2021 FFPC Playoff Challenge Overview and Strategy

The FFPC Playoff Challenge is back again for 2021. For those that are new to this competition, we would like to give an overview of the competition, and some historical data to look at.

1) Overview

You can go to the FFPC Playoff challenge overview HERE for complete rules, but here are the highlights:

  • Create a roster of 12 Players in the FFPC roster format. (Same as 2020, but note that prior to this it was a roster of 10 players) As noted by the FFPC “The 2020/21 FFPC Playoff Challenge will have 12 starting roster spots rather than the 10 starting roster spots in a typical FFPC starting lineup. The two added starting roster spots will both be FLEX spots (Flex can be RB, WR or TE). “

There is no draft. Simply select your roster as described below. This will be your roster for the entire duration of the contest. Contest runs from the first week of the NFL playoffs thru the Super Bowl. Each week’s score will be added to your team’s total which will accumulate for the duration of the contest. Super Bowl points will count as DOUBLE the points toward each team’s total.

4-Flex (RB, WR or TE)

  •  ONLY ONE PLAYER PER NFL TEAM -> Your lineup will consist of 12 players from the 14 playoff teams. (Which two teams do you fade?) The software will enforce this when you create your lineups
  • Scoring is FFPC format (PPR w/ a 1.5 PPR TE premium)
  • Final Rosters must be submitted before kickoff of the first playoff game Saturday January 15th @ 4:35 PM EST

Similar to 2020, there are two versions of this contest, distinguished by their entry fee. The flagship “FFPC” Playoff Challenge version carries a $200 entry fee per team with a grand prize of $500,000. The “Footballguys” version of the contest has a lower entry fee of $35 per team, and has a grand prize of $100,000. Note, however, the number of teams you will be competing against is twice as large in the $35 format than the $200 one. The table below compares the two versions of the contest side by side.

FFPC Challenge (High Stakes) Footballguys Challenge (Low Stakes)
Entry Fee $200 $35
1st Place $500,000 (Same Last Year) $100,000 (Same Last Year)
2nd Place $100,000 ($50,000 last year) $50,000 ($35,000 last year)
Total Entries 7,250 (6,250 last year) 15,000 (12,500 last year)
Max Entries per person 150 150
Payout Depth Top 850 (700 last year) Top 2,000 (1,800 last year) / Cash Prizes down to 350th place
Total Payouts $1,289,250 $446,250
Rules and Scoring are the same in both versions

2) Historical Results – Go HERE

This will show player ownership and points scored for 2020 playoffs, as well as links to spreadsheets that show ALL of the rosters of the teams from 2020, ordered by their finish in the competition.


  • Roster players from teams you project to play many games and score the most points, duh.  Points from Super Bowl participants are DOUBLED. (Hint: This is important).
  • Roster uniqueness is paramount. The top winners usually (as you can see when reviewing rosters from last year, or the year before) have unique rosters. Chopping the pot with a large group of your closest friends is not a fun outcome. It did in fact happen in the $35 Footballguys version of the contest in 2020. The same lineup placed both 1st and 2nd in that contest. There were many duplicated teams in 2020 with 20+ instances of certain combinations. Chalking up with Kamara/Henry/Davante Adams was a common denominator of these teams. And while Derrick Henry was the 2nd most owned Running Back, he was a complete bust, producing just 8.1 points. Henry wasn’t rostered on any of the top 5 teams in the $200 version of the 2020 competition.
  • The Perfect 2020 Roster compared with the Winning 2020 Roster reinforces that uniqueness is important. While 40% of teams chose the LA Rams DEF as their “player” from the Rams, it was actually Cam Akers that turned out to be the best option for that team. Cam was just 10% owned, making him the 10th most rostered RB but was 2nd in RB scoring in the competition. And let’s not forget about Lombardi Lenny, who was rostered on less than 1% of teams submitted in the competition.
  • The cash line in these contests stand at the top 11.7% in the $200 entry version and just the top 2.3% for the Footballguys version (there are league credits and Footballguys subscriptions beyond that, which put a “prize” line at 13.3% but credits and Footballguys subs < $$$). Take a multi entry, GPP mindset for this contest.

Make no mistake, these contests WILL SELL OUT.  Here is what to expect, as it happens every year:

Initial signups will be slow. On the message boards, folks will ask if the event is near selling out, and will slow play entering themselves. “I’m gonna wait….”

A publicity blitz ensues, and signups accelerate rapidly

The contest sells out

People on the message boards express disappointment and displeasure that there are no spots left. Don’t be that guy.


3) A framework (and tool) for building your team for 2021 – Go HERE

Many players have their own process, but if you are new to this contest, you may want to consider the framework we outline which is based on tools we have used to identify players that you will want to roster, and a roster construction based on analysis of previous winners. Even if you are a veteran of this contest, you will at least find these recommendations interesting. The spreadsheet optimizer we have created to assist you in putting together the lineups (to be released after all Playoff teams are finalized) will also give you a jump start on building lineups, and easily doing “what if” analysis based on points projected per player, number of games played, and Superbowl participants. For some, it may be considered a gamechanger for this contest. Note that the spreadsheet requires a minimum of Excel 2007 and you must enable macros within the spreadsheet once it has opened. Our tutorial video below walks through the usage of the 2019 tool but the process is the same with the exception of the optimized lineup including the additional 2 flex spots. The 2021 version of the tool will be released shortly after the teams for the playoffs are finalized. Target date Monday, January 10th.