Diary of High-Stakes Virgins: FFPC Playoff Edition
After our disappointing finish in the FFPC Main Event, there was very little chance we were going to sit out the FFPC Playoff Challenge. With a $100,000 top prize to first, it represents the perfect opportunity for redemption. Here are some thoughts on how we plan to build our lineup, using some back of the napkin projected ownership percentages to inform our decisions.
The FFPC Playoff Challenge is a massive contest with 2,750 entrants and a $480,000 prize pool. There is no draft, each owner simply selects a roster of 10 players (1-QB, 2-RB, 2-WR, 1-TE, 2-Flex, 1-K, 1-D; Flex can be RB, WR or TE) with the caveat being that you may only select one player from each team. This team is your roster for the entire duration of the playoffs. No add/drops, no setting line-ups. The only other wrinkle is that the Super Bowl will count as double the points (2 points per reception, 12 points per touchdown, etc.). Otherwise, this is traditional FFPC scoring, which includes 1.5 points per reception for tight ends. You can check out the full set of rules and prize structure here.
With a massive field and prizes being paid out to the Top 400 finishes, this contest clearly requires a GPP-esque mindset to cash.
Last year’s winner scored 438.8 points (the year before that it was 420.05 and the year before that it was 414.7), which gives us a good benchmark for how much scoring we will need from our squad to take this thing down. Take it away, Pat…
To hit that 440-point mark you’re going to need two high-leverage players in the Super Bowl, where points have a 2x multiplier, and one of these players will likely need to be your QB. Tom Brady is the best bet of any QB to reach the Super Bowl, but for that reason we expect him to be the highest-owned QB (more coming on that below). Dak Prescott is the next most likely, but you’ll probably need more than the 21 PPG he averaged this season. The next tier of QBs—Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers—all have roughly the same Super Bowl odds at about 9-1. But with Rodgers and Roethlisberger, you’d also get an additional game in the wild card round. That added upside has us currently leaning toward Rodgers.
Since we won’t have Brady in the Super Bowl (and aren’t crazy enough to fade the Patriots completely), we’ll need a leverage player off of Brady, likely a Patriots RB. And we would also then be looking to invest in players on teams playing the Patriots in order to double the benefit if they get knocked out early. This puts the Texans, Steelers and Chiefs in our crosshairs.
If we can get three games and the double Super Bowl points from Rodgers while also having him face off against a high-scoring player on the other team that’s not tied to Brady, we think that’s our best chance of reaching the 440 mark. Oh, and we need pretty much everyone else in our lineup to go off, but you know, other than that we’re golden.
We are projecting six players to be above 50 percent ownership, all of which make excellent fade candidates…
QB: Tom Brady (50 percent) – The other quarterbacks in contention for high-ish ownership (Rodgers, Ryan, and Roethlisberger) all have other stud skill position players on their team that will surely gobble up most of their team’s ownership (Jordy Nelson, Julio Jones/Devonta Freeman, and Le’Veon Bell/Antonio Brown). Couple this with no other obvious option to roster on the Super Bowl favorites and you have a very clear path to a massive Tom Brady ownership.
Pivot options we like: LeGarrette Blount, Dion Lewis, Julian Edelman, and any of the other quarterbacks already mentioned
RB: Le’Veon Bell (65 percent), Ezekiel Elliott (55 percent) – It may be 2017, but our hunch is that most entrants will still be living in 2016, the Year of our Bellcow (congrats, by the way, to the team of David Hubbard and Nelson Sousa on taking down the FFPC Main Event Championship with the godly running back trio of Bell, David Johnson, and LeSean McCoy). Considering the drop-off at RB after Bell, Elliott, and Freeman, it’s hard not to envision most owners rostering at minimum one of these bellcows, if not both.
Pivot options we like: Blount, Lamar Miller, Brown, and Dez Bryant
WR: Odell Beckham (60 percent), Jordy Nelson (50 percent) – If you play Brady at QB, then playing both Nelson and OBJ gives you at least two games from an elite WR, while also setting yourself up to benefit if the Packers and Giants shoot out. And since you’re likely playing OBJ anyway (who the hell else from the Giants are you going to play?), you may as well throw Nelson in and pray for the shootout. However, since we’re playing Rodgers over Nelson and will need at least three games out of our QB, we need a Packers win on Sunday. Pair this with the fact that Beckham is likely to be massively owned and we’ve decided to fade Beckham and the Giants entirely. While Beckham could make us pay with a big Wild Card game, picking a player opposite your QB in Round 1 is an upside-limiting move.
Pivot options we like: Brown, Bryant, Jones, Doug Baldwin
TE: Travis Kelce (70 percent) – I’m not sure why I’m writing this blurb tbh. This is all Pete. That doesn’t mean I disagree. Fading Kelce is definitely the right call, but even writing this now I have a pit in my stomach thinking about actually doing it. Here’s why: 1) If you don’t play Kelce, who the hell else do you play on the Chiefs?; 2) If you don’t play Kelce, who the hell else do you play at TE!? The answer to 1) is Spencer Ware or Tyreek Hill, neither of which are super inspiring. The answer to 2) is Jimmy Graham or a bag of nickels. Sure, Martellus Bennett, Jason Witten, and Jared Cook are in play, but you have to pass on a host of studs to fit those TEs in. With Graham, at least you’re passing on just a marginally better play in Baldwin and Russell Wilson, who you weren’t ballsy enough to play anyway. But with Kelce, you’re getting the best play at the position and the best play on his team. Unfortunately, everyone else in this tournament will have also realized this, making Kelce likely to be the highest-owned player in the field. Fading the highest-owned player in any tournament is already tempting, but when that player is also at a highly volatile position like TE (and on a team that could easily play just a single game), then it becomes a priority fade. I do worry that Graham, the obvious pivot, is fool’s gold and may also be somewhat chalky, but he has a good matchup against Detroit and has a similar, if not better, shot of playing multiple games.
Pivot options we like: *tumbleweed dot gif*
So there you have it. We’ll either update this post later this weekend with our final selections or stop by next week with a check-in. If you’re playing, let us know how you are attacking this slate or what you think of our ownership percentage forecasting in the comments. And if you aren’t, get on it, space is filling up!