Fulltime’s newest Senior Analyst, Jody Smith (@JodySmithNFL on Twitter) breaks down a World Championship Draft with a fantasy football draft review completed August 1st, 2021.
Reviewing the first FFWC Draft of 2021
Now that the calendar reads August, football fans can rejoice that training camps are in progress and the fantasy football draft season has, at long last, begun. Among the fantasy football drafts that have kicked off, the prestigious Fantasy Football World Championship draft season is in full swing and the inaugural 2021 draft is in the books. Well-known as the preeminent format in the industry, FFWC leagues boast over $12K in prizes, with the overall winner taking home a massive $150K grand prize and title of Fantasy Football World Champion. FFWC drafts use PPR scoring and involve 12 fantasy fans battling it out in a 20-round live draft. Lineups include a single quarterback, 2 RB, 3 WR, 2 FLEX spots, a team defense, and one team kicker. With the first FFWC draft now completed, here are some of the takeaways as 12 eager fantasy fans get ready to battle it out over the next five months.
Aaron Jones (2.02, RB10) – Now that we know Aaron Rodgers will return for at least one more season in Green Bay, all the Packers’ skill position players are on the rise. Jones is coming off of consecutive top-5 seasons and now stands to gain a larger role in the passing game after Jamaal Williams signed with Detroit. Any time Jones slides into Round 2, he’s a solid value.
Saquon Barkley (2.04, RB11) – Even though there are concerns about Barkley’s surgically-repaired knee, he is still generally considered a first-round talent and top-5 fantasy running backs. As the 11th running back selected in this FFWC draft, Barkley looks like a tremendous bargain.
A.J. Brown (3.02, WR10) – Among the favorites to lead the NFL in receiving touchdowns, Brown broke out with a 70/1,073/11 campaign in 2020 and could be even better in 2021 with new teammate Julio Jones commanding a lot more attention from opposing defensive backs. Brown has top-5 upside and looks like a steal being selected after Keenan Allen and Terry McLaurin.
Miles Sanders (5.05, RB24) – Sanders had some issue with drops during his rookie campaign, but he still managed to snag 50 passes, rank 9th with 1.67 yards created per attempt, and lead the NFL in runs of 70-plus yards. Sanders also has a clear path to RB1 duties on a team that should be significantly better. That makes the third-year back look like an excellent value pick a full two rounds later than he would normally be targeted.
Kareem Hunt (6.05, RB26) – In 24 games with Cleveland, Hunt has averaged 13.3 PPR points per game, caught 75 passes, and scored 14 touchdowns despite being used as his team’s RB2. Hunt offers standalone RB2 value on a weekly basis but offers top-10 upside if Nick Chubb were to miss time.
James Conner (11.05, RB45) – Chase Edmonds, who was drafted a full five rounds earlier, had all of two games with double-digit carries last season and averaged just 3.2 yards per carry in those contests. This staff seems to know that Edmonds is small and better utilized in a change-of-pace role. Conner has battled injuries but been sneaky good. According to Fantasy Index, Conner has put up 1,739 scrimmage yards and scored 13 touchdowns in the past 16 games in which he received two-thirds of Pittsburgh’s snaps. At 233 pounds, Conner also looks like the clear favorite for goal-line duties in Kingsbury’s offense, which has averaged 20 rushing TDs per season in the NFL.
Travis Etienne (3.10, RB18) – It isn’t unusual for first-round running backs to be a hot commodity in fantasy football drafts. But as talented as Etienne was at Clemson, he has an undefined NFL role and joins a Jacksonville squad with a rookie signal-caller, first-year head coach, and who already has an established starting running back in James Robinson. It’s difficult to forecast Etienne to receive enough touches to justify top-20 billing ahead of safer bets like J.K. Dobbins and Chris Carson. — (Scott likes this exciting high ceiling pick. “It’s boom or bust baby!”)
Ja’ Marr Chase (4.12, WR18) – When you’re trying to win a league like the FFWC, you have to be willing to take chances but nabbing a rookie wideout in the fourth round with plenty of dependable veteran pass-catchers like Julio Jones, Adam Thielen, and D.J. Moore still on the board is awfully risky.
Robby Anderson (5.04, WR26) – The addition of QB Sam Darnold, who showed excellent chemistry with Anderson in New York, should help, but the Panthers look like a bottom-third passing offense and Anderson will be hard-pressed to get 136 targets again with RB Christian McCaffrey back in the fold.
Ronald Jones (7.03, RB29) – With all 22 starters returning after a Super Bowl win, there’s little reason to think that Bruce Arians will change his backfield committee approach. The problem for Jones is that it appeared that Leonard Fournette moved into the ‘1A’ role late in the 2020 season and Arians also added receiving specialist Giovani Bernard to the fold. Jones will have a tough time carving out a consistent weekly role, making him a poor choice as a top-30 fantasy back.
Zach Ertz (10.08, TE9) – Ertz, 30, has seen his production slip in three consecutive seasons and has been rumored to be a trade candidate all offseason. For now, Ertz is still in Philadelphia but that’s not necessarily good news for his fantasy outlook. Dallas Goedert appears to be ahead of Ertz in the pecking order now and the Eagles have added a ton of young wideouts. It’s hard to envision Ertz being anything more than a mediocre TE2 in this offense, but certainly not a top-10 option.
Deshaun Watson (17.03, QB16) – Grabbing a potential stud quarterback in the 17th round is by no means an egregious pick, but Watson is almost certainly going to miss a significant portion of the NFL season and appears to be finished in Houston. It’s doubtful any team is going to trade for an expensive and embattled player at this juncture, making Watson look like a wasted pick. High upside rookie signal-callers like Trey Lance and Justin Fields make more sense in this format and were selected just a few picks later.
- Team 5 – picking out of the No. 5 spot started off with seven excellent picks, got an elite quarterback, and even fared well at kicker and defense. As long as Mark Andrews stays healthy, this team looks like a contender.
- Team 6 – assembled a strong PPR lineup and attacked QB late by snagging some high-upside young throwers. The King also did a great job protecting their No. 1 pick by grabbing Tony Pollard later, even if it was a tad early.
- Team 7 – also got off to a tremendous start and attacked potential difference-making backup running backs later in the draft.
Scott’s projected playoff teams: Team 12, Team 6, Team 4 & Team 10. This early on, I always tend to favor teams with deep WR corps as you have to start 3 and 2 flex each week.
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