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‘All-22’ in FFPC Dynasty Leagues: Assessing the 2021 Startup Draft Results

Norm Cruz returns to reflect on his ‘All-22’ drafting strategy. How are his teams looking so far?

Ja'Marr Chase

Editor’s note: This article is by Member Corner writer Norm Cruz. Please welcome back Norm and provide constructive feedback in the comments section.

Back in June, I wrote an article at DLF about drafting exclusively players 22 years old and younger called “Drafting All-22 in a $500 FFPC Dynasty Startup Draft”, which you can find here.

I began developing the All-22 strategy in 2020, after falling in love with the rookies that year. The incoming rookie class in 2021 showed great promise as well, if not quite equaling 2020, so I decided to try the All-22 again this year. What started out as an intent to draft a few additional All-22 dynasty teams turned into something much bigger.

In my prior DLF article, I discussed the first of the teams I drafted in the spring of this year and compared it to the All-22 teams I drafted in 2020. In this article, I will examine the core players of the other eight All-22 teams I drafted in 2021.

The Teams

Team 1 – FFPC $750 Standard Best Ball Dynasty League (QB, 2RB, 2WR, TE, 2 Flx):

Future 1sts: Just my own – currently the 1.1 if the season ended today (after week three).

General Thoughts: Deep set of stud WRs + the top rookie RB in 2022 could make this team a contender as soon as 2022. Due to the higher stakes at $750, I may prefer to continue to grow it and focus on 2023.

Team 2 – FFPC $500 TriFlex SuperFlex Best Ball Dynasty League (QB, 2RB, 3WR, TE, 1 SupFlx, 2 Flx):

Future 1sts (including my own): Three, currently the 1.1, 1.5 and 1.6.

General Thoughts: Thin at RB, but the core players at WR and QB are stellar. This team could cash in 2022 with a little help at RB and TE.

Team 3 – FFPC $250 TriFlex SuperFlex Best Ball Dynasty League (QB, 2RB, 3WR, TE, 1 SupFlx, 2 Flx):

Future 1sts (including my own): Four, currently the 1.1, 1.3, 1.6 and 1.11.

General Thoughts: Very deep at RB, and could get even deeper after the 2022 rookie draft. Will add a rookie QB next year with one of the early picks. Will need to hit at WR somewhere (or trade for a stud or two) in order to compete in 2022.

Team 4 – FFPC $250 Superflex Best Ball Dynasty (QB, 2RB, 2WR, TE, SupFlx, Flx):

  • QB Mac Jones 5.7
  • QB Jordan Love 10.6
  • QB Davis Mills 16.6
  • RB Javonte Williams 3.7
  • RB JK Dobbins 3.2
  • RB Travis Etienne 3.5
  • RB Elijah Mitchell 19.7
  • WR Jerry Jeudy 7.7
  • WR Jaylen Waddle 6.3
  • WR DeVonta Smith 6.6
  • WR Rondale Moore 8.6
  • WR Terrace Marshall 9.7
  • WR Kadarius Toney 13.7
  • WR Dyami Brown 14.6
  • WR Jalen Reagor 12.6
  • TE Cole Kmet 11.7
  • TE Tommy Tremble 22.6

Future 1sts (including my own): Three, currently the 1.1, 1.5 and 1.11.

General Thoughts: This team looked a whole lot better before Dobbins and Etienne went down with the injuries. Still, this team is looking to be a contender in 2022 if those young backs can recover.

Team 5 – LIVE FFPC $250 TriFlex SuperFlex Dynasty League (QB, 2RB, 3WR, TE, 1 SupFlx, 2 Flx):

  • QB Zach Wilson 3.4
  • QB Jordan Love 10.9
  • RB JK Dobbins 5.4
  • RB Michael Carter 9.4
  • RB Elijah Mitchell 18.9
  • RB Rhamondre Stevenson 12.9
  • WR Justin Jefferson 2.11
  • WR Ja’Marr Chase 4.3
  • WR Jaylen Waddle 6.9
  • WR Elijah Moore 7.4
  • WR Amari Rodgers 15.4
  • WR Dyami Brown 14.9
  • TE Cole Kmet 11.4
  • TE Irv Smith 13.4

Future 1sts: Three, but only one so far (my own) between 1.1-1.6

General Thoughts: Will need Zach Wilson to develop, but if he does, this team has got a shot in 2022. This team benefitted from the Chase drops in preseason.

Team 6 – LIVE FFPC $250 Standard Live Dynasty League (QB, 2RB, 2WR, TE, 2 Flx):

  • QB Zach Wilson 10.11
  • QB Mac Jones 13.2
  • RB Javonte Williams 2.11
  • RB JK Dobbins 5.2
  • RB Cam Akers 7.2
  • RB Elijah Mitchell 16.11
  • WR Ja’Marr Chase 3.2
  • WR Tee Higgins 4.11
  • WR Rondale Moore 8.11
  • WR Jalen Reagor 11.2
  • WR Elijah Moore 6.11
  • WR Dyami Brown 14.11
  • WR Kadarius Toney 12.11
  • WR Rashod Bateman 9.2
  • TE Kyle Pitts 1.2

Future 1sts: Just my own – currently between 1.1-1.4

General Thoughts: This was my first team to take advantage of the season-ending injuries to the young RBs. With Kyle Pitts as the anchor, this team could be dominant in 2022 with potential studs at every position (except QB, where it is least needed in a non-superflex).

Hybrid All-22

Team 7 – LIVE FFPC $250 Superflex Dynasty (QB, 2RB, 2WR, TE, SupFlx, Flx):

Future 1sts: One currently between 1.1-1.4, 1 currently between 1.1-1.6 (my own) and one currently between 1.7-1.12

General Thoughts: This team is off to a 2-1 start to the 2021 season due to Hockenson and the late picks in Gronk and Goff. However, it is the 22s that will make this team dominant in 2022.

I recorded a replay of this live draft on Youtube here.

Team 8 – FFPC $250 Superflex Best Ball Dynasty (QB, 2RB, 2WR, TE, SupFlx, Flx):

Future 1sts (including my own): Four, currently the 1.2, 1.4, 1.9 and 1.10 if the season ended today.

General Thoughts: Another strong hybrid team. Will need to convert some QB and RB depth into WR, but this team looks promising.

Prior Article All-22

For reference purposes, here is the team discussed in the prior All-22 article:

Team 9 – FFPC $500 TriFlex SuperFlex Best Ball Dynasty League (QB, 2RB, 3WR, TE, 1 SupFlx, 2 Flx):

  • QB Zach Wilson 3.1
  • QB Mac Jones 10
  • QB Jordan Love 10.12
  • RB D’Andre Swift 2.6
  • RB JK Dobbins 4.3
  • RB Javonte Williams 4.11
  • RB Trey Sermon 7.8
  • WR Jaylen Waddle 5.7
  • WR Rashod Bateman 8.3
  • WR Elijah Moore (March 2000) 9.11
  • WR Henry Ruggs (January 1999) 13.01
  • TE Tommy Tremble 18.12

Future 1sts (including my own): Four, currently the 1.1, 1.2, 1.5 and 1.12 if the season ended today.

General Thoughts: I took more care in this league in acquiring the “right” firsts and it shows. Will need to trade for WR/TE to be a contender in 2022. This team may be better suited to trade Swift for a truly dominant 2023 year instead.

Assessment

Looking at this assortment of All-22 teams, I had these observations:

Similarities: The first thing that I notice is the striking similarities between the teams. Then again, what would you expect with a narrow strategy that limits the universe of players to a small set and a single drafter for all the teams. The most common threads are Zach Wilson at QB (less expensive alternative to the top-end guys), Javonte Williams at RB (youngest stud RB at 21) and Ja’Marr Chase (best of the best and only 21). My approach to each draft focused in large part on positioning my picks to draft these three players.

Projected Dominance: Almost everyone comes out of a startup thinking their team is among the best in their league, since they judge their teams based on the rankings they used to draft players. As objectively as I can, I can comfortably say that each of these teams is the best dynasty team in their league. The target year for a first championship is still year three, although several of these teams should be the favorites to win in year two (e.g., Team 7 already appears to be competing in year one). In theory, each of these teams should remain the favorite to win in years four and five through the strength of the core players in their prime (where other young drafted teams at that time will likely be comprised of aging players). These later years is where the All-22 really shines (in theory, that is). Along the way, I will likely be recycling 24, 25 and 26 year olds to keep the team young.

Future Firsts: The teams with more future first-rounders naturally ended up with fewer core players coming out of the startup draft. The teams with more firsts tend to be weaker at WR in particular. With fewer picks in 2021, the teams with more future firsts are more dependent on hitting on the right All-22 players (especially at WR). There is also more pressure on acquiring the “right” future firsts (i.e., the teams that do worse in 2021).

I got the sense that it was better to move down from let’s say the 1.5 to the 2.9 (plus a first) than it was to trade away a late fifth or early sixth straight up for a first, and the trade up into the first seemed to be preferred by my league mates anyways. Not only am I still able to get a high-quality player at 2.9 after the drop-down, but I also think the upgrade from 2.9 to 1.5 has on the other team as far as placing higher in the standings in 2021 (which is important to consider when trading for that team’s future first) is less impactful than if that team received an extra player in the fifth or sixth rounds (Note: No one was biting on a seventh for a first as they might have in the old days).

Rising Rookies: The later in the year the startup draft was held, the earlier the rookies are drafted generally. In earlier drafts, I found it easier to land better values before the class of rookies got a chance to flash in the preseason. I saw one early superflex high stakes draft (not one of mine) that had Trey Lance dropping all the way to the fourth round! Not mine, unfortunately.

On the other hand, later drafts can present values for young stud players having a difficult go of it in the preseason such as Ja’Marr Chase. Whereas in early drafts I might have been drafting Chase in the early second in standard leagues and the early third in superflex leagues, in late summer drafts, I was able to land him as late as the 4.3 and 4.8 in superflex leagues and in the third in a standard league.

Injured Running Backs: Losing Etienne or Dobbins (and sometimes both) to injury in the same week was brutal for most of my All-22 teams. However, it presented a huge opportunity to nail down the same stud RBs (including Cam Akers) in later rounds in late summer startup.

Optimum Time to Draft: So that you can strike before rookies rise in cost, drafting in an early startup can be advantageous. To take advantage of injuries and/or negative news, a late summer draft might work even better. If I had to choose just one, I would probably go with the late draft as more information gives the advantage to the better drafters relative to other team owners (through better drafting strategy or otherwise).

Tight End Weakness: Unless you splurge on Pitts (whom I took as high as the second overall pick in a standard FFPC dynasty league), the All-22 dictates that you’ll end up with a Cole Kmet, Pat Freiermuth or, as a last resort, Tommy Tremble. Accordingly, one of the challenges that the All-22 faces is figuring out a way to field a competitive group of tight ends by the time the team is ready to compete. Perhaps Kmet will be the solution, but perhaps not.

Hybrid All-22: I covered Teams 7 and 8 above which included players who fell out of the All-22 but were still young (e.g., TJ Hockenson, Miles Sanders, etc.). For each, I intended to go All-22 but then got sidetracked along the way. It shows, however, what you can do when you sprinkle in a few quality non-22 players here and there. Big picture, if you keep the “older” players like Hockenson and Sanders to a minimum (and hopefully hit on them), you can stray some from the All-22 and still largely benefit from all of its advantages.

Conclusion

After cruising along for a number of years with just four dynasty teams (a $2,500, $1250, $750 and $750 in the FFPC), I was suddenly inspired to add three teams last year ($500, $500 and $250), and then nine this year ($750 x 1, $500 x 2, and $250 x 6), all because of the All-22!

I am really looking forward to seeing how these teams develop, and I have extremely high expectations for all of them. Their success (or failure) will go a long way to determining whether I’ll continue experimenting with the All-22 in startups in future years.

What do you think? Will this work out spectacularly in the long run or will this end up being just an uninspiring bunch of decent teams?

‘All-22’ in FFPC Dynasty Leagues: Assessing the 2021 Startup Draft Results
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Josh Krueger
6 days ago

Great article. How come you stick with the shallow leagues of FFPC, wouldn’t you have a greater advantage in leagues with roster sizes of 25+? What source do you use to get ADP so you know exactly where playes will be drafted going into the draft? Any concerns with Zach Wilson and his slow start since your highly invested?

Norman Cruz
Reply to  Josh Krueger
3 days ago

Thanks, and good questions.
True, the shallower rosters in the FFPC can be limiting for what I like to do. On the other hand, it makes rebuilding easier when necessary and I’ve grown to like it.  
I stick with the FFPC because of trust. I know they will pay out and that their leagues will not fold. Particularly in my $2,500 league, I wouldn’t have been comfortable paying that kind of money and drafting for the future without knowing that the league would still be there when my team was ready to win. My $2500 league is already in its 9th year and my $1250 league is 10+. The FFPC is also the only place to play at that level of high stakes in dynasty.
As for ADP, I don’t have a particular source. Before my first draft, I do a mock draft where I draft each team based on where I think it would be reasonable for any particular player to be drafted. This generates a sort of worst case scenario and in the real drafts, the players I want usually drop farther than in my mock, and I adjust for that in later drafts. For example, I was drafting Zach Wilson too early at first, and pushed him further and further back as the summer went on. It leaves me wondering how far he would have fallen if I wasn’t a participant of the draft.
As for Wilson as a prospect, I’m not worried about Wilson right now. He’s a rookie on a bad team, and he’s flashed enough to keep me hopeful in his future.   

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