FFM 2021 Rankings Guide – How to Exploit the Consensus
For those of you that have been with FFM for years, you’re well aware how different RC’s rankings are from everyone else’s. For those of you that are relatively new, perhaps not as much. Allow me to give you a brief primer on how to utilize the discrepancies between FFM rankings and consensus ADP to maximize value in your fantasy drafts. Afterwards, we’ll dive into some specific players we are way above consensus on and how you can benefit from knowing that.
If you go to the FFM Draft Guide, select your preferences (assume I’m referencing PPR with 4 point passing touchdowns, unless otherwise specified), click sort, and plan to just draft the best available players according to the list, in the words of Wade Barrett, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news: you’re going to lose. You will gain absolutely nothing if you don’t factor in what other people are likely to do. Sure, your league could have other savvy managers, perhaps even some fellow FFMers, but fantasy football is a numbers game. If you wait on a player because you know there’s an 80% chance he will be there at your next pick, and he ends up getting taken, you can’t worry about that. 80% is not 100%. There are times to reach for players, but every round you reach for a player is one less round of value you get out of that player. Sometimes your Aces get cracked. Sometimes your opponent hits that inside straight draw. That doesn’t mean your play was the wrong one. The key to winning in fantasy football is to create significant advantages over the other teams. You don’t gain anything on a player with a seventh round ADP that we value as a fourth rounder by selecting him in the fourth round. Let’s get into some specific players to illustrate this concept. We are using Yahoo ADP for this exercise.
Carson Wentz (Yahoo ADP 130, QB31) FFM rank: QB12
Carson Wentz was dreadful last season – legitimately one of the worst QBs in the NFL. As bad as Wentz was, he wasn’t completely terrible in fantasy. Wentz had games where he posted 23.5, 20.4, 17.4, 25.4, 28.8, and 19.8 fantasy points. As fun as it was for me to laugh at Wentz and as warranted as his benching for Jalen Hurts was, I can’t let my enjoyment of Wentz’s misery in real life cloud my judgment in fantasy. The Colts are certainly a run first offense, and while Wentz is certainly not nearly as good as he was in 2018, he’s also not nearly as bad as he was in 2020. For those employing the late round QB strategy, as the consensus top QBs move more toward the middle rounds in ADP, Wentz is someone FFMers can bank on being there in the very last round. He’s not going to give you the weekly ceiling of the top guys, but he’s not even being drafted, and RC has him as a fringe QB1. If you’re committed to waiting on a QB, you can pencil in Wentz with your final pick and focus on loading up at other positions along the way.
Damien Harris (Yahoo ADP 92, RB32) FFM rank: RB23
The Patriots are a slow moving, run first offense. Damien Harris is not going to catch many passes, but he should dominate carries for the Patriots. James White is 29 years old and averaged just 2.5 carries a game last season. Rhamondre Stevenson is a fourth-round rookie and if Harris essentially got red shirted his rookie year, rest assured Stevenson is only playing sparingly. Finally, there’s Sony Michel, who is likely to get cut. All of this points to Harris a workhorse. If and when the Patriots make the switch from Cam Newton to Mac Jones, the goal line opportunities may open up as well. RC has Harris roughly 30 spots ahead of where he is going. When Harris sits atop your board in the fifth or sixth round, don’t take him. There’s no value in that. Instead, wait until the seventh or eighth round (waiting until the ninth is too risky) and grab him then, allowing you to secure players more in line with ADP in rounds five and six, while knowing you are getting the same caliber player two or three rounds later.
Logan Thomas (Yahoo ADP 114, TE14) FFM rank: TE5
I am in lockstep with RC on Logan Thomas. I don’t have him TE5, but I have him way above consensus as well. I don’t understand it. Yes, the Football Team added Curtis Samuel, but last year they literally did not have a single competent pass catcher outside of Terry McLaurin and Logan Thomas. They have room for a third guy. Thomas may not see the volume he saw last season, but Ryan Fitzpatrick provides an incalculable upgrade on the medley of quarterbacks the Football Team sent out there last season. They spent a third of their season deploying Dwayne Haskins, one of the least talented QBs to play in the NFL in recent memory. I went through all the truly horrendous QBs since 2000 and excluding the ones that started by accident or due to injury or just getting a shot, Haskins was one of the 20 worst QBs to play in the last 20 years. He’s that bad. Yet, Thomas was the overall TE6 last year averaging 11.0 ppg. RC has that number jumping by about 2.0 ppg. With the big three TEs costing top 30 picks and Kyle Pitts’ value skyrocketing after the Julio Jones trade, those guys are all going to be mighty expensive. Instead of paying up for one of them or spending a mid-round pick on T.J. Hockenson or Mark Andrews, instead wait until the ninth or 10th round and grab Logan Thomas. Even though we have Thomas fifth, you absolutely should not make him the fifth TE off the board. You don’t need to even consider drafting Thomas until Noah Fant, Mark Andrews, and T.J. Hockenson are all gone. And if you’re feeling beansy, you can even wait for Dallas Goedert and Robert Tonyan to go as well. FFMers should be rostering a lot of the former VA Tech quarterback.
Diontae Johnson (Yahoo ADP 63, WR22) FFM rank: WR9
I thought I was high on Diontae Johnson this season, but RC puts me to shame. We both love Diontae Johnson, and we want to make sure all of you draft him. There is no doubt who Ben Roethlisberger’s favorite target is. Diontae finished as the WR21 in 2020, but if you remove the two games where he left early due to injury, he would’ve been the WR10/11. That’s right around where RC has Diontae ranked this season. We believe Diontae is worth a third-round pick, but you don’t need to take him there. If you can get him in the fifth round, great, but use your third-round pick on someone else and be sure to grab Diontae round four just to be safe. Bear in mind that if you pick early, there’s a chance he may not fall to you, but that’s a risk you must take as anyone picking early third is likely taking another guy FFM is way above consensus on: Amari Cooper.
Deebo Samuel (Yahoo ADP 94, WR30) FFM rank: WR12
Somehow, Deebo Samuel is falling all the way to the eighth round in Yahoo drafts. That makes him someone FFMers must acquire given how highly RC has him ranked. Deebo didn’t really get a chance to show what he can do last season as he played in just seven games. We can’t forget what he did down the stretch in 2019. Deebo averaged 16.1 ppg over his final eight games in 2019. Those are back end WR1 numbers. Deebo is set to return third or fourth round value and can be had as late as the seventh or eighth round. Don’t take Deebo in the fourth or fifth round. Wait until at least the sixth round before considering him and just scoop up the value that provides.
Courtland Sutton (Yahoo ADP 99, WR32) FFM rank: WR15
Now this is one player whose ADP I expect to steadily rise over the summer. Courtland Sutton is a true alpha in the NFL and has the tools to be a WR1 in fantasy. I am super high on Sutton, just like RC. He’s been a bit forgotten about since he missed the entire 2020 season with a Week 1 ACL tear. Sutton is vastly superior as a talent to Jerry Jeudy. He is going to be the primary target for Teddy Bridgewater, who is an upgrade over the awful Drew Lock. Once Sutton gets to training camp and shows he’s healthy, he’s going to climb in ADP. In best ball drafts, I’ve seen him go as high as the fourth round. Sharper fantasy players are already onto him. But the general public does not realize the value Sutton presents. The notion that you can get him in the eighth round is absurd. I would take Sutton as early as the fourth round if I absolutely had to, but no shot I’d let him get past me in the fifth. I love Sutton. You love Sutton. You should try and get Sutton. But be aware that his ADP may spike to the point where other players we are above consensus on may be better values.