Personal Profile: Sara Holladay

Who: Sara Holladay
What: Fantasy Football Librarian

There are a ridiculous number of fantasy football sites out there, most of which claim to give you top-notch advice for winning each weekend. How do you sort through them all?

You don’t, and that’s part of why has gained popularity.

Five years ago, Sara Holladay was just a football fan — a Colorado resident who rooted for the Broncos (and Redskins, from her native Washington, D.C.) and closely followed the squad from her alma mater, Northwestern.

“I certainly watched and enjoyed football before college, but it wasn’t until I got to Northwestern that I felt I had a real rooting interest,” she says. I like the pace of the game, love the athleticism of the sport … but I think it also takes some serious smarts to play the game well, and I appreciate that.”

With that fan base already built, her husband convinced her to give the fantasy thing a try back in 2004. The rest — as the cliché goes — is history … only in this case it’s chronicled, filed and available for easy referencing.

That’s because Holladay is an assistant professor at the University of Colorado, carrying the title of electronic collections and assessment librarian. She sorts through and works with the library’s electronic resources to evaluate their worth as research tools and make it easier for users to find what they need. Knowing that, one shouldn’t be too surprised to see the niche she is carving out in the fantasy football world as the Fantasy Football Librarian.

The site launched in September 2006, simply as a blog where a librarian catered to the fantasy football audience by sharing the resources she had culled from her own research.

“My vision was for it to be a site that would help a few people here and there — and I never even intended to give lineup advice,” she says. “Yet here I am, spending probably way too long every day dispensing what fantasy wisdom I have.”

She has shown enough wisdom in her blog to have Bruno Boys Fantasy Football ask her to write a weekly column and for The New York Times to bring her into the fold at the Fifth Down blog. She says that relationship started when she e-mailed the Fifth Down editor in fall 2007 about joining the site’s blogroll, not really expecting to even hear back.

“And I didn’t hear back, at least not until February 2008, when I was contacted about being a guest blogger,” she says, adding that Fifth Down brought her in to supply posts for a week. “That was a lot of fun, and they asked me back as a Friday blogger during the football season.”

Holladay sites the Fifth Down exposure as the big break that really increased traffic to her site as well as her credibility. Of course, if quality and credibility weren’t on hand already, there would have been little reason for the Times to pay her any attention.

One particular topic that Holladay says grabbed attention was evaluating the accuracy of preseason predictions from industry experts. It was an area that interested her from the start, and in 2007, she took it upon herself to evaluate the experts. A year later, it has evolved into a competition that will deliver Fantasy Sports Trade Association awards to the sites found to be most accurate in their rankings and stat projections.

When she’s not focusing on such yearlong topics, though, Holladay spends time on the blog that got her started, delivering daily posts … well, at least almost daily.

“This year I’ve decided to take the weekends off for the most part so that I remember to live the rest of my life, too,” she says.

Although remains a part-time gig for now, Holladay says she certainly doesn’t dismiss thoughts of making more out of it.

“When you have a chance to do something you truly love and are passionate about all day, every day and even bring home a paycheck from it, well of course you’d jump at that offer, right?” she says. “If the right opportunity presented itself to me, I’d think very seriously about it. I think that might ultimately mean I’d have to diversify and try fantasy basketball or baseball or hockey or golf or whatever else the fantasy nation wants.”

Those, of course, will be considerations for another time. At present, one just has to wonder if Mr. Holladay is now kicking himself for introducing his wife to this world that seems to have consumed her to some extent.

“He’s well aware that his invitation has more or less created a monster,” the Librarian says. “Fortunately he loves football so his eyes don’t glaze over when I’m debating the merits of starting Chansi Stuckey over Torry Holt, but he does hear a heavy dose of fantasy football on a daily basis. But he’s a great guy. I can’t imagine him regretting introducing me to something that brings me such happiness.”


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