2021 Footballguys Players Championship Preview and 2020 Retrospective

2021 Preview

The FFPC Footballguys Players Championship is one of the most popular national tournaments in fantasy football today. It is the flagship “mid-stakes” competition at the FFPC with an entry fee of $350 per team. Both slow and live 20 round drafts begin on May 2nd for 2021, right after the NFL draft has completed. Prizes are awarded for winning your individual league ( 1st Place  $1,500 cash or free entry into a 2022 FFPC Main Event,  2nd place wins $500), but the goal, obviously, is to make it to the Championship Round of the competition and take the $500,000 overall prize. In addition to the overall grand prize in 2021, a six figure second place prize has been added, paying out $100,000 for second place. Of course, there are more leagues in 2021 to enable the higher prize pool. In 2021, there will be a maximum of 1100 leagues (13,200 teams). Here is a comparison of the top payouts in 2020 vs 2021.

The competition schedule is broken into 3 segments (Note Modifications for 2021):

  • Regular Season – The 2021 regular season WILL BE 12 WEEKS. This is a change from previous years which were 11 weeks. The 12th week is being added due to the expanding of the NFL regular season from 17 to 18 weeks.  Week 6 will be conducted as an “ALL-PLAY” week, where the 12 teams will be ranked according to points. The top 6 teams get a win, and the bottom 6 teams a loss.
  • League Championships – Weeks 13 and 14 are a 2 week head to head elimination between the top 4 seeds coming out of the regular season (seeds based on overall record and win loss record).
  • Championship Round – From each league, 2 to 3 teams will earn a berth to the Championship Round, which is a 3 week total points sprint in weeks 15 -17 for the overall title. The regular season overall points leader and win-loss leader from each league automatically win berths into the Championship Round. An additional third team can make it to the Championship Round if they win the league championship, but were not the league point / win-loss leader.

For complete rules and prizes, visit the OFFICIAL overview of the competition HERE.

Early drafters in the tournament often consist of the most hard core players of the FFPC. They will hop in early and often during the early months of the draft season. Some of these players will end up with over 100 teams, in the hope of obtaining as many “bullets” as possible to fire in the Championship Round. The player pool tends to widen as the summer months kick in, and the volume of drafts increase day by day. Additionally, draft results tend to vary more as the draft season progresses in lock step with the widening of the players who participate in the drafts. The chart below shows how many drafts were started on a given day during the 2020 draft season. Roughly 3 – 5 drafts per day fire off until mid August, when the volume begins to spike and around 30 drafts per day are running in early September during the “Draft-A-Thon” that the FFPC holds where drafts go early morning until late at night.

 2020 Retrospective

In 2020, the contest was comprised of 900 individual leagues of 12 teams. The drafts for these leagues were conducted over the course of the preseason, beginning right after the NFL draft in April, and running right up until the Sunday Week 1 kickoff on September 13th. Similar to our Best Ball Analysis, we have examined the drafts of the winning teams in this competition to identify trends on player selection and roster construction.

If you are a new player, the data contained in these reports should help provide you with a framework for drafting in 2021. If you are an experienced player, a lot of what you see may seem like things you already know, but seeing the numbers crunched should confirm a lot of the best practices that you have been implementing when drafting these teams in the past. Also note that unlike best ball, the drafts for these season long contests are only a partial component of overall success. Waiver wire pickups, and weekly lineup decisions also play a huge part, and you may find reviewing the 2020 waiver wire pickups to help provide some guidance there, in terms of how much FAAB is generally required to win players based on the particular week of the season. You can find that data HERE.

The analyses provided here are in the context of making it to the Championship Round. Success during the Championship Round is going to be based primarily on the production of players within that 3 week (14-16) sprint which can be unpredictable. In 2020, there were 2002 teams in the Championship Round. There is a lot of player overlap among the teams obviously. Having the top performers during weeks 14-16 (and actually starting them) is the primary determination of your success there. When you review the “Deep Dive into the Top 5 Overall Winners”, we note a player’s statistical ranking specifically within that timeframe.

2020 was a challenging year for the Footballguys Tournament, as COVID obviously made managing teams and setting lineups very challenging. We may not be completely out of the woods in 2021, but the moving of the second weekly waiver run to Sunday morning is going to continue this year. Also, because the NFL has extended the regular season by an additional week (from 17 weeks to 18 weeks), the regular season now extends 12 weeks (instead of 11). Week 6 will be an “All Play” week in leagues. If you are one of the top 6 scorers in your league that week, you get a win. League Championships are in weeks 13-14, and the Championship Round will happen during weeks 15-17.

If you want a thorough summary of how things went in 2020, we penned a guest article over at Footballguys.com which summarized the year. That is HERE.

Enough of the chit chat, let’s look at the data! (FYI, the analyses themselves are premium subscriber material)

Roster Deep Dive of the Top 5 Winners Overall

An in depth look at the rosters of top 5 teams overall from 2020 with a master chart that breaks down the detail from each of those teams. These teams won between $500,000 (1st) and $7,500 (5th).

The master chart that we compile will show:

• Every player rostered on every top 5 finisher during the championship rounds (weeks 14-16)
• Where each player’s performance ranked within their position during the championship rounds
• Which players were acquired via waivers
• A link to the draft board of every team’s draft
• Indicate the draft position of the team
• Show the date of the team’s draft
• Show if the team drafted LIVE or in a SLOW draft



Draft Slots of Winning Teams

This analysis examines the draft slots of the teams that made it into the Championship round


Winning Roster Construction of Drafted Teams

This analysis breaks down the number of players drafted at each position for every team, and compares those metrics with the number of players drafted at each position by every team that made it to the Championship Round in 2020.


Championship Round Teams Player Ownership Rate

This analysis looks at the drafts of the teams that made it to the championship round and looks at the percentage of players owned on those teams.


Rookies Drafted Per Championship Round Team

This analysis looks at the drafts of the teams that made it to the Championship Round and counts the number of rookies drafted by those teams to determine if there is an optimal number of rookies to draft.


Championship Round Finish For Teams By Month Drafted

This analysis takes a very close look at the overall finish of teams within the Championship round based on where they finished and what month they drafted their team. There is a lot of speculation regarding when the best time is to draft your Footballguys team. Is it better to draft them early in the preseason and land players BEFORE their ADP might rise? Or is it better to play it safe, and wait until closer to the season to avoid any potential landmines around player injuries?


Player Stacking

We have created a few player “Stack Explorer” tools on the site. These have been very popular during the tournament draft season. We also created a stack explorer which lets you analyze player stacks for the teams that made it to the Championship Round. Based on a particular player stack, you can see which teams in the Championship Round had that stack, and also what their final standing was. The Josh Allen / Stefon Diggs stack was VERY successful, and as you will see in the explorer, was a stack many of the top finishers had. (Note that the teams in the Main Event Championship Round can also be analyzed using this tool).

2020 Footballguys Tournament Final Standings Stack Explorer

Final Championship Round Leaderboard

The final leaderboard showing the rank of every team at the beginning of the 3 week championship sprint, the rank at the end, and the number of positions that a given team rose or fell in the rankings over the course of that 3 week period. All weekly scores are also shown as well as what a team’s beginning point total was (which is the weekly point average of a team during the regular season).

2020 Footballguys Championship Round Final Standings