The 2015 Fake Football Writing Contest Sponsored by Victiv: Round 2
June 19, 2015 | Chet
Hello all you fake football writers and aspiring writers! Welcome to Round 2 of our 2015 writing contest. Again, let me thank our sponsor Victiv. They have generously donated prizes for the winners and they are just a great site for playing daily fantasy! Secondly, we’d like to thank FantasyPros for donating a fully loaded Draft Wizard for the top 3 overall winners. A reminder of our prizes for the overall winners here:
And each Round’s winner will receive free tickets into Victiv’s big MLB and PGA Tournaments!
PLUS! If you are so inclined, first place will be given a weekly platform on The Fake Football to spout off fake football knowledge.
PLUS! PLUS! You will get your work read by some of the best fantasy writers in the business and a ton of experience in writing about fake sports for a deadline and with a predetermined topic, both integral parts of making it in the freelance fake sports writing business.
Ok, so on with the business at hand. We had a great turn out for the contest with 62 entries. Those are 62 people taking their valuable time and writing an article about fantasy football and sending it across the interwebs to be critiqued and judged. Just doing that is a feat unto itself, so I would like to applaud every one of you. And I truly mean that because this was an extremely difficult process. Unfortunately we do have to rank y’all so we can pick a winner at the end of this here competition. If your name is not mentioned in the recap below, DO NOT be discouraged! Please continue to participate in the contest, and keep bringing your best analysis. I’d like to thank our celebrity judges, Bob Harris, RumfordJohnny, Renee Miller and Spencer Limbach. With input from everyone, Jeff and I had to make the final decision. I was in the fetal position while Jeff screamed a lot. It was funish.
Before we announce the round one winners, the following writers had great material, but landed just outside the top three. Check out what the judges had to say about their work:
Kurtis Michela: Really liked the introduction, as it drew me in then came full circle back to the main topic. Listing the criteria before going into the breakdowns was a nice touch, and I believe it gave you a greater sense of credibility, as we knew exactly what point of view you were coming from while going through each receiver. — Spencer Limbach
Jackson Safon: I loved the Russian Roulette analogy. It allowed you to discuss multiple players, rank them by perceived safety, and clearly name a top guy, all without being boring or redundant. Extra points for the Derek Carr/Amari Cooper AC/DC nickname but lack of a “Back in Black (and silver)” reference or one of the many gun related AC/DC songs was a missed opportunity my friend. Looking forward to round 2. — Renee Miller
Matthew Jacobs: Solid but not spectacular works. In this case it works well. Matthew had me at the first sentence and carried it through the entire intro by emphasizing the importance of value. Although he didn’t go out on any limbs with the players covered, Matthew did go to the trouble of forecasting season totals for his top three rookie wideouts after building reasonable cases for those projections. — Bob Harris
Austan Kas: Austan also put forth a solid effort, well researched, showed an understanding of the topic and presented an easy read. A very safe article, nothing really separated Austan’s work from any rookie dynasty I’ve read in the last few months. Not a knock, just shows that there’s room to grow with a solid foundation. — Rumford Johnny
Ryan Finely: Great humorous introduction that worked organically with the theme. Some writers tend to force humor into their articles, but this blended quite well … Getting into the breakdown, great job at combining all the criteria to look for (past success, opportunity, and the intangibles), backed up with the appropriate facts when necessary. — Spencer Limbach
Cory Muniz: Comments to the author: I like the process of elimination you used here, with winners and losers at each criteria. This could have been even more obviously stated in the latter paragraphs, but the point came across for sure. Well written, easy read, that emphasized the importance of value. Keep up the good work! — Renee Miller
Jeff Meyer: I liked, no loved the ODB themed analogies that defined the tiers. A fantasy writer that is aware of Anna Wintour? Yes please. The use of the tinder girl to raise underlying questions? Brilliant. And I secretly believe in the Madden Curse, so you’re 3/3 with me on this one. Good luck in round 2!– Renee Miller
Robert Riegle: Loved the setup; the mystery (even if easily solved) was a great open. It made me want to continue reading. — Bob Harris
Stan Son: Great open and as in-depth looks at the players covered as you could want. — Bob Harris
Matt Cushing: I liked how you set benchmarks and then discussed the players that have reached (or will reach) them. Starting the selection process with what you want to get out of it rather than with what you have to work with is an under-utilized approach. The elimination format you chose also allowed you to write about nearly every guy without appearing to just list stats, as well as to rank them and arrive at a top candidate. Well done.– Renee Miller
Now, without further ado, here are the top three finishers in round one:
3rd Place: Brian Grow
I’m looking for three things in the fantasy football articles I read, (1) an understanding of the game and translating it into accessible work. (2) Original thoughts. Cutting and pasting charts from other sites to dress up your POV is easy to sniff out. If you DO use them, make a cohesive argument. (3) Entertain me. Hundreds, nay, thousands of writers in the fantasy industry can all push the same narratives, but if you’re not funny or engaging, you blend in with the masses. Brian encompassed all three, and while he could have written a longer piece, he didn’t need to. Smart, succinct and funny. Easily my favorite piece of the group.– Rumford Johnny
Loved the use of metaphors within each write-up. It really gives the article a “lighter” dimension without leaving the reader drowning in stats (don’t get me wrong; stats and facts are important, but it’s nice to see a couple metaphors/sidesteps to break up the monotony). So good job in that regard, but I would like to see more of that in the introduction to really draw the reader to the subject matter in an intriguing, attention grabbing way. Either way, you have some real talent. I would urge you to keep working at it, as you were essentially right in the mix of the top three entries. — Spencer Limbach
2nd Place: Ryan Humphrey
Nobody reads an article that doesn’t draw them in. Sometimes readers will give you the entire first paragraph before deciding whether to continue on. But you only get that entire paragraph — and possibility of more — if you nail the opening sentence. Ryan’s first two sentences sold me on reading the rest of the article. And the payoff came at the start of the final paragraph, when he began his summation by reminding readers “The goal of fantasy football is to build the most valuable roster, not the flashiest.” No shortage of solid info in between that start and finish. But the initial draw and that final payoff sold me on this piece. — Bob Harris
Ryan took a different tact than most, instead of shining a light on the obvious top rookie options, he warned of overpaying for the unproven. He suggested looking at late rookie values instead and he was entertaining in his approach. I certainly want to see more of his work, and that’s a good first step. — Rumford Johnny
1st Place: Evan Sandel
A solid enough setup to keep me reading and the payoff was great. Instead of giving me the same four guys most everybody else did (not that there’s anything wrong with that), Evan dug deeper and went with guys flying lower on the radar. But he wisely categorized them for what they were. It was an especially effective device for introducing me to players who merit attention but who come with caveats. Much like owners who draft at least two of the players highlighted, Evan took a risk by highlighting boom-bust picks. Making sure they were explained in that context turned out to be rewarding for him. — Bob Harris
I really liked the setup, listed a top, gamble, and value prospect. This really stood out from the rest by giving that “second layer” of information with guys like Dorial Green-Beckham and Chris Conley. Introduction was true to the article, yet interesting enough to draw me in. Well done! — Spencer Limbach
Evan was the only one to include Chris Conley, with thoughts on him I hadn’t heard before. — Renee Miller
Congratulations to all of you, and thanks again to our wonderful celebrity judges! Our next topic is “Who is your top player to avoid in 2015 and why?” You’ll have a larger player pool to choose from for this topic, which should give you a chance to set yourself apart from the crowd. Your second article is due Friday June 26th, 10pm Central. Please use the title “TFF Round 2” and attach a word doc title with your name. All 62 writers are eligible to enter. The overall winner will be the scribe who averaged out with the three strongest articles.
Our judges for round two are none other than:
Melissa Jacobs is the Managing Editor of TheFootballGirl.com. She covers both fantasy and the NFL at large. Her writing appears frequently in The Guardian and has also appeared on ESPN.com, the Score, Forbes and others. Melissa has been playing fantasy football since she was 14 and has won more fake championships than Tom Brady has won real championships.
Spencer Limbach is a full-time daily fantasy sports player and writer. He serves as a Daily Fantasy Specialist for Rotoworld; also contributing to FanDuel Insider, other DFS sites, and of course, The Fake Basketball. Equipped with a degree in Economics, deep-seeded sports knowledge, and a passion for writing, he has become a trusted source in the fantasy sports world.
Oh, and have fun!