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Special Guest

Interview With Mike Krueger
Publisher of

Continuing our 2002 Interview Series we welcome Mike Krueger to the chair, owner operator of the very popular site. In addition, Mike is a member of just about every showcase league on the planet. Mike sat down with me last September 24th for a lighthearted conversation about life on the web and more importantly, his Chiefs.

theprogno: Mike, first, thanks for taking time out to join me for this. I know you're a busy guy.

fftoday: No problem... no problem at all. I'm glad to do it.

theprogno: For those that don't know you, how old a guy are you? Married? Kids?

fftoday: I'm a 32 year-old single man with no kids... living the good life here in Kansas City. It’s a lifestyle that comes in handy during this time of year :)

theprogno: I'd say! Born and raised there?

fftoday: Yeah, born and raised in KC. I spent some time in California as a small youth but KC is my home.

theprogno: I take it you're a Chiefs fan then?

fftoday: Ohh, the Chiefs... I knew you were going to bring that up. Yeah, I'm a Chiefs fan who is currently desperate for a defense. Where's Marty Schottenheimer when you need him? All those years we were begging for a 25-carry back to go with our solid defense and now that we got him, our defense is well on its way to finishing last in the league. Such a shame...

theprogno: Now that we've identified your weakness, we'll come back to that!

fftoday: Ha! Ha!

theprogno: When did you start FFToday and how come?

fftoday: I started FF Today in August of '97 but I really consider 1998 our first year. I really didn't open FF Today with the thought of creating a fantasy football content site for the masses. It started out simply as a resource for the two local leagues that I commish. As '97 went on, I started adding more and more features, and by '98, I realized there was an opportunity to do something bigger. I've had a lot of help along the way in building this community and am pleased with how the site has taken shape. It's a lot of work, but the rewards are there.

theprogno: I remember when you opened. I liked the look of the site, very crisp and clean. You really came out of the box and blasted onto the scene. How many people work on it with you?

fftoday: We've got four staff writers and depending on the time of year, anywhere from 12 - 15 Guest Writers.

theprogno: So the four guys that work with you on the site? Friends that were in your league, or guys you've met along the way?

fftoday: Not local friends... just big internet FF geeks who like getting paid next to nothing for a hobby they enjoy! Mark Bunster, Dan Anders, Mike Davis, & Mike MacGregor. I love those guys!

theprogno: You are certainly one of the best known free sites on the web. Free seems to be sliding away these days. Do you see your operation maintaining its open doors for the foreseeable future?

fftoday: Ahh yes, the "free" question. A site's expenses and popularity seem to go hand in hand. I think I've been fortunate in a number of areas, which has allowed me to keep FF Today free for this season. It's been extremely difficult and may not be so easy next season. We'll have to see about the future, I really just don't know. I will do everything I can to keep FF Today a free resource.

theprogno: Mike, I'll have to come clean, I'm absolutely amazed that a Google search for "fantasy football" puts right smack on top. If you do nothing else in your lifetime, that feat alone was worth it! Feel like coming clean? Who do you know?

fftoday: I would tell you about how easy it was for me to get FF Today listed in Yahoo, but then you might kill me!, Yahoo, and Google, have all been great in that regard. There really isn't a big secret... I don't know anyone... it all has to do with the popularity of the site, the structure of the FF Today pages, and the fact that the domain has been a fixture on the Internet for some time now.

theprogno: I see you are in just about every showcase league on the web. How are things going so far? Was your preseason crystal ball cloudy or clear?

fftoday: Yeah, the "expert" leagues. Those are fun and very competitive. I'm currently 2-1 in SOFA, and The FF Champs Challenge. I'm 7th in the Shootout, and 1-2 in InsanEX. BTW, I'll do some whining here. I lost my first two games in InsanEX by 1 point.. both games... by one point!

theprogno: You and I compete in Insanex and that league certainly has some heavy hitters in it. Who were some of your preseason hunches that seem to be panning out?

fftoday: Let's see... I had Curtis Martin ranked down at #16. Too be honest, I didn't think things would get this bad for him. He will certainly put up some numbers as the season goes on, but Martin owners must be pulling their hair out. I liked Amani Toomer a lot also... people always seem to overlook him, and I don't know why.

theprogno: Indeed. Speaking of Amani Toomer, passing is way up in football this season. Do you see this trend continuing and should a fantasy team attempt to react to this now?

fftoday: Passing usually tends to be up at the start of the season, but once the weather starts to play more of a factor, you'll see that curve slide down. I wouldn't over react as a fantasy owner, but it does give you more WR and QB options in the early part of the season.

theprogno: As you point out, people are sitting with Curtis Martin scratching their head, care to serve up some opinions on whether a player is trade bait or someone to trade for? I'll toss out some names. If you would, just a little insight as well?

fftoday: OK, shoot.

theprogno: The biggie right off the bat, Shaun Alexander.

fftoday: I had Alexander ranked at #5 before the season which may be a little high in retrospect. I think he'll eventually come around and be a top-ten back by the end of the season... probably in the bottom half of the top-ten. Don't panic on him yet.

theprogno: What about Terrell Owens? Can this really continue?

fftoday: If you can get Owens at a discount in your league, then I would do it. I'm still high on his season and expect him to lead the league in fantasy scoring at the WR position this year. He's just that good.

theprogno: Randy Moss had a paltry 4 for 16 I think it was against the Panthers. Plus breaking news tonight is he was arrested for nudging a cop with his car. This guy ever going to screw it on straight this season? Is he trade bait yet?

fftoday: Moss did this last year... he was a little inconsistent at times. I actually think all this "Randy-ratio" nonsense is a distraction to the team. Once Culpepper starts finding the open man, instead of forcing the ball into Moss, you'll see Randy start putting up better numbers. As with Owens, I would make a trade for Moss right now, when his price is cheap.

theprogno: The rest are RB's, except for one Chief but I'll toss him out last so we can get your perspective on the Chiefs this year. Jerome Bettis? I know he was low in a lot of rankings but this low?

fftoday: I had Bettis at #27. He's just another year older and a back that has carried the load a lot during his career. I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't finish the season.

theprogno: How about the rookie over in Cleveland, William Green? Is he someone to trade or trade for? That would be an awfully high draft pick to blow for the Browns.

fftoday: Green is just a rookie who is having a tough time making the transition to the NFL. I would expect him to play better later in the season, but Jamel White is proving to be a serviceable piece of the puzzle right now. Green's time to shine will likely be next season and will make the Browns fans happy then... not now.

theprogno: Another interesting story is of course the Panthers and Lamar Smith. Do you punt him now when his value may never be higher or hold?

fftoday: Yes, I'm glad you brought him up. Smith is a fine runner but Carolina will come back down to earth right along with Smith's numbers. I would actually hold onto Smith through the Arizona game in Week 5 then try and trade him then.

theprogno: And last but not least, and I only ask this because we now know you're a Chiefs guy, Trent Green. Not that you'd get much for him right now.

fftoday: This guy is just maddening! He's having trouble connecting with Johnnie Morton, can't throw an accurate deep ball, and isn't displaying as much poise as you would expect. He knows this offense, but at times he looks lost. Priest Holmes is the Chiefs offense; I would expect that to continue throughout the season. I'm definitely regretting ranking Green at #11... He'll break the top twenty, but not by much.

theprogno: Before I let you go, how about the lack of WR help? Eddie Kennison and Johnnie Morton just don't appear to be getting it done? Fact or fiction? Is it really all on the D and Green?

fftoday: Actually, the non-signing of Keenan McCardell is really what hurts. The Chiefs coaches wanted him a big way. They thought that having both McCardell and Morton, to go along with Gonzalez would really give Green all the weapons to succeed. Morton is a solid receiver but doesn't fair well against physical corners. The wide receivers, or lack there of, are to blame as well.

theprogno: Just for fun. Who'll have more wins at the end of the season, the Panthers or the Chiefs?

fftoday: I hate to say it, but probably the Panthers. KC has a tough schedule.... man, that's sad.

theprogno: Sorry about that question!

fftoday: Ahh, well... maybe well get a high draft pick and get a real QB here in town! :)

theprogno: Great Mike! Thanks for sharing with us. It was my pleasure spending time with you tonight. Wish you much luck with Keep the great stuff coming.

fftoday: Thanks, Tony. I'm sure I'll be seeing you around!