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Top 225 Big Board FFPC High-Stakes League: V 2.0


Preseason Matchup Analysis

By Doug Orth | 9/2/21 |

Allow me to reluctantly engage in a bit of a humble brag before we get into the heart of what I believe is the best draft-day tool around. (Yes, I'm biased.) I have been playing in money leagues for more than 20 years and in high-stakes leagues ($1,000-plus entry) for over 10 years. I have played in those high-stakes leagues during the leanest of times, and I did so in part because I knew I had an advantage my competition did not. Does it always result in a championship? Of course not. However, I win roughly one of every six leagues I enter and have never had a season in which I lost money. Does that mean it can't happen? Of course not. With that said, I will stack the success my process has allowed me (and many of my readers) to enjoy against anyone else's approach in the industry.

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Football is simple at its very core but a very complex game to evaluate and analyze because 11 men are asked to work in harmony approximately 60 times per game, while 11 other men are being asked to disrupt that harmony. Pro football is not pro basketball in that a team can clear out one side of the court when things break down and the offense can still score. Pro football is not pro baseball in that one player can defeat a pitcher and eight fielders by timing his swing just right. Even as great as Barry Sanders was, he never beat a defense all by himself. In football, every player needs some help to accomplish his goal. That is part of what makes football so great and part of what makes it so highly unpredictable. The violence of the game - even by the tamer standards now - adds another element to the equation that is difficult to quantify.

Regardless, it doesn't mean we should not try. Over the last month, I have evaluated the weekly matchups for 500-plus players. Analyzing matchups alone requires me to make 8,000 "decisions". That is not a humble brag. Each year, my goal is to give those who put their faith in my evaluations the confidence they have the best draft-day tool at their disposal. Even if my grading process is only 70 percent accurate, that is still a significant advantage over any analyst that does not consider it at all. I like to believe that even if readers believe my process is flawed for whatever reason, they can appreciate how much thought has been put into that opinion.

How much thought, you ask?

For example, Allen Robinson lined up on the left side of the formation 409 times, on the right side 298 times and in the slot 245 times last year. Since the majority of defensive coordinators tend to have their cornerbacks stick to one side as opposed to following a particular receiver, Robinson's ability to match up and defeat each of the defensive backs in those spots should be considered. I do that for each player who projects to stand inside the top three of his team's depth chart, and all of that information is factored into my projections. While how often Robinson lines up in a certain spot will inevitably change from last year, it's unlikely the way he is deployed will change all that much in this fourth year under HC Matt Nagy.

Fantasy football is a stock market game, and the job of an analyst is identifying when stocks may be poised to skyrocket or ready to tank. While last year's results help fantasy managers/analysts set the table for the following season, they are merely a starting point. Fantasy rankings and drafting need to be predictive, not reactive. I have taken this approach for more than 10 years. While some of the processes have changed in that time, the main goal has not.

The Success Score Index (SSI) below is powered in large part by my target and carry predictions that have been featured in this space over the last few weeks. As always, the matchup grades are included in the algorithm. SSI allows me to compare apples to oranges across positions. Perhaps just as importantly, I have been able to eliminate most of the guesswork across different scoring systems (PPR, standard, etc.).

For all of those unfamiliar with my Big Boards, allow me to explain the color-coding system before we start:

Red For lower-level players, a red matchup is the most difficult one a player can face. For a second- or third-tier player, drop your expectations for them at least one grade that week (i.e. from WR2 to WR3). For elite players, expect them to perform one level lower than their usual status (i.e. RB1 performs like an RB2).

Yellow For lower-level players, he is a borderline start at best. For a second- or third-tier player, the slight edge goes to the defense in what is essentially a toss-up. For the elite players, expect slightly better than average production.

White This one can go either way, but I favor the player over the matchup. Generally speaking, these matchups are winnable for all levels of players.

Green For non-elite players, the stage is set for a player to have a productive day. For the elite player, this matchup could produce special numbers.

Note: Players with a next to their name have some degree of injury/character/holdout concern.

Over the next week, I will release my final Big Board for Superflex leagues. I will also present my final rankings for kickers and defense/special teams.

Here is the scoring system that I used to rank the players in the FFPC format:

 FFPC Big Board - Top 225
Rk Pos Player Tm Age SSI 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
1 RB1 Christian McCaffrey CAR 25 12.22
2 TE1 Travis Kelce KC 31 8.05
3 RB2 Ezekiel Elliott DAL 26 6.85
4 TE2 Darren Waller LV 28 6.82
5 RB3 Aaron Jones GB 26 5.92
6 RB4 Derrick Henry TEN 27 5.90
7 RB5 Nick Chubb CLE 25 5.86
8 WR1 Davante Adams GB 28 5.84
9 RB6 Dalvin Cook MIN 26 5.79
10 RB7 Austin Ekeler LAC 26 5.78
11 RB8 Alvin Kamara NO 26 5.78
12 RB9 Saquon Barkley NYG 24 5.28
13 TE3 George Kittle SF 27 5.15
14 RB10 Jonathan Taylor IND 22 5.10
15 WR2 Tyreek Hill KC 27 4.97
16 RB11 Najee Harris PIT 23 4.66
17 RB12 Antonio Gibson WAS 23 4.56
18 WR3 Calvin Ridley ATL 26 4.27
19 RB13 Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC 22 4.03
20 WR4 DeAndre Hopkins ARI 29 3.99
21 RB14 Joe Mixon CIN 25 3.54
22 WR5 Stefon Diggs BUF 27 3.24
23 WR6 DK Metcalf SEA 23 2.24
24 RB15 Chris Carson SEA 26 1.89
25 RB16 David Montgomery CHI 24 1.82
26 RB17 James Robinson JAC 23 1.70
27 WR7 Allen Robinson CHI 28 1.61
28 WR8 Justin Jefferson MIN 22 1.56
29 WR9 A.J. Brown TEN 24 1.52
30 WR10 Keenan Allen LAC 29 1.30
31 QB1 Patrick Mahomes KC 25 1.16
32 WR11 Terry McLaurin WAS 25 1.04
33 QB2 Josh Allen BUF 25 1.01
34 WR12 CeeDee Lamb DAL 22 0.76
35 QB3 Kyler Murray ARI 24 0.75
36 TE4 Mark Andrews BAL 25 0.54
37 WR13 Robert Woods LAR 29 0.49
38 TE5 T.J. Hockenson DET 24 0.47
39 RB18 D'Andre Swift DET 22 0.18
40 WR14 Chris Godwin TB 25 0.15
41 WR15 Amari Cooper DAL 27 0.11
42 WR16 Mike Evans TB 28 0.07
43 WR17 Cooper Kupp LAR 28 -0.06
44 TE6 Kyle Pitts ATL 20 -0.17
45 WR18 Tyler Lockett SEA 28 -0.43
46 WR19 Tee Higgins CIN 22 -0.48
47 WR20 Julio Jones TEN 32 -0.52
48 RB19 Myles Gaskin MIA 24 -0.55
49 RB20 Gus Edwards BAL 26 -0.69
50 QB4 Dak Prescott DAL 28 -0.86
51 QB5 Lamar Jackson BAL 24 -0.90
52 WR21 Adam Thielen MIN 31 -0.93
53 RB21 Javonte Williams DEN 21 -1.09
54 QB6 Aaron Rodgers GB 37 -1.12
55 WR22 D.J. Moore CAR 24 -1.31
56 RB22 Chase Edmonds ARI 25 -1.34
57 RB23 Josh Jacobs LV 23 -1.36
58 WR23 Diontae Johnson PIT 25 -1.44
59 QB7 Russell Wilson SEA 32 -1.47
60 QB8 Ryan Tannehill TEN 33 -1.52
61 WR24 Jerry Jeudy DEN 22 -1.69
62 WR25 Ja'Marr Chase CIN 21 -1.75
63 TE7 Dallas Goedert PHI 27 -1.83
64 RB24 Miles Sanders PHI 24 -1.83
65 RB25 Damien Harris NE 24 -1.86
66 TE8 Noah Fant DEN 23 -1.88
67 QB9 Tom Brady TB 44 -1.98
68 WR26 Chase Claypool PIT 23 -1.98
69 QB10 Jalen Hurts PHI 23 -1.99
70 TE9 Robert Tonyan GB 27 -2.00
71 RB26 Kareem Hunt CLE 26 -2.11
72 WR27 Brandon Aiyuk SF 23 -2.20
73 RB27 Mike Davis ATL 28 -2.27
74 TE10 Logan Thomas WAS 30 -2.34
75 WR28 Courtland Sutton DEN 25 -2.40
76 RB28 Trey Sermon SF 22 -2.43
77 WR29 Tyler Boyd CIN 26 -2.49
78 TE11 Jonnu Smith NE 26 -2.50
79 QB11 Justin Herbert LAC 23 -2.61
80 WR30 Corey Davis NYJ 28 -2.65
81 WR31 Robby Anderson CAR 28 -2.72
82 WR32 Odell Beckham Jr. CLE 28 -2.80
83 WR33 Marvin Jones JAC 31 -2.84
84 WR34 JuJu Smith-Schuster PIT 24 -3.25
85 QB12 Matthew Stafford LAR 33 -3.25
86 RB29 Darrell Henderson LAR 24 -3.30
87 WR35 Antonio Brown TB 33 -3.30
88 WR36 Mike Williams LAC 26 -3.31
89 RB30 Raheem Mostert SF 29 -3.44
90 WR37 Darnell Mooney CHI 23 -3.53
91 WR38 Michael Gallup DAL 25 -3.58
92 TE12 Mike Gesicki MIA 25 -3.68
93 WR39 D.J. Chark JAC 24 -3.69
94 WR40 Kenny Golladay NYG 27 -3.93
95 RB31 Kenyan Drake LV 27 -3.99
96 WR41 Deebo Samuel SF 25 -4.00
97 TE13 Evan Engram NYG 27 -4.00
98 RB32 Michael Carter NYJ 22 -4.05
99 WR42 Elijah Moore NYJ 26 -4.14
100 WR43 Jarvis Landry CLE 28 -4.19
101 WR44 Curtis Samuel WAS 25 -4.32
102 WR45 Michael Thomas NO 28 -4.33
103 RB33 Giovani Bernard TB 29 -4.33
104 QB13 Joe Burrow CIN 24 -4.43
105 RB34 Melvin Gordon DEN 28 -4.45
106 TE14 Gerald Everett SEA 27 -4.49
107 RB35 Ronald Jones TB 24 -4.50
108 WR46 Michael Pittman Jr. IND 23 -4.54
109 WR47 DeVonta Smith PHI 22 -4.72
110 RB36 Ty'Son Williams BAL 23 -4.73
111 QB14 Trevor Lawrence JAC 21 -4.82
112 RB37 James Conner ARI 26 -4.83
113 WR48 Marquez Callaway NO 23 -4.83
114 RB38 Zack Moss BUF 23 -4.83
115 TE15 Tyler Higbee LAR 28 -4.84
116 TE16 Tyler Conklin MIN 26 -4.86
117 WR49 Brandin Cooks HOU 27 -4.94
118 WR50 Jaylen Waddle MIA 22 -4.95
119 QB15 Trey Lance SF 21 -4.96
120 QB16 Justin Fields CHI 22 -5.03
121 RB39 Jamaal Williams DET 26 -5.04
122 WR51 Laviska Shenault JAC 22 -5.25
123 RB40 AJ Dillon GB 23 -5.27
124 RB41 Sony Michel LAR 26 -5.29
125 RB42 Devin Singletary BUF 23 -5.31
126 WR52 Bryan Edwards LV 22 -5.32
127 QB17 Kirk Cousins MIN 33 -5.40
128 QB18 Matt Ryan ATL 36 -5.40
129 WR53 Cole Beasley BUF 32 -5.42
130 RB43 Nyheim Hines IND 24 -5.47
131 QB19 Tua Tagovailoa MIA 23 -5.54
132 WR54 Rondale Moore ARI 21 -5.56
133 QB20 Sam Darnold CAR 24 -5.59
134 WR55 Jakobi Meyers NE 24 -5.61
135 RB44 Rhamondre Stevenson NE 23 -5.66
136 WR56 Terrace Marshall Jr. CAR 21 -5.70
137 QB21 Carson Wentz IND 28 -5.72
138 WR57 Will Fuller MIA 27 -5.75
139 TE17 Blake Jarwin DAL 27 -5.76
140 TE18 Hunter Henry NE 26 -5.80
141 RB45 Tony Jones NO 23 -5.95
142 WR58 Sterling Shepard NYG 28 -6.00
143 WR59 Russell Gage ATL 25 -6.03
144 TE19 Jared Cook LAC 34 -6.04
145 TE20 Anthony Firkser TEN 26 -6.07
146 WR60 Parris Campbell IND 24 -6.07
147 TE21 Cole Kmet CHI 22 -6.12
148 RB46 J.D. McKissic WAS 28 -6.13
149 TE22 Austin Hooper CLE 26 -6.14
150 RB47 James White NE 29 -6.14
151 RB48 Kenneth Gainwell PHI 22 -6.33
152 RB49 Ty Johnson NYJ 23 -6.45
153 WR61 DeVante Parker MIA 28 -6.46
154 TE23 Rob Gronkowski TB 32 -6.47
155 WR62 Marquez Valdes-Scantling GB 26 -6.58
156 WR63 Emmanuel Sanders BUF 34 -6.66
157 RB50 Tony Pollard DAL 24 -6.78
158 WR64 Mecole Hardman KC 23 -6.79
159 TE24 Eric Ebron PIT 28 -6.84
160 RB51 Leonard Fournette TB 26 -6.89
161 QB22 Baker Mayfield CLE 26 -6.90
162 WR65 Nelson Agholor NE 28 -6.92
163 QB23 Zach Wilson NYJ 22 -6.99
164 QB24 Ryan Fitzpatrick WAS 38 -7.01
165 QB25 Daniel Jones NYG 24 -7.11
166 QB26 Derek Carr LV 30 -7.28
167 QB27 Jameis Winston NO 27 -7.28
168 WR66 A.J. Green ARI 33 -7.29
169 WR67 Henry Ruggs III LV 22 -7.35
170 WR68 Randall Cobb GB 31 -7.40
171 WR69 Jalen Reagor PHI 22 -7.46
172 TE25 C.J. Uzomah CIN 28 -7.56
173 TE26 Zach Ertz PHI 30 -7.59
174 WR70 Van Jefferson LAR 25 -7.62
175 WR71 Gabriel Davis BUF 22 -7.71
176 TE27 Adam Trautman NO 24 -7.77
177 RB52 Tevin Coleman NYJ 28 -7.89
178 WR73 Nico Collins HOU 22 -7.93
179 RB53 Darrynton Evans TEN 23 -7.94
180 TE28 Juwan Johnson NO 24 -7.98
181 QB28 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 39 -8.04
182 TE29 Jimmy Graham CHI 34 -8.07
183 TE30 Brevin Jordan HOU 21 -8.17
184 RB54 Qadree Ollison ATL 24 -8.27
185 TE31 O.J. Howard TB 26 -8.36
186 WR74 Rashod Bateman BAL 21 -8.38
187 WR75 Amon-Ra St. Brown DET 21 -8.50
188 TE32 Hayden Hurst ATL 28 -8.56
189 WR76 Tyrell Williams DET 29 -8.57
190 WR72 T.Y. Hilton IND 31 -8.59
191 WR77 Kadarius Toney NYG 22 -8.64
192 WR79 D'Wayne Eskridge SEA 24 -8.68
193 TE33 Jacob Harris LAR 24 -8.72
194 WR78 Jamison Crowder NYJ 28 -8.76
195 RB55 Mark Ingram HOU 31 -8.82
196 RB56 Phillip Lindsay HOU 27 -9.04
197 RB57 Devontae Booker NYG 29 -9.15
198 RB58 Alexander Mattison MIN 23 -9.15
199 TE34 Kylen Granson IND 23 -9.19
200 WR80 Christian Kirk ARI 24 -9.20
201 RB59 David Johnson HOU 29 -9.21
202 WR81 Darius Slayton NYG 24 -9.21
203 RB60 Chuba Hubbard CAR 22 -9.28
204 WR82 Quez Watkins PHI 23 -9.31
205 QB29 Teddy Bridgewater DEN 28 -9.31
206 RB61 Justin Jackson LAC 26 -9.33
207 RB62 Rashaad Penny SEA 25 -9.34
208 RB63 Larry Rountree III LAC 22 -9.63
209 WR83 Tre'Quan Smith NO 25 -9.81
210 WR84 Marquise Brown BAL 24 -9.86
211 RB64 Carlos Hyde JAC 30 -10.00
212 QB30 Mac Jones NE 22 -10.19
213 RB65 Boston Scott PHI 26 -10.22
214 TE35 Dawson Knox BUF 24 -10.41
215 TE36 Albert Okwuegbunam DEN 23 -10.58
216 TE37 Dan Arnold CAR 26 -10.64
217 RB66 Salvon Ahmed MIA 22 -10.66
218 WR85 Josh Palmer LAC 21 -10.74
219 WR86 Quintez Cephus DET 23 -10.79
220 WR87 KJ Hamler DEN 22 -10.84
221 RB67 Tarik Cohen CHI 26 -11.20
222 RB68 Marlon Mack IND 25 -11.96
223 TE38 Harrison Bryant CLE 25 -12.38
224 WR88 Sammy Watkins BAL 28 -12.87
225 RB69 Damien Williams CHI 29 -13.00


Doug Orth has written for FF Today since 2006 and been featured in USA TODAY's Fantasy Football Preview magazine since 2010. He is also a high-stakes player who often appears as a guest analyst on a number of national sports radio shows, such as Sirius XM's "Fantasy Drive." Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.