NFFC Draft: Jefferson First Overall

NFFC Draft: Jefferson First Overall

On Saturday I drafted my first NFFC RotoWire Online Championship team of 2022, a big jump in pressure and stakes from the Best Ball format I've mostly focused on in the offseason. The NFFC is basically the peak of top-tier fantasy football leagues, a time-tested format with big prizes and cutthroat competition against the people whose picks catch public attention and influence the direction of ADP in general. This format is 1QB/2RB/3WR/1TE/1FLEX/1TK/1DEF with PPR scoring and six points per passing touchdown.

You get to set an order of pick preference before your draft, which features a third-round reversal setup, so that you have a swinging chance at getting your preferred selection loadout in the first three rounds. This is something I did not set in time for my draft, so I got the first overall pick, which I assume is the default request if you don't change it.

Call it rationalization, but the more I considered it the more content I was with the first pick slot. The third round reversal hits hard, but looking at the recent ADP I had a specific plan in mind right away: Justin Jefferson – my No. 1 player – then Travis Etienne and Kyle Pitts. As long as the third round reversal spared me Etienne and Pitts I thought I had a decent shot, though it was far from a given and if anyone else wanted Etienne or Pitts then my advocacy for both was fair warning of the need to snipe me.

It was a dreadfully anxious wait, but Etienne and Pitts both made it to my next picks. A lot can still go wrong, but I think Jefferson and Pitts are strong bets to lead the scoring at their positions, and to me Etienne is a better version of D'Andre Swift, who usually goes in the first round in PPR. Nick Chubb and Tee Higgins were my other considerations at the second pick and I'm a big fan of both players but I decided to chase what I consider extreme upside potential in Etienne.

As much as I might eventually regret the Etienne pick, it's Pitts in the third round whose market I may have overestimated. I took Pitts three selections after Mark Andrews, who I have ranked safely behind Pitts, but then Darren Waller didn't go for nearly three rounds, which I certainly did not anticipate. I have Pitts ahead of Waller but not three rounds ahead. The sharper conventional play on NFFC might be to punt at tight end and instead target running back and receiver more heavily, but even if so I think Pitts presents the likely exception if there ever is one.

While Pitts was the main target I waited on in the third round, I also knew I needed to get a wide receiver with the next selection, the first of the fourth round. My options were Jaylen Waddle, Courtland Sutton and DK Metcalf, and I went with Waddle to ostensibly pursue greater target volume security. Sutton and Metcalf will score more touchdowns, but I like Waddle's chances of putting up another 100 receptions this year, even with Tyreek Hill present. I'm not even convinced Hill has better numbers than Waddle this year, Waddle truther that I am.

With Etienne, Jefferson, Waddle and Pitts on the roster I started to think about how I should handle quarterback. Josh Allen went five picks before I made mine at the turn, and Mahomes was next 17 selections after I took Waddle. The room seemed to be waiting on quarterback, and the running backs were going in a hurry, so I decided to double-tap running back at the next turn, should my two targets make it that far...

If you've been subjected to my running back takes at all this offseason you might already know I was gunning for Elijah Mitchell and Antonio Gibson. I took them at the halfway point between where AJ Dillon (5.05) and Tony Pollard (6.08) went. I don't think Dillon or Pollard have the floor or ceiling Mitchell or Gibson do, so I was glad to position myself at this point in the RB market. With three running backs on the roster I knew I was done picking them for at least a couple rounds. It was time to take quarterback more seriously.

When my 7.12 selection came up I had the option of Joe Burrow, Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts, Trey Lance and Dak Prescott. For me it was between Wilson and Burrow, and I decided to go with Burrow. None of the quarterback candidates had pairing/stacking utility and I didn't quite want to bank on Kirk Cousins as a QB1 later on, so I sort of tossed a coin in my mind and went with Burrow with the hope that he'll be even better in 2022, another year removed from the season-ending torn knee ligaments he suffered in 2020.

Burrow, Etienne, Mitchell, Gibson, Jefferson, Waddle and Pitts strikes me as a strong lineup, but by then it was clear that I'd be playing it a bit risky at WR3. Robert Woods was the best option on the board by 8.01 – my ideal target Christian Kirk went four selections earlier – so hopefully Woods will suffice in that third WR role. He'll be working in a committee with Tyler Boyd (9.12), Sammy Watkins (11.12), Romeo Doubs (12.01), and maybe even KJ Hamler (13.12). I wasn't trying to be epic by taking Watkins and Doubs back to back, but I knew I needed more bullets at wide receiver and I thought it was worth burning the two picks since it might net me the WR2 production in Green Bay. If Woods does alright and if one of Watkins or Doubs plays a three-down role then I like my chances.

I rounded out the roster with Cordarrelle Patterson (10.01) as my overqualified RB4, Matt Ryan (14.01) as my QB2, Hayden Hurst (18.01) as my TE2 and Dontrell Hilliard (20.12) as my RB5. I took the Cincinnati team kicker (17.12), the San Francisco defense (16.01) and the Cincinnati defense (19.12).

The one pick I regret was taking Corey Davis at 15.12. I think Davis is a good player and was clearly a good value, but I didn't need the depth he might otherwise provide as much as I needed more depth at running back. My running backs might work out okay even with that error, but I would much rather swap out Davis for Damien Williams (19.04) or Samaje Perine (20.03).

RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only NFL Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire NFL fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mario Puig
Mario is a Senior Writer at RotoWire who primarily writes and projects for the NFL and college football sections.
NFL Week 5 Picks, Predictions, Props, and Best Bets For Every Game
NFL Week 5 Picks, Predictions, Props, and Best Bets For Every Game
Target Breakdown: Week 4 WR/TE Usage Recap & Week 5 Waiver Picks
Target Breakdown: Week 4 WR/TE Usage Recap & Week 5 Waiver Picks
NFL Waiver Wire: Week 5 Pickups
NFL Waiver Wire: Week 5 Pickups
NFL Notebook Dump: Stafford Struggles, Broncos in Trouble + More Week 4 Notes
NFL Notebook Dump: Stafford Struggles, Broncos in Trouble + More Week 4 Notes
NFL Week 5 Injury Analysis: Williams Likely to Miss Start of 2023 Season
NFL Week 5 Injury Analysis: Williams Likely to Miss Start of 2023 Season
Streaming Defenses: Week 5 Fantasy Options for Team Defenses
Streaming Defenses: Week 5 Fantasy Options for Team Defenses