; Jordan CHI RBRB5717115.0%
Freeman; Devonta ATL RBRB71813.1%
Blount; LeGarrette NEP RBRB4413512.6%
Hightower; Tim NOS RBRB8121312.5%
Kelley; Rob WAS RBRB7620812.1%
Elliott; Ezekiel DAL RBRB41212.0%
Ingram; Mark NOS RBRB92611.7%
Sproles; Darren PHI RBRB5215711.7%
Ware; Spencer KCC RBRB5917811.6%
Riddick; Theo DET RBRB359811.4%
Powell; Bilal NYJ RBRB4312611.2%
Ajayi; Jay MIA RBRB328711.0%
West; Terrance BAL RBRB6619211.0%
Coleman; Tevin ATL RBRB4211810.8%
Gore; Frank IND RBRB298010.7%
Murray; Latavius OAK RBRB175010.5%
Hyde; Carlos SFO RBRB144210.2%
Forte; Matt NYJ RBRB164410.2%
Crowell; Isaiah CLE RBRB411149.7%
Williams; DeAngelo PIT RBRB401069.2%
White; James NEP RBRB561709.0%
Johnson; Chris ARI RBRB671948.9%
Hill; Jeremy CIN RBRB25678.7%
Thompson; Chris WAS RBRB651928.4%
Draughn; Shaun SFO RBRB711978.3%
Jennings; Rashad NYG RBRB381038.2%
Michael; Christine GBP RBRB541628.1%
Barner; Kenjon PHI RBRB872228.0%
Artis-Payne; Cameron CAR RBRB802137.9%
Yeldon; T.J. JAC RBRB33877.8%
Mathews; Ryan PHI RBRB26697.7%
McFadden; Darren DAL RBRB611857.3%
Starks; James GBP RBRB551697.1%
Gaffney; Tyler FA RBRB842177.1%
Zenner; Zach DET RBRB782097.0%
Stewart; Jonathan CAR RBRB27736.9%
Smallwood; Wendell PHI RBRB621856.9%
Ellington; Andre ARI RBRB832146.9%
Gillislee; Mike BUF RBRB862196.9%
Booker; Devontae DEN RBRB511486.7%
Spiller; C.J. FA RBRB732046.6%
Dixon; Kenneth BAL RBRB471436.5%
Perkins; Paul NYG RBRB631896.5%
Ferguson; Josh IND RBRB681946.5%
Ivory; Chris JAC RBRB34986.4%
Cunningham; Benny RAM RBRB882246.4%
McKinnon; Jerick MIN RBRB481436.3%
Hillman; Ronnie SDC RBRB752066.3%
Robinson; Khiry NYJ RBRB772096.3%
Henry; Derrick TEN RBRB371026.2%
Vereen; Shane NYG RBRB461426.2%
Drake; Kenyan MIA RBRB641896.2%
Prosise; C.J. SEA RBRB451425.9%
Washington; DeAndre OAK RBRB501455.9%
Ervin; Tyler HOU RBRB822135.9%
West; Charcandrick KCC RBRB691955.8%
Carey; Ka'Deem CHI RBRB792095.8%
Johnson; Duke CLE RBRB20585.7%
Jones; Matt WAS RBRB24655.7%
Morris; Alfred DAL RBRB601815.7%
Forsett; Justin DEN RBRB391065.6%
Bernard; Giovani CIN RBRB22605.5%
Williams; Karlos FA RBRB491445.5%
Marshall; Keith WAS RBRB742055.4%
Allen; Javorius BAL RBRB531585.3%
Bush; Reggie BUF RBRB852195.2%
Foster; Arian FA RBRB36985.1%
Anderson; C.J. DEN RBRB13395.0%
Dunbar; Lance DAL RBRB581784.9%
Woodhead; Danny SDC RBRB21594.8%
Miller; Lamar HOU RBRB5144.7%
Rawls; Thomas SEA RBRB15444.7%
Langford; Jeremy CHI RBRB23644.6%
Sims; Charles TBB RBRB31864.4%
Williams; Jonathan BUF RBRB722034.4%
Collins; Alex SEA RBRB701954.2%
Martin; Doug TBB RBRB11314.1%
Abdullah; Ameer DET RBRB30824.1%
Lewis; Dion NEP RBRB18554.0%
Charles; Jamaal KCC RBRB8203.4%
Gurley; Todd RAM RBRB163.3%
Lacy; Eddie GBP RBRB10293.0%
Peterson; Adrian MIN RBRB6142.1%

Wide Receivers

This was generally not a great year for wide receivers, particularly those taken in the early rounds. In each of the past three years, there was at least one WR with a win rate above 20 percent, but this year’s winningest WR, Jordy Nelson, had a win rate of only 16.5 percent. Michael Crabtree and Doug Baldwin round out the top three. Noteworthy late-round winners include Kenny Britt (19th round), Davante Adams (17th round), Terrelle Pryor (16th round) and Tyrell Williams (19th round).

PlayerPosPosADPOvrADPWin Rate
Nelson; Jordy GBP WRWR101816.5%
Crabtree; Michael OAK WRWR356915.4%
Baldwin; Doug SEA WRWR254515.3%
Fitzgerald; Larry ARI WRWR295115.1%
Britt; Kenny RAM WRWR10121815.1%
Adams; Davante GBP WRWR7819614.7%
Hilton; T.Y. IND WRWR152514.4%
Brown; Antonio PIT WRWR1113.9%
Garcon; Pierre WAS WRWR6516013.8%
Pryor; Terrelle CLE WRWR7418813.6%
Thomas; Michael NOS WRWR5211713.5%
Williams; Tyrell SDC WRWR10021713.5%
Diggs; Stefon MIN WRWR429213.0%
Cooks; Brandin NOS WRWR142212.6%
Crowder; Jamison WAS WRWR8620412.6%
Matthews; Rishard TEN WRWR6014712.5%
Evans; Mike TBB WRWR91712.3%
LaFell; Brandon CIN WRWR8720712.3%
Beasley; Cole DAL WRWR10522211.9%
Smith; Steve BAL WRWR5612911.7%
Sanders; Emmanuel DEN WRWR325911.5%
Stills; Kenny MIA WRWR7618911.4%
Wallace; Mike BAL WRWR6315811.1%
Boldin; Anquan DET WRWR7518911.1%
Snead; Willie NOS WRWR408710.9%
Landry; Jarvis MIA WRWR182910.5%
Thomas; Demaryius DEN WRWR162610.3%
Benjamin; Travis SDC WRWR4610310.1%
Ginn Jr.; Ted CAR WRWR7217510.0%
Beckham; Odell NYG WRWR239.9%
Tate; Golden DET WRWR21369.8%
Austin; Tavon RAM WRWR45969.8%
Sanu; Mohamed ATL WRWR581329.8%
Roberts; Seth OAK WRWR1062229.8%
Shepard; Sterling NYG WRWR41909.7%
Jones; Marvin DET WRWR37729.5%
Montgomery; Ty GBP WRWR982169.5%
Hogan; Chris NEP WRWR611559.4%
Nelson; J.J. ARI WRWR1032199.4%
Jackson; DeSean WAS WRWR38759.3%
Wright; Kendall TEN WRWR681719.3%
Matthews; Jordan PHI WRWR28489.1%
Woods; Robert BUF WRWR801979.1%
Jones; Julio ATL WRWR338.8%
Rogers; Eli PIT WRWR822018.6%
Johnson; Stevie SDC WRWR832018.5%
Williams; Terrance DAL WRWR701758.4%
Mitchell; Malcolm NEP WRWR932108.2%
Johnson; Charles MIN WRWR1042198.2%
Edelman; Julian NEP WRWR20368.1%
Cooper; Amari OAK WRWR13218.0%
Kearse; Jermaine SEA WRWR852047.7%
Fuller; Will HOU WRWR641597.6%
Hardy; Justin ATL WRWR962137.6%
Amendola; Danny NEP WRWR952117.5%
Coates; Sammie PIT WRWR571307.4%
Jackson; Vincent TBB WRWR531177.2%
Coleman; Brandon NOS WRWR731877.2%
Benjamin; Kelvin CAR WRWR23387.0%
Boyd; Tyler CIN WRWR621556.9%
Sharpe; Tajae TEN WRWR671706.8%
Randle; Rueben FA WRWR791966.8%
Cruz; Victor NYG WRWR892086.8%
Lockett; Tyler SEA WRWR33626.7%
Wheaton; Markus PIT WRWR491096.6%
Bell; Kenny FA WRWR972146.5%
Dorsett; Phillip IND WRWR551276.4%
Strong; Jaelen HOU WRWR842046.4%
Green; A.J. CIN WRWR576.3%
Green-Beckham; Dorial PHI WRWR511166.3%
Agholor; Nelson PHI WRWR691746.3%
Janis; Jeff GBP WRWR771926.3%
Brown; John ARI WRWR31576.2%
Cobb; Randall GBP WRWR19326.1%
Funchess; Devin CAR WRWR541206.0%
Miller; Braxton HOU WRWR912096.0%
Parker; DeVante MIA WRWR30565.9%
Coleman; Corey CLE WRWR39835.9%
Conley; Chris KCC WRWR992165.9%
Ellington; Bruce SFO WRWR711755.8%
Abbrederis; Jared FA WRWR1022195.8%
Marshall; Brandon NYJ WRWR12205.7%
Floyd; Michael NEP WRWR27485.7%
Smith; Torrey SFO WRWR43945.7%
Decker; Eric NYJ WRWR26475.5%
Perriman; Breshad BAL WRWR661605.5%
Hurns; Allen JAC WRWR34645.3%
Doctson; Josh WAS WRWR591465.1%
Smelter; DeAndre SFO WRWR812015.1%
Treadwell; Laquon MIN WRWR471035.0%
Aiken; Kamar BAL WRWR501135.0%
Heyward-Bey; Darrius PIT WRWR1072225.0%
Carroo; Leonte MIA WRWR902094.8%
Jeffery; Alshon CHI WRWR11194.7%
Moncrief; Donte IND WRWR24414.5%
Gordon; Josh CLE WRWR481084.4%
Bryant; Dez DAL WRWR6104.3%
Maclin; Jeremy KCC WRWR22374.3%
White; Kevin CHI WRWR36694.3%
Robinson; Allen JAC WRWR7114.2%
Watkins; Sammy BUF WRWR17273.9%
Cooper; Pharoh RAM WRWR942113.8%
Thomas; Mike RAM WRWR882083.6%
Bryant; Martavis PIT WRWR44953.5%
Hopkins; DeAndre HOU WRWR463.4%
Higgins; Rashard CLE WRWR922103.1%
Allen; Keenan SDC WRWR8151.5%

Tight Ends

Tight end was not a particularly exciting position this year, though the return of Jimmy Graham was a welcome sight, and pre-injury Cameron Brate provided great late-round value. But Kyle Rudolph was the true late-round champion, claiming the highest tight end win rate of 13.8 percent. The player with the lowest win rate of all qualifying tight ends was also the one with the earliest ADP: Rob Gronkowski.

PlayerPosPosADPOvrADPWin Rate
Rudolph; Kyle MIN TETE2518213.8%
Kelce; Travis KCC TETE46812.6%
Walker; Delanie TEN TETE57812.5%
Brate; Cameron TBB TETE3521412.3%
Olsen; Greg CAR TETE35411.5%
Graham; Jimmy SEA TETE1613511.3%
Witten; Jason DAL TETE1713611.2%
Ertz; Zach PHI TETE89410.7%
Clay; Charles BUF TETE2015910.1%
Bennett; Martellus NEP TETE1512210.0%
Miller; Zach CHI TETE181419.5%
Kendricks; Lance RAM TETE412229.2%
Donnell; Larry NYG TETE402219.0%
Gates; Antonio SDC TETE111128.9%
Tamme; Jacob ATL TETE382178.5%
Henry; Hunter SDC TETE322058.0%
Allen; Dwayne IND TETE131187.9%
Walford; Clive OAK TETE211647.8%
James; Jesse PIT TETE312047.8%
Cook; Jared GBP TETE221737.7%
Reed; Jordan WAS TETE2387.6%
Ebron; Eric DET TETE141207.6%
Fleener; Coby NOS TETE6797.5%
McDonald; Vance SFO TETE241797.5%
Barnidge; Gary CLE TETE91007.2%
Rodgers; Richard GBP TETE332067.1%
Thomas; Julius JAC TETE101036.9%
Eifert; Tyler CIN TETE7856.7%
Watson; Ben BAL TETE271956.7%
Tye; Will NYG TETE261856.6%
Green; Virgil DEN TETE281976.4%
Cameron; Jordan MIA TETE231776.3%
Heuerman; Jeff DEN TETE392196.1%
Gillmore; Crockett BAL TETE362165.9%
Amaro; Jace TEN TETE372165.8%
Williams; Maxx BAL TETE302025.6%
Green; Ladarius PIT TETE121155.5%
Higbee; Tyler RAM TETE292005.5%
Hooper; Austin ATL TETE342095.2%
Seferian-Jenkins; Austin NYJ TETE191554.9%
Gronkowski; Rob NEP TETE1122.7%


While most people probably think defense is the most boring position, this section is my favorite. For the third straight year, zero of the top three defenses by ADP finished with an above-average win rate. As a proponent of saving defense for the last three rounds, I was happy to see that three of the top five win rates belonged to defenses with positional ADP of 15 or higher.

PlayerPosPosADPOvrADPWin Rate
Chiefs; Kansas City KCC DefDEF617312.7%
Eagles; Philadelphia PHI DefDEF1520612.4%
Vikings; Minnesota MIN DefDEF718011.8%
Buccaneers; Tampa Bay TBB DefDEF232269.4%
Giants; New York NYG DefDEF182159.3%
Lions; Detroit DET DefDEF242279.3%
Falcons; Atlanta ATL DefDEF282318.8%
Patriots; New England NEP DefDEF101908.7%
Chargers; San Diego SDC DefDEF302328.7%
Panthers; Carolina CAR DefDEF41628.6%
Bills; Buffalo BUF DefDEF162078.6%
Dolphins; Miami MIA DefDEF202208.6%
Ravens; Baltimore BAL DefDEF212208.5%
Titans; Tennessee TEN DefDEF292328.4%
Packers; Green Bay GBP DefDEF122018.3%
Steelers; Pittsburgh PIT DefDEF132028.3%
Redskins; Washington WAS DefDEF192168.3%
Rams; Los Angeles RAM DefDEF81858.1%
Saints; New Orleans NOS DefDEF322357.8%
Jaguars; Jacksonville JAC DefDEF172097.6%
Texans; Houston HOU DefDEF51717.5%
Broncos; Denver DEN DefDEF11417.4%
Cardinals; Arizona ARI DefDEF21447.3%
Bears; Chicago CHI DefDEF262287.3%
Cowboys; Dallas DAL DefDEF272297.3%
Jets; New York NYJ DefDEF111977.1%
49ers; San Francisco SFO DefDEF252277.1%
Seahawks; Seattle SEA DefDEF31557.0%
Raiders; Oakland OAK DefDEF142036.9%
Colts; Indianapolis IND DefDEF222256.9%
Bengals; Cincinnati CIN DefDEF91906.5%
Browns; Cleveland CLE DefDEF312336.1%

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  1. Win rate is a ratio defined by the number of times a player was on a first place roster divided by the total number of times that player was drafted. This analysis encompasses players drafted in at least 250 MFL10 leagues.  (back)
By Mike Beers | @beerswater | Archive

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