FF Tips

FFPC Playoff Challenge Strategy Guide

By Jared Smola 12:01pm EST 1/1/20

Someone’s gonna take home half-a-million bucks in the FFPC Playoff Challenge. So why not you?

It’ll take some serious skills to beat out the 6,499 other entries, though. That’s where this article comes in. Let’s talk some strategy — and then work through how to build a winning roster.

The Rules

The 1st step to taking down this contest is understanding the rules. You can read ‘em all here … but these are the important points:

  • Select a 10-man roster of the following positions for the entire playoffs:
    • 1 QB
    • 2 RBs
    • 2 WRs
    • 1 TE
    • 2 Flex
    • 1 K
    • 1 DST
  • You’re only allowed to choose 1 player from each team
  • FFPC scoring rules (1 PPR for RBs and WRs, 1.5 PPR for TEs)
  • Points are doubled for players in the Super Bowl

Prioritizing Teams

The fact that you can select just 1 player from each team diminishes the importance of figuring out who will advance in each round of the playoffs. Even if you think Baltimore will win it all, for example, you can’t load up on multiple Ravens.

But that doesn’t mean figuring out who will advance isn’t important at all. We want to prioritize the highest-scoring players from the 2 teams we think will make it to the Super Bowl. The next highest priorities should go to the teams we project to play the most games. We’ll also need to choose 2 teams to not pick any players from.

To help with our Super Bowl pick, let’s take a look at the current Vegas odds to win each conference (courtesy of the DraftKings sportsbook):


Ravens -110

Chiefs +200

Patriots +600

Texans +2000

Titans +2500

Bills +2600


49ers +140

Saints +240

Packers +375

Seahawks +1200

Eagles +1400

Vikings +1600

The Ravens and 49ers are the favorites to win their respective conferences — but the Chiefs and Saints aren’t far behind. The safe bet is to prioritize 2 of those 4 teams.

Those 4 teams also figure to be the most popular Super Bowl picks in the FFPC Playoff Challenge, though. So you might opt to differentiate your roster by looking elsewhere.

I don’t believe in the Packers, but Vegas has them as the 5th most likely team to reach the Super Bowl. I think the Seahawks and Eagles are interesting options to make a run. And you’d get 4 games out of their players if they do.

Beyond your Super Bowl pick, you’ll want to decide who will advance in each round to determine how many games each team will play. To help with that, let’s look at how the playoff teams stack up in a few different analytics-based rankings:

FiveThirtyEight’s Elo Rating

1. Ravens
2. Saints
3. Chiefs
4. 49ers
5. Patriots
6. Packers
7. Vikings

    9. Titans

    10. Eagles

    11. Texans

    14. Seahawks

    15. Bills

    Football Outsiders’ DVOA

    1. Ravens

    2. Chiefs

    3. Patriots

    4. Saints

    5. 49ers

    7. Vikings

    8. Seahawks

    9. Titans

    10. Packers

    11. Eagles

    13. Bills

    19. Texans

    Football Outsiders’ Weighted DVOA (more emphasis on recent games)

    1. Ravens

    2. Saints

    3. Chiefs

    4. 49ers

    5. Titans

    6. Patriots

    7. Vikings

    9. Seahawks

    10. Bills

    12. Eagles

    13. Packers

    23. Texans

    The metrics agree with Vegas: The Ravens, Chiefs, 49ers and Saints are the best 4 teams in football.

    The Patriots fare well in the season-long metrics but interestingly drop to 6th in Weighted DVOA. The Titans, New England’s 1st-round opponent, jump up to 5th in Weighted DVOA.

    Picking Players

    Once you decide who will advance in each round and ultimately meet in the Super Bowl, it’s time to start selecting your players.

    In a vacuum, you want to select the highest-scoring player from each team. But you also need to fill each of those rosters spots. This is where prioritizing the teams you expect to advance comes into play. For example, you’ll likely want to choose your K and DST from teams you’re projecting to play just 1 game.

    You should also be factoring in the opportunity cost of each selection. For example, maybe you believe Drew Brees will out-score Lamar Jackson. But is picking Brees and missing the chance to use Michael Thomas or Alvin Kamara worth passing on Jackson for a guy like Mark Ingram or Mark Andrews?

    Now you start to get an idea of the strategy involved here.

    With all that said, let’s run through the potential selections from each team. To help with that, here’s where each defense ranked vs. each position in Adjusted Fantasy Points allowed through 16 weeks.



    I’ve listed the teams below in rough order of how I’ll be prioritizing them and ranked the players on each team.

    Sorry, the rest of this content is reserved for DS Insiders.

    Get instant access to read it all.

    Get the insider information

    Already a DS Insider? Login now

    Share This!

    Agree? Disagree? Tell us what you think in the comments:

    comments powered by Disqus

    Related Fantasy Football

    Podcast: Week 17 Preview 12-26-19

    Most leagues might be done after Week 16 ... but not all. So we're running through Week 17 right along with you, talkin' situations to monitor and sleepers to target.

    3:12pm EST 12/26/19 Read More
    Podcast: Week 16 Preview 12-19-19

    There are a bunch of big-name QBs you should sit this week, along with some waiver-wire RBs who belong in your championship-seeking lineup.

    8:12pm EST 12/19/19 Read More
    Week 16 Streaming Picks

    Has Ryan Fitzpatrick just been better than we all realized? Is he really about to win you a championship?

    10:12am EST 12/18/19 Read More
    Podcast: Week 15 Preview 12-12-19

    You might have an uncomfortable QB decision to make this week. We're here to help.

    9:12pm EST 12/12/19 Read More
    32 IDP Things to Know for Week 15

    Luke Kuechly's tackles returned, as did Khari Willis' playing time. Find out what else you should know heading into Week 15 ...

    4:12pm EST 12/11/19 Read More
    Premium Content Week 15 Streaming Picks

    Starting Derek Carr won't make you comfy. But you can ask Philip Rivers how fun it is to face the Jaguars right now.

    11:12am EST 12/11/19 Read More
    32 IDP Things to Know for Week 14

    Is Justin Houston wearing down? That's just 1 of many things you'll want to know before setting your IDP lineup this week ...

    10:12am EST 12/6/19 Read More

    Read More Articles

    Turn your phone into a draft weapon with our FREE APP

    Download on the App Store Download on Google Play