PFF Player Grades Pick’em: The results

In the debut of our pick'em game, how did the winning roster look? And what were the notable strategies?

| 4 months ago
(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

PFF Player Grades Pick’em: The results

Sunday’s Super Bowl is going to be remembered for a long time, of course. An epic comeback, some miraculous catches, a continued dynasty and/or a tremendous collapse transpiring. It was a game for storylines, for sure.

Here’s the thing, though: For three quarters, that game was all Falcons.

Now, that doesn’t matter, of course. Football games are four(-plus) quarters long, and when the Super Bowl ended, the Patriots were the winners. But where that does come into account is in our player grades, and specifically in the outcome of our inaugural game of PFF Player Grades Pick’em. Because while there were high grades to be found on both sides of the ball for both teams, the winning roster was two-thirds Falcons.

If you missed it the first time around, the pick’em game divided Super Bowl players into offense and defense, and then into tiers based on their previous game’s grade — 80-plus, 70-80, 70 and below. That left six total groups, and pick’em players picked one from each group. Highest total grade would be the winner.

The winner, a roster chosen by champion Parker McLeod, with a combined grade of 487.5, employed four Falcons (LB Deion Jones, WR Julio Jones, C Alex Mack and S Keanu Neal) against only two Patriots (LB Dont’a Hightower and WR Danny Amendola). It was only 14.2 points off of the maximum possible score in the game. The winner gets a year’s subscription to PFF All-Access.

Meanwhile, the last-place roster out of 439 entries (no, I won’t tell you that player’s name), was all Patriots (LB Kyle Van Noy, T Nate Solder, LB Dont’a Hightower, HB LeGarrette Blount, LB Elandon Roberts and WR Malcolm Mitchell), for a total score of 311.0 — and yes, Hightower appeared on both the best and worst possible rosters.


Some common themes emerged from the roster construction. First, players loved Tom Brady in Sunday’s game. The New England quarterback appeared on 203 of the 439 rosters (46.2 percent), the highest single percentage for a single player. That’s interesting, because Brady was in a pool that also included Matt Ryan (17.8 percent of rosters) and Julio Jones (15.7 percent), so you might have expected those guys to all siphon picks off of one another. Other popular players included Dont’a Hightower (yes, him again, at 37.6 percent), Julian Edelman (34.4 percent) and Deion Jones (33.3 percent). Those were the only players to appear on more than 30 percent of rosters.

Did we learn strategy in this pick’em game? Well, you need to hit on your low-tiered players, as each of the top 11 rosters got grades of 73 or higher from their bottom-tiered players. And just one big name or two can’t make or break a roster — see the fourth-from-worst roster, which picked out the single highest-graded player in Julio Jones, but didn’t have a grade over 52.9 otherwise. Unlike regular fantasy, where you can sometimes quasi-blow off kicker or defense, there are no wasted spots in a roster of PFF Grades Pick’em.

Did you play the game? Would you be interested in it in the future? No promises, but give us your feedback. What worked? What didn’t? Would a modified 32-team version of the game be fun or overwhelming? Comment below or hit us up on Twitter and let us know your thoughts.

Oh, and PFF godfather Cris Collinsworth? Well, he did all right, finishing 64th with a roster of Alan Branch, Tom Brady, Dont’a Hightower, Julian Edelman, Patrick Chung and Taylor Gabriel.

| Fantasy Editor

Daniel Kelley is the fantasy editor for Pro Football Focus. He has previously appeared at SB Nation.

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