2023 FantasyPros Championship Preview and 2022 Retrospective
The 2023 FFPC FantasyPros Championship is a rebrand of the 2022 Footballguys Players Championship. It is one of the most popular national tournaments in fantasy football today and is the flagship “mid-stakes” competition at the FFPC with an entry fee of $350 per team. In 2023, the overall grand prize has been doubled from $500,000 (in 2022) to $1,000,000. With an increase in prize money, comes an associated increase in teams within the competition as well (explained below).
(Note: If you are new to the FFPC you can get $25 off your first team of $35 or more using THIS LINK)
Both slow and live 20 round drafts began in early March this year, which is one of the major differences to the tournament of prior years. With the early March contest start date, this will be the first time in contest history that NFL rookies can be drafted without knowledge of their NFL team landing spots. In previous years, the tournament began immediately after the NFL draft was completed in early May, so NFL teams were known when ALL tournament teams were drafted. This could create some draft capital variance for rookies, as landing spots in the NFL draft could significantly influence their ADP (up or down) in drafts conducted after the NFL draft. Also note that drafts in this tournament extend up until the Sunday of week 1, which means that there will be a small window of drafts at the end where you can build teams with knowledge of what happens in the Thursday night season opener. This can also wildly swing player values. Just take a look at what happened to Cam Akers draft value after his 2022 opening night dud in that Thursday Bills/Rams game.
As in prior years, prizes are awarded for winning your individual league ( 1st Place $1,500 cash or free entry into a 2024 FFPC Main Event, 2nd place wins $500), but the goal, especially with one million up top, is to make it to the Championship Round of the competition and take down the grand prize. The total number of teams in the 2023 competition is 20,004 teams (1667 leagues), up from 15,000 teams in 2022 (1250 leagues). That’s a 33% increase in teams overall, so with roughly 2.5 teams per league making the Championship Round during weeks 15-17, you are projected to be battling 4100 teams in the finals. There were 3059 teams in the 2022 Championship Round. Distilling it down to beating an additional 1150 teams to win the million seems reasonable. Ultimately you have to “hit the nuts” with optimal lineup decisions and player performance during those 3 weeks.
Here is a side by side comparison of the top 2022 prizes vs what is offered in 2023. Most of the additional prize money is being allocated to the top overall prize to get it to $1,000,000. This IS a very top heavy prize payout structure. However, we would like to point out one VERY SIGNIFICANT difference in 2023. One of the issues players have had in the past is the number of places in the Championship Round that pay out a cash prize. In 2022, you had to finish in the top 200 for a cash payout. $350 credits were the prize to teams that finished 201st – 700th. In 2023, the teams that finish 201 – 650 are still offered the $350 credits BUT ALSO have the alternative option of a $300 cash prize. This is very important to some players.
The competition schedule is broken into 3 segments, the same as 2022:
- Regular Season – The 2023 regular season WILL BE 12 WEEKS. You will play every other team in the league once, and Week 6 will be conducted as an “ALL-PLAY” week, where the 12 teams will be ranked according to points. The top 6 teams in Week 6 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). Newer players should keep in mind that there may be players on bye weeks during this championship period. (Schedules are TBD). If you make it to the league championships and lose week 13, there is no league prize money. Making it to the Week 14 championship game has a 1st place prize of $1500 and 2nd place prize of $500. Carrying week 13/14 bye players strengthens your team to win the league (as you won’t have to fill in for them during regular season byes), but you may stumble in the league championships. Advancing to the Championship Round should be the focus however. Regardless of your league championship outcome, the top two (2) seeds (highest points and best record) of each League in the regular season earn an automatic berth into the Championship Round, where the big money prize is. The league champion also earns a berth into the Championship Round, so you if you win the league as a 3/4 seed coming into them, you also advance to the Championship Round.
- 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. In 2022, the Championship Round had 3,059 teams competing against one another in this 3 week sprint. It’s not JUST about week 17, but a cumulative performance across 3 weeks. This year, that number should be closer to 4,100 with the addition of 417 more leagues to the tournament.
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.
In 2022, the contest was comprised of 1250 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 May, and running right up until the Sunday Week 1 kickoff on September 11th. 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 2023. 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 2022 waiver wire pickups 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 (15-17) sprint which can be unpredictable (especially when two of the most highly regarded fantasy teams have the game cancelled — Ouch). In 2022, there were 3059 teams in the Championship Round. The cancellation of the Bills / Bengals week 17 matchup did affect the outcome of the competition, as the FFPC ruled that since that game was not played, all players started from those teams received a ZERO. With this caveat aside, consider that there is a lot of player overlap among the teams in the championship round. Having the top performers during weeks 15-17 (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.
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 2022 with a master chart that breaks down the detail from each of those teams. These teams won between $500,000 (1st) and $15,000 (5th).
The master chart that we compile will show:
• Every player rostered on every top 5 finisher during the championship rounds (weeks 15-17)
Draft Slots of Winning Teams
This analysis examines the draft slots of the teams that made it into the Championship round, and shows which were the best (and worst) draft slots to draft from in 2022.
Winning Roster Construction of Drafted Teams
This analysis breaks down the number of players drafted at each position for every team TOURNEY WIDE, and compares those metrics with the number of players drafted at each position by TEAMS THAT MADE IT to the Championship Round in 2022.
Player Advance Rates To The Championship Round
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 tourney teams. 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? In 2022, there was empirical evidence to answer that question.
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 Patrick Mahomes / Travis Kelce 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).
Player Stacks Advancing to the Championship Round
This analysis breaks down all of the QB / Skill Player stacks that were drafted in the 2022 Footballguys Tourney. Each stack is shown with the total # of stacks drafted (across 1246 leagues), and the number of stacks that made it out of their league and advanced to the Championship Round to compete for the overall prize.