July 30th, 2010

FSB Daily 7/30: Fantazzle, Nick Lowery, Name Game, RotoWire, More

Friday, July 30th, 2010

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

- Fantazzle is offering customizable high-stakes fantasy football leagues as part of the SUPERDRAFT event in Las Vegas. Buy-in levels range from $1,000 to $10,000, with customizable league rules and sizes (anywhere from eight to 14 teams). Each level includes at least an 85 percent payout rate to winners.

- We had former Chiefs and Jets kicker Nick Lowery on the RapidDraft.com Fantasy Lunch, our BlogTalkRadio show on Thursday. Although it was enough for us that Lowery — an obviously bright guy and now professional public speaker — was engaging and entertaining, the part that really made it worth a post here came deep into his interview. That was when the veteran of 18 NFL seasons said, “Fantasy football is the best thing that ever happened to football.”

- The Hazean is keeping polls open through Saturday to determine your favorite fantasy football team name for July. I voted for “Stafford Infection” among the 10 options, though I find the leader quite clever in its use of all four Steelers quarterbacks.

- Just like it did for baseball season, RotoWire is offering its fantasy football draft kit as an iPhone app. Among the features is a function that provides player recommendations when you check off the guys who have already been drafted by others.

- FFChamps.com has reached an agreement with Boston-based WEEI.com to offer the former’s fantasy football draft kit through the website for the popular sports talk station.

- Jene Bramel of Footballguys.com takes a turn in the NYTimes.com Fifth Down blog to tell fantasy football folks why they should be playing with individual defensive players and refutes the common arguments against doing so.

- I recently took part in one of eight “Pros vs. Joes” drafts put on by the folks at the Fantasy Football Players Championship, which pits six fantasy players against six fantasy site representatives in each league. Those who didn’t participate can pick the winners for a shot at free 2011 FFPC entries. (Find my squad here — League 5 — and keep in mind that tight ends get 1.5 points per reception and it’s an optimal-scoring format, where you don’t have to set your lineup.)

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Might Sports Stock Trading Find Mobile Home?

Friday, July 30th, 2010

We’ve seen a fair number of games pop up over the past few years that present the public with the opportunity to buy and sell imaginary shares in professional athletes. The latest entry, however, might feature the best fit.

Locus Innovations this week introduced the Fantasy Trader iPhone app, which provides the same kind of functionality mentioned above. Users create a “Sportfolio” of shares in athletes that can be bought and sold stock-market style.

I find it a mildly interesting concept in general, and one that doesn’t really qualify as fantasy sport. That’s because an athlete’s value in such a universe boils down to popularity — either long-term or fleeting — rather than actual performance.

Still, with so many sports-crazed individuals out there, many with extra time on their hands and too many looking for anything other than human interaction, the sports market setup can be a fun diversion — one particularly well-suited for the mobile market.

Buying and selling athlete shares seems to cater to the kind of quick-action mindset at play in iPhone apps. Got 5 minutes? Maybe I can quickly expunge Stephen Strasburg from my Sportfolio.

This differs from actual fantasy sports play in that the latter tends to take much more time, research and thought … at least if you care to do it well and are competing with experienced players.

That’s certainly not to say that fantasy sports don’t fit the mobile format. Everything is moving more in that direction, and any fantasy company out there not thinking smart phone is in danger of being left behind.

The simplistic nature of trading on the hot or not streaks of athletes, though, seems tailored to the app genre.