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Fantasy Football 2023 FFPC Playoff Challenge Plays

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The Fantasy Football Players Championship Playoff Challenge is back for the 2022-2023 NFL season. The main event is a $200 entry fee with a top prize of $500,000 and $1.4 million in total prize money. 

 

You can take a look at the official rules and scoring settings here, but the primary thing to know is that you will pick a total of 12 players — 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 4 Flex, 1 K, 1 DST — but only one player from each team is allowed. So if you take Josh Allen at QB, you can’t have any other Bills players on your team.

You set your lineup once (before Wild Card weekend), and it stays that way for the whole playoffs. So choose carefully. Yours truly will compete once again under the team name LoechnerNFL. There are 7,800 total entries — come take me on

Key Things to Consider in the FFPC Playoff Challenge

  • This is a large-field tournament with over 7,000 people, so you’ll have to get contrarian/gain leverage with some of your picks. It’s tempting to just “pick the best players” — because you can — but game theory matters here.
  • You obviously want players who will play the most games, but choosing the right one- and two-offs is also extremely important. You’ll have rooting interest in 12 teams, which will quickly whittle to 8, 4 and 2. The teams thin out quickly.
  • Correlation matters in this tournament. You’re not going to accurately predict every single game flow of every single possible outcome of the whole playoffs, but you can still correlate your teams to an extent, and you should.

Odds of Each Team to Make the Super Bowl

Here are the odds of each team to make it to the Super Bowl, as of Thursday:

AFC

  • Kansas City Chiefs: +350
  • Buffalo Bills: +400
  • Cincinnati Bengals: +850
  • Los Angeles Chargers: +2000
  • Baltimore Ravens: +3500
  • Jacksonville Jaguars: +5000
  • Miami Dolphins: +6000

In the AFC, it’s the Chiefs, Bills, Bengals — and then everyone else.

NFC

  • San Francisco 49ers: +500
  • Philadelphia Eagles: +550
  • Dallas Cowboys: +1200
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers: +2800
  • Minnesota Vikings: +3500
  • New York Giants: +5500
  • Seattle Seahawks: +7000

In the NFC, the 49ers and Eagles are the clear favorites, followed by a gap and then the Cowboys, and then another gap before everyone else.

 

How Many Games Each Team Is Projected to Play in the 2023 NFL Playoffs

The below are courtesy of FTN’s Jeff Ratcliffe and his playoff projections article.

Team Projected Games
Buffalo Bills 2.92
San Francisco 49ers 2.76
Philadelphia Eagles 2.27
Kansas City Chiefs 2.24
Cincinnati Bengals 2.16
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1.87
New York Giants 1.75
Jacksonville Jaguars 1.70
Minnesota Vikings 1.60
Dallas Cowboys 1.58
Los Angeles Chargers 1.53
Baltimore Ravens 1.29
Seattle Seahawks 1.18
Miami Dolphins 1.17

Let’s go through thoughts on a team-by-team basis.

Kansas City Chiefs (1)

Top Options: Patrick Mahomes (QB), Travis Kelce (TE)
Other Options: Jerick McKinnon (RB)

  • The bye week hurts the Chiefs players a little
  • TE scores 1.5 PPR in this format, making Kelce even better
  • McKinnon has a high ceiling thanks to his receiving TDs, putting him in play as a contrarian option

Philadelphia Eagles (1)

Top Options: Jalen Hurts (QB), A.J. Brown (WR), DeVonta Smith (WR)
Other Options: Miles Sanders (RB), Dallas Goedert (TE)

  • The bye week hurts the Eagles players a little
  • Hurts may be the most popular QB, as choosing him allows people to feel better about fading Mahomes and picking Kelce instead
  • Brown will be higher-rostered than Smith, but Smith has come on strong over the last two months
  • Sanders is the contrarian choice. If the Eagles win on the ground, everyone else flops

Buffalo Bills (2)

Top Options: Josh Allen (QB), Stefon Diggs (WR)
Other Options: Gabe Davis (WR), Devin Singletary (RB), James Cook (RB), Dawson Knox (TE), Tyler Bass (PK)

Josh Allen FFPC Playoff Challenge Fantasy Football
  • Allen will likely be the most-rostered QB, as the Bills play in the Wild Card Round and project to play the most total games
  • Knox and Bass are interesting soft fade options. If you think the Bills-Bengals meet up in Round 2 but see the Bills losing, you don’t want to pick Allen and may want to consider fading Diggs

San Francisco 49ers (2)

Top Options: Christian McCaffrey (RB)
Other Options: Deebo Samuel (WR), Brandon Aiyuk (WR), George Kittle (TE)

  • CMC might be the most popular player on the whole slate
  • Deebo’s rostership will be reduced with so many other weapons and him coming off an injury
  • Kittle may not benefit too much from the 1.5 PPR boost for TEs, but his TD potential at the position is currently higher than anyone else

Cincinnati Bengals (3)

Top Options: Joe Burrow (QB), Ja’Marr Chase (WR), Tee Higgins (WR), Joe Mixon (RB)
Other Options: Tyler Boyd (WR), Evan McPherson (PK), Hayden Hurst (TE)

  • Burrow may not be as heavily rostered as he should with so many other good QB options and the Bengals having so many other pivot choices
  • Higgins will be lower rostered than Chase, but his ceiling is nearly as high
  • Mixon is the obvious contrarian pivot from the passing game and is a strong play in his own right
  • Hurst and McPherson are interesting soft fade options. If you think the Bills-Bengals meet up in Round 2 but see the Bengals losing, you don’t want to pick one of the elite offensive players

Minnesota Vikings (3)

Top Options: Justin Jefferson (WR)
Other Options: Dalvin Cook (RB), T.J. Hockenson (TE)

  • This team feels extremely straightforward. It’s hard not to just pick Jefferson and eat the chalk

Jacksonville Jaguars (4)

Top Options: Jaguars D (DST), Christian Kirk (WR)
Other Options: Travis Etienne (RB), Zay Jones (WR), Evan Engram (TE)

  • Jaguars D is a solid soft fade option if you think they lose in Round 1 or 2
  • Kirk gets the nod over Etienne in the “top options” category because game script would likely favor passing more in all games
  • Engram and Jones both displayed huge ceilings and are the pivots from Kirk/Etienne

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4)

Top Options: Chris Godwin (WR), Mike Evans (WR)
Other Options: Tom Brady (QB), Leonard Fournette (RB), Rachaad White (RB), Ryan Succop (PK), Bucs D (DST)

  • Godwin is a PPR machine, win or lose
  • Evans maintains the unrivaled ceiling on the team
  • Brady is in play as a super contrarian QB due to the fact the Bucs could theoretically play four games (they have the sixth-most projected games played)
  • Succop is a soft fade option
  • Bucs D is a soft fade option. Dallas’ offense can be mistake-prone at times

Los Angeles Chargers (5)

Top Options: Austin Ekeler (RB), Keenan Allen (WR)
Other Options: Justin Herbert (QB), Cameron Dicker (PK)

Austin Ekeler FFPC Playoff Challenge Fantasy Football
  • Ekeler is in play even if you think the Chargers play just one game
  • Allen — especially if Mike Williams doesn’t play — is a perfectly acceptable pivot from Ekeler, and he’ll be lower rostered
  • Herbert only in play if you think the Chargers go to the Super Bowl
  • Dicker is a soft fade option, but a tough one with Ekeler as the opportunity cost

Dallas Cowboys (5)

Top Options: CeeDee Lamb (WR)
Other Options: Dak Prescott (QB), Tony Pollard (RB), Ezekiel Elliott (RB), Dalton Schultz (TE), Brett Maher (PK), Dallas D (DST)

  • Lamb’s second half of the season has been as elite as it gets
  • Pollard and Elliott are both in play. Elliott will be lower rostered but has more TD potential while Pollard has the massive ceiling
  • I’m not convinced Dak needs to be considered, but he’s in there because Dallas has the sixth-best odds to win the Super Bowl, giving him a reasonable chance to play four games

Baltimore Ravens (6)

Top Options: Mark Andrews (TE)
Other Options: J.K. Dobbins (RB), Baltimore D (DST), Justin Tucker (PK)

  • With Lamar Jackson looking dicey, the Bengals are a major playoff flight risk
  • Andrews remains in play due to TE premium, expected game flow, and his general goodness at football
  • Dobbins a very contrarian play, as if the Ravens win, it will likely be on the ground
  • Tucker and Ravens D are good soft fade options here
  • You could also full fade the Ravens

New York Giants (6)

Top Options: Saquon Barkley (RB)
Other Options: Graham Gano (PK), Giants D (DST), Isaiah Hodgins (WR), Richie James (WR)

  • The Giants are a fan favorite pick to beat the Vikings — if that’s worth anything
  • Barkley is the obvious play
  • Gano and Giants D are also both in play to fill in those roster spots. The Giants D is good and Kirk Cousins can sometimes be Kirk Cousins
  • Hodgins and James are the only other players to even consider, if you want to get really contrarian
  • Full fading this team is also an option

Miami Dolphins (7)

Top Options: Tyreek Hill (WR), Jaylen Waddle (WR)
Other Options: Jason Sanders (PK)

  • Full fading the Dolphins is in play, but most won’t do it because of Hill and Waddle’s upside
  • However, a rout is a legitimate possibility. Hill (2-23) and Waddle (5-44) both had “meh” games with Skylar Thompson last week
  • Sanders is the only soft fade option

Seattle Seahawks (7)

Top Options: Tyler Lockett (WR), DK Metcalf (WR)
Other Options: Kenneth Walker (RB), Jason Myers (PK)

  • Lockett and Metcalf are the obvious choices
  • Lockett has a TD in seven of his last nine
  • Walker is only in play if you think the Seahawks beat the 49ers
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