Ask Your Beer-Soaked Football Expert: Karl Safchick of Dynasty League Football

"If I’m not picking top 8 in a start up dynasty this year, I don’t want to pick in the first two rounds at all. I would trade out."

I admit that I’m not as into the combine as most, but it does gain a little additional flavor due to my dynasty league. Speaking of dynasty, you are hereby required to read anything produced by Karl Safchick, a man who isn’t afraid to talk about his home-town team and the tough job it can be to figure out dynasty rankings. That’s assuming that the right beer is available on tap.

How did you get into fantasy writing and when did that road lead you into the loving arms of DLF? I’ve enjoyed the written word since I was young. About five years ago, I had someone very close to me pass away. His, and my, family requested that I give the eulogy. I was nervous to do so, but I really cared for the guy. In the end I accepted. After my speech, I was encouraged, by many, to pursue writing. I took a few local college courses, and eventually, I want continue my education on the subject. Early in 2013, my younger brother introduced me to Twitter. [Zach note: Call this the beginning of the end.] As I was already I dynasty fantasy player for a decade, I was drawn to the DLF crew. Eric Dickens, Eric Hardter, and TheFFGhost encouraged and guided me into the virtual office of Ken Kelly. I wrote a members corner article for him, and he enjoyed it enough to bring me onto the crew.

What would you like least, wearing a Cowboys shirt or drinking a Bud Lite? I actually own a couple of Dallas Cowboys shirts, though they usually portray the blue star under an overly hydrated Calvin from “Calvin and Hobbes”. The short answer to this question is I do not disrespect the Cowboys at the level that I loathe cheap beer. I am passionate about craft beer, and encourage everyone to go out and find a local brew that you enjoy. Not only is it beneficial for your local economy, but also for your palate. [Zach note: I like this fella.]

Where do you stand on the controversy regarding the Washington Redskins team name? I’ve grown up hearing and using the word “Redskins” as a term of endearment. The Washington DC/Maryland/Virginia area is among the most diverse melting pot in the United States, and the world. I go to Fed Ex Field and see Caucasians, African Americans, Native Americans, men, women, kids, and veterans cheer for the team. To this point, it seems as if white people are more offended by the term than Native Americans are. [Zach note: I don’t like to get political in these interviews. I wanted to get a feel from a member of the fan base regarding the name. Maybe I’d be more attached to the “Titans” team name if there was some history of success. For the record, not a fan of the name.]

Are you still with RGIII and do you think Gruden will help him develop? As a fan, I stand behind RGIII. As a dynasty fantasy football analyst I am very cautious when advising those to “buy” Griffin. I currently have him ranked lower than most at DLF. He showed immaturity last year, which was the last trait I thought I’d see coming from him. He needs to grow mentally, and I hope Jay Gruden and Sean McVay can help him in that process. [Zach note: Washington’s going the Titan route with the “I was a high school-aged NFL offensive coordinator”.] Dynasty owners will hope that he learns to slide and get out of bounds, as many of those owners are being prescribing blood pressure medication as a result of watching him play.

How did you do in your 2013 fantasy leagues? How many leagues do you plan on being in for 2014? The 2013 season was a down year for me. I made the semi-finals in three leagues. Two of those leagues had me matched up against the Jamaal Charles owner. One of those leagues had me matched up against my younger brother. He made sure to let me know how horrible I was at fantasy football as a result. I am currently in four dynasty leagues (two with DLF), and will probably add one or two more before the 2014 season begins. I just recently quit my league that I was in for over a decade. I was sad to leave, as I had many friends in that league, but it was the right thing to do. I’m trying to find the “right amount” of leagues to be in. I’m learning that it is somewhere around five. [Zach note: I’ve noticed that the right amount is usually one less than I’m in.]

Are you in the “don’t trust anyone over 30” school of dynasty? Some people believe that once a player hits the dreaded age of 30, he is used goods in the dynasty community. I am not one of those people. There are many bargains you can find by buying 30+ year old players. For instance, I consider Larry Fitzgerald to be an “all time great”. These type of guys usually play until they are about 38 years old give or take given situations. If Fitzgerald plays eight more seasons, he may actually outlast most of the 2014 rookie class. Can you imagine that? If the guy that we are already considering “old news”, outlasts most of the young guys, he will bring an amazing return on investment given his current price. [Zach note: A good WR can play until he’s 35, a QB can make it to 40, and a RB is “finished” at 28. Consider your dynasty rankings accordingly.]

Do you want to put Eric Dickens in a padded room for ranking Trent Richardson as RB4? Eric Dickens will likely end up in a padded room one day, but it won’t be because he ranked any player as an outlier. It will be because of his willingness to endure the diverse and unique personalities at DLF. I don’t know how active other writing teams are in terms of talking “outside of work”, but at DLF, we talk 24/7 and not only about football. As for his ranking of Richardson, I clearly do not agree. I have him ranked as my RB22. [Zach note: I crapped out with Ryan Mathews as a keeper in 2012 and T-Rich in 2013, so I should “buy low” on T-Rich in 2014.] I actually write a series for DLF concentrating on “ranking outliers”. Every guy on the staff has a unique reason for ranking players the way they do. Many readers may not understand why a certain player is being ranked so differently by a specific staff member, and I give those staff members a platform to explain themselves.

How does someone heading into an initial dynasty draft treat codger QBs like Peyton/Brady/Brees? The beautiful thing about the dynasty format, is you can build your team however you wish. I’ve already explained how valuable players over 30 can be. Let’s play a game of hypotheticals. Let’s pretend you join a dynasty league, and right away you realize that your other leaguemates are only drafting young guys. They may be completely ignoring guys like Andre Johnson, Wes Welker, Adrian Peterson and Drew Brees. You can build a team of guys that are considered “old” and win a championship in your first year. There are no rules prohibiting this. If you win that trophy in year one, who cares what your team looks like after that? You can go about rebuilding while bragging to your friends. When they say “your team is old” ask them “how many championships do you have?”

You mentioned how Twitter dies after 9 p.m. What’s it like being a youngster in the fantasy industry I will gladly accept the label of “youngster”, as I am 28 years old. [Zach note: How many career “touches” do you have? I’m talking about beer.] In “real life” I’m quickly realizing that I am far from my childhood years. I drink an IPA or two (or three) on most nights, and I have a rough time working it off the next day. I’ve had to invest in workout equipment to maintain my girlish figure. I think I am a youngster in the Twitter community in the sense that I’m not married and I don’t have children. When most writers/analysts/degenerates are putting their children to sleep and entertaining their significant others, I am likely at the local watering hole tweeting about yards per carry. I find that it falls on deaf ears after primetime. The DLF slogan is “there is no offseason” and I take that seriously on a day to day basis.

Who are some disappointing 2013 rookies who should be snapped up at bargain prices? I don’t know how disappointing Christine Michael, Marcus Lattimore, and Justin Hunter were. We knew before the season started that these three guys wouldn’t play much in 2013, each for their own reason. Michael was behind Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin, Lattimore was nursing a horrendous knee injury, and Hunter was viewed as a project by many. I would do everything I can to trade for these three guys. The dynasty community is one of the more informed when it comes to fantasy football, though, and these guys may not come with a “bargain” price tag. [Zach note: Michael’s getting a lot of chatter but I’ve heard almost nothing on Lattimore. Hunter’s a Titan and I own him in my dynasty league, so he’s a bust.]

When you drink beer, do you go local? What are some of your DC-area favorites? My favorite is out of Baltimore, actually. It’s an IPA called Loose Cannon by the Heavy Seas Brewing Company. A couple of my favorite watering holes have it on tap (mainly because of my insisting). Dogfish Head is an awesome company who are based out of Delaware. I would advise anyone to find a specific Dogfish Head beer that they’d enjoy as they do much more than their famous IPAs. [Zach note: Those are both top-of-the-line choices. Dogfish Head in particular doesn’t screw around.]

According to your timeline, you are single, which makes you like the fourth single fantasy writer I’ve interviewed in my history. Do you ever weave “I’m a fantasy football writer” into your pick-up game? I wouldn’t call it a “pickup line”, but I have mentioned it in an attempt to impress a lady friend or two. It doesn’t work well. I’m not sure women are very intrigued by activities that they don’t understand. The obvious exception being a secret agent. The word “fantasy” probably isn’t the most profound of terms, either. Maybe we can start a revolution to change the term “fantasy football”. [Zach note: I’ve heard Dungeons and Dragons for adults. We may need to hire a PR agency.]

Football or sex: which do you think of more? Those are both the driving forces of my mind, no doubt. As you’ve mentioned, I am a single 28-year-old male, so sex is still one of my favorite activities. I’m not ashamed to admit that football comes close, though. Between Twitter, writing for DLF, mock drafts, real drafts, talking about football at work, and actually watching the games, football really takes up a good deal of time. I am truly in love with both football and sex.

Where are you on the usual football Sunday? I assume there’s a man cave. There is no official man cave. I recently moved into a new house, and my living room will be the man cave next year. I tend to go out for many games. Most Thursday nights are spent at local pubs, and many Sundays are spent with friends and family. I have a large clan of Redskins fans among my family, and since many of us do not get to see each other any other time, Sundays are perfect for that.

Who are some of your favorite football/fantasy writers? I hate to sound like a company man, but most of the content I read is DLF work. It’s not that I turn my nose up at other writers, but I am simply too busy to browse the internet for other content. My favorite writer at DLF is probably Eric Hardter. He has an amazing combination of talent and substance. I have to mention Ryan McDowell, too. I have probably learned more about fantasy writing from him than I have any other. Ryan is always working on something. I wish I had the motivation that guy has. I am surely surrounded by some amazing talent at DLF.

Tell me about a hobby/interest outside of football. I’m a sucker for good music. I have a very diverse playlist, but I do have favorites. My all-time favorite band is Tool. I’ve seen them in concert four times, and will probably see them many more when/if they go back out on tour. I love Coheed and Cambria, and all of their work including their comics, Amory Wars. I’m a big fan of old stuff such as Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Simon and Garfunkel, and Jimi Hendrix. Conversely, I even enjoy some new rap music such as Wiz Khalifa, Wale, and B.O.B., but nothing compares to Tupac, B.I.G., and Wu Tang.

Tell me about any plugs that you’d like. Podcasts, sites that you write for, expert leagues, anything. Everything DLF is fair game for a plug. I just got done recording my third DLF Podcast. Tim Stafford and Jarrett Behar do a great job with that. This past week I filled in for Jarrett while he took a well deserved vacation. I do the Sportz Junkies 101 podcast every week during the season. Currently I’m writing a series called Dynasty Rankings Roundtable in which I give our staff members a platform to explain their rankings. I’ve also taken on the task of being the DLF “rankings czar”. I’ve been working closely with Ken Moody to ensure that our rankings are up to date and as accurate as possible. Dynasty rankings are very subjective, but we hope they are a valuable resource to our readers.

Thanks to Karl for taking one for the DLF team. Follow him on Twitter.

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