After a grueling five week process in which numerous fantasy scribes marched their way through a fierce gauntlet of fake football writing critiques (similar to The Gauntlet on American Gladiators, but tougher), we have finally reached the peak of Fake Football mountain. Chet and I would first like to extend our most sincere thank you to each and every person that participated throughout the contest. The entries were extremely fun to read and full of great humor and even better fantasy football analysis that taught us some things along the way as well. BRAVO. If you are not among the finalists, please know that your efforts were greatly appreciated and, most importantly, keep writing. We would also like to thank our celebrity judges who donated their time to helping us with the process of judging each piece that was submitted. These folks all deserve a round of applause as well. Thank you.
And a mountain of thanks goes to DraftDay for sponsoring this contest as well as FantasyPros for their prize donations. Both are great sites that we are often glued to here at The Fake Football headquarters, so give them a look if you would.
Now, before we announce the final winners, we first need to cover the top three articles in our final round. The topic that these brave writers were assigned to tackle was “Give Us Your Most Surprising Fantasy Football Prediction For The 2013 Season,” which led to some impressive responses. Our celebrity judges Matt Waldman, Bob Harris, David Gonos and Chris Burke joined forces with Chet and myself to judge round three. Let’s check in on some entries that narrowly missed the top trio in our final round:
Bob Harris enjoyed Scott Lynge’s article, adding “Scott went with a logical progression that took me from historical data to current information with conclusions drawn along the way to hold my interest. The summation, contrasting Kelly with Steve Spurrier was very helpful in emphasizing the points made throughout the article.” Bob, in addition to Chet, liked Kenneth Wang’s piece as well. Bob wrote, “Solid work. I liked the way the case was made and laid out — and especially how it was reiterated (with the three main points addressed previously) to start the final paragraph.” Chet said, “Kenny is giving me a lot to think about when it comes to Alex Smith and I think he’s moving up my draft board.” Dave Boxley submitted excellent work, as Matt Waldman said, “I enjoyed his balance of humor and analysis.” I agreed with Matt, as Dave’s piece was stuffed full of statistical analysis for readers to sink their teeth into.
Now onto the top three for the final round:
3rd Place: Jay Mitchell did a great job outlining the benefits of draft Alex Smith instead of Aaron Rodgers. I particularly enjoyed his use of the term “Reidified,” but the piece was very well supported by statistics that made me seriously ponder the 2013 prospects of Smith by the time I got done devouring the article.
Chet wrote, “I love stats and extrapolating said stats, but I don’t love Alex Smith. So when the extrapolation machine came out and smushed Andy Reid and Alex Smith into one big fat ball, I surprisingly liked what I saw.”
Chris Burke wrote, “the breakdown made sense, both from a fantasy perspective and in terms of what might happen with Smith’s career under Andy Reid.”
Davis Gonos wrote, “Made an excellent case for waiting on QB until very late, and picking up Alex Smith as a starter because of new head coach Andy Reid. His arguments were well-thought out, and he did a nice job of moving us through the story without feeling like we were being sold some cheap goods.”
Matt Waldman offered, “He had an attention-getting headline and a pair of succinct opening paragraphs. This was tight in terms of his writing style and it also displayed some stylistic elements that worked. He did a good job extrapolating the data from Andy Reid’s system and applying it to Alex Smith. I also liked how he used Andy Reid’s name as a verb.”
2nd Place: Justin Bonnema wrote another solid article, this time on one of my favorite fantasy football stallions, Dez Bryant. Justin did a great job of taking a highly ranked player and still making the reader believe that the prediction was bold enough with a very thorough recap of the potential and strengths of Bryant.
Chet wrote, “It was good to see so much detail for one player (Dez Bryant). We get a full rundown of his breakout last year and why his upside this season is historically high.”
Bob Harris wrote, “Outstanding work. Justin drew me in from the beginning and built on the interest in the opening by building a strong point-by-point case. Excellent use of statistics (without going overboard) and historical perspective. Well-crafted wording, humor used sparingly and effectively. Nothing I didn’t like about this piece.”
Chris Burke wrote, “Nothing wrong with stepping out on a limb, if there’s enough of an argument there to support why you’re doing it. Bonnema’s backing of Dez Bryant as a 2013 fantasy monster had enough of that evidence behind it.”
David Gonos wrote, “I drank the Kool-Aid he was pouring with his Kool-Aid Dez Bryant article. He kept up a perfect pace, moving readers throughout the piece quickly, despite it being a healthy sized article. He was very believable with his arguments – and he has me convinced more than ever to not take Calvin Johnson first, if Bryant is available in the second.”
1st Place: Scott Watson wrote a well crafted piece on the benefits of drafting Matt Forte and Steven Jackson. My favorite part of the article was the fact that Scott used some fantastic supporting statistics as he tied his analysis into where to draft both players in your fantasy drafts. A very thorough and entertaining read.
Chris Burke wrote, “This is what I want when I read fantasy analysis: a smart, unique take that makes me reconsider my own strategies. Watson’s presentation of Matt Forte and Steven Jackson as very viable fantasy targets in 2013 was backed with meaningful stats, particularly in relation to Forte and Marc Trestman. And just as importantly, nothing felt extraneous here.”
Bob Harris wrote, “Loved the use of historical statistical data to make the arguments and back the predictions.”
Matt Waldman wrote, “I like writers with a strong voice and entertaining style, but what’s most important to me as a reader is getting quality information that I can’t find elsewhere. Good writing strikes a balance between entertaining and informing – especially fantasy football analysis. Scott did the best job delivering nuanced analysis with a clear, smart voice.”
Our own Chet Gresham wrote, “Matt Forte and Steven Jackson weren’t the most surprising players to write about, but Scott did such a good job of convincing us why they will be great picks this season that it didn’t really matter. After reading his arguments and stats it was tough to disagree with him.”
These three writers displayed a perfect balance of impressive fake football knowledge and great humor in their three articles. Each of the following contestants submitted work that was truly a joy to read while teaching us something about fake football. Without further ado….your top three:
Overall 3rd Place: JAY MITCHELL
Jay wins $25 in DraftDay Daily Fantasy Sports credit and a Fully Loaded Draft Wizard from Fantasy Pros ($35 Value). Jay brought the goods through the entire contest and provided three top-notch articles. Nice work Jay!
Overall Runner-Up: SCOTT WATSON
Scott takes home $75 cold hard PayPal cash, $75 in DraftDay Daily Fantasy Sports credit and a Fully Loaded Draft Wizard from Fantasy Pros ($35 Value). Scott was an information machine in all three of his submissions and jammed every paragraph full of informative fantasy football tidbits. We all learned a thing or two from reading each of Scott’s articles. Very well done, Scott.
Overall Winner: JUSTIN BONNEMA
Justin receives $150 cold hard PayPal cash, $100 in DraftDay Daily Fantasy Sports credit and a Fully Loaded Draft Wizard from Fantasy Pros ($35 Value) as our champion. Congratulations, Justin! All three rounds saw Justin pumping out the highest of quality work. Justin’s thoroughly researched and intelligently written pieces were entertaining to read and this is a truly deserving winner. We couldn’t be more impressed!
Once again, we would like to thank all of our celebrity judges and every writer that submitted an article throughout the contest. Chet and I had a blast with this contest and hope each one of you fine folks had as much fun as we did!