The FFCC- The Why, The How, The Strategy & The Benefits

It’s the eve of the Fantasy Football Challenge Cup (FFCC). In a little over 24 hours time (depending on when you are reading this) we will start the 22 drafts consisting of 256 players and work our ways towards crowning the second ever FFCC Champion.

This event means a lot to me. Ever since starting on the podcast with Stocks and being invited to contribute in the fantasy community, I have come to realise how powerful this community is. 

There are many wonderful things that happen in the community. A lot of money gets raised for charity (The Scott Fish bowl run by Scott Fish alone raised over $60,000 annually for toys for tots), as well as some awareness for great causes. The Fantasy Footballers and Joe Pisapia raise thousands of dollars for St. Judes Childrens Hospital and there are many more that also do many great things for charity. So let me explain why the FFCC exists.

Why Does the FFCC Exist?

I spoke to Stocks last year and mentioned that as our platform has grown, we have a responsibility to give something back. Stocks and I are very fortunate to have played in the large charity tournaments; To be able to contribute in terms of donations to some wonderful causes. However, as 5 Yard Rush continues to grow, we have a social responsibility to do more.

There is a lot of tournaments out there people can apply to play in. However, when we set up the FFCC, for UK folks who missed out on the Scott Fish Bowl, there was the brand new UKFL launched by Ben Rolfe and Rich King as well as some charity leagues run by ourselves, the Kickers Matter Podcast, and others, but thats it. What was missing was a charity style tournament that brought Pros and regular fans together to compete for a title here in the UK.

The idea was to be different. Everyone does league formats. But we all want to play in the playoffs. That’s the whole point! So why not make it a playoff from day one. The chance for the ordinary Joe to slay a titan of the industry in a H2H format.

By providing a star-studded field, but with the majority of spots going to fans, it allows everybody a fair chance to go head to head against some of their idols. It’s the magic of a knockout competition. Consider the FFCC the FA Cup of Fantasy Football. The giant killing potential is enormous.

The Opportunity for Charity

As I put in all our communications about the FFCC, if everybody donates just £10/$10 to charity, the event should raise over $3,000 for good causes. There is no mandatory requirement. However that goes against the spirit of the FFCC. 

As we don’t collect the money and rely on an honour system, we can only estimate the amount we raise. Last year, I am comfortable saying the FFCC raised a little over $1,100 for charity.. This year, we have already raised close to $1,500. It isn’t quite what we wanted to raise. However, we know that not everyone shares what they donated so these numbers are the very low floor of what has been raised. 

The key is to allow people to donate to where they want to donate. This pandemic that has hit us in 2020 has meant many charities have had fundraising efforts disrupted and therefore many charities in serious trouble. As 5 Yard Rush has a platform, albeit a relatively small one, it is up to us and others to use this for good and to help out. 

I have been very lucky in life. I have travelled the world. Also, I have a good job and I do what I love. Then there is the opportunity to do a podcast with one of my best friends who is like a brother to me. I get to work on it with some extremely talented people who I consider good friends. And then there is the listeners who indulge us by tuning in and interacting. The FFCC is an opportunity to say thank you to them, whilst giving back. It’s the ultimate win win.

The FFCC combines my love of knockout tournaments, with my love of Fantasy Football, whilst giving back. This is why it exists.

How did the FFCC Form?

I have covered some of this. As Stocks and I felt the need to give back and do something different, we needed to be creative. As I mentioned, I love a knockout competition. So I wanted to create something that was unique and tie into this.

In truth, this is a hard format to pull off. First of all, how do you work the 16 weeks out? What is the best format going forward? How do waivers work out? 

Most of these questions were easily solved by making the event best ball. No Waivers, no trades or transactions. This solved a lot of issues.

The next challenge was the 16 weeks. Doing it weekly meant we needed to fill 131,000+ spots, something that was never going to happen. When I looked at the maths, by doing each matchup 2 weekly, it would equate to 256 players. This seemed more realistic and allowed for some makeup if your team failed to turn up one week.

There was a small challenge in getting 256 people commit to a new format nobody had ever tried before. Lucky for the competition, we landed some wonderful analysts who added the spice. My eternal thanks will always go to Pat Fitzmaurice, Joe Pisapia, Andy Singleton, Bob Lung and many others who played and gave the tournament a little spice and some great headline names.

This year, the anti has been upped. Brian Drake, Dwain McFarland, Gary Haddow, Kevin Tompkins, Lauren Carpenter, Graham Barfield, Justin Varnes, Nate Hamilton, the names already mentioned from year 1 and others have joined in. This lineup is beyond my wildest dreams and meant we could put a celeb in every division if you include some of the UK “celebs”. To the folks stuck with me, I apologise. 

The Challenges of the Format

The major challenges once we worked out the format, was where to host it. In year 1, we hosted it on Fantrax. It was a bit of a disaster. The general feedback after year 1 was that people hated the draft experience on Fantrax. The other piece was that the scoring was hosted in 2 different places and showed 2 different scores. I personally think the customisation of Fantrax is exceptional and you can get creative with the platform in many ways. However, the general consensus was that if we hosted it there this year, many folks would not return.

Fantrax were fantastic in giving us support and a paid platform for free and I will always be grateful for the contribution they made to the FFCC.

However, for year 2 we have moved to Sleeper. This change to a platform solved the draft issue. However, Sleeper do not support best ball. Lucky for the FFCC, our title sponsor King Fantasy Sports and their owner Rich King has built and excellent Best Ball tool that uses an API to import the lineups and stats from Sleeper to allow the scoring to be displayed on Google Sheets. This means we can create an easy to find scoring page on our site that will make scoring clear and easy to see.

Without Rich’s help, this move would not have been possible and we would have had to look at an alternative solution. Lucky for me, we don’t.

As it stands, the field of 256 has been set. However, if a player does not make a selection in round 1, they get removed. So there is still a chance you can enter FFCC2020, it will just take some luck on your part, and subscribing to 5 Yard Rush on Twitter.

Some Tips for the FFCC

The key to winning the FFCC is to be fluid. The scoring is standard 1Pt. PPR with 6 points for QB Touchdowns. Our 2019 Champion Jack Humphrey picked a roster that was full of high risk, high reward players. Melvin Gordon, holding out last year, came good in the final, as did Ronald Jones and Carlos Hyde. It did help a lot he had Christian McCaffrey, but his 22 man roster had lots of upside picks like those mentioned, plus others such as DK Metcalf, John Ross (who hit early) as well as others such as DeSean Jackson and Marvin Jones Jr. Not many picks that Jack made would be considered “safe”.

Jack had Rodgers and Watson at QB, which is a safe pairing, and CMC, and Josh Jacobs, but all of his WRs were high upside players who all landed at different times. You need these players to hit, but they hit for Jack and he walked off with the title. 

Banking on safety or planning for the final will only mean one thing. Players this year will need to focus on winning games early, as well as also taking shots with players who could be very good, for very short periods of time. Consistency is less of a factor in this format. 

Remember, this is best ball. Your best players are automatically in your lineup. Therefore, you can take the risk on players like Will Fuller V, Derrius Guice, DeSean Jackson, Henry Ruggs etc. Last year, all but 1 of the 22 teams that drafted Sammy Watkins advanced to Round 2, after his Week 1 heroics. Imagine drafting a league winning team, only to fall at the first hurdle to a 40 point game from Sammy Watkins or DeSean Jackson. 

The Benefits of the FFCC

I have already talked about the charity aspects and the money raised. This is the main reason and benefit of the FFCC.

Ultimately the whole point of this is to have fun, raise money for charity, make new friends in the community and meet some of the legends in the community. If you have a legend in your league, interact with them. Check out all their content. They love to hear feedback on their work. Also, discuss strategy as there are many ways you could tackle the FFCC.

Some of the people I have met in the Scott Fish Bowl, or the FFCC or other leagues have become friends. That is a big part of why we want to do this. I love to see people interacting in the draft chats and getting to know everyone. Just have fun and donate. 

As a result of a tournament like this, other tournaments such as the Warrior Bowl, the Ryder Bowl and more have popped up. All of these events have, for the most part, a charity element. If, as a community, we can create such fun events and continue to contribute thousands of pounds or dollars to charity, then the real winners are the ones who will benefit from the donations.

However, we can all have a little fun whilst we donate. There is no harm in that. 

How to Follow the FFCC

All the brackets will be up on 5yardrush.co.uk along with all the different rosters and scores as and when the season happens. At some point before the season starts, the 2021 FFCC Signups will go up on the site so stay tuned for that.

Even if you aren’t involved in FFCC2020, get involved on twitter. Ask questions about strategy, follow on our website, and donate. You do not have to be in the tournament to donate a small amount of money to the charity of your choice.

Look out for the #FFCC on twitter and enjoy the ride. For everybody competing in the FFCC, good luck to you all. I look forward to crowning a winner in December.

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