Interview with David Dodds and Alex Kaganovsky
By Clayton Gray
July 14th, 2010


Quick links to the Footballguys Players Championship:  
    Prize Structure,  Overview,  Register,  Full Rules

Who are Dave and Alex and what is the FFPC?

Alex - Both Dave Gerczak and I have been playing high stakes fantasy football (HSFF) since 2002 and are fantasy football veterans since way before then. Throughout the years, we’ve been active voices in the HSFF community and have been able to gather tremendous amount of information about the industry from a player’s perspective. We’ve heard players debate rules, formats and give countless opinions about all the issues concerning HSFF. In February 2008, Dave and I realized that a new contest was needed, one which was designed specifically for the players, with a format and scoring rules that players would truly enjoy; a contest which would provide prize security in a form of attorney escrow; one which would offer customer service and a level of personal attention which players expect and deserve. Thus, we launched the Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC) in April 2008.

What prompted FBG to enter the contest arena?

David - Joe and I have considered having a contest for a long time actually. But as we dug deeper into what it would take to have a LIVE event, we basically decided that wasn't where our skills were. So the idea was tabled. When Dave and Alex presented the idea of an online contests where we jointly design the contest, they run the leagues and we do the promotion, this seemed like a natural fit to finally give us that contest we always desired. Both Joe and I have been impressed with what they have done with the FFPC so we rolled the dice here to create the best online contest.

What do you guys expect to do with this as partners that you couldn't achieve alone?

David - These guys are experts at running leagues. They already run a lot of online leagues and have shown to understand everything from registration to processing waivers to handling disputes. And although Joe and I could probably have tried to do this alone, I think together we have the ability to create something very special.

Alex - Dave and I bring experience to commissioning both live and online drafts. Also, the FFPC has been at the forefront of improving the high stakes industry with the first and only escrowed prize pool for their Main Event. The attorney escrow will be in place for the Footballguys Players Championship as well. The FFPC has set the bar for fast payouts of prizes since 2008, and expects to do the same in the FPC.

Our partnership with Footballguys.com is able to achieve two important things that the FFPC could not do alone: 1) reach tens of thousands of fantasy football players and 2) offer their subscribers and readers a contest which they can rely on, just as they have relied on Footballguys.com to provide great content to their subscribers for many years.

Why is this contest special? What makes it better than what others are doing?

Alex - What makes the Footballguys Players Championship special is it’s format, prize security and a level of customer service which is unmatched in the industry. The format is based on the FFPC Main Event which has become a favorite among the HSFF players. The entire prize pool will be placed in an escrow account overseen by an attorney. Customer service means quick problem resolution and most importantly, fast prize payout at year’s end.

David - I think I have a prety good pulse to what players want in a contest. First they want to know their money is safe. Second they want a fair prize pool that pays many spots deep. Third they want a big event where a smallish investment ($350 in this case) can land them a large payout (at least $50K in this contest). At lastly they want a contest where the software works, the game is managed fairly and they have a great experience playing. I feel we have created exactly this type of contest here.

With the recent uncertainly in the HSFF industry, what kind of prize security does this contest offer?

Alex - While players have already developed a high level of trust for both Footballguys.com and the FFPC, we feel trust alone is not enough. The only way to show players that prize money is secured is to place it in a separate escrow account, overseen by attorney. And that’s exactly what we will do with the entire FPC prize pool. The FFPC and the FPC are the only contests in the industry to offer this level of prize protection.

David - Uncertainty would be stating it mildly. There have been major thefts involving stealing money that was held for prizes. One of the things that attracted us to the partnership with the FFPC was all of our willingness to set the ENTIRE PRIZE POOL aside. Other contests will give you a million reasons why they can't do this. But ask yourself as a player if any of these excuses make sense. Interests rates are at an all-time low so if these other contests are not SECURING the prize pool, what exactly are they doing with the money during the contest?

What are the special rules in this contest?

Alex - The FFPC has many unique features vs. other fantasy contests, including:

  • Tight ends get 1.5 points per catch, vs. 1 point for RBs and WRs. This enables tight ends to be a fantasy-relevant component of your team vs. a simple afterthought in other formats.

  • Action scoring means the player (like Devin Hester, for instance) gets the points for special teams TDs, as well as the defense.

  • Four teams makes the playoffs instead of two, which makes for a very compelling regular season. Weeks 9-11 generally feature battles for the coveted 3 and 4 seeds, with as many as 9 or 10 teams still alive late into the regular season.

  • Extended waivers for playoffs teams. Spend your money early or save it for the playoffs? You decide.

  • Dual-flex option. Start 4 running backs, or 4 wide receivers or even 3 tight ends. Or a combination of the above. With the FFPC Dual-Flex, you can construct and draft your team how you see fit.

  • Head-to-head playoffs. Just like the NFL, feel the drama of the playoffs for league prize money.

  • Automatic playoff berths for #1 and #2 seeds. The top seeds automatically have a shot at the big money due to regular season performance.

  • Can I change my draft time once I register?

    Alex - Yes, but only is the draft has not filled and draft slots have not been drawn.

    If I add teams later, can I still get the 3-team discount and the 3-year subscription?

    Alex - Yes, the three-pack is $1,000 no matter when you purchase it. The 3-year subscription was part of the early-bird special that has passed. Buying three-teams will get you a 1-year subscription though.

    How fast do you guys pay out the winners?

    Alex - Historically, we have paid by the end of the year. Given the number of teams and potential payouts, we are looking at January 10, 2011 as our payout date, but we hope to beat that date.

    Explain what is meant by a Progressive Prize Pool.

    Alex - A progressive prize pool means that once we hit 600 teams, we will add to the prize pool as we continue to get entries. This way, players can be rewarded for the additional size of the overall contest.

    David - This was a big thing we wanted to see in a contest. The Internet Gambling Act made it illegal to tie the size of the pool to the number of entries. The loophole though is you can make it progressive as long as you GUARANTEE the minum size. So that's what we did. We have outlined exactly how our prize structure will grow too.

    How big do you think this will be in the first year? How big can it in 3-5 years?

    Alex - We are shooting for 900 teams in year one, but anything over 600 is great. In 3-5 years, I would like to see the FPC in the neighborhood of 1800 teams or even more with a $100,000 Grand Prize.

    David - We sit at approximately 265 teams today. If we get 600+ teams this year, this will be considered a huge success by all. I think over 1,000 teams in a few years is definitely possible.

    Are the prizes guaranteed?

    Alex - Yes, all prizes are guaranteed and full protected in attorney escrow. You also have the backing of the FFPC and Footballguys and we stand behind this contest 100%.

    David - It's illegal to not gurantee prizes. We will always guarantee prizes regardless of the number of teams that play.

    What's your take on the state of the high-stakes FF contests?

    Alex - High stakes fantasy is a great industry with a lot of potential, but there have been a lot of bad apples. Companies like AFFL, Fantasy Jungle and now FFOC have either closed, not paid or underpaid their winners. Some companies still operate and just offer their word that the money is there. Players deserve better than what they have gotten. They deserve full protection of the prize pool. If prizes are not paid and paid quickly, a fantasy company has not even provided the base product that they offered. The FPC will offer that and a fantastic draft and in-season game experience, that much I can guarantee. Whether or not a player wins, we cannot help you there. But we will run the contest in a fair and professional manner, and you will have no doubts that the prizes you win will be in your hand shortly after the season ends.

    David - Joe and I were in a bad spot regarding contests. Because of our extensive mailing list and popular site, many chose to advertise with us. We did due diligence, but have still been burned by companies. Going forward, we now only will accept advertising dollars from contests/leagues that fully protect their prize pool (escrow, a third-party product like LeagueSafe, etc). That has meant us leaving advertising dollars on the table, but Joe and I no longer desire to take ad dollars from companies that won't take the simple step of protecting their prize pools.

    Footballguys has also sponsored the Bare Knuckles Challenge at the FFPC. What is that about?

    Alex - The Bare Knuckles Challenge is this crazy idea that David Dodds had for a live 26-round draft where players cannot use cheatsheets, pens, highlighters, computer, rankings or even a phone for assistance. Plus, there is just a 30-second time limit. Of course, the $750 entry fee league rapidly sold out and will be drafted just minutes after the Thursday night NFL kickoff game ends. The Bare Knuckles Challenge is the ultimate test of mind, memory, skill and overall dedication to fantasy football.

    David - I am a bit bummed that I am now not going to play, but the response was overwhelming and I wanted to let everyone have a chance at this that wanted in. It really should be a sight to see. This is not for the "casual" fantasy player.

    How many people have already signed up?

    Alex - We are now rapidly closing in on 300 teams, and August is expected to pretty crazy with all of the entries coming in.

    What software will be used to run the drafts / manage teams?

    Alex - The Footballguys Players Championship leagues will be hosted by respected contest provider RTSports.com. RTSports has powered many national contests across multiple sports.

    What are your definitions of this being a success?

    Alex - The main definition of success is player reaction during and after the season. We hope to provide a fun and entertaining contest that is compelling to fantasy players. We strive to reach the high stakes player as well as the recreational drafter that wants to "step it up" and feel the excitement of a high stakes national fantasy football contest. The thrill provided can be addicting, and Sundays promise to be more fun than ever for participants in the Footballguys Players Championship.

    David - People have a great time, winners are paid promptly and everyone is excited for the next year's event.

    Your prize pool shows payouts through 100 leagues, what happens over 100 leagues?

    Alex - The prize pool will simply keep growing, with a focus towards the increase of the Grand Prize at that point.

    I have other questions not answered here, what is the best way to get in contact with you guys?

    Alex - The best way to reach us is by email, to support@myFFPC.com.