May 12 NFFC Cutline Championship Draft Review


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May 12 NFFC Cutline Championship Draft Review

On Tuesday, May 12, I participated in — and livestreamed — an NFFC Cutline Championship express draft. The Cutline Championship is a 10-team, 26-round modified best-ball format with a PPR scoring package.

Normal best-ball scoring applies for the first nine weeks of the season, after which there is a “cut” before the playoffs. During the playoffs — starting in Week 10 — qualifying owners must set lineups, as best-ball rules no longer apply. There is a second cut after Week 12 and then weekly cuts until a champion is decided in Week 16. There are multiple ways to place and win in the Cutline Championship, so take a look at the link provided for more details.

Additionally, there are three FAAB waiver runs during the regular season, contrary to typical best-ball rules.

Unlike other NFFC drafts, there is no third-round reversal in the Cutline Championship.

Lineups are 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RWT FLEX, 1 PK, 1 D/ST. There are 16 bench spots.

You can view the final draft board, and all future Draft Boards from our drafts here.

My Strategy

First of all, I really wanted to draw an early first-round pick, namely in the top five. I think there is a great group of high-end RBs available this year, and with a 10-team format and no third-round reversal, I thought it would give me an excellent chance to load up my team. That, unfortunately, did not happen.

Quite the opposite. I drew the 1.9 slot, and with no 3RR, I wasn’t terribly pleased. In a typical best-ball draft, I like to go absolutely wild at RB early, and pick off excellent values at the WR position while my leaguemates scramble for the RB scraps. So my first thought before the draft started was that I’d love to land Joe Mixon and go RB/RB to open at picks 9 and 12. I view Mixon in a pretty clear tier by himself following the “Big Five” I alluded to: Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliott, and Dalvin Cook (in whatever order you’d like them). Obviously, Team 4 disagreed, as Mixon was the 1.4 player off the board. I knew at this point I’d have to amend on the fly. I’ll get into that.

One more thing I need to point out: the playoffs in the Cutline Championship start in Week 10. There are 12 NFL teams that have byes in Weeks 10 or later this season, including Carolina and Tampa Bay in Week 13. Some of these late byes, when I could be competing for a huge grand prize, would prove to be tiebreakers in this format. The Week 13 byes are especially brutal.

My Picks

1st round (9th overall): Davante Adams (WR, GB) — With the top RBs and Mixon gone, I had to do something I don’t typically love to do: I took a WR in the first round of a best-ball draft. But the process was simple for me. Rather than take a RB like Aaron Jones, Miles Sanders, or Nick Chubb, whom all tier similarly on my board, I took the receiver who might have a 180-target season, and the ceiling as the overall WR1. He was the best player on the board.

2nd round (12th overall): Miles Sanders (RB, Phi) — Sanders won me a ton of money last year with his late-season dominance. I think he’s a star. Doug Pederson’s predilection for RBBC (and the potential addition of someone like Carlos Hyde) notwithstanding, I think Sanders will lead this backfield in touches and yards. His speed and receiving ability give him the edge over Nick Chubb, since I think Sanders has the chance for just massive, week-winning games.

3rd round (29th overall): Odell Beckham (WR, Cle) — He killed me last year. But he’s a lot cheaper this season, with an easier schedule and — I hope — a better offense in which to play under Kevin Stefanski. I’m betting on OBJ and Baker Mayfield bouncebacks this year. I made a pure “ceiling” pick here. Before choosing OBJ, I considered a “floor” player — we’ll get to that later — and also Kenny Golladay here.

4th round (32nd overall): Jonathan Taylor (RB, Ind) — The Colts are telling you what they want to do. They traded up for Taylor despite having a back in Marlon Mack who has essentially 2000 rushing yards over the last two years. I don’t think trading up for Taylor makes sense if the Colts are going to make him a rotational player. I think he’s their hammer bellcow behind perhaps the league’s best offensive line. I’m not overthinking a potential league-winning pick. I’ll have Taylor a ton this year if I can get him 30+ picks into a draft.

5th round (49th overall): Calvin Ridley (WR, Atl) — We actually have Ridley higher on our projections than Odell Beckham. OBJ was my ceiling pick. I managed to get the “floor” pick I considered in Round 3 20 spots later.

6th round (52nd overall): Kyler Murray (QB, Ari) — I’m usually a late-round QB enthusiast, but I don’t lock myself into the strategy. So I will occasionally go off the board for a super upside pick, which Murray is. When do I decide to do that? Well, I use the old adage about pornography: “I know it when I see it.” When I don’t love the other picks at the other positions, and I see a potential league-winning pick at QB, I’ll pull the trigger. The good news with Murray is he’s gotten a bit cheaper since Dak Prescott added CeeDee Lamb to his arsenal in the NFL Draft. I got Murray as the QB5.

7th round (69th overall): Ke’Shawn Vaughn (RB, TB) — Situation is everything for rookie RBs, so I took Vaughn. I really like the rookie RBs this year, and while I didn’t love Vaughn as a prospect, playing in that Tampa offense with the likelihood of frequent light boxes is great news.

8th round (72nd overall): AJ Green (WR, Cin) — I wanted Tyler Boyd here. No bother. I hope Green is healthy, because the Bengals have a sneaky chance to score a lot of points given their shaky defense and a surprisingly loaded offense with new QB Joe Burrow. I can’t imagine a more ideal scenario for investing in AJG for fantasy than getting him as the fourth WR on a roster.

9th round (89th overall): Hunter Henry (TE, LAC) — I really wanted Tyler Higbee here. I just think Higbee’s a better bet to produce. However, Henry could — that being the operative word — have a higher ceiling. But the QB situation with the Chargers is uncertain, and Henry can’t put together a full season. Because of this pick, I’ll be dipping back into the TE waters soon.

10th round (92nd overall): Sony Michel (RB, NE) — Yawn. Nobody ever wants to draft Michel, but he was a decently easy pick at this price. The Patriots have an awful group of receivers, no more Tom Brady, signed a fullback, and drafted another (H-back/TE Dalton Keene). They’re going to run the hell out of the football.

11th round (109th overall): Jared Cook (TE, NO) — Cook scored 9 TD on just 65 targets last year. That’s targets, not catches. That’s a virtually impossible rate (13.8%) to keep up with, but he should have a few big games which makes him worth rostering in a best-ball format.

12th round (112th overall): Boston Scott (RB, Phi) — You’ll notice by looking at the draft board that this was a pretty common strategy overall. With 26 rounds in this draft, it allows more traditional (and untraditional) handcuffing. I do expect the Eagles to add a veteran grinder back (like Carlos Hyde, as I mentioned earlier), but Scott will add some receiving juice to my pick of Miles Sanders. Notice how Team 3 drafted three Baltimore RBs (Mark Ingram, JK Dobbins, Justice Hill), including Ingram and Dobbins with back-to-back picks.

13th round (129th overall): Jared Goff (QB, LAR) — Kyler Murray has some league-winning juice. Goff is a boring but good QB2 behind Murray.

14th round (132nd overall): Jalen Reagor (WR, Phi) — Now we’re talking. Another complete “ceiling” pick with Reagor’s speed on an offense that desperately needs it. My third rookie of this draft, and maybe my favorite pick I made. Graham Barfield popped in to tell me he loved it.

15th round (149th overall): Duke Johnson (RB, Hou) — I loved Duke last year. It didn’t really work out, because teams just refuse to use him. But check out the Texans’ RB depth chart besides Duke and David Johnson. If David looks like a carcass again this year, Duke could finally bust out. This is the year … maybe!

16th round (152nd overall): Golden Tate (WR, NYG) — Boring pick. But I got some love on the livestream for this one. Tate averaged 7.7 targets per game last year and the Giants didn’t add a WR of note this off-season. New OC Jason Garrett loves his 11 personnel, too.

17th round (169th overall): Nyheim Hines (RB, Ind) — Another backfield, like Philly’s, in which I paid up for the presumed lead back and then cheaply invested in the passing-down scatback. Hines is no Austin Ekeler, but Ekeler caught 92 passes last year and Philip Rivers sure loves checking it down to his backs.

18th round (172nd overall): Jace Sternberger (TE, GB) — I made this pick to make John Hansen proud. I also think Sternberger, as my third TE, is an insane value. With him and Davante Adams, it’s possible I have the Packers’ two target leaders in 2020.

19th round (189th overall): Buffalo (DST) — A defense. It’s a good one!

20th round (192nd overall): Parris Campbell (WR, Ind) — Pure upside pick. Campbell barely played last year, but the Colts reportedly loved him and had a role in mind. He’ll play the slot between TY Hilton and Michael Pittman. He has some speed.

21st round (209th overall): Zane Gonzalez (K, Ari) — Attempted 35 field goals last year and drilled 31 of them. I think the Cardinals will score more TDs this year, which will obviously increase his XP attempts at the expense of his FG output (12 of Gonzalez’s 35 attempts came from 29 yards and in).

22nd round (212th overall): Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Car) — A solid third addition to my QB room. Teddy isn’t special, but he’s surrounded by talent and the Panthers’ defense could be absolutely abominable, which would mean more pass attempts.

23rd round (229th overall): Randall Cobb (WR, Hou) — Yeah, Bill O’Brien made the call, but Cobb’s $18 million guaranteed was the most given to any WR who changed teams in free agency this spring. He had a low-key good year in Dallas in 2019.

24th round (232nd overall): Tennessee (DST) — Another defense. It’s a good one, but not as good as Buffalo’s (and has a different bye)!

25th round (249th overall): Andy Isabella (WR, Ari) — Isabella is likely the Cardinals’ fourth WR, but no team will use “10” personnel more. And he can fly.

26th round (252nd overall): Mason Crosby (K, GB) — Thank God this is over.

Joe Dolan, a professional in the fantasy football industry for over a decade, is the managing editor of Fantasy Points. He specializes in balancing analytics and unique observation with his personality and conversational tone in his writing, podcasting, and radio work.