Publisher of FFToday.com
Continuing our 2002 FantasySharks.com Interview Series we welcome
Mike Krueger to the chair, owner operator of the very popular fftoday.com
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,
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. Its
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
theprogno: I take it you're a Chiefs fan
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
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
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
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 fftoday.com 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! MSN.com, 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
fftoday: OK, shoot.
theprogno: The biggie right off the bat,
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
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
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
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
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 fftoday.com. Keep the great stuff coming.
fftoday: Thanks, Tony. I'm sure
I'll be seeing you around!