I recently participated in an NFFC Cutline Championship draft, which we Livestreamed on the site. The Cutline Championship is a 10-team, 26-round modified best-ball format with PPR scoring.
Best-ball scoring applies for the first nine weeks of the season before the league is “cut” down for the playoffs. Starting in Week 10, the best-ball format no longer applies as qualifying owners must set lineups. The field is cut down again after Week 12 before weekly cuts are applied until an overall champion is crowned and awarded $100,000 in Week 16. There are multiple ways to place and win prizes 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. Lineups are as followed: 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 R/W/T FLEX, 1 PK, 1 D/ST, and 16 bench spots.
You can view the final draft board and all future NFFC boards here.
Final roster composition: 3 QBs, 8 RBs, 8 WRs, 3 TEs, 2 Ks, 2 D/STs
Dalvin Cook (Min, RB — 1.8, eighth overall)
Miles Sanders surprisingly went third overall, which allowed for Cook and Michael Thomas to fall to me. I knew RBs would be flying off the board in this draft so I went with Cook, who was the second-best fantasy RB until a shoulder/chest injury spoiled his final month of the season. Cook could take on a bigger passing game role this season with Stefon Diggs out of the mix, but his health will once again determine how successful his season will be.
Nick Chubb (Cle, RB — 2.3, 13th)
I’m expecting Chubb to see a nice spike in touchdown production last season after scoring eight rushing TDs in each of his first two seasons. The Browns were an absolute clown show near the goal line last year. Chubb scored on just two of his 15 carries (13.3%) inside the five-yard line last season, which was a league-worst conversion rate among 23 RBs with 8+ carries in that area of the field. For perspective, Chubb converted five of his seven carries inside the five-yard line as a rookie in 2018.
Kenny Golladay (Det, WR — 3.8, 28th)
Golladay can dominate downfield and in the red zone, which he showed by averaging 2.03 yards per route run and by leading the league in targets inside the 10-yard line with 13. He finished with 1190 receiving yards and a position-best 11 TDs last season, which he did with Jeff Driskel and David Blough playing QB for the final eight games. Golladay was the first of a pair of fourth-year WRs I took at the third-fourth-round turn who are looking to cash in big in their contract seasons.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (Pit, WR — 4.3, 33rd)
JuJu’s stock has plummeted this year after barely crossing 40+ catches and 500+ receiving yards in his first season without Antonio Brown. I’m willing to write off his third season and to give him another chance at a reduced price because of Ben Roethlisberger’s elbow injury and because of JuJu’s own injury issues. Smith-Schuster became the youngest WR to reach 2500 career receiving yards last season, and he’s an easy talent to bet on to have a bounce-back campaign at just 23 years old.
Terry McLaurin (Was, WR — 5.8, 48th)
McLaurin came into the league in the Will Fuller category of receivers as a primary deep threat, but he showed instant acceleration after the catch on throws in the underneath and intermediate areas of the field. Unfortunately, he’s stuck in the worst pass-game environment heading into the 2020 season, playing with Dwayne Haskins and Kyle Allen in a run-first offense. At least he should be fed targets as the focal point of this passing attack since they don’t have a viable second receiver on their roster.
Mark Ingram (Bal, RB — 6.3, 53rd)
Ingram is due for negative regression after finishing 10th in FPG last season (16.2) after scoring 15 TDs on 228 touches, and his volume is unlikely to rise after the Ravens drafted J.K. Dobbins in the second round. The good news is Ingram has a knack for doing a lot with a little in some of the league’s best offenses in recent years. Ingram has finished as the RB15 or better five times over his last six seasons between the Ravens and Saints.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn (TB, RB — 7.8, 68th)
The Buccaneers figure to have one of the league’s best offenses again this season, but they could be headed toward another messy backfield situation. Tom Brady’s offenses have featured backfield committees throughout the years, and Vaughn could be a Rex Burkhead type back for him since the Vanderbilt back can do a little bit of everything when he’s on the field. Vaughn certainly has the potential to do more if Ronald Jones underwhelms as the team’s lead runner.
Russell Wilson (Sea, QB — 8.3, 73rd)
Wilson has finished as the QB14 or better in each of his eight seasons so he provides an excellent fantasy floor each year. He’s been held back over the years because this offense starts with its running game, but I think that could change a bit this season. The Seahawks defense could take a small step back this season and their backfield is a mess heading into camp. D.K. Metcalf could also take a second-year leap and they brought in Greg Olsen so there’s some hope that Wilson and this passing attack is unleashed a bit in 2020.
Tyler Higbee (LAR, TE — 9.8, 88th)
I drafted Higbee for the upside he showed at the end of last season. He won a bunch of fantasy championships by averaging 8.6/104.4/.4 receiving per game over the final five weeks of 2019. Higbee averaged just 18.8 routes run per game last season but that number should be on the rise with the Rams likely using much more 12 personnel as they did in the final weeks of last season. Higbee flashed high-end tight end receiving ability at the end of last season, and Sean McVay would have to be silly to put that genie back in the bottle.
Darius Slayton (NYG, WR — 10.3, 93rd)
Slayton came from relative obscurity as a fifth-round pick last season to finish with eight touchdowns and 740 receiving yards in 14 contests, which included four performances of 16+ FP. The second-year WR will be New York’s top vertical threat this year, and he’ll man the X-receiver spot for Daniel Jones. New OC Jason Garrett will continue to run his version of the “Air Coryell” offense, which blends power rushing and a vertical passing game and has produced big season for his previous X receivers Michael Gallup, Dez Bryant, and Terrell Owens.
Alexander Mattison (Min, RB — 11.8, 108th)
I protected my first-round investment in Dalvin Cook by selecting one of the league’s best handcuffs. He averaged 4.6 YPC on 100 carries as a third-round pick last year, and he should hold off Mike Boone for the backup role, which is important because of Cook’s extensive injury history.
Henry Ruggs (LV, WR — 12.3, 113th)
Ruggs burned a 4.27 40-time at the Combine, which led the Raiders to make him the first WR taken off the board in April. His elite speed may not be the best fit with Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota, but Jon Gruden has bigger plans to get the ball to him on the move in his West Coast offense. Our Greg Cosell felt like Ruggs was actually better with the ball in his hands than as a downfield threat. The Raiders had a dire need at WR and Gruden figures to put as much on Ruggs’ plate as he can handle as a rookie.
Mecole Hardman (KC, WR — 13.8, 128th)
I was pretty happy with my first five WR selections so I swung for the fences with Hardman, who has seen his stock plummet this off-season with both Demarcus Robinson and Sammy Watkins returning to Kansas City. Hardman is likely to be wildly inconsistent this season, but he’s going to hit for a couple of big games with his vertical speed playing in an offense with Patrick Mahomes.
Ryan Tannehill (Ten, QB — 14.3, 133rd)
Tannehill played at a near flawless level last season, completing 70.3% of his passes with a 7.7% TD rate and a 9.6 YPA average. He finished as the QB9 by averaging 18.7 FPG in 12 games, but his 2019 efficiency isn’t sustainable heading into 2020. Tannehill is going to need more passing volume this season and/or big leaps from A.J. Brown and Jonnu Smith to maintain his QB1 standing this season.
Chris Herndon (NYJ, TE — 15.8, 148th)
Adam Gase had big plans for Herndon last year but his season got derailed before it could even get started with a suspension and a hamstring injury. I never know what's going through Gase’s head, but Herndon should get another chance to be a big weapon for Sam Darnold, with whom he showed some chemistry with as rookies in 2018. The Jets also thin at WR so Herndon could be counted on to make a big impact.
Ryquell Armstead (Jax, RB — 16.3, 153rd)
I’ve been loading up on Armstead early in the summer before his price starts to rise. Leonard Fournette is clearly on the outs in Jacksonville and the Jaguars could move on from him or lessen his workload at any point. The organization also likes Armstead, who showed some receiving chops on his limited opportunities as a rookie with 14 catches on just 152 snaps. That’s important because the Jaguars project to be trailing a ton this season with the league’s lowest Vegas win total at 5.5 — Fournette fell into 76 catches last season.
Pittsburgh Steelers (D/ST — 17.8, 168th)
The Steelers finished behind only the Patriots in FPG last season (11.2) despite their terrible offense consistently putting them in tough spots. They led the league with 54 sacks and finished second in interceptions with 20.
Darrynton Evans (Ten, RB — 18.3, 173rd)
The Titans depth chart has been a ghost town behind Derrick Henry in recent seasons with Dion Lewis falling off a cliff. Tennessee released Lewis this off-season, and they drafted his potential handcuff in Evans out of Appalachian State. He’s the new lightning to Henry’s thunder, as Evans checks 5’11”, 200 pounds with 4.41 speed. Evans did run the outside-zone schemes in college, which should help his transition to the Titans offense as a rookie.
Gerald Everett (LAR, TE — 19.8, 188th)
It sounds a little weird, but I drafted Everett to handcuff my first TE selection in Tyler Higbee. Everett was leading these Rams TEs with 3.8/40.6/.2 receiving per game before a knee injury derailed the second half of his season and opened things up for Higbee. Everett was Sean McVay’s first-ever draft pick and he clearly has an affinity for him so it’s not out of the question that both Higbee and Everett could finish as top-12 fantasy TEs.
Curtis Samuel (Car, WR — 20.3, 193rd)
It’s amazing how quickly Samuel’s fantasy fortunes have changed in just one year after being selected as a top-90 pick last season. The Panthers brought in Robby Anderson to take over as the shot-play receiver, but it could be for the best for Samuel. New OC Joe Brady will likely be more creative with how they use him to get him the rock in space to let him create big plays with the ball in his hands.
Robbie Gould (SF, K — 21.8, 208th)
The 49ers finished second in the league in red-zone trips per game last season (3.8), which helped Gould finish fifth in FPG (8.5).
John Ross (Cin, WR — 22.3, 213th)
Ross was playing the best football of his career to start last season before yet another injury sidetracked his career. He’ll be motivated to have the best year of his career before he enters free agency after the Bengals declined his fifth-year option. His 4.22 speed could be a great marriage with Joe Burrow’s more aggressive downfield approach.
Teddy Bridgewater (Car, QB — 23.8, 228th)
Bridgewater has been by far my favorite QB3 so far, and I was able to stack him with Curtis Samuel. He has no QB competition, he has a potential top-10 receiving corps, he has the league’s hot new young offensive mind calling plays, and he’s going to throw it a ton because Carolina could have the league’s worst defense. Add it all up and it’s more than worth spending a free pick on Teddy.
Matt Prater (Det, K — 24.3, 233rd)
Prater has connected on 26+ field goals in four straight seasons, and the offense should be much better with a healthy Matthew Stafford back in the mix.
Justice Hill (Bal, RB — 25.8, 248th)
Hill’s breakout second season is unlikely to happen after the team drafted J.K. Dobbins. He’s going to need an injury or two in front of him to get quality snaps, and I drafted him in case that scenario happens since I selected Mark Ingram earlier in the draft.
Green Bay Packers (D/ST — 26.3, 253rd)
The Packers finished in the top half of the league in FPG last season (6.8) despite being one of just two teams not to score a D/ST touchdown — the Cardinals were the other team.