December, 2009

Yesteryear Announces Itself with FSTA Sponsoship

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Yesteryear Fantasy Sports was announced Tuesday as the title sponsor for the upcoming FSTA conference, presumably as a way of introducing its new concept to the industry.

Yesteryear, which prominently displays the instantly recognizable face of Mike Ditka on its homepage, plans to launch its fantasy game in January. According to the introductory video on the site (and embedded below), it’s a game that will allow users to pit today’s players against past greats.

The concept — which says it aggregates actual historical stats and turns them into arbitrary single-game totals — seems to be a cross between fantasy and the fairly popular What If Sports engine that has been around for about 10 years now. The primary challenge also appears to be one of four contests the site will focus on.

Yesteryear also states a mission of raising money for needy ex-NFL players.

It’ll be interesting to see just how this concept works and where it goes from here. And, of course, it’s always interesting to hear more info straight from Da Coach …


Kansas Grocer Takes RapidDraft $250K

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

“It will be hard to ever replicate the feeling again when it comes to fantasy football.”

Most (all?) of us play fantasy football each year, whether it be with a group of friends, some co-workers or a faceless online community of folks you know only by their message-board handles. Some of us even win some money from time to time.

We probably won’t come close to $250,000, though, which is the amount that caused David Girard to utter the quote at the beginning of this article.

“After 17 years of participating in fantasy football I feel as though I’ve reached my pinnacle and its only downhill from here,” Girard said after winning the inaugural grand prize at

Of course, Girard has no plans to quit playing fantasy football, a hobby in which he has participated since 1993, when he was a junior at Kansas State and scoring was done by hand with the sports page and a notebook. He, like most fantasy players, said that the joy of winning and the bragging rights held over leaguemates are the real motivators for competing in fantasy. Girard even said that his experience of once finishing second in a $250-entry, winner-take-all league soured him on the “big-money” format.

“I’ve learned that playing fantasy football for the thrill of the win and the bragging rights, not the money, is what drives me,” Girard said. “When I entered the RapidDraft contest, I saw it as a cool way to play fantasy football. I never dreamed it would turn into a ‘big-money’ ordeal.”

Girard, who sat in second place by a mere half-point heading into the NFL’s just-completed Week 16, said he couldn’t even bear to watch the afternoon contests this past Sunday.

“I checked the stats often and even ruled myself out of the contest when I saw (Chad) Ochocinco and (Jermichael) Finley had one catch between them heading into halftime of the early games,” he said. “The only game I watched that day was the Sunday night game with Dallas. At that point I didn’t know exactly what Romo needed for me to win, but I knew it was well within reason that he could score enough to do the job. Obviously at this point I feel inclined to join a Tony Romo fan club or something.”

Girard, who co-owns a small grocery store in Kansas with his brother, said that Finley was a key player in his title run and that some early-round luck paid off as well.

“Going into the draft I remember thinking I wanted to land two top wide receivers with my first two picks considering it was a ppr league,” he said. “My hope was that they would be Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson and Moss as the next choice. As destiny would have it Fitz went (one slot before mine), so I went with Johnson and then Moss went shortly after that leaving me staring at Chris Johnson in the second round. Luckily I didn’t pass him up.

Girard, like many a fantasy owner playing in point-per-reception formats this season, said that Ray Rice was another central piece of his championship.

“To get an everyweek stud running back in round 6 doesn’t happen very often,” he said. “The other pick that stands out to me was getting Finley in the 19th round. Most of the year he floundered around on my bench. Thankfully I held onto him and that led to probably the one lineup decision that won the contest for me.”

Girard said the victory is too fresh for him to have made plans for the money yet but that most of it will probably wind up in college funds for his four children. He also said he might try to leverage this win into some involvement with the fantasy sports industry.

Whatever happens on those fronts, though, the one thing that Girard can count on is his wife’s “new appreciation” for the hobby.

“Something makes me think that fantasy football won’t be such a ‘waste of time’ from now on.”

(Note: World Fantasy Games owns and operates RapidDraft and


Interactive Sports Conference

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

What: Interactive Sports Conference
When: March 24-25
Where: Las Vegas
Details: ISC website
Sponsor: Fantasy Sports Association


Familiar Face Crashes FFOC Vegas Party

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

This weekend, the Fantasy Football Open Championship will send its top 15 title contenders to Las Vegas for the second year in a row to see how the final week plays out. On the line, of course, $1 million — just like Shane Schroeder won last season.

But wait, who’s that in sixth place and making his way to Vegas on someone else’s dime? Yep, it’s none other than our own Jeff Thomas.

I guess the guy does know what he’s talking about after all with this fantasy stuff.

Good luck to all competing for the seven-figure payout (and the chance to finally replace that photo of Schroeder on the FFOC homepage).

Of course, I’ll be rooting for the guy who signs my paychecks.