High Staked: Saint Alvin

Alvin Kamara was not someone I was targeting in the first round of drafts. Fortunately, he was available for our FFPC team to draft only one time: At the 1.01, where we took Todd Gurley instead.

Do I feel stupid for thinking Kamara might suffer some sort of Saints sophomore slump, succumbing to the pressure of carrying the backfield load without the suspended Mark Ingram? Of course I do. You know who feels worse? Those who passed on drafting Alvin Kamara.

With his performance yesterday, Kamara is averaging an other-worldy 34 points per game in FFPC scoring. For reference, in 2016, during the 16 weeks of the FFPC’s Main Event, David Johnson averaged 27 points, while last year, Gurley averaged 26. Kamara has been so dominant that you could start two David Johnsons each week and they would not equal Kamara’s production. Yes, with Ingram’s suspension now ended, there’s a question of how much his workload will cut into Kamara’s, but those who drafted him with their first pick have gotten more than their money’s worth.

With nearly four completed weeks in the FFPC, it’s fairly obvious that Kamara is a fixture in the lineups of teams at the top of the total points leaderboard. However, in a vast majority of the high-stakes drafts that took place toward the start of the season, Kamara was a top-four pick, so expectations were already pretty high.

While not as dominant so far, Melvin Gordon also finds himself on plenty of top teams, some of whom were able to grab him toward the end of the first. Some of those teams then were able to take Michael Thomas, the top wide receiver going into this weekend and also a staple of top teams.

Other observations from the first month of the season:

  • If you’ve been playing fantasy football for at least 20 years, then Thursday’s Rams performance probably reminded you of the Kurt Warner-era “Greatest Show on Turf.” Five Rams – Gurley, Jared Goff, Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods – have earned spots as every-week starters, and all of them are likely on league-leading rosters.
  • James White has turned out to be the guy Duke Johnson owners thought they were drafting. If you’re looking for one of the draft’s best picks, right now it’s White, who’s become a valuable RB1 despite having been drafted anywhere from the seventh to 11th rounds. Of course, now that Sony Michel is healthy and Julian Edelman can return from suspension, White’s production could decrease, but so far he’s been gold.
  • If you missed on White, then hopefully you took Austin Ekeler, who has produced solid flex-spot production despite serving as Gordon’s backup. A Zero RB favorite, Ekeler’s value would skyrocket were Gordon to go down.
  • In the FFPC, where tight ends get 1.5 points per reception, many drafters were anticipating second-year breakouts at the position. So far, they’ve likely been disappointed. Evan Engram had a good game sandwiched between two duds and missed this week with an injured knee. O.J. Howard has been serviceable but put up a goose egg yesterday when he also injured his knee. David Njoku, a favorite sleeper pick, finally had his first double-digit scoring game yesterday, but just barely. The best of this bunch has been George Kittle, one of the most reliable TEs so far this season.
  • Finally, there’s Jonnu Smith, also a second-year TE who mostly went undrafted in Main Event leagues. After Delanie Walker suffered a season-ending injury in the opener, however, Smith became one of the top waiver-wire additions in Week 2, with the expectation that he would slide right into Walker’s role. So far this season, through four games, Smith has 5.1 points. Walker’s point total in his only game: 11.2.