Sat Mar 28th 2020
Grading My FFPC Team
How My Team Looks After The March 31st Cut Date
Last year, I joined my first FFPC dynasty league. It was a blast playing against active owners in a high-stakes league with its unique rules and roster sizes. I made the playoffs in my first year but was eliminated in the first round. While I was disappointed not to get further in the playoffs, I feel I have a solid team to build upon in year number two.
FFPC leagues have thinner rosters than all of my other dynasty leagues (20-man rosters), and each year teams have to cut back to 16 players by March 31st, including a kicker and defense until the 7-round rookie and free-agent draft which begins in May. This morning, I made the final cuts to my roster and looked back at the start-up draft to evaluate my team today compared to what it looked like a year ago.
Last year, I wrote about my team after the start-up draft, and I now want to write about my team as it looks today. I was pleased to see that 12 of the 14 positional players I kept were players I drafted a year ago, which indicates that I did well in the start-up draft. The two other positional players that I kept on my roster were acquired via trade and free agency. Here is what my 16-man roster looks like today.
- I drafted Ryan in the 10th round of the start-up draft, and he finished the season as the #10 ranked quarterback in the league, which was just 2 points behind the #6 ranked quarterback. Essentially he was a top 6 to 12 quarterback, just as I expected him to be. I expect much of the same next year from Ryan. He is the #7 ranked quarterback in my dynasty rankings, so I am pleased to have him as my starting quarterback, especially since I also own Julio Jones.
- I drafted Brady in the 15th round of my start-up draft, and he ended the year as the 13th ranked quarterback. When Brady signed with Tampa Bay, I immediately put him on the trading block just to see if there was interest, but a 6th-round rookie pick was the best I was offered. Matt Ryan never gets injured, so I considered dropping Brady to head into the season with just one quarterback, but I chose to wait and see what Brady can do with his better weapons in Tampa Bay. He's a great back-up quarterback for my team. If he comes out blazing next year, I'd be glad to move him for a younger up-and-coming quarterback.
- Sanders was my second favorite rookie in last year's rookie drafts, so I was targeting him in the start-up draft, where I traded up to get him in the 5th round. It took some time, but I was proven right on Sanders. His strong play at the end of the season last year is what carried my team into the playoffs. With Jordan Howard signing in Miami this offseason, Sanders will be "the guy" from day one this year. He finished as the 16th ranked running back last year in this format. I fully expect him to finish in the top 10 this coming year.
- Ingram was the surprise of my team last year. I drafted him in the 5th round last year, two picks before trading up to draft Sanders. He finished as the 10th ranked running back last year based mostly on his scoring 15 touchdowns in Baltimore, surprisingly explosive offense. Ingram is 31 years old, so I fear he will never have a better year than he did last year. That said, the Baltimore offense is not going to take a step back next year, so the touchdown opportunities should still be there. I think he will be a solid RB-2 next year, and I will be glad to have his solid week-to-week floor on my team.
- Williams was a disappointment, but I am still a believer. I started with a tight and wide receiver in the start-up draft last year, which meant I was grasping for running backs in the third round, where Williams was the best running back available. The Chiefs then traded for LeSean McCoy, and Williams was caught in a running back by committee scenario to start the season. By the end of the season, Williams was the man again, and McCoy did not even suit up in the playoff and Super Bowl, where Williams had an MVP performance. I've seen enough to continue to believe that my third-round investment in Williams will pay off for me next even though it did not in the first year.
- Edwards was the player I debated cutting. It was between him and Cole Beasley, but I kept Edwards for the following reasons. Edwards looked excellent last year when he was spelling Mark Ingram, and he was able to hold off the rookie, Justice Hill, for the primary back-up role. I think Baltimore has enough with Ingram, Edwards, and Hill and does not need to draft a running back in the NFL draft. If I'm wrong and they do draft a running back, I will be disappointed that I kept Edwards and Ingram. The Stefon Diggs signing in Buffalo also means Cole Beasley will be the third most targeted wide receiver in Buffalo next year, so that made the decision a little easier.
- Jones was my second pick in the start-up draft, and he finished the season as the third-ranked wide receiver. Julio just produces year after year. I was committed to picking safe players with guaranteed target volume in the first and second rounds of the start-up draft, and no one is safer than Julio. I am thrilled to have him on my team going forward and am unconcerned about his 31-year-old age.
- Year after year, Landry gets no respect even though he's perpetually a top-20 wide receiver in PPR formats. In November, I traded Brandin Cooks for Jarvis Landry to a team that was out of the race. That trade, combined with Miles Sanders' explosive end to the season, got me into the playoffs. Landry finished as the #12 ranked wide receiver in this format. While he likely will not repeat that performance next year, he still provides a safe floor for my team. He will be a top-24 wide receiver like he has been every year of his career. I love pairing him with Julio Jones in my starting line-up every week.
- Like Damien Williams, I am still a believer in Brandin Cooks, even after the worst year of his career. I put my money where my mouth is too because I repurchased Cooks from the owner that gave me Landry for him. I gave up a 2021 second-round pick to get Cooks back on my team. If the rumors are correct that the Rams are looking to trade Cooks, we've seen him traded twice already, and he has made an immediate impact on every team he was traded to so far. I'd prefer that he gets traded if the Rams have stopped believing in him. No matter where he plays, if he can keep free from concussions, he will make the team better just like he will my dynasty team next year.
- I drafted Anderson in the 7th round of my start-up draft last year. While he did not live up to that last year, I am hopeful for his value to improve next year after landing with his college head coach, Matt Rhule, and innovative NCAA championship-winning offensive coordinator, Joe Brady. I put Anderson on the trading block after Carolina picked him up in free agency just to see if an owner in the league liked his landing spot more than I did, but I did not receive any offers. I don't feel like I have to start Anderson right away on this team, so I can wait to see how his former college coach plans to use him. Rhule made him the 25th highest-paid wide receiver in the league, so he must have plans to use him.
- Crowder was in and out of my starting line up last year, and I suspect he will do the same this year. He's a great bye-week fill-in player or last player added into the line-up. He finished as the 26th ranked wide receiver last year, which is not bad since I drafted him in the 16th round of the start-up draft. I like that value. Crowder should be the number one targeted wide receiver in New York next year since Robby Anderson is gone, and Sam Darnold will not start the year unable to play with mono like he did last year. I'm glad to have Crowder as a solid floor player on my team next year.
- FFPC leagues are tight end premium, so I was pleased to have Kelce fall to me in round one last year at pick 1.10. Like I said about Julio Jones, whom I drafted 5 picks later in the second round, I aimed to draft highly targeted proven players in the first two rounds. Kelce delivered with the number one ranked tight end season in this league. He and Julio are the staples of my offense with the highest of floors and ceilings every week.
- I had Goedert ranked higher than most any dynasty analysts for the last two years before he finally had his breakout year last year, and other analysts changed their rankings closer to mine. I traded up to get Goedert in the 11th round in the start-up draft. I could not be happier with my decision to do so. I received many trade offers from teams for Goedert in this tight end premium league where I already own Kelce, but none of the offers were worth considering given how high I value Goedert. Zach Ertz did just sign an extension to his contract, so he is not going away and will continue to block Goedert's potential, but he was still playing about 75% of the snaps last year while Ertz was healthy. Goedert finished as the #10 ranked tight end last year, even while Ertz finished #4. Goedert is my young tight end behind the older Kelce. I love having them both on my team.
- As if my team was not already loaded at tight end in this tight end premium league, I added Higbee to my team off of waivers the first week of December of last year, just before he burst onto the scene to end the year as the 7th ranked tight end last year. I spent this offseason trying to trade Higbee for a middle-tier running back or a second-round pick, but I could not get a deal done. So I decided to keep him in this league where I could start three tight ends. Higbee has moved up to my #12 ranked dynasty tight end, so by my rankings, I have the #2 (Kelce), #8 (Goedert), and #12 (Higbee) ranked tight ends in the league. I'll either start 2-3 tight ends a week or wait for a great trade-offer from a tight end needy team.
- I like that Gonzalez signed a new contract, kicks indoors for most of his games, and is attached to a high scoring team that, after year one with their new coaching staff, has a hard time scoring touchdowns in the red-zone.
- Defense and special teams scoring are muted a bit in FFPC leagues, but I am still glad to have the Saints who finished as the 4th ranked defense last year. I picked them up off waivers near the end of the year when a team dropped them one week because of a bad match up. I knew I would like to hold them going into next year since we have to hold a defense.
Players Cut or Traded
- James White: I did not want to keep White because I feel like Brady made White great, and he could not repeat his steller PPR numbers without Brady. I found a buyer and traded him for the 3.2 draft pick in this year's draft.
- Jamaal Williams: I tried to sell him to the Aaron Jones owner for a 6th or 7th round pick, but he was not interested. I could not hold a handcuff other than one of my own like Gus Edwards.
- Carlos Hyde: Hyde was a pleasant surprise for me last year. I started him often, and I still really believe in his talent more than most analysts. If I knew what team he would land on, I might have kept him, but the NFL free agency market was not too high on him, so I decided to let him go.
- Cole Beasley: He was the last guy I considered keeping, but felt his value dropped after the Stefon Diggs signing. I choose to keep Gus Edwards instead.
Overall Team Evaluation
- Overall: I am thrilled with my team overall. After looking at other rosters, I consider myself to be among the top four teams in this league headed into season two.
- Quarterbacks: I am solid with my quarterbacks. If I could trade Brady to acquire a younger quarterback, I would be glad to do so.
- Running Backs: I love Sanders as my RB-1. If Kansas City and Baltimore do not draft running backs, I like the rest of my backfield, but if either or both of them do, I could be in real trouble.
- Wide Receivers: I am delighted to start Jones and Landry every week, and I am comfortable with the safety of Crowder. If either of my speedsters, Cooks or Anderson, live up to their potential, them my team will be a real competitor.
- Tight Ends: This is the strength of my team. In this format, I could start 2 or 3 tight ends and am willing to do so. I hope that I could sell one of them for a running back or first-round draft pick at some point next year.
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