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Tue Jun 7th 2022

Grading My FFPC Rebuild

Four years ago, I decided to try my hand in an FFPC dynasty league. I listen to many of the podcasts that promote the FFPC platform and leagues, so I thought I would give it a try, even though the formats are considerably different from most of my dynasty leagues.

FFPC leagues are more of a blend between dynasty leagues and keeper leagues. During the season, teams have 20-man rosters, and during the offseason, teams must cut down to 16-man rosters, including a kicker and DST. So, in reality, rosters are cut to 14-positional players each offseason before the 7-round rookie and free-agent draft. With rosters this thin, positional depth is less critical, and there's little time to wait for rookies and young players to develop.

Another unique thing about FFPC leagues is that standings are determined by "Victory Points." It's a head-to-head league, but teams can score between 0-4 victory points each week. Teams that win their head-to-head match-up receive two victory points, while those who lose receive zero. Each week, the top four highest-scoring teams receive two victory points, the middle four receive one, and the four lowest-scoring receive zero. Additionally, in the playoffs, the first and second rounds, all four teams play against each other, and the two top-scoring teams advance each week until the head-to-head Super Bowl. This scoring system favors the best lineups even more than regular dynasty leagues. Meaning, that the best starting lineups usually rise in the standings and advance in the playoffs because week-to-week luck is less of a factor.

Given these settings, in the start-up draft four years ago, I set out to field a team filled with productive veterans, and I've valued rookie picks far less than in traditional dynasty leagues. I started well. I made the playoffs the first two seasons but never advanced past the semi-finals. I have missed the playoffs the last two seasons. Two years ago, I made trades and fought for the final playoff spot, but last season, I sold picks to begin rebuilding, but I sold them too late in the season.

I started my rebuild at the end of last season, but I have at least another year or two to turn my team into a contender. I'm anxious to get started, though, and wanted to share how I aim to rebuild my FFPC team.

Last Season's Trade

Travis Kelce, Tom Brady, and Cordarrelle Patterson <-----> Dak Prescott, Pat Freiermuth, and 2022 1st round pick

  • Before the trade deadline last season, I traded away Kelce, Brady, and Patterson for Dak, Freiemuth, and a 2022 first-round pick. Unfortunately for me, this trade helped the other team win the Super Bowl, so the first-round pick I acquired in this trade turned into the 1.12.
  • FPPC leagues are tight-end premium with 1.5 PPR, so Kelce is an extremely valuable player. He was my first-round pick in the start-up draft four years ago and has been the highest-scoring non-quarterback player on my roster, so it was tough to let him go in this trade. Still, he was my most valuable player, and I had to face the fact that my team was not making the playoffs and needed to rebuild by getting younger. Pat Freiermuth and Dak Prescott made my team a lot younger than it was with Kelce and Brady, and now I would have two cracks at rookies in the first round instead of my one. As for Patterson, I picked him up off the waiver wire last year, and he helped my team a lot to start the year, but I was content to let him go because I think his fantastic year was not something he could repeat in the future seasons.
  • I continued to field fair lineups throughout the end of last season. Unfortunately, Prescott and Freiermuth helped my team win a few too many victory points, so I finished fourth to last in the league. That netted me the 1.4 and the 1.12 acquired in this trade, which I desperately needed since I traded away my second and third-round picks, something I will not do any longer as I aim to rebuild my team.

This Season's Picks

1.4 - Drake London

  • My most significant team need is running back, so I hoped Kenneth Walker would fall to me at 1.4, but he was selected just before my pick. I had Treylon Burks ranked ahead of Walker, but he was drafted at 1.2, so this left me with Drake, who was my 4th ranked rookie in this class. I like Drake even more in an FFPC league because he will be the WR-1 in Atlanta from day one, so I will not have to wait for him to develop. He'll be in my starting lineup in week one. His toughest competition for targets is Kyle Pitts at tight end, but I think Drake will out-target him. I was happy to add Drake to my roster as I rebuild.

1.12 - Jahan Dotson

  • I was sad that the team I traded with won the Super Bowl, giving my pick 1.12 instead of a higher one, but Jahan Dotson is my 7th ranked rookie, so this pick felt like having the 1.7. Dotson will not be the WR-1 on his team this season since Terry McLaurin is under contract. Still, if he plays as well as I expect, the Commanders will have the chance to move on from McLaurin next season, especially if things get testy in contract negotiations, which they already are. McLaurin's absence at minicamp has given Dotson time to impress. While it's unwise to believe every fluff piece written during minicamps, Dotson consistently receives praise from reporters, coaches, and teammates. I imagine Dotson will become a starter for my team sooner rather than later this season, especially if I trade a very productive veteran as part of my rebuilding strategy.

4.4 - David Njoku

  • In FFPC rookie and free agent drafts, free agents get drafted far earlier in drafts because the roster limits are so small. There are startable veterans drafted in the second round of FFPC leagues. Two veteran tight ends were drafted in the second round of this draft, Albert Okwuegbunam and Cole Kmet. Rookies Trey McBride and Jelani Woods were drafted in the third and fourth rounds before I selected David Njoku. I thought drafting a young tight end who has yet to hit his fantasy peak was a wise investment at this point in the draft. Njoku was under the franchise tag at the time of this draft, but he's since signed a long-term contract, which makes me like this pick even more. Njoku is a player whose dynasty stock could rise significantly this year, especially in a tight-end premium league. I added a few tight ends with upside in this draft to get a few players who could become tradable during this season.

4.8 - Kyren Williams

  • Williams was the highest-ranked rookie on my draft board when it was time for me to pick here. I considered drafting a veteran instead but thought Williams would be a wise investment since Darrell Henderson is on my roster. Cam Akers had good and bad performances after returning from his Achilles injury at the end of last season, which means that the jury is still out on his ability to be the Rams' lead back next year. In a league this thin, Williams is not a player I can afford to keep come roster cuts before the first game of the season. Still, I wanted the opportunity to hear reports and see how the backfield looks in the preseason games before deciding what to do with Williams. He felt like a good player to take a chance on at this point in the draft.

5.2 - Adam Trautman

  • As I said, I drafted a lot of tight ends with upside in this draft because I believe they could become tradeable this season. Trautman is young and the clear starting tight end this season. Jameis Winston has targeted tight ends often in his college and pro career. Trautman was one of my favorite tight ends in his rookie class, so I have held onto him in many of my leagues, so I was happy to add him this late in an FFPC league.

6.2 - Mo Alie-Cox

  • The Colts drafted Jelani Woods, and he's my second-ranked tight end in this class. That said, tight ends almost always take time to develop in the NFL, so I never draft a rookie tight end in FFPC leagues with thin rosters. Alie-Cox is a solid veteran who has yet to be given a chance to be the lead tight end on his team. This year he will, and I want to see if he can solidify his share of Matt Ryan targets over Kylen Granson and Woods.

Current Team

Quarterbacks

Dak Prescott, Matt Ryan

  • I'm pleased with my quarterback room. Prescott will start most weeks for me, and he's my future quarterback in this one-quarterback league. Ryan is a very steady backup, and I am excited to see what he can do with the Colts.

Running Backs

Miles Sanders, Darrell Henderson, Gus Edwards, Mark Ingram, Kyren Williams

  • My running back room is the weakest part of my team. I am reluctantly hopeful that Sanders can become a consistent starter for me, even after a terribly inefficient season last year. My RB-2 is going to be a back that is in a committee.  To complete my rebuild, I need to get better running backs.

Wide Receivers

Brandin Cooks, Drake London, Rashod Bateman, Jahan Dotson, Jarvis Landry, Robby Anderson, Julio Jones, Sterling Shepard

  • My wide receiver room is full of hope but dependent on young players developing. London, Bateman, and Dotson are exciting young prospects, while Cooks, Landry, and Anderson can give me veteran help. Cooks is my most tradable veteran, so he's the player I'm most ready to move for future picks to help me rebuild.

Tight Ends

Dallas Goedert, Pat Freiermuth, David Njoku, Adam Trautman, Mo Alie-Cox

  • My tight end room is also solid.  Apart from Goedert, every tight end on my roster could see their dynasty value rise significantly this year. In a tight-end premium league with two flex positions, I could start two tight ends as a regular part of my starting lineup this season. I hope to trade a tight end or two for future picks next season.

Rebuilding Plans

Save FAAB For Running Backs

  • In FFPC leagues, finding an every-week starting running back on the waiver wire is possible. I did last year with Cordarrell Patterson, and another team did last year with Elijah Mitchell. Given that I'm unlikely to make the playoffs this season, I'm committed to saving my $1000 FAAB to outbid teams for when the right running back is available on the waiver wire. I need to maintain FAAB discipline and only use it when I believe I can win a running back that will make my 16-man roster after the season.

Trade Players For 2023 Picks

  • 2023 picks will be hard to acquire, but managers regularly trade a lot as they approach their playoff runs. I'll try to trade for as many first and second-round picks as possible, and unlike previous seasons, I will not trade away 2023 picks unless they're part of a trade to move up in the first or second rounds in 2023. Brandin Cooks and Dallas Goedert are my most tradable pieces now, but I am hopeful that Mile Sanders and some of the tight ends I added in this year's draft will also become tradable.

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