The 2015 Fake Football Writing Contest Sponsored by Victiv: Round 3
July 17, 2015 | Chet
Hello all you fake football writers and aspiring writers! Welcome to Round 3, the final round 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, Adam Levitan, C.D. Carter, David Gonos and Spencer Limbach. With input from everyone, Jeff and I had to make the final decision. It was a tough one this year
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:
Robert Riegel: Any breakdown that advocates against running back handcuffs and bye weeks is going to seize my attention. Analysts still push handcuffs, which chips away at the depth of your bench just so you might feel a little more comfortable with contingency plans for your top-tier running back. This needs to stop. — C.D. Carter
Austin Kas: I really liked the analogy used in the introduction. It was captivating enough to hold attention running into the main points, then came back organically in the conclusion. Entertaining concept that linked well with the comparison. The position-by-position analysis was solid, giving readers a general guideline with plenty of “outs” as their draft transpires. — Spencer Limbach
Dave Caban: Writing on unique concepts is always going to get people to read and stay. Dave did that by discussing bench liquidity, an idea that I haven’t seen much written on before. But I think it rings true with a lot of owners who feel “tied” to a player they drafted when in fact that roster spot could be better used as a revolving door for shots on upside. Dave also used excellent graphs to prove his points and had an interesting Scrabble analogy. — Adam Levitan
Stan Son: I thought this was the most well-researched piece and told me a lot about fantasy history I didn’t know. It built toward the game as we know it today and why zigging while everyone else zags works. — Adam Levitan
Robert Riegel: Sharp takes and some funny lines. Needed more specifics on players or history to keep reader engaged. — Adam Levitan
Ryan Finley: Excellent method of drawing the reader into a column with a great headline. “WTF is this guy talking about? I gotta read this.” Not only does it make you start reading it, but you’re dying to know what the hell a spider has to do with anything, so you read until the end. Getting a reader to click on your article is one thing – making them stay on that article is a completely different animal. Loved this line, “Successful drafting is kind of like baking a cake. You need a few ingredients in the right proportion to make your team rise.“ Great article on three drafting personas to pull from, and just a wonderfully different way to attack a draft. Excellent wrap-up, also.– David Gonos
Austin Kas: Awesome setup comparing auctions and grocery shopping. I love the idea of building auction rosters based around certain stars/certain strategies ahead of time to see how they look. Great line “You never know when the best deal in the draft is about to happen.” I never like “Conclusion“ subheadings – come up with an interesting wrap-up subheader. In all honesty, probably should’ve been two articles – “draft tips,” and then “Draft tips for 2015.” Well written, as if a 20-year vet wrote it. I will steal some of these ideas. Funny, and smart. — David Gonos
Robert Riegel: Great opening about locking writers in a room to get the best overall draft strategy. I also loved this line, “It doesn’t take more than one or two of your fellow owners to go coo-coo-bananas and your “QB-WR-RB-TE” plan goes right out the window.” Cool quote by a Harvard dude, adds some flavor most readers would never come across. Compelling strategy to not worry about drafting handcuffs. Very much enjoyed this, as the writer had really sound reasoning. — David Gonos
Now, without further ado, here are the top three finishers in Round Three:
3rd Place: Matthew Cushing
I loved the original strategy, and how it can be deployed alongside other draft preferences. It makes you cognizant of value, even if you don’t follow it verbatim. Writing style and analysis were both very good quality. Good use of a table towards the end to summarize the article and leave readers with a “cheat sheet” of sorts. — Spencer Limbach
Strategical flexibility is key to long-term fantasy football success, and Cushing hits on this point early and often. He does a good job of highlighting guys who could (or should) be targets for those who are greedy when others are fearful.– C.D. Carter
Interesting 1-2-3 strategy! That’s an awesome way to easily make newbies and veterans alike to think about their own draft strategies in a different way. Easy and inventive. I love the table at the end that showed the sample drafts and rosters that came with each pick. One of my favorite lines of the day, “God may still laugh at Man as he plans his draft strategy.” — David Gonos
2nd Place: Micah Powell
He addressed the complexity of the No. 1 pick this year, which is usually something close to consensus. It would be again this year if Le’Veon Bell weren’t facing a suspension, but alas, it’s wide open. Micah does a solid job of outlining the safety and upside of each contender for No. 1. And most importantly, he avoids hot takes. — C.D. Carter
I enjoyed the breakdown of the first round and why there is no consensus number one pick this season. It’s a tough season for the #1 pick and a question we will all need to answer for ourselves at some point and Mr. Powell does a nice job of giving us those choices in a well-written, clean and concise way. — Chet Gresham
1st Place: Brian Grow
This article was great in terms of examples and presentation with the charts, etc. It really gave the reader a different medium to grab the information, then they could reflect back on the text for additional commentary. The only critique I have revolves around stopping at the zero-RB strategy. I understand there was a word limit, but I though a simulation of the zero-RB stacked alongside other notorious strategies would’ve been great for comparison purposes. — Spencer Limbach
Most importantly, I thought Brian provided sound and specific advice. A lot of people want to talk about avoiding the bust rates of RBs or not chasing young hype, but not all have pinpointed the players we should be looking at instead. Brian had some good advanced stats to back up his points (see Frank Gore) and logical reasoning on his young vs. old section. There wasn’t a lot of fluff, which allowed me to actually LOL at the Mike Tyson meme at the bottom.– Adam Levitan
Congratulations to all of you, and thanks again to our wonderful celebrity judges!
And without further ado, here are the overall winners of The 2015 Fake Football Writing Contest Sponsored by Victiv.
Third Place Overall: Micah Powell
Mr. Powell made a good case for being wary of Russell Wilson in round one and then wrote a nice, crisp overview of the trouble that is the #1 pick this season. His third place finish in our contest is well deserved.
Second Place Overall: Brian Grow
Mr. Grow came on strong in our contest to finish second overall. His detailed breakdown of actual players to target and avoid in this year’s draft was well done and makes for some instant helpful knowledge as you head into the draft room.
First Place Overall: Evan Sandel
This contest was close even though Mr. Sandel took home first place in the first two rounds, but that early sprint helped in hold off the competitors at the line. His deep dive into rookie wide receivers and his advice to avoid the juggernaut that is Odell Beckham Jr. was risky, but paid off with his well reasoned and well worded piece.
We had an amazing number of great writers submit this year and I know it’s cliche, but I really do wish we could give more prizes out and had more time to thank and give feedback to all of the wonderful contestants. I learned a lot and my faith in the next line of fantasy writers has been renewed!