May 7th, 2010

FSB Daily 5/7:, WSJ, Blurb, FF Mama-to-be

Friday, May 7th, 2010

A roundup of items recently posted on the FSB News page.

- Sports Illustrated announced this week that it partnered with game developer Watercooler on a multi-platform fantasy football product. Team management and game connectivity will be available to users via, Facebook and SI Mobile.

- Nando Di Fino of The Wall Street Journal this week used Yankees middle reliever Alfredo Aceves’ ownership numbers to illustrate differences in the user bases for fantasy games at Yahoo!, ESPN and CBS.

- Andrew Garda, proprietor of, contributor to and Fantasy Sports Channel host, will join the staff this season.

- As Mother’s Day approaches and threatens to get many of us guys in trouble, FF Librarian Sara Holladay announced on her blog Thursday night that she’s due to have her first child (a son) right around Week 3 of the coming NFL season. This guarantees that she’ll need multiple bye weeks, and a skeptic might wonder if she’s building in an excuse for failing to reprise her Super Bowl trip-winning fantasy play of 2009. Of course, we don’t think that way here at, so we’ll just say congratulations and good luck.

Send all of your news, job postings, stories and profile ideas to [email protected]. Follow us on Twitter (FSBcom).


FPA Seeks to Look Out for Fantasy Players

Friday, May 7th, 2010

The AFFL has had prominent payout issues in two of the past three seasons. remains live, but the last time we heard about those guys was a lawsuit for failure to pay out. Multiple other national contests have met with unrest lately for similar issues.

At some point, one might expect fantasy players to band together and try to push back. Enter the Fantasy Players Association.

“This was an idea that was first brought to me over a year ago during a conversation with Alex Kaganovsky,” FPA president Scott Atkins told “After the Fantasy Jungle fiasco, we were having a conversation on the state of the industry, and he mentioned that an association for players would be a good idea.”

Atkins said the idea intrigued him right away but that he wasn’t ready for the magnitude of such a project. The ensuing year and a half, though, introduced him to more of his fellow high-stakes fantasy players around the country, as well as operators for many of the contests.

Much of that came as part of hosting Red vs. Blue, a weekly show on BlogTalkRadio’s Fantasy Sports Channel that is geared toward the high-stakes segment. He cites the episode in which he welcomed the new owners of Chicago Fantasy Sports (which operates the AFFL). Atkins remembers hearing from Wade Golab and Bob Smolarczyk about how the AFFL’s issues were in the past and how they’d operate differently from the previous owner. Then the 2009 season brought disrupted payouts and legal action.

“After yet another travesty involving the AFFL, as well as various other questionable happenings in the industry, I had not only reached my boiling point, I reached my breakthrough,” Atkins said. “I realized that not only was the FPA needed, but I might be ready to make that commitment. As a veteran high stakes player myself, I obviously had witnessed the problems first hand, and my inbox was flooded from many of my friends and listeners.”

So the FPA was put together under the direction of this high-stakes player with a background in fund raising for non-profits. It went public in April with a temporary website that is holding the place for a full site expected to be rolled out this spring.

Although Atkins says details have yet to be nailed down, the About page on the current FPA site refers to a membership system that would include some type of dues and offer members the following “exclusive benefits”:

- Supporting the sole organization that advocates fantasy player rights.
- Contributing to the FPA legal fund.
- Access to over 100 individual ratings and reviews of fantasy contests, web sites, magazines and much more.
- Special FPA-only benefits and discounts that more than pay for the low cost of membership.
- Access to the FPA forums, a meeting place for fantasy players across the sports spectrum.
- Daily fantasy news from across the sports world.
- FPA-exclusive blog entries and articles about the fantasy industry from the players’ perspective.

We’ll be interested to see how much of that content and things such as message-board access wind up residing behind a subscription wall. How many fantasy players will be willing to pay for such access, and what kind of legal power will this body possess? It seems more likely that a “legal fund” might serve to support lawsuits brought by other individuals rather than carry the might to go after troublesome game proprietors?

The FPA’s strongest value would seem to be in publicizing issues with the games that its prospective members play. Such complaints are often relegated to site message boards and discussion among fellow high-stakes players — a community that extends across multiple national contests.

It will also be important for the FPA to stay clear of collaboration with or even the perception of collaboration with any particular game operators. It’s noteworthy that Alex Kaganovsky was central in the FPA’s creation, and Dave Gerczak has been involved as well. Those two, of course, are owners of the Fantasy Football Players Championship.

Now, we’re not saying that folks such as Kaganovsky and Gerczak shouldn’t be involved with the FPA. Both are experienced high-stakes players, and many FPA members are bound to have some rapport with those in charge of the games they play every year. Such a rapport might even make it easier for this group to effect worthwhile change when needed. Atkins said he believes it’ll be imperative for the FPA to steer clear of endorsing or promoting any particular contest or company, and he said he turned down requests from contest operators to be included on the FPA board.

The group that Atkins did announce on April 27 looks like this:

Rich McClellan (Managing Editor)
Jack Haan (Legal Advisor)
Matthew Bayley
Paul Maile
Kip Lockwood
Tytus “Ty” Parsons
Jonathan Wright
Mike Santos
Scottie Horton
Ryan McDowell
Jeff Tefertiller

Some quick Google searching will turn up those names on multiple high-stakes participant lists, as you would expect from folks interested in fronting the Fantasy Players Association. Tefertiller is a staff member with, which recently announced a partnership with the FFPC on a new contest. McDowell used to be on the Footballguys staff but isn’t now.

“At the end of the day, while I have a great relationship with many of the industry owners, it was not in the FPA’s best interest to permit those owners on the board,” Atkins wrote in announcing the board. If however, any of these individuals write or contribute for other sites, they will not be involved in the review of sites that may create a conflict of interest to protect the FPA’s impartiality.”

McClellan seems to have fairly close ties with Kaganovsky of the FFPC — based on this and this (scroll down to No. 6) — but it also appears to be just a friendly relationship rather than any stake in the FFPC business. Haan is part of the representation team for Jeff Gill in his suit against Chicago Fantasy Sports.

More scrutiny of fantasy operators will always be a good thing. Exposing or weeding out the unfit and/or ill-meaning companies can only help to legitimize our industry going forward, and fantasy’s intersection with the mainstream will only encourage more entrepreneurs to give this industry a try. looks forward to learning more specific details of how the FPA will fill its watchdog role and seeing what it will do for fantasy players and the industry.