Last year, Adam and I embarked on our first Footballguys FFPC journey. Our season was filled with some ups-and-downs, but we finished atop our league in points scored. We lost our Week 12 semi-final match-up and finished in the Top 500 out of 3,000 teams. We’ll look to build on last year’s strong showing. We like to draft during Labor Day weekend, so we opted to draft yesterday afternoon.

For those unfamiliar with FFPC scoring, teams must start 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 2 Flexes, 1 K, and 1 DEF. It’s dynamic point-per-reception scoring with tight ends receiving 1.5 points-per-reception. We drew the 11th pick out of 12. Without further ado, our draft results are recapped below:

Pick 1.11: Matt Forte, RB, CHI

Others Considered: Dez Bryant, WR, DAL

Adam and I agreed there is a ‘Big 10’ this year (Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin, Jamaal Charles, CJ Spiller, LeSean McCoy, Trent Richardson, Ray Rice, Arian Foster, Calvin Johnson, and Jimmy Graham). Our goal was to hopefully land one of these players. Unfortunately, we were not lucky. Our contingency plan boiled down to either Forte or Bryant. We were not crazy about the running backs that would fall into Rounds 3 & 4, so we wanted to walk away with two running backs. Personally, I’m a huge Dez Bryant supporter and I think he’s going to have a huge season, but I think there’s enough wide receiver depth.

Matt Forte should thrive in Marc Trestman’s offense. While we don’t put much emphasis on pre-season stats, Forte averaged 8.1 yards per carry and took all goal-line carries with the first team offense. Forte dealt with a few nicks during 2012, but we love his pass catching ability and upside in the dynamic Chicago offense.

Pick 2.02: Reggie Bush, RB, DET

Others Considered: A.J. Green, WR, CIN

As stated, we wanted to walk away from the first two rounds with two runners. After watching Detroit’s third pre-season game against New England, we both knew Reggie Bush had crazy upside in Detroit’s up-tempo offense. Bush rushed six times for only one yard, but hauled in five passes for 103 yards including a 67-yard explosion down the right sideline. Bush is a home run hitter that can score from anywhere on the field. Defense will have a hell of a time covering both Calvin Johnson and Bush. We liked his upside more than older running backs (Marshawn Lynch, Steven Jackson) and running backs that don’t catch many passes (Alfred Morris, MJD).

Playoffs in FFPC leagues begin in Week 12, which coincides with Green’s bye week. In addition, Green has dealt with a few nicks during the pre-season.

Pick 3.11: Frank Gore, RB, SF

Others Considered: None

The team picking 12th opted to select Dez Bryant and Julio Jones with his first two picks, so we wanted our pick of running backs. The fantasy community continues to discount Gore and attempts to push him into retirement. The 30-year-old Gore is no longer a superstud running back, but still leads the NFL’s top rushing attack. Gore finished within the Top 15 running backs last season, so getting him as RB20 was a steal. Gore has the ability, situation, and supporting cast needed to dominate touches. He’s a steal as an RB3/Flex starter. We were interested in Stevan Ridley, but he was selected three picks earlier.

Pick 4.02: Roddy White, WR, ATL

Others Considered: Lamar Miller, RB, MIA; Vincent Jackson, WR, ATL; Danny Amendola, WR, NE

This was a pretty critical pick. The thought of starting RB-RB-RB-RB definitely crossed my mind, but Adam wanted to lock up a stud WR1. There have been conflicting reports as to whether White suffered a high ankle sprain two weeks ago, but his MRI came back clean and FBG’s Dr. Jene Bramel still recommends him as ‘safe WR1’. White has never missed a game during his eight year career. White’s 2012 stat line (92/1351/7) was good for 8th among wide receivers. White and teammate Julio Jones are locked in as Options 1A and 1B. Jones went 13th overall, so we took the value play at a fraction of the price.

For some reason, I’m just not sold on Lamar Miller. I don’t know whether it’s his pedigree or his inability to hold off Daniel Thomas. Miller would easily be the league’s top RB4. We liked White over Jackson because of his quarterback. Josh Freeman is an erratic passer and we didn’t want our WR1 tied to an inconsistent producer. Amendola can be a better version of Wes Welker, but we were concerned about his durability.

Pick 5.11: Torrey Smith, WR, BAL

Others Considered: None

This pick was all about simple math. Anquan Boldin and his 111 targets are now in San Francisco. Tight end Dennis Pitta was lost for the season. Joe Flacco has no choice other than to feed Smith the ball early and often. Smith has elite speed, enters the critical third year of his career, and will plenty of opportunities to showcase his skills on intermediate routes. Smith has the makeup of a receiver that is ready to take the next steps.

Pick 6.02: Cam Newton, QB, CAR

Others Considered: Jordy Nelson, WR, GB; Jermichael Finley, TE, GB

This was probably the turning point in our draft. Newton was the last of the ‘Big 5’ starting quarterbacks. Last year, our QBBC was comprised of Eli Manning and Ryan Fitzpatrick, so we were open to drafting a QB in the mid-rounds. Newton finished fourth among QBs last year thanks to a monster second half. Newton offers a blend of passing (3,869 yards/19 TDs) and rushing (741/8) that few players can match. Newton posted six multi-TD performances over his last eight games. Mike Shula returns as Carolina’s offensive coordinator and Newton owes a lot of his success to Shula.

Carolina’s offense stunk during the pre-season, but Newton barely ran the ball. Newton’s versatility is Carolina’s biggest threat on offense, so take the pre-season with a grain of salt. In addition, the NFC South is shaping up to be shoot-out city on a weekly basis.

Fun Stat: Over his first two seasons, Newton has run for 1,447 yards and 22 TDs.

We weren’t immediately sold on Newton due to overall QB depth. There were several options ranked below Newton (Luck, Romo, Wilson, Vick) that we were intrigued by. However, Newton has the ability to finish as the #1 player in fantasy and the FFPC is all about swinging for the fences.

After undergoing a minor knee procedure, Nelson is back in camp. However, I’m a little concerned about his knee. Over the last three seasons, Nelson played through the injury, but finally felt the knee to undergo a minor surgery. A healthy Nelson is an absolute steal as a WR3, but we have no idea if he is. Jermichael Finley may be the biggest tease in fantasy football. He has the look and size needed to dominate, but hasn’t put it all together. I’ll let someone else pay a 6th rounder to see if he does.

Side Note: Matt Ryan was the only other QB drafted in Round 6.

Pick 7.11: Jordan Cameron, TE, CLE

Others Considered: Josh Gordon, WR, CLE

This pick is all about upside. Given the scoring bonuses for TEs, we wanted to lock up at least one upside play. Cameron was the 9th TE selected, but he has the ability and situation to become a Top 5 TE. Cameron is an absolute load of a player (6’5″, 254 pounds) that displays impressive open field speed and strength to secure tough catches in traffic. New head coach Rob Chudzinski turned Greg Olsen into a 70 catch, 1,000 yard player and Norv Turner has a long track record of developing TEs. Cameron had an impressive two touchdown performance during the pre-season and has demonstrated impressive chemistry with Brandon Weeden. Cameron is raw, but we intend to pair him with other TEs in hopes of landing at least one stud player.

Josh Gordon has incredible ability, but will start the season on a two-game suspension. We don’t want any head cases on our team.

Side Note: NO QBs were drafted in Round 7.

Pick 8.02: Zach Sudfeld, TE, NE

Others Considered: Josh Gordon, WR, CLE

Fantasy owners can’t expect great rewards without great risk. Sudfeld has inherited the ‘Aaron Hernandez role’ in the New England offense. In addition, Sudfeld will start while Gronk attempts to come back from his back injury. Alike Cameron, Sudfeld is a big body (6’7″, 270 lbs) that offers a premium red zone target. During the pre-season, Sudfeld had his share of highs (leaping TD grab down the seam) and lows (fumbling against Detroit and heading to the bench). Still, New England cut tight end Jake Ballard, who was thought to be Gronk’s temporary fill-in. As of today, Sudfeld and Michael Hoolwanui are the only healthy tight ends on the roster. We’re expecting a lot of suds early and often. We won’t be surprised if Suds remains a mainstay after Gronk returns.

Side Note: Tony Romo was drafted in Round 8. We drafted Cam/Suds over Jordy/Romo. We’ll see how it works out.

Pick 9.11: Anquan Boldin, WR, SF

Others Considered: Vincent Brown, WR, SD

The 49ers need someone to step-up and fill in Michael Crabtree’s role. Odds are Boldin and Vernon Davis will take turns leading the receiving core. Boldin is 32-years-old and fails to generate much separation, but Colin Kaepernick’s ability to extend plays makes Boldin an intriguing option. Boldin should rely on his veteran savvy route running techniques to draw space.

We liked Boldin’s consistency over Brown. Brown possess a lot of upside and promise, but we wanted more consistency at our WR3 slot.

Side Note: Matt Stafford, Andrew Luck, Kaepernick, and RG3 were drafted in Round 9.

Pick 10.02: Michael Floyd, WR, ARI

Others Considered: Joique Bell, RB, DET

There’s a lot to like about Michael Floyd. For starters, his pre-season play was very good. Floyd made an acrobatic TD catch in his Preseason Week 3 game. Still, many have written him off due to his lackluster rookie campaign. Arizona made a massive QB upgrade from Ryan Lindley to Carson Palmer. Palmer will be able to deliver deep balls and allow Floyd to outwork smaller defender. He’s a great WR4.

We really wanted to handcuff Reggie Bush with Bell, but another owner grabbed him at the end of the 10th round. Lesson learned: Do not sleep on your handcuffs!

HALFTIME

Through ten rounds, we have amassed the following line-up:

QB: Cam Newton (6.02)
RB: Matt Forte (1.11)
RB: Reggie Bush (2.02)
WR: Roddy White (4.02)
WR: Torrey Smith (5.11)
TE: Jordan Cameron (7.11)
FLEX: Frank Gore (3.11)
FLEX: Zach Sudfeld (8.02)
BENCH: Anquan Boldin (9.11)
BENCH: Michael Floyd (10.02)

Overall, we were pretty happy with this start. I do wish we would have waited on QB and drafted Romo in Round 8. Still, hindsight is 20/20 and Newton has crazy upside. Our running back situation is the strongest in the league and I like our pair of upside TEs. Our bench has strong WR depth. So far, so good.

Pick 11.11: Kendall Hunter, RB, SF

Others Considered: None

A lot of teams were taking back-up running backs, so we didn’t waste any time before grabbing Hunter. Hunter returned a few weeks ago from an Achilles injury and looked pretty good. Hunter is Gore’s main back-up and has ability to generate RB1 numbers if Gore suffers an injury.

Pick 12.02: Christine Michael, RB, SEA

Others Considered: None

This guy is a beast. He looked great during the pre-season and surpassed Robert Turbin on the depth cart. If Marshawn Lynch suffers an injury, Michael instantly becomes a Top 10 running back. He has the talent and team situation to succeed…he just needs an opportunity.

Pick 13.11: Tyler Eifert, TE, CIN

Others Considered: Michael Vick, QB, PHI

The door is wide open for Eifert to emerge as the #2 option in Cincy. Eifert is extremely skilled as a pass catcher and a route runner. He’s an upside play as a TE3 for us.

Pick 14.02: Michael Vick, QB, PHI

Others Considered: None

We were shocked Vick lasted this long. Vick has demonstrated the ability to become a QB1. Nothing, but glowing reports have come out of Philly and Vick stated that he has a renewed focused by playing for Chip Kelly. Vick will be running all over the field and making plays for this exciting offense. Since we have both Newton and Vick, we have the luxury of playing match-ups. Personally, I love Vick at Washington during Week 1. Vick had a surreal performance three years at Washington on Monday Night Football. Given Newton’s tough match-up against Seattle, we have to strongly consider Vick.

Pick 15.11: New England DST

Others Considered: None  

The Patriots open the season against Jeff Tuel’s Bills and Geno Smith’s Jets. We like the upside.

Pick 16.02: Denver DST

Others Considered: None 

Denver has the easiest schedule in the NFL and is an instant start against any of its AFC West foes. New England and Denver pair well together.

Pick 17.11: Nick Toon, WR, NO

Others Considered: Jeremy Kerley, WR, NYJ

This pick is all about upside. Toon may explode if Lance Moore and/or Marques Colston fail to stay healthy.

Pick 18.02: David Ausberry, TE, OAK

Others Considered: None 

A total of 88 receptions, 900 yards, and 7 TDs have been vacated by Oakland TEs. Ausberry may be the main beneficiary.

Pick 19.11: Garrett Hartley, K, NO

We wanted a kicker that played in high-scoring, dome-based offense.

Pick 20.02: Chris Polk, RB, PHI

Purely a pick to see how Chip Kelly’s offense operates in Week 1.

FINAL ROSTER

QB: Cam Newton (6.02)
RB: Matt Forte (1.11)
RB: Reggie Bush (2.02)
WR: Roddy White (4.02)
WR: Torrey Smith (5.11)
TE: Jordan Cameron (7.11)
FLEX: Frank Gore (3.11)
FLEX: Zach Sudfeld (8.02)
K: Garrett Harley (19.11)
DEF: New England (15.11)

BENCH: Anquan Boldin (9.11)
BENCH: Michael Floyd (10.02)
BENCH: Kendall Hunter (11.11)
BENCH: Christine Michael (12.02)
BENCH: Tyler Eifert (13.11)
BENCH: Michael Vick (14.02)
BENCH: Denver (16.02)
BENCH: Nick Toon (17.11)
BENCH: David Ausberry (18.02)
BENCH: Chris Polk (20.02)

FINAL THOUGHTS

This team has a ton of upside. Initially, I wasn’t happy with the Newton selection and wanted Nelson as our WR3, but Newton has crazy upside and those types of players help you win FFPC leagues. In addition, I love our tight end depth and believe at least one will breakout. Running back is clearly a strong point, but I wish we would have reached on Joique Bell in Round 10. Still, our starting lineup has a nice blend of upside and consistency. We like our chances.

Best of luck to all participants and to FFPC/FBG staff for making this the premiere fantasy event!