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Terminator Tournament Challenge: The Future Is In Your Hands


Many of you are familiar with best-ball leagues. You draft a full squad, then sit back and watch your optimal lineup each week accumulate points. No lineup decisions, no waivers, no in-season management. No muss, no fuss. Some people love the appeal of putting all their eggs in the draft basket and constructing multiple rosters to see which ones perform best. Some miss the hands-on aspect of traditional leagues and want an opportunity to tweak their team throughout the year.

What if you could have the best of both worlds? The FFPC (Fantasy Football Players Championship) is not just the leader in high-stakes fantasy leagues, they are the originators of the most unique version of best-ball - the Terminator Tournament. In this league, you don't add, you terminate! Over a full 16-week schedule following typical best-ball rules (no H2H, total points only, no waiver adds or lineup changes), you must drop one player each week. What if you forget or simply don't want to drop anyone? Failure to do so terminates your team!

The good news is that each draft goes 26 rounds, so there should be plenty of options. The strategy really comes in to play once the bye weeks get heavy and then again toward the end of the season when rosters are thinner. So, how does one approach this type of league, based on this unique wrinkle? Allow me to share my draft results and reaction in order to give you some encouragement before you take the leap yourself!

Editor's Note: For a limited time, we are offering all new FFPC players a $25-off coupon for any contest! You can play a $35 contest or a $70 contest, we'll give you $25 off either one! Whether you want to play a Best Ball challenge, join a Dynasty Startup, or try FFPC's unique Terminator challenge (best ball spin-off), there's a $25 discount waiting for you! All you have to do is be a new FFPC customer, sign-up for any game on FFPC through one of the above links, and the $25 discount will be automatically applied to your account!

 

FFPC Terminator Draft Results

Here is the draft board, showing results from last weekend's Terminator Challenge draft. For a full-size image, click the board below or visit the site directly here.

One important note - FFPC best-ball leagues utilize a TE premium, which includes 1.5 points per reception. For that reason, ADP for the tight end position skews much higher in general. As expected, Travis Kelce was a first-round pick, going fifth overall. There weren't too many big surprises early on, as the top running backs flew off the board, George Kittle and Zach Ertz were second-rounders and then high-end receivers followed.

In a scoring system where passing touchdowns are worth four points, not six, it might seem as if the third round is a bit early for Patrick Mahomes. In each league there is always someone who wants to grab that elite QB though. What was more surprising is that Baker Mayfield was the second QB selected, a full round ahead of Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson. That same drafter took Chicago's defense in the seventh round and was the first by far to select a kicker, so maybe there's a correlation.

 

Notable ADP Risers and Fallers

If you're playing in an ultracompetitive league, you really don't want to draft before September. This draft took place on the first of the month, so cutdowns had already occurred, as had the news of LeSean McCoy signing in Kansas City. This led to Devin Singletary and Shady himself being taken in round eight.

Damien Williams was a third-rounder, which is about where he is going these days. Some are still keeping the faith, despite the writing on the walls.

Justin Jackson and Tony Pollard could find themselves with much bigger roles than expected if these holdouts continue. As of now, it looks like the ninth round is where owners feel comfortable taking a chance on them.

The Darrell Henderson hype has thankfully died down. Instead of a fifth-round ADP which he was seeing months ago, he dropped to round 10.

It's hard to imagine how Carlos Hyde, starting RB in Houston, was taken the same round (12) as Dare Ogunbowale, who hasn't been named starter in Tampa Bay. Even if he were, it would be in a timeshare with Peyton Barber (don't talk to me about Ronald Jones) and it's hard to understand why fantasy owners expect Ogunbowale to suddenly break out after two years doing nothing in the league. By the way, Barber in the 14th round is a steal in best-ball, as he presents a decent floor if nothing else.

He may not light the world on fire but why is Kirk Cousins going as the QB22? He completed 70% of his pass attempts and threw for almost 4,300 yards with 30 touchdowns last year. I was on the verge of taking him as my backup QB before I was sniped and settled for Derek Carr.

 

Draft Recap: Lessons Learned

Here is my final roster, more than half of which will be cut by the time the season is over. Can you identify the players that might be first on the chopping block?

I've done a ton of best-ball drafts but this was my first Terminator challenge. Knowing that we could actually cut players without adding them back meant a slightly different approach. The initial reaction might be to take more chances on fliers and sleeper picks since they could just be the first to go if they don't pan out. To some extent, that might be true. But too many chances could spell doom, as an injury to a key starter or two could ruin your squad if the bench is completely ineffective. My first reaction was to play it safe early on and build a strong core at key positions. Here are the strategies I implemented and my thought process behind them:

 

Starting Out Strong Is Crucial

Julio Jones isn't the most exciting first-round pick but that's not what matters. He is a near shoo-in to be a top-five player at his position and this averts risk in the beginning of the draft. In terms of production, he not only brings a high floor, but we know he has several games per year where he simply dominates. He surpassed 120 yards in a game six times last year and those worries about end zone production can be squashed now that he scored eight TD.

I could have gone RB, as most do in the first round, but had my reasons not to out of the eighth spot. I have too many shares of James Conner already. I'm not feeling David Johnson as a first-round value. I love Dalvin Cook this year and briefly considered taking him, but have been waiting to see if he would fall to me in the early portion of the second round. Of course, that didn't happen.

In the second round, I went WR again since the top 11 RBs were off the board already. Tyreek Hill is probably the first name you think of when it comes to big-game production. In a shallower format, I would have gone with JuJu Smith-Schuster or Michael Thomas, but I know that the occasional game where Hill disappears can be covered up by one of my other six bench receivers. In this case, roster construction mattered because I know you only have to start two WRs. That meant seeking out more "boom" plays rather than worrying about floor.

 

It's All About Balance

I'm not a ZeroRB, ZeroWR, or extreme drafter in any sense. I believe balance is an essential component of our existence, both in fantasy and reality. Yin and yang, my friend.

FFPC Terminator leagues have balanced starting rosters, with two RB, two WR, and two Flex spots (we'll address TE in a minute). That warranted a balanced approach in drafting, although it would be logical to stack one more RB than WR because of the attrition and volatility at that position. Seeing as how I started out with two wide receivers, it would also make sense to backload a bit more at RB. That's not what I did.

First, as has occurred in pretty much every draft I've done this year, the quality running backs are gone by the time the middle rounds arrive. You're looking at third-string ball-carriers, undrafted rookies, and players that you know won't sniff the ball unless a season-ending injury occurs to the starter. Even then, there's no guarantee that running back will be effective. I'm talking about players like Malcolm Brown, Chase Edmonds, Rex Burkhead, Benny Snell, Devine Ozigbo, etc. Sure, they can always be cut loose in the first few weeks. I'd rather take a player with a chance to actually contribute and save my potential cuts for injured players or extra K/DST that I won't need late in the season. I never pick someone who I plan to cut - that just seems like a waste of time.

 

TE Premium Matters... Sort of

I opted not to take one of the top three tight ends, despite having the perfect opportunity to snag Zach Ertz at 2.05 just after George Kittle was taken. Don't get me wrong, I like Ertz this year even if he regresses a little. I just don't love spending a second-round pick on a tight end when I can have an elite receiver like Hill. One of my bold predictions this year was that O.J. Howard would outscore George Kittle, so my plan was to wait until round four and take him instead. What do you know, it worked out! I have at the very least a top-five tight end, assuming good health, and am set at receiver. I believe the combined production from Hill and Howard will outweigh that of Ertz and either Lockett, Hilton, or any of the Rams receivers who would have been the best available to me in round four.

 

What About Running Back??

Suddenly the most important position in fantasy once again, I didn't completely forsake the position. I spent a third-round pick on Carson, who also is in my bold predictions and seems like a nice low-end RB1 at that spot. Phillip Lindsay in the fifth round still seems like a steal. He is totally healthy and will retain the same role as last year, when he ran for over 1,000 yards, caught 35 balls for 241 yards and scored 10 times. Royce Freeman would have to take a huge step forward and even so, he's not a pass-catching threat. The Denver offense as a whole should be better with Joe Flacco at QB and more experience at receiver.

In best-ball, stacking RBs on the same team is a great strategy, even if they come from the hapless Dolphins. Kenyan Drake had a fifth-round ADP not too long ago, but the recent buzz about him being on the trade block and firesale in Miami have cooled owners on him big time. Enough so that I took him in round nine(!!!) and was able to back him up with Kalen Ballage a round later. That means I own all the rushing production on that team, which will likely occupy one of my flex spots most weeks.

There aren't many lotto tickets I'm interested in this year at RB, but Qadree Ollison is one I'll gamble on. As much as I like Brian Hill, I believe Ollison is set to take on a short-yardage role that could make him an unpopular touchdown vulture to Devonta Freeman in many weeks. He's worth a shot in best-ball. I would have liked to acquire Hill too but ran out of space because I opted to take three kickers. Let me explain why...

 

Three Kickers? Really???

In 12-team redraft leagues, you can get away with owning one kicker. In deeper leagues and best-ball formats where kickers are actually accounted for, two should be enough. This is a 26-round Terminator. Not only do I have the luxury of dropping one at any time, I am also maximizing my scoring potential from the most unpredictable position. Jake Elliott and Josh Lambo should be enough to get me through the year but I took Eddy Pineiro instead of another running back because realistically he will outscore one of those two more often than Brian Hill or Ryquell Armstead will outscore Devonta Freeman and Leonard Fournette. Also, kickers are human and do get injured, so carrying one all year in this format is just too risky.

 

Final Thoughts

As you can tell, this draft took a lot more thought and planning (some might say "strategery") than a typical best-ball draft. Competition is at its peak as well. FFPC players know what they are doing and it was not often that I felt a great value pick fell to me. You have to stay on your toes and try to maximize the potential of each position. If you haven't jumped into a Terminator league before, I highly recommend giving it a try. It's a spin on the set-it-and-forget-it format that keeps you more invested than usual. It's not too late!

Try out one of these leagues before the season gets underway! Live Terminator drafts are still taking place Tuesday, Sept. 3 at 8:30 PM Eastern and Wednesday, Sept. 4 at 7:30 PM Eastern.

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