Players To Watch: Week 8

June 13, 2024
By Daniel Cohen

The road to Championship Weekend is only just beginning, and the back half of the season is sure to feature plenty of notable performances as teams fight for playoff position in their respective divisions. Basically every roster this week has multiple notable absences, which means bigger workloads and added pressure for this week’s watchlist. 

Alex Atkins, Colorado Summit (Pictured)

Jonathan Nethercutt, Zeke Thoreson, and Conor Tabor—all of whom have taken on significant O-line throwing roles at some point this season—are currently listed as out this week, which means the spotlight is on Alex Atkins to lead Colorado’s offense even more so than usual. Up against Madison and Minnesota this weekend, Atkins’ lone matchup with a Central Division opponent came last year, and he went off for nearly 500 yards of offense with two assists and a career-high five goals in Colorado’s 25-15 thrashing of Minnesota. Now, Atkins comes off a game-winning-assist-to-game-sealing-interception combo to complete Colorado’s upset over Salt Lake, and the Summit are hungry to use this momentum to get their season back on track after losing three of their first four games. While I expect him to play heavy minutes on offense, his near-even split of O and D-points against Salt Lake was notable, and it’ll be interesting to see how his role shifts each week around available personnel.

Elliott Chartock, New York Empire

With a shorthanded roster this weekend in Philly, Elliott Chartock could be in for a 500-plus yard day from throwing yards alone. Among others, the Empire will be without Solomon Rueschemeyer-Bailey and John Randolph to help out as throwers, so Chartock will likely see a few extra touches in this one as the primary distributor on the Empire O-line. He’s off to a great start this year, even though he’s just played three games; Chartock has at least four assists and over 300 throwing yards in every game and is leading the team in huck completions per game with 1.7. He completed all three of his 40-plus yard throws in New York’s first meeting with Philly, and if the Hotbirds do their thing and get the longball going—they completed a season-high 10 hucks in that first meeting—Chartock is going to be the guy for New York that can provide answers.

Anthony Gutowsky, Madison Radicals

A guy who can rise (often literally) to the occasion and match the energy of the Breese Stevens Field crowd, Anthony Gutowsky has been developing into one of Madison’s most versatile players and highlight-makers. No longer simply the goal scoring machine that he was last year as a rookie, Gutowsky has seen plenty of action on defense this year and he’s up to 11 blocks in six games, tied for fourth most in the league. But make no mistake, he’s still finding the end zone at will, with his 4.0 goals per game average also tied for fourth in the league. Regardless of where he lines up on the field, he makes his presence known every time he’s out there with great instincts, constant hustle, and a knack for making big plays. If Gumby can keep the Radicals crowd energized throughout the game, Madison will have a great shot at their first true statement win of the season.

Will Hoffenkamp, Pittsburgh Thunderbirds

Without top playmakers Max Sheppard and Carl Johnson against Indianapolis in Week 6, rookie Will Hoffenkamp became The Guy on the Pittsburgh offense. He turned in one of the best throwing performances we’ve seen this season on the Thunderbirds’ record-setting day, as he completed 59-of-60 throws for over 500 yards and eight assists. Every possession, it was clear the whole offense revolved around Hoffenkamp, and yet the AlleyCats defense was unable to slow down Pittsburgh’s patient, methodical approach. This week against Chicago, Pittsburgh is expected to be without another rookie thrower in Anil Driehuys, which means we could see an even heavier workload for Hoffenkamp as the Thunderbirds look for their third win over a 2023 playoff team. 

Paul Krenik, Minnesota Wind Chill

Paul Krenik made his 2024 debut last week against Indianapolis and continues to trend upwards as one of the top young players in the league. Krenik recorded two assists, a goal, and two blocks to go with over 250 total yards of offense (second-highest yardage total of his career) in Minnesota’s 24-21 victory. Despite it being his first game of the season, Krenik was on the field for a team-high 27 points. The Wind Chill have some holes to fill on defense this week without Bret Bergmeier and Sam Berglund, and Krenik is the type of player that can lead by example with shut-down matchup defense in addition to helping facilitate the counterattack after turnovers. It still hasn’t felt like we’ve seen Krenik’s true ceiling as a pro frisbee player, and with a massive matchup against the Summit this week, Saturday presents a perfect opportunity to take another step towards stardom. 

Tyler Monroe, DC Breeze

There are loads of absences for the Breeze this week, as Rowan McDonnell, Jonny Malks, the Norrbom brothers, Thomas Edmonds, and Elliot Bonnet are all listed as out for the team’s Canada road trip. What DC will have, however, is one of the O-line’s most consistent and versatile pieces in Tyler Monroe. Of the top six Breeze players in total yards, Monroe leads the pack in individual offensive efficiency; when he’s been on the field this year, the Breeze have scored on 65 percent of their possessions. Between helping out in the backfield, facilitating the intermediate space as a midfield hybrid, or stretching the defense deep, Monroe seems to be exactly what the Breeze need whenever they need it, and he really doesn’t make many mistakes. Without a chunk of the usual O-line staples this week, it’s going to be on guys like Monroe to bring that stability to the line and avoid any slip-ups in this weekend’s double header with Toronto and Montreal.

Jack Shanahan, Chicago Union

Back in the lineup after missing Chicago’s last two games against Madison and Indy, Jack Shanahan will slot back in this week as a top producer on the Union O-line. Through the first half of the season, Shanahan leads the team in yards per game (400), scores per game (5.0), assists per game (4.0), and huck completions per game (2.3). While we may have thought it’d be a somewhat even combination of Shanahan, John Lithio, and Jeff Weis, providing continuation huck looks throughout the season, Shanahan has really been the focal point and he’s 9-of-10 on deep throws so far. And with both Lithio and Weis not expected to play this week, Shanahan will likely be in for a sizable workload as Chicago looks to hold off Pittsburgh in their first meeting of the season.

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