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My Take on High Stakes: How A 10-Year Vet and Multiple Titlist Plans to Attack the FFPC Main Event

One of the top high stakes players in the world and an FFPC specialist, Monty Phan begins his series focused on dominating the FFPC Main Event. Whether you’re a beginner hoping to cut through those first several seasons of ineptitude or a top player looking to pick the brain of a peer, Monty’s series covers the key tactical elements for taking home your league title.

In the high-stakes FFPC Main Event, there’s always a date in July where owners who pay for their teams in full are then the first to get their draft position, giving them a good 4 to 6 weeks to prepare a strategy. Since 2014, I have helped run FFPC teams with three friends. Two years ago, none of us remembered to pay for our Main Event team ahead of the July deadline, so we had to wait until mid-August to get our draft position. It was a dark time.

But lo! We went on to win the regular-season Main Event title that season and notched an overall ninth-place finish, our best ever. Alas, a new theory was born: Perhaps the sharks are more likely to pay by the earliest deadline, and thus, by waiting, we ended up in a league with more first-timers and inexperienced owners. Last year, we decided to again skip the early deadline and pay in time for the second round; we won our league – for the fourth year in a row – but failed to do much in the championship round. It turns out that, based on a sample size of two seasons, the key to winning a Main Event title probably has nothing to do with what time of year you make the full payment for your team.

A Different Theory

My point in sharing this is that there’s a much more likely explanation for our success than relying on superstition. About five years ago is when I started reading RotoViz, and in 2014, our Main Event team finished 16th overall, which was the first time in five years to that point that I’d ever won money in high-stakes fantasy. We’ve been playing with house money ever since.

I’m here to say I’m not really a numbers guy. A long time ago, I was an engineering major, but I hated it, and I switched to journalism. There are writers on this site with more coding knowledge than I have, who can interpret data more easily than I can, who see correlations better than I do. My “skill,” if you can even call it that, is basically reading all NFL-related content on this site and figuring out how the advice best fits the specific rules of the FFPC.1

What I’m hoping to do in this series is walk you through my strategies for how I plan to attack the Main Event, based on the insight gleaned from other writers and the RotoViz suite of tools. A lot of it is similar to how I’ve drafted in previous years; only the names have changed.

We’ll go deep in the next installments, but start today with a few foundation pieces.

Know the Rules

The Main Event has a 20-man roster, which is really 18 offensive players when you account for the required defense and kicker. All positions get 1 point per reception, except for tight ends, who get 1.5 PPR. You’re required to start 1 quarterback, 2 running backs, 2 wide receivers, 1 tight end and 2 flex (RB/WR/TE). Those two flex spots are important. If you don’t know why, then you’ve likely never read RotoViz, because “winning the flex” is practically a mantra, and it’s something I’ll focus on later. You want to build a team that scores a ton, because one of the ways to automatically qualify for the Main Event’s three-week championship round – and a chance at the grand prize money – is to win your league’s points title.2

Have a Strategy

Don’t go into the draft with a plan of “well, I’ll just take the value as it falls.” Yes, for some picks that’s fine. But know whether you want a running back in your first couple picks; whether you want to fill that premium-scoring TE spot with Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz or George Kittle; whether you want to go RB-heavy, Zero RB or modified Zero RB; and whether you plan to wait on QB. Remember: You can win from any draft spot. There is no magic position.

Draft – A Lot

If you’re focused solely on FFPC, enter a few of the $35 best-ball leagues. Even the slow drafts will give you a feel for where players are going, and you can make use of our excellent FFPC Command Center app as well as reference FFPC ADP. The 90-second timer during Main Event drafts can be nerve-wracking at times. Getting a feel for how to adjust on the fly is a key component in adapting and avoiding draft-derailing picks.

In the next installment, I’ll cover strategies that will help you dominate the first half of the draft.


  1. Editor’s Note: This is the most important skill a fantasy owner can have and why you want to listen carefully to the advice of the best players – even if you decide to take a different approach.  (back)
  2. The other way is to finish with the best record, but the tie-breaker for that is total points.  (back)

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