"Baby is down… time to get drunk with the wife and rearrange our furniture. (not a sex thing, literally rearranging the living room drunk)"
I needed a guy who works nights to get me back on the horse. Scott Fish has a nice little empire going on at FFOasis. Heck, he even “hired” me to write about beer. He also can do things with Pepsi products that boggle the mind. Learn about his site, which big names in the industry he’s helped out, and his unhealthy obsession with young football players.
How’d you get into fantasy football writing? I didn’t start writing until about 2005. Several years earlier, I had joined a bunch of forums looking for info on College Farm System leagues with no luck. I found myself spending more and more time at one forum in particular. The more active I was giving sound Start/Sit advice and trade advice, the more I got noticed. They asked me to help with and eventually take over their Start/Sit column. The rest is, as they say, history. It’s actually all history so I’m not sure why I put that.
What’s FFOasis all about and what is your role? It’s about everything awesome and I’m the owner. Seriously though, it’s about everything awesome and I’m the owner. I think when I started FFOasis I naively thought it would be this big fantasy site and grow and grow and stand out. Possibly because of how quickly it grew. When we started it was just a few of us. Gary Davenport, Rob Leath, myself, and a few others writing for nothing. With Gary doing our IDP, FFO grew fast and seemed like it was huge based on our page hits. Back then IDP was barely a thing, so any google search with “IDP” in it landed Fantasy Football Oasis on the first page. Of course Gary quickly got other opportunities and pursued them. He is still one of my best friends. The site plateaued a bit following his departure.
I realized I needed a new influx of writers to awaken this slumbering beast of a site and FFO entered its second phase. No longer known for our IDP, now FFOasis has made a name for itself by willing to take on any writer that wanted to try his/her hand at this fantasy writing thing regardless of experience… and we pay them. I understand if you may need to re-read that last sentence. Go ahead, I’ll wait. I always like to mention that Chad Scott of DynastyLeagueFootball.com had 32 followers on twitter and no writing experience when he responded to my tweet for writers. Chad now has 1400+ followers, is a member of FSWA, and writes for 3 sites. [Zach note: You’re responsible for unleashing that monster? If I have to see Pead on my timeline one more time.] I think several of our current writers are people whose names you will know very well in the future.
How’d you come up with the idea for College Farm System Dynasty Leagues? This is actually how I found my way to the industry as referenced above. In college, around the turn of the century, my friend Cory Bruender and I were big into drafting rookies in our keeper league as it had a rule where you kept 3 veterans and 1 rookie to groom. We got to discussing going further with it and making a league where we drafted college players before they even hit the NFL. We both were big into the idea of “grooming” players in that league. We also both loved watching the NFL Draft and quickly realize how fun it could be to watch if you had a vested interest in where some of the players go. Sidenote: Cory shakes his fist at me when I mention the early days of what are now called developmental dynasty leagues and fail to mention him so I mentioned him. Happy Cory?
This led me to do the groundwork of doing every internet search I could, join forums and ask around, AIM people on those forums and go in AIM chatrooms (remember AIM chatrooms for different topics?). We just wanted to see if this existed and how other people do it. There just wasn’t anything online. There might have been leagues like this out there… it just wasn’t online in any form.
Since then, I’ve played in many different types, but I love how creative people have made their developmental leagues.
Why won’t Fred learn how to play fantasy football? He keeps giving me crap about a lack of opposable thumbs and me hogging the computer all day. He also notes that, as a basset hound, fantasy football would seriously cut into his 20 hour a day sleep schedule.
Have the Vikings done enough to maintain their playoff status in 2013? I honestly don’t know. I really don’t see them winning the North with their schedule and Green Bay being as good as they are. On paper right now that schedule looks daunting, you never know, things may change. I feel like the Vikings have improved a decent amount from last year, however I think their competition for a wildcard spot is significantly tougher as well. I am currently running a predictions contest and I have seen 12 different teams get predicted in those 2 spots. [Zach note: The bad news is the Vikings don’t play the Titans again for three years.] I think most people are penciling in one of SF/SEA for a wildcard spot leaving one spot for a lot of worthy teams.
Is it true that you can supply me with endless Pepsi Max? This is how rumors get started. I may or may not be able to, we just can’t leave a paper trail, real or digital.
How did you bring on the trio that is the Fantasy A-Team and is there any way to control the hijinks of Dan, Gino, and Chase? First off, those three cannot be controlled. [Zach note: They cannot be stopped by conventional weapons.] The combo of Gino with his lack of height and Kornheisian irrational hatred of everything, Dan with his absurd 3 digit belt size, and Chase the prepubescent teen redneck is just amazing together.
Like many in the industry, I knew them to a certain degree. I found out they were separating from DynastyFootballWarehouse.com and they were going to start their own show. I should note here that whatever the reason may have been, it was amicable and everyone still supports each other. They still plug DFW on the show. I merely sponsor the show now. [Zach note: This sounds like someone having to “sponsor” someone with a fantasy-football addiction.] I made a page for their home base of show operations. Of course, there is a kind of a code in the industry. As a site owner I contacted the owners of DFW asking if sponsoring them would be OK with them. It’s more of a courtesy than anything as DFW doesn’t control them, but it’s how things are done. They were very cool with it, but they failed to warn me that I would be made “Jerk of the Week” twice since and feel the burn of irrational hate/love/hate consistently.
Thanks for not including team D and kickers in the FFOI. How did that league develop? Firstly, I have not included team defenses or kickers in any league that I have created in the last 3-4 years. I see little skill or enjoyment in it. Fantasy football already contains such a high level of luck, why add to it. Team D and kickers are such a crapshoot, take them out and add more flexes. It’s more fun.
FFOI was actually created by FFOasis’ former podcast host Mike Kaus. I co-ran it with him in 2010 and 2011. In 2010 there were 96 teams and in 2011 there were only 60 teams. Mike then left the industry completely. He’s a lawyer and apparently, somehow, he made more money at his lawyer job than writing and podcasting fantasy football. [Zach note: I can’t believe this.]
We took 2012 off with him gone and my wife being pregnant but I knew I wanted to bring it back. I also knew I wanted to make it a huge focal point of the summer for those of us that focus on fantasy football year round. This year we have 100 fantasy analysts and 20 fans participating. Next year the goal is 180 total participants. If you are reading this and want to sign up for 2014, you can do it here: http://ffoasis.com/ffoi
Is there a league that you want to win the most in 2013? I always want to win my main league. We all have that main league. Mine started in 1992 as a dynasty league, transformed through the years, and is now a “keep 4” league. The 4th keeper must be a player with under 2 years in the league. I won it in 1992 and 2012. I won a few in the middle, but I like that I took home year 1 and year 20. Second would be winning FFOI given the amazing level of competition and the fact only 1/120 win. I came in 2nd to Mike Clay of Pro Football Focus after leading nearly the entire year in 2010. I got a taste but didn’t get the prize.
Does your wife other have any issues with your football obsession? She has let me set lineups and draft on vacations, including our honeymoon. She even makes sure our hotels have wifi and if the wifi isn’t free, she’ll even pay for it. Before going on a vacation, she finds and gets mapquest directions to the nearest bar to watch games. She is usually very supportive as a football fan herself. There are times she feels I’m on my computer too much, so when she mentions it I grab my phone or tablet and go hang out with her. I’m kidding, OK, I’m half kidding.
Football or sex: which do you think of more? Football, and it really isn’t close. I spend my entire 10-16 hour work shift listening to podcasts/radio, mostly football. When I get home I’m working, reading, or watching football related things until I go to pick up the baby. I’d say my average day has about 12-15 hours of football thought and 5 hours of sleep.
Where are you on the usual football Sunday? I assume there’s a man cave. There isn’t. My wife loves football so we use our main living room or basement. Eventually, in our next house, there will be a movie theater room that will be used for football game viewing. One of my wife’s dreams is to have a movie theater room in our house. Needless to say, I am willing to acquiesce.
Tell me about a hobby/interest outside of football. Web Design. It’s my other passion. I have been lucky enough to have several people in the fantasy industry trust me and allow me to build sites for them. I could spend all day doing web design. If you pair that with fantasy football, I’m in heaven. I have to thank Jim Day, Rick Fleeger & Rick Briggs, Michael Bronte, and Shane P. Hallam. I consider them such good friends and love that they trusted me with their sites.
Which football writers are on your must-read list? I’m going to be a bad interviewee here and slightly alter the question. This industry has begun evolving to the point where we get our information through so many mediums. I listen to 30+ hours of podcasts per week, and watch Google+ Hangouts of people in the industry. I certainly read many people known and virtually unknown but for this I will choose to list my must listen/watch list. I watch any video Shane P Hallam puts on DraftTV.com. Honestly, I’m all in on anything Shane does. He’s one of my favorite people, not just in the industry, but I view him as a very good friend I have yet to meet. I will never miss an episode of Michael Bronte’s Dynasty Soundtrack podcast nor Rick Fleeger & Rick Briggs Asylum Fantasy Football podcast. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of Micah James’ episodes of the Magic Formula. I also enjoy Jared Ferree bringing the stats on his What’s Your Fantasy podcast. I listen to both of Jim Day’s shows. I could go on for a very long time on my must listen podcast list. Last but not least, of course I listen to the Fantasy A-Team.
Is there anyone in the industry that you’d like me to interview? Matthew Berry? That movement didn’t exactly get going did it? I think you have hit up so many I like and I’m sure you have a list filled with many, I won’t try and sway you… here.
Tell me about any plugs that you’d like. Sites, podcasts, projects, anything. I guess I’ll mention that it looks like there may or may not be a new FFO show / series being launched soon. I’ll leave it at that, nice and cryptic. I’d also like to thank my awesome staff and writers led by Brian Bulmer, Rob Leath, and Chris Goodin. They do the work that allows me the time to bring forth new creative fun things for the site.
Thanks to Scott for answering my questions. Follow him on Twitter.