First Ladies of Fantasy Football: Part 3
Sorry, the third installment of The First Ladies of Fantasy Football has taken a while to get to, but I am happy to present the newest edition. This is a series where I speak with women in the fantasy football industry and get their takes on various questions presented by people on Twitter as well as myself. Sit back, relax, and read all about these wonderful women. Just a reminder that these questions were asked months ago, so any information that is out of date is entirely my fault.
Installment three's guest, give us some insight as to who you are:
I’m Katie Babino (@katiebabs23 on Twitter) and I write a weekly article for The Fantasy Authority. I live in the great state of Washington. I’m a big Seahawks, Celtics, and Gonzaga Bulldogs fan. I’m also a huge TV/Movie geek (Harry Potter, Timeless, Superstore, B99, and many more).
My name is Rebecca Jones aka @broncobecka. I am a contributor for FFStatistics. I have some podcast appearances lined up so those will be coming out in the next month or two. I live in Salt Lake City with my husband and two dogs. My husband plays fantasy too, so it’s fun to compete against each other and spend time together doing research and building DFS lineups.
My name is Katie Flower, and I am a writer and on the weekly regular and premium podcast at Under the Helmet on iTunes and Stitcher radio, the website is UTHdynasty.com. You can find me on twitter @FF_Skyler399. I am originally from New England but live in the Dallas area now. I coached youth baseball, basketball, and football as well as refereed and umpired all 3 for 14 years. I have always loved sports of all kinds.
How did you become interested in fantasy football?
Katie B.: My whole family was always very interested in sports and I grew up a huge tomboy. I was more into Basketball than anything else and didn’t really care about football. When I was in eighth grade, my family was doing their annual fantasy football draft, when my Grandpa decided last minute that he didn’t want to draft his team, and asked me to do it for him. I had no idea what I was doing! I figured if I knew the guys’ names, they must be famous, and therefore, must be good.
Once I got into high school, I slowly began learning more and more about the game. By the time I started college, I was a huge football fan. I’ve really gotten into fantasy in the last two or three years, as I have fallen in love with football.
Rebecca: I have been a football fan my whole life. I grew up in Denver watching Big 10 and Pac 10 college ball, and of course the Broncos. I didn’t really know about fantasy until I met my husband. He introduced me to it and I loved it. My first year I didn’t know about the waiver wire until halfway through the season *facepalm* I’m a very competitive person and learned a lot quickly. My second year playing I won a 14 team league. Now I can’t imagine a life without fantasy football.
Katie F.: I got into redraft fantasy football in 2012 when a friend of mine who organized an annual reality TV charity event for Give Kids the World in Orlando Florida invited me to join. I had 3 days to prep for the draft and scoured the internet for rankings and tips. I read Matthew Berry’s draft day manifesto on ESPN and used it as a guideline. My team was the worst one in the league and with no trading, it was hard to bounce back.
I took the next offseason to prep for 2013, participated in over 100 mock drafts and ended up playing in 12 redraft leagues in the 2013 season. I did much better including 4 league winners and 3 playoff championships. In June 2014 during a redraft draft on ESPN, I was chatting with 2 other people using the chat box and one guy asked if we had ever played dynasty before, he was commish of a league and needed 2 owners to take over orphans. When he mentioned rookie drafts and trading and keeping players forever, I was in.
I again scoured the internet for information on dynasty fantasy football. I bought subscriptions to UTH and DLF because they both seemed to have good information and were easy to find things. I started listening to the UTH podcast and felt closest to their strategy than any other site. By the end of the 2014 season, I not only had the 5-6 redraft teams but took on 3 dynasty orphans, 2 dispersal drafts, and 4 dynasty startups.
How did you become a fantasy writer? What made you decide to do this?
Katie B.: I had been following different fantasy analysts on twitter for a while, and writing has always been a passion of mine. I’ve always loved writing of any kind – I’ve actually written a full-length feature film in my spare time! I started my own blog to write about fantasy but wasn’t sure how to build a following. One of the analysts I follow tweeted out that The Fantasy Authority (TFA) was looking for writers, so I decided to go for it and send them a link to my blog. What better way to combine my passions of writing and fantasy football!
Rebecca: A few weeks after I joined Twitter I got a lot of offers to write. At first, I wasn’t sure because I write professionally and didn’t know if I wanted to do more writing. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought it would be fun to write about something I love. I picked FFStatistics because I like their website. It’s a great group of guys! You should follow them all on Twitter.
Katie F.: I have always believed that if I am going to learn about something and get good at it, I would need/want to play in as many formats as possible. I got into IDP, devy, auction, salary cap, superflex and a variety of leagues. I started asking Chad and Doug from UTH trade questions via email and twitter. One day on the podcast I heard Chad mention my name and that I was quickly becoming his favorite fan because of my strategic mind, Doug said: “sounds like she should write an article for us”. It had never occurred to me that they would accept outside contributions.
That very night I wrote a strategy article and submitted it to Chad the next day. He said thanks and that he would publish it in a few days. I was so excited! I began writing articles here and there and everyone that I submitted got published. Next, I was asked to come on the podcast as a guest, they never had guests on the show! So I did and it was a blast, talking about football and strategy, the time flew.
I had been a guest several times and had written for the site for over 6 months when Doug had to stop doing the podcast for personal life reasons, Chad asked me if I wanted to go full time and I accepted. By this point, I was in almost 50 dynasty leagues and cut my redraft leagues down to 2. My tagline on the podcast is “you may beat me, but you will not outwork me”. By being in the variety of leagues and formats, I have been able to expand my knowledge much quicker. I see more trades, complete more trades, see more waiver wire pick-ups, etc.
What kind of advice would you give someone who is interested in becoming involved in the fantasy community?
Katie B.: My advice would be to just for it! Be confident in your skills and your takes. Don’t be afraid to be wrong, we all get things wrong. I didn’t think I had any chance to start writing for TFA because I didn’t have much experience. So just go for it and always be open to constructive criticism!
Rebecca: Being active on Twitter is important. I post a lot to get a lot of engagement on my posts. It’s also important to always be learning about fantasy, different research techniques and develop writing skills. It’s important to be a good writer. If you haven’t already, I would recommend taking a writing class or two to develop writing skills.
Katie F.: If you are interested in getting into writing or podcasting for fantasy football there are a lot of people always looking to expand. I’d say get on twitter and start following all of the dynasty and redraft people you can find, create relationships and ask questions. Put out feelers for who is looking for some new content, send them your work and ask them for honest feedback. Don’t be afraid to jump right in, it is a fun hobby and an industry that welcomes new talent.
What take did you have at the beginning of the season that you think will be spot on when the season ends? What is a take that you had that you were way off on?
Katie B.: When I sent my work in to TFA, they asked me to write a sample on how I felt about the Green Bay backfield. I wish I would’ve published the piece I sent them because I touted Aaron Jones. I stated that the backfield would be his for the taking after serving his suspension. Jones will end up being the highest fantasy scorer of the Green Bay backfield in no time.
(As for being off on) Chris Freakin’ Hogan, man. I drafted that guy everywhere after we all thought he would become a top target for Tom Brady, but we’ve all seen how that’s played out. I’ve been trying to hold on, but with Julian Edelman back from suspension this week, I’m afraid the Hogan ship has sailed.
Rebecca: Spot on: I picked the Rams to win the Super Bowl. I think they’ll do it. They look amazing. Way off: I thought Mahomes and the Chiefs would suck. Whoops.
Katie F.: One of my early season takes that I think will be spot on is John Brown being the WR1 for the Ravens offense in terms of fantasy points. I like Crabtree but a healthy speedy Brown is a true weapon and Flacco can get him the ball. One take I was way off on and doubt it will even come close was that Peyton Barber would be the most valuable fantasy RB in Tampa Bay. While I still like him more than Ronald Jones, the Bucs are a lousy defense and will need to air it out weekly, not a great game script for Barber to be fantasy relevant.
Who do you think will be the fantasy MVP this season and why?
Katie B.: Alvin Kamara. That guy is a monster. He’s leading the league in rushing touchdowns and is in the top ten in rushing yards, yards per attempt, and third in the league in receptions. The return of Mark Ingram could have an impact on his production, but I’ve yet to see someone have such a dominating season in both rushing and receiving.
Rebecca: Gurley. The man is a beast and he’s on one of the best teams in the league. The number one pick and he is fulfilling those expectations.
Katie F.: I think Alvin Kamara will be the fantasy MVP this year. He has already been a beast without Ingram in the backfield, but now that he won’t have to be the sole pound it up the middle RB, it can take some carries away but get him more receiving looks.
What is one thing you think more fantasy leagues should implement?
Katie B.: This is a great question! I’m not sure I am qualified to answer that, as I haven’t played in very adventurous leagues before this year. I’d love to play in a guillotine league, though! I think that sounds really fun!
Rebecca: I love leagues that are high scoring. I would like to see more leagues implement scoring for:
- Carries for running backs (I play in a league that does half point per carry)
- 3 and outs for defense
- 4th down stops for defense
- Points for completions (like a half point per completion)
- Negative points for incompletions
I play in leagues with all this scoring and it’s so fun. The more points my team scores, the more fun I have. Leagues should give more points!
Katie F.: One thing that more fantasy teams should implement is group chat, especially in dynasty. It helps foster better communication, facilitates trade talks, and it gives owners a chance to get to know their league-mates better. I have met so many good people just from first getting to know them in league chat.
What do you think the biggest misconception about women playing fantasy football is?
Katie B.: Honestly, I think that the biggest misconception is that we’re all the same, or that we don’t know what we’re talking about since most of us haven’t played competitive football. I believe you can still be a student of the game and understand it to a point without having played it.
And hey, if it bothers you that much, maybe you should channel your energy into creating new opportunities for women to learn about and play football.
Rebecca: That we don’t know football. I’ve been watching football my entire life so I know as much as any man who has been doing the same thing. I’ve never played football (ok one time I played in a Turkey Bowl and totally sucked) but I still know the game. Men are always surprised when they can talk football with me. I find that amusing - yes I’m a female and yes you can talk football with me!
Katie F.: The biggest misconception about women who play fantasy football, in my opinion, is that we don’t really care about it. People assume if a woman is in a league it must be because the commish couldn’t find enough players and so had to invite one of the guy’s girlfriends or wives. I have narrowed my dynasty leagues to 42 and redraft to 2 this year but I can assure you I am in those leagues because I love to compete, I love the strategy, I love to win money, and I just flat out love to play!
I hope you enjoyed getting to know these women as much as I did. They are great fantasy minds that you should all be following for amazing fantasy content. You can check out installment one and installment two as well if you missed out on any of those interviews.
As always, feel free to follow me on Twitter @thekaceykasem