I have a long history of playing and winning in the Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC), including championships in their $3,000 Varsity league ($20,000 1st prize), High Stakes Best Ball and one of my all-time favorite wins — the Bare Knuckle Challenge (no cheat sheets, no pen and paper, no nothing!). Yet, despite playing numerous times, I’ve never won a Main Event league title. Will the slump be broken in 2022? Read on as I dive into a draft review of my Main Event league drafted on August 12th.
Before doing so, wanted to give a little background on the FFPC. The idea started among three high stakes players: David Gerczak, Alex Kaganovsky and Lou Tranquilli. I can attest all three were top-notch players, having competed against them. Their vision was to “create a new contest that will safeguard prizes, offer an exciting and compelling game format and treat its customers like kings.”
Back in 2008 their Main Event had 180 teams and a grand prize of $75,000. Fast forward to 2011 and they had already grown the Main Event to 720 teams and a $200,000 grand prize. How does 2022 look? They anticipate about 3,800 – 3,900 entries a grand prize of $1,000,000!
I asked Kaganovsky to what he attributes the FFPC’s success: “Just like any business, success has to start with a good product and I think it starts there. I think the FFPC scoring format (dual-flex and 1.5ppr TE) has become a fan favorite among season-long players. The Main Event format is also easy to understand and play so new players aren’t intimidated by it. We also try to do our best as an organization by being as hands-on as possible with customer service. Put it all that together, this allowed us slow but steady growth over the years to get to this contest size.”
One of their innovations right out of the gate was giving more worth to the TE position by awarding 1.5 points per reception (PPR). In the FFPC you will see fantasy managers drafting TEs in the first round, two TEs in the first four rounds, or outright punting the position. Personally, I do not play it much differently than usual; maybe I bump my TE targets up one round if anything. I remember playing in one of the early year Main Events and the overall champion was streaming a bunch of no-name players at TE. Eric Balkman from the FFPC was kind enough to remind me it was 2009 and Don Metter won the overall with Dante Rosario as his best TE,
In 2021, the overall champions (Dom Baranyi, Sean Stutzman, and Nick Costantino) had Mark Andrews and Dalton Schultz at TE (they also hit on Cooper Kupp and Deebo Samuel!). The 2020 champions (Philip and Jerry Hooton) had Darren Waller. Mike Porreca did it in 2019 with Tyler Higbee and Jacob Hollister. As Balkman summarized, “So while it's not vital to have an elite tight end to win the FFPC Main Event, it does help. But drafting and managing your roster correctly at all positions is the most important thing.”
And with that, let’s see who got the drafting part of the equation correct. I’ll start with an in-depth look at my team, followed by some thoughts on a few other teams. The FFPC Main Event consists of 12-team leagues that ultimately compete for the grand prize of one million dollars. Leagues prizes include $5,000 to the top two regular season (Weeks 1-12) seeds and up to $7,000 in value for league playoff winners (Weeks 13 and 14).
Scoring is PPR, with TEs getting 1.5 PPR. Online entry fee is $2,000 and live in-person drafts in Las Vegas are $2,125. They do offer multi-team discounts. A quick note about the live drafts in Las Vegas — there is nothing like walking into the big room and being surrounded by hundreds of like-minded folks. Alex estimates there will be around 1,000-1,100 people, among players and their guests. On the first Thursday night of the NFL season, there is a big kickoff viewing party and I can’t recommend enough making the trip out to Vegas and participating.
TEAM 9: My Team
I have several general thoughts about my draft, including my first two picks, which are exactly what I mapped out. Also, I only regret one pick and there is one pivotal pick that would have changed the dynamic of my team that I want to discuss. Reviewing the draft board, there are several teams that stood out as having one pivotal pick, sometimes for the best and other times for the worse. Immediately after the draft ended, I looked at my team and actually thought, “this is kinda of Gurrific.” I’m sure that thought was aided because about an hour before the draft I read John Hansen’s 2022 Draft Plan and while reading it I was pretty happy to see we were on many of the same players. I’m human and like most folks, I like to know I’m on the same page with someone I respect. When I texted John my team the next day, he replied, “Oh that was a Gurrific draft!” Ha! My other thought was, “man, this would be a good Underdog Best Ball Mania stack” … read on and you will see why.
Pick 1.09: Davante Adams (WR, GB) – The 1st round went pretty much as expected, though I was surprised Team 6 took Saquon Barkley, that’s too high for me. I almost got Ja’Marr Chase because of that, but he went right before my pick. I like the move to Vegas for Adams, reuniting him with his college QB, Derek Carr. Also like that the Raiders have a new, very offensive-minded HC in Josh McDaniels. Slight concern that both Adams and Carr have to learn a new offense, but at the end of the day they are professionals and that is their job. In the last two seasons Adams has averaged a 75% catch rate, 14 TDs, and 1,463 yards. I know most experts don’t think he can reproduce those numbers and there might be a decline, but Adams declined Green Bay’s contract offer (which would have matched or given more than Vegas) for several reasons, one being Aaron Rodgers. You don’t think Adams, one of the toughest competitors out there, will want to prove he can have a big season without Rodgers?
Pick 2.04: Javonte Williams (RB, Den) – I have Williams in over 30 drafts. Not in one of those 30 have I drafted Melvin Gordon. So, no, I am not concerned with a backfield split. I trust what I saw when I watched Gordon run and when I watched Williams run. It wasn’t even close. Javonte Williams is an explosive back, while Gordon is not. For a moment I thought CeeDee Lamb was going to fall to me and I would have taken him. In a weird way, I like that he didn’t because my confidence in my RB corps would have lacked. When I’ve gone WR/WR in drafts I tend to get Travis Etienne and Breece Hall as my starting RBs. I’m fine with that, but in this draft, Hall would not have made it back to me and I would have been looking at an Etienne and David Montgomery or an Etienne and Elijah Mitchell. Not as lethal as Javonte Williams and Travis Etienne (my 3rd round pick).
Pick 3.09: Travis Etienne (RB, Jax) – What I like about Etienne, besides his talent, is his attitude and competitiveness. After last 2021’s failed season (due to Lisfranc injury), he not only has something to prove this season, but badly wants to prove it. Etienne was my #1 target in the 3rd round. If he wasn’t there, and I was pretty surprised no one took him, I would have taken Breece Hall. If Hall wasn’t there either I would have taken DJ Moore. Taking a WR there would have really altered my draft plan though, as I like to hammer WRs in Rounds 4-7, peppering in a top TE on occasion (and the FFPC is such an occasion). I’ll put Etienne up against the three RBs that were drafted before him in the 3rd round and that includes Nick Chubb!
Pick 4.04: Jaylen Waddle (WR, Mia) – Going into the 2022 season Waddle was among my top draft targets. Then the Tyreek Hill trade went down. UGH! And it is not so much because Hill is the WR1 now, it is because Hill seems to be a me-first player. When Hill is double-teamed down the field and Tua doesn’t want to try and fit the ball in between two defenders, instead looking for Waddle in space and hitting him, you think Hill is going to be happy? That poor attitude can affect an entire team. But Jaylen Waddle has so much upside that I couldn’t stay off of him long. Waddle had 140 targets last year with a catch rate of 74.3%. Hoping Miami can distribute the ball to make Waddle shine and keep Hill happy (and productive).
Pick 5.09: T.J. Hockenson (TE, Det) – I touted him so hard last season and he was a big miss due to a thumb injury. I’m coming back for more though in 2022. I think he will create enough mismatches in a healthy Lions offense to have a career year. If Darnell Mooney or Marquise Brown were still on the board I would have taken WR here and waited a couple of rounds to target Dawson Knox, Irv Smith Jr., or Pat Freiermuth.
Pick 6.04: DeVonta Smith (WR, Phi) – I was hoping one of Elijah Moore or Smith would make it back to me after the turn. They were both there and I debated for a bit on whom to take. I had pre-season football on the television and was aware of the Zach Wilson knee injury, so that swayed me a bit to Smith. Being that the Jets played the Eagles, I was also aware of how good the Eagles looked on their first scoring drive. Unlike the Tyreek Hill situation with Waddle, I really like that A.J. Brown went to Philly. I think both Brown and Smith can co-exist in Philly. Brown immediately pumped Smith up, saying he was going to dominate. A balanced attack, good OL, and as Brown pointed out, Smith playing against the No. 2 cornerback all add up to a player with plenty of upside.
Pick 7.09: Hunter Renfrow (WR, LV) – If I didn’t already have Davante Adams I would have taken Renfrow in Round 6. To all the naysayers out there that think you can’t win a re-draft league with two WRs from the same team: stop. I won another high stakes contests’ Main Event league with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen last season. And I won it handily. Hunter Renfrow and his 80.5% catch are not suddenly going to retreat into the shadows. It’s crazy to me that he was still on the board some 17 picks later from where I first considered him. Despite really wanting Jalen Hurts here, I can’t resist having Renfrow as my Flex.
I do think this was my pivotal pick of the draft. Had I gone Jalen Hurts I doubt Renfrow would have made it back. And while I really like Jalen Hurts and he would have looked great on my team, my Flex spot would have then been left to an unknown quantity. I would have gone Skyy Moore and while many folks, including myself, think he has upside galore, the fact is, we just don’t know. Hunter Renfrow we know, and I prefer the known. I would also not have gotten Kenneth Walker if I went Hurts in the 7th and Moore in the 8th. While he is an unknown too, we know he is a good RB, plays on a team that is committed to running the ball and the RB1 has injury problems. RBs that were left to pick from in the 9th that I liked were Rachaad White, Isaiah Spiller, and Darrell Henderson. Kenneth Walker has a clearer path to playing time than all three of those. Hunter Renfrow over Jalen Hurts was the correct call for me.
Pick 8.04: Kenneth Walker (RB, Sea) – I Already touched upon Walker’s situation above. Glad I didn’t wait for my third RB as the other ones I would have targeted all went before it got to my 9th round pick. He was the Doak Walker award winner and Big 10 Offensive Player of the Year at Michigan State last year. The Seahawks' run game really got going the last five games of the 2021 season, in large part to new offensive line coach Andy Dickerson and running more from under center rather than shotgun. Rashaad Penny’s last three games saw yards per attempt of 7.94, 6.80, and 8.26. That is crazy good! Penny has already missed practice time with a soft tissue injury, which calls to mind his history, which could really open the door for Walker.
Pick 9.09: Pat Freiermuth (TE, Pit) – I think a bunch of folks were surprised by Freiermuth’s rookie campaign. He had a line of 60/497/7 and was an afterthought to most drafters in 2021. Because of the 1.5 PPR in the FFPC I wanted to have a strong TE2. I also noticed that the three teams after me had not drafted a TE yet and I didn’t want to leave them an option as good as Freiermuth as their TE1. Sure enough, two of the three teams took TEs.
Pick 10.04 Derek Carr (QB, LV) – My draft plan was targeting Derek Carr all along, pairing him with Davante Adams. The plan didn’t include Hunter Renfrow and having three Raiders at this point in the draft. I don’t mind it though. Derek Carr has been a big target of mine and he’s on at least 20 teams so far. I loved what he did last year and now he has a big-time weapon in Adams and a very offensive-minded HC in Josh McDaniels. I’m not going to be surprised if he is a Top-5 QB and leads the league in passing yards. I get he has to learn a new system and has a new WR1. But look at the teams in his division: Chargers and Chiefs are going to put points on the scoreboard and the Broncos got Russell Wilson, which is an automatic upgrade to their offense. The Raiders know they need to keep pace. I tore my MCL back in January and my orthopedic surgeon is part of a big group that works with many professional athletes. I was talking one day to another doctor there and I asked who their favorite team was … it was the Raiders. The doctor went on to tell me they work with the Raiders, so of course, I had non-stop questions. One thing in the conversation that stood out was the Raiders being in Vegas now — how important that was to owner Mark Davis and how Las Vegas was growing into a destination spot beyond what it is today. Las Vegas is ready to break out and the Raiders are going to be right there leading the way. Signing Josh McDaniels and trading for Davante Adams really shows their commitment to this growth. All signs point up for my 10th-round QB! I even thought about waiting until the 12th round to pick him because all 11 teams already had a QB. I wasn’t going to tempt fate though, as it would have crushed me not to get Carr.
Pick 11.09: Tyler Allgeier (RB, Atl) – I get it is only one pre-season game, but I thought Allgeier ran hard and the thing that stood out was his pass protection, which I thought going into training camp needed work. He got nasty on the Desmond Ridder TD pass in the 4th quarter. I don’t know what to expect from him between the 20s, but I do expect him to be a TD vulture. I was hoping Kenneth Gainwell would have been there for me, but he went three picks before my turn.
Pick 12.04: Wan’Dale Robinson (WR, NYG) – I don’t believe in Kenny Golladay since he went to the Giants. I thought he was a gifted WR in Detroit, but he seems a shell of himself in New York. I passed on Golladay, who went right after I took Robinson. He might be a tad undersized, but he is a playmaker. He played some running back in college and the Giants have put him in the backfield already during training camp. He will line up in different spots and I’m hard-pressed for a more exciting 12th-round pick.
Pick 13.09: Zamir White (RB, LV) – Buried on the depth chart…for now. In real life, I’ll admit that I would have taken Isaiah Spiller over Zamir White if I were the Raiders. But in fantasy drafts, I prefer to wait and get White anywhere from 4-6 rounds later. It’s the 13th round, so I’m looking for upside players and why not keep my foot on the Raiders pedal? White was Georgia’s leading rusher the past two seasons… I only wish he had skills in the pass game. Still, out of all the Raiders RBs, I think White is their best power back.
Pick 14.04: Alec Pierce (WR, Ind) – There always comes a time during the fantasy season, whether because of bye weeks or injuries, you would be happy with a player that could get you 8-10 points per game with maybe a 15-16 point game mixed in. That’s what I’m looking for with this pick. Pierce is a nice fit in the Indy offense. With such a strong run game, it sets up Pierce nicely to be a vertical threat. My money is on him starting opposite Michael Pittman, so that gives him upside too.
Pick 15.09: Tua Tagovailoa (QB, Mia) – I don’t have Tua on very many teams, I don’t think he has what it takes to be a successful NFL QB over the long run. However, he plays Cleveland at home Week 10, which is Carr’s bye week. It’s also nice to have the Tua-to-Waddle hook-up.
Pick 16.04: Kendrick Bourne (WR, NE) – Not a horrible 16th-round pick, but the one I regret. I wanted to take Evan McPherson. I caved to the voices in my head saying it was too early to take a Kicker.
Pick 17.09: Matt Gay (K, LAR) – Still salty for not taking Evan McPherson! At least Gay had a career-best 94.1% FG rate. But McPherson attempted 6 more FGs in the 50+ yards range (and made 9 out of 11).
Pick 18.04: Los Angeles Rams Defense – The Super Bowl champs were the best defense in 2021 and have a good chance to be the best again in 2022. I could see where an owner might make the Bills the first DEF off the board, but I was surprised three other DEFs went before the Rams.
Pick 19.09: Zay Jones (WR, Jax) – WR dart time! You have to think the Jaguars' offense will be improved this season. Trevor Lawrence is in his second year, Travis Etienne is healthy, and a new HC in Doug Pederson is calling the shots. And they get two new starters at WR in Christian Kirk and Zay Jones.
Pick 20.04: Daniel Jones (QB, NYG) – Normally I don’t take three QBs in a re-draft league, but I don’t have much faith in Tua, so I was looking for another QB that had a favorable Week 10 match-up. The G-Men get the Texans at home. I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up using Jones in Week 10 over Tua.
Is this team a million-dollar winner? I’m not sure about that. Some things would have to fall into place, like Javonte Williams being the RB some of us know he is and Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith having good years. But, I have a 1 in about a 3,900 chance!
I also Wanted to take a look at some other teams. In particular Team 10, who was drafting next to me.
His first six rounds I really like. He Started WR/WR/WR and then drafted a favorite 4th round RB target of mine in Breece Hall. While I value them both pretty equally, I took Etienne over Hall because of the season ending injury to Jets RT Mekhi Becton. I also like Elijah Mitchell, whom he paired with Hall for his RB2, but as I discussed, I’m glad Lamb didn’t fall to me (Team 10 took him), as I like my starting RBs. Would have liked to see him take a stab at one of the 49ers' backup RBs since he has Mitchell, even if it was a Trey Sermon late. Really like the pairing of Justin Herbert with Keenan Allen and 6th round seems like good value for a stud QB.
The 7th round is the pivotal round for Team 10 too. He selects RB Miles Sanders and I’m not a fan of taking him there. Seems like a three-headed RB monster with Gainwell fast becoming the darling. The pick, for me, would have been Kenneth Walker. Draft upside! Even a Damien Harris or Rhamondre Stevenson in the 7th if it were my team. At least that is only a two-headed monster and you know the Pats are going to be a run-heavy team. Philly ideally wants to be a pass-heavy team and my bet is the RB who will benefit in the passing game the most will be Gainwell.
Romeo Doubs in the 12th, Aaron Rodgers in the 14th, Christian Walker in the 15th, and Sammy Watkins in the 18th is a sneaky good late-round stack! Besides these, he also drafted some nice upside WRs with Jahan Dotson and Brandon Aiyuk. I was hoping Dotson would last a few more rounds, but when you are playing in an FFPC Main Event, the sharks are out and you best not wait around for your sleepers.
Cole Kmet and Austin Hooper will be serviceable TEs, especially considering he waited until Round 9 to address the position. When you draft a QB early, something has to give and in this case, it was TE and RB to a degree.
Verdict: A contender and will be a strong contender if a productive Flex emerges out of Brandon Aiyuk, Jahan Dotson, or one of the GB WRs. The achilles heel is RB depth.
I’m not going to spend a bunch of time on Team 12, but want to mention taking Zeke over Breece Hall and taking an RB in the 4th. He started Dalvin Cook and Najee Harris. He comes back in the 3rd with DJ Moore, but in the 4th he takes his third RB and it’s Zeke, and then in the he 6th takes Antonio Gibson. Is Zeke over Hall horrible? No. but Hall has upside and I don’t think Zeke does. I also think Tony Pollard will be more involved, especially splitting out wide. By taking Zeke he passed on some pretty tasty WR targets like Jaylen Waddle, Brandin Cooks, Jerry Jeudy, Diontae Johnson, Gabe Davis, and Marquise Brown. And Antonio Gibson in the 6th just buried any chance of having some RB/WR balance.
He also ignored TE until the 11th and didn’t do as good a good job as Team 10 at addressing it. Albert Okwuegbunam at 10.01 and Tyler Conklin at 17.12 were his selections. If Okwuegbunam goes off, it won’t be on any of my teams. I haven’t drafted him once and seeing him miss a block massively in the first pre-season game reinforces my decision to pass on him.
One thing Team 12 did that I had considered with my last pick was taking the Ravens DEF. They get the Jets in Week 1 and his primary DEF, the Bills, have to play on the road versus defending Super Bowl champ the Rams. That’s good thinking and another example of a sneaky good plan.
Verdict: With his first three picks he will be okay until bye weeks hit. I don’t see enough upside and have issues with roster construction to say they will be a contender.
I chose Team 8 to look at because he has a pivotal pick that stands out too. My eye went right to it. I’m okay with them drafting Alvin Kamara in the 2nd round, even with the uncertainty of a suspension. It’s the 6th round with the Elijah Moore pick. I get Moore is pretty darn hard to pass on there, but with Kamara maybe not playing 17 games and having all your WR slots and Flex filled, I would have liked to see the pick be AJ Dillon or Tony Pollard. Generally, I’m not too concerned drafting a bench player when it is an exciting upside player like Moore, but I think it leaves them awfully thin at RB. I do like their Rhamondre Stevenson pick two rounds later and even Isaiah Spiller four rounds later, but I need to feel better about my RB corps.
They also waited on TE, taking their first in round 11 with Noah Fant. I’m not on Noah Fant this year, but do like what he did by taking Tyler Higbee and Brevin Jordan a few rounds later. I even like the Isaiah Likely dart.
Verdict: He’s a contender with those WRs and if a legit RB2 emerges, plus no suspension for Kamara, he will be dangerous.
I like the roster construction and am not sure there is so much of a pivotal pick, but if I have Austin Ekeler I really want Isaiah Spiller also. That would mean passing on Christian Kirk, who I like, and taking Spiller in the 8th. I don’t think he could pass on Dak Prescott in 9th, so Kirk would have to be the guy to pass on. Then you have to go WR in place of James Robinson. Dotson, Doubs, Wan’Dale Robinson, or George Pickens would be the picks for me over James Robinson if I didn’t draft Kirk.
I’m probably only drafting one backup TE if I have Mark Andrews. I would rather throw an RB or WR dart in place of either David Njoku or Hayden Hurst.
Verdict: Team 8 will be competitive. Could contend if Thielen stays on the field and obviously needs Ekeler to stay healthy.
TEAM 4 and TEAM 5
I wanted to look at a team that used the two TE early draft plan, so why not look at both? Team 4 had a great one-two punch with Justin Jefferson and Kyle Pitts. Even Tyreek Hill in the 3rd round I like, but the roster would look better with an RB there. Next they took George Kittle. But then taking D.K. Metcalf in the 5th instead of an RB, which then left him with Josh Jacobs as his RB1, was a misstep in my book. And taking Lamar in the 7th round instead of a RB, that’s a swing and miss when you have Josh Jacobs as your RB1. Drake London over James Cook, that’s another decision I do not like. I don’t see the logic in the roster construction. It is also unclear if the person was actually there drafting. I believe they were adjusting their queue and then using auto-pick, but I could be wrong. Whatever the case, it waste of a perfectly good start in the first three rounds.
Team 5, on the other hand, I can live with because they took Derrick Henry in the 2nd round. It giives them a much more balanced team. The first three picks of Travis Kelce, Henry, and Tee Higgins all look good to me. The 4th round sees their 2nd TE off the board. I’m a fan of Darren Waller and root for him, but I don’t have good feelings about his fantasy outlook at his current ADP. I’m not saying he will be bad, but am saying he will not return 4th round value. Side note: Props to Waller for fighting through his “hamstring injury” to show his support for the hometown WNBA Aces last week.
They take Amon-Ra St. Brown in the 5th and in the 6th select Patrick Mahomes. I don’t mind the pick because he has Derrick Henry, plus they now have the Mahomes-Kelce combo. Tony Pollard is his RB2, which is fine with me. 8th round sees Skyy Moore picked. I’m on board with that. What I dislike is the 9th-round selection of Melvin Gordon when Dameon Pierce is still on the board. Tired, old Melvin Gordon or young gun Dameon Pierce who has a bunch of upside? That’s the pivotal pick for me and I imagine at season’s end, he will regret it.
Verdict: Team 4 will have their moments because of Jefferson, Pitts, and Hill. They are going to upset some teams with better records, but in the end, I do not see the team making the playoffs.
Team 5 could surprise, but will need Joshua Palmer or Marquez Valdes-Scantling to emerge to really contend.
This is a team, if Christian McCaffrey stays healthy, that I am not looking forward to playing. RB/RB start in CMC and Aaron Jones, followed by A.J. Brown and Josh Allen. Mix in some Marquise Brown in the 5th and Dallas Goedert in the 7th (great value) and the team is looking formidable. I really like upside picks James Cook and George Pickens. Besides CMC, the other question mark is what kind of production will they get out of Chris Godwin. He’s recovering from ACL surgery and started practicing around August 5th (with a brace on). Godwin is a player I have been shying away from. If I miss the boat, so be it. I was on the Godwin boat before and have fond memories.
What I like about Team 2 is that they have given themselves options for their Flex: Dawson Knowx, Chris Godwin, James Cook, and even Garrett Wilson or George Pickens could be viable.
Verdict: Balanced team with a nice mix of upside players. Contender.
I’m around the Fantasy Points Discord if you have any questions or comments, feel free to tag me or DM me!