I have a packed report on the NFL players you want to know about in the Footballguys Players Championship this week. Remember that fantasy managers are chasing a $500,000 grand prize in drafts going off daily, and I have a front-row seat for all the action as one of the online facilitators of these drafts. If any of the drafters have a connection issue, cannot get into the draft room, or experiences any other obstacles in making their picks, I am there in the draft room to assist. In this piece, I want to share a few of the things I have noticed while monitoring these drafts over the last week:
Where are high-stakes drafters selecting Michael Thomas?
What a career Thomas has had, especially over the last few years. From 2017 to 2019, he had more than 100 catches, including a record-setting 149 in 2019. However, that is when things changed. Trying to play through a nasty ankle injury in 2020, he underwhelmed and then did not play at all in 2021. We have all seen the video of him running routes, and most of the reporting has been positive surrounding his return to the field after missing a year-and-a-half of football. Remember, though, the Saints’ receiver room has changed as well.
Footballguys drafters have regularly selected New Orleans’ free agent signee Jarvis Landry in the 12th round since he joined the team. In addition, the Saints’ first-round pick Chris Olave is going even higher, being chosen in the ninth round. Yet Michael Thomas is still the top New Orleans’ wideout going in Footballguys drafts, now creeping up into the late-sixth over the past week. Until high-stakes GMs see anything to the contrary, many of them are looking at Thomas as a nice back-end third receiver that could pay off huge in terms of the 2022 FPC’s $500,000 grand prize.
How are the Footballguys gamers treating the battle between Albert Okwuegbunam and Greg Dulcich?
After Okwuegbunam began drafting season as an early-tenth round pick, drafters let him slip when they saw and read what the rookie Dulcich was doing in OTAs and minicamp. In fact, Okwuegbunam slipped to the latter part of the 13th round as late as mid-June.
While Dulcich is talented, he is still a rookie tight end—something FPC drafters have not been able to find success with (for the most part) since the inception of the Footballguys Players Championship. The rookie from UCLA was not even being selected initially but climbed up to the 18th round in early June. Recently, I am seeing him go in the 17th, so it is clear the gap is closing between these two players duking it out for the starting spot in Mile High. However, it is still significant, and that chasm between them will probably only be closed if we see a preseason injury or some big performances from Dulcich.
Based on recent news, who is a player to watch in the next week?
Ian Rapoport and J.K. Dobbins had a fun little social media exchange this week with Rapoport reporting that the Ravens running back was no sure thing to be ready for Week 1 and Dobbins clapping back to say how well his rehab is going and that he will be ready for the start of the season. FPC players will be unpacking a few things here in handling Dobbins in their drafts:
- Rapoport never said Dobbins would not be ready. Only that it is possible he will not be.
- Dobbins' tweet stating, “I might not even go on the PUP,” was meant to be a positive development in his recovery, but it may appear more ominous. Reading between the lines, it would seem that Dobbins himself believes the popular opinion is that he is more likely to go on the PUP list than not.
- The Ravens do not have a pedigreed rusher behind Dobbins, so it would behoove them to ensure he is fully healthy before deploying him in regular season games.
So what will Footballguys drafters do? Before Rapoport’s report, I had usually seen Dobbins going in the mid-fifth round. However, some slippage has already begun. In fact, he went in the mid-sixth and late-sixth of two of the FPC drafts I commissioned this past Tuesday night. Will that continue? I will be watching and will let you know right here!
Thanks for reading, everyone! I will see you in the Footballguys Players Championship draft rooms!
Eric Balkman is an online commissioner for live Footballguys Players Championship drafts at MyFFPC.com. He is also the host and producer of The High Stakes Fantasy Football Hour, the RotoViz High-Stakes Lowdown, and the FFPC Live Best Ball Coverage shows broadcast on all FFPC media outlets.