This is a very special time of year if you’re like me, and about 30 million other people. The NFL football season may not begin for another month, but one season is already well under way: the fantasy football season.
For fantasy football aficionados such as myself who have a virtual league trophy on Yahoo! Sports to prove it, fantasy football is almost a year-round sport. The moment the Super Bowl ends, you have to watch the free agent market and see who ends up with a new team. On draft day you find yourself scoping out who will be the impact rookies. By the time training camps roll around, it’s time to start thinking about the draft and how your team (or teams!) will look.
Before I began working with Time Warner Cable, I was already a big fan of a show called “Fantasy Huddle.” The show is produced by Time Warner Cable Metro Sports in Kansas City and airs on sports channels and On Demand in nearly 20 markets nationwide including Los Angeles, Dallas, Cleveland, San Diego, Milwaukee and Austin among others. It’s returning for its fourth season Aug. 12-15.
I watched the show here in KC but became really hooked reading articles online by Herbie Teope, one of the show’s hosts. Herbie and his co-hosts Chris Gough and Dave Neilson are truly fantasy football nuts. Their passion and excitement comes through, and you feel like you’re getting advice from fellow fanatics who are just like me and live and breathe fantasy football. Just like a real-life football GM relies on scouts and coaches, these guys are my talent evaluators.
The show began as a labor of love for Herbie. He served in the U.S. military for 20 years before retirement, then went to school and pursued his love for writing. In 2006 he did an internship with Metro Sports and pitched his idea for a fantasy football TV show. “Fantasy Huddle” premiered in 2007 and last year won a regional Emmy Award for outstanding news/discussion show.
Each week Herbie, Chris and Dave Nielsen cover all the elements of fantasy football. They review key injuries, identify free agents on the waiver wire, look at who to start and who to bench, what players to target for in trades and so much more.
On the show’s website, you’ll find a great blog breaking down all the players as well tips and advice for navigating your team through the season. Right now the coverage is focusing on the draft. Who’s the top quarterback on your draft board? Herbie gives the nod to Aaron Rodgers, and as a team owner who had Rodgers last year I can’t disagree. Titans running back Chris Johnson tops pretty much everyone’s running back rankings this year. Where I always need the most help is at wide receiver, so I’m keeping an eye on that list very closely this season.
What makes the site such a fun read is the wonderful writing. There is a great series on The Toomer Factor, named for my favorite fantasy football wide receiver, Amani Toomer. The article addresses head-on the peril you face making any player your favorite fantasy player, especially as their production is fading. A lesson I learned well, long before I knew this condition had a name.
You’ll also learn a lot about some of the analytics and metrics that are key to an essential draft. Average draft position (ADP) is a major factor to consider, as is a player’s potential to produce comparative to their draft slot. Just make sure you don’t ask Herbie what he thinks about “sleeper” picks. Trust me, it won’t end well.
“Fantasy Huddle” returns this week for the 2010 season, and airs in most cities Aug. 12-15. Be sure to check your local listings. The week of Aug. 26 is the show’s annual fantasy draft special, which lets you see how the experts perform at building their own teams.
What are your thoughts on this fantasy football this season? I’m looking forward to seeing how everyone’s draft turns out this year!