Q&A with the Co-Founder of Women
Against Fantasy Sports
The “Gut Feeling” is often synonymous with a sense
of desperation resulting from a lack of preparation. The Gut Check
is a huge proponent of studying the numbers, but there’s
a point where one can place too much emphasis on the wrong information.
This can result in the undervaluing or overlooking a player’s
potential. Therefore, The Weekly Gut Check is devoted to examining
the frame of reference behind certain number-driven guidelines
that fantasy football owners use to make decisions.
Although The Weekly Gut Check doesn’t claim to be psychic,
he does believe that he can dispel certain numbers biases and
help you make the best choices for your team. We’ll keep
a running tally of The Weekly Gut Check’s insights. This
way you can gauge his views as something to seriously consider,
or at least seriously consider running the opposite way as fast
as you can!
A quick note about Volume 131
– I mistyped Derek Hagan’s alma mater as the ASU Wildcats
rather than their true mascot, the Sun Devils. I guess I was thinking
about how my alma mater Georgia Bulldogs are going to travel to
Arizona and make the Sun Devils look more like the Wildcats. (Now
I’ve angered both alumni…).
Last week I came across a press
release for a new website. It is the brainchild of Allison
Lodish, a 35-year-old mother of two from Kentfield, California.
At first, Lodish was all for her husband’s newfound hobby,
fantasy football. But as her man joined additional fantasy leagues
with each passing season, her support turned into frustration.
She decided to turn the tables and according to the news release,
“created the site as an outlet for people to ridicule, mourn,
and lament the loss of their partners who spend an inordinate
amount of time online consuming player data, drafting and managing
their teams, scouring stats, scores, and injury reports and trash-talking
with friends and players in their leagues.”
The site includes a forum, a page of fantasy sports terms to
“Stump The Chump,” and apparel for sale, including
t-shirts, hats, and my
personal favorite, hip-hugging, spandex shorts with the phrase
“Closed – For the Fantasy Season” emblazoned
across the crotch.
I decided as a representative of the fantasy sports industry,
I needed to track down Allison and find out more about Women
Against Fantasy Sports (WAFS) and she graciously agreed to
a phone interview with the hopes of setting her straight.
Why, why, why would you
create a site like this? I know you’re frustrated, but isn’t
there a better way?
WAFS: Fantasy sports ruins fan loyalty
to their team…
Puh-lease, that is such a
tired reason and it’s simply not true. While it enhances
one’s appreciation for players on other teams, I don’t
know anyone who has abandoned their loyalty to their favorite
WAFS: You’ve gotta be kidding.
Please tell me you’re joking? Seriously, are you telling
me if the game is on the line for your favorite NFL team, but
one of your fantasy players has a chance to help you win your
fantasy league by beating your favorite team that you are going
to cheer against your fantasy player? You’re either delusional
or full of sh--. You couch potatoes would back your fantasy team
WAFS: Don’t even go there.
I have two words for your bs – “Championship Week”
– and you can’t deny it. I’ve seen it with my
own eyes. Tell me I’m lying.
(Laughing) You’re lying.
WAFS: I told you that you were
full of sh--.
I read you’re a football fan…
WAFS: Yes, I watched the 49ers with my brothers, but I’m
also and Eagles fan.
Who are your favorite players?
WAFS: There’s Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Steve Young…he
was cute! Who was that other hot guy who made that famous catch?
WAFS: Yeah him, too, but it was Dwight Clark who made “The
Just testing you.
WAFS: (Laughing) Sure you were.
What about current Niners?
WAFS: Well…hmmm…there’s (long pause as she struggles
to remember a current player’s name)…
How do you consider yourself a Niners fan, but you don’t
even know the names of any current players?
WAFS: Well, now they suck, but you always have faith.
So you’re telling fantasy sports enthusiasts they have
no team loyalty, but you can’t remember the name of any
player who has been on your ‘favorite team’ in the
past decade? There’s ‘team loyalty’ for you!
Let’s be serious
for a moment Allison, what is your hidden agenda here?
WAFS: There’s no hidden agenda. WAFS is an outlet for fantasy
Come on. What are you
after? Improved efficiency in the workplace? More of your husband’s
time looking after the kids and doing chores around the house?
Fewer mobile breaking news updates at the dinner table? We’ve
fought all of these for years and we’re still going strong!
WAFS: You seem a little wound up. Have a draft tonight by chance?
No…but that’s a good idea. A quickie mock always
relaxes me. You know, maybe if you tried fantasy football you’d
learn more about your team.
WAFS: You are not going to talk me into playing this stupid hobby.
Why wouldn’t you at least try it? You claim to be a
WAFS: I don’t have to know the names of players to be a
fan. Being a good teammate means the individual sublimates his
or her individuality for the good of the group. It’s one
of the things wrong with fantasy football. You guys are way too
focused on individual performances.
You have got it all wrong. I cheer for my whole fantasy team.
WAFS: And you give them half-time speeches in the locker room?
No, I prefer the pre-game
speech. Ever see Tashard Choice give one? He learned
it from me.
Never mind…So in your opinion, what is the stupidest
thing about fantasy football?
WAFS: It is the endless hours that guys spend on their computer
‘preparing’ for their games and joining multiple leagues
Your husband told you he joined multiple leagues for ‘practice’?
WAFS: That’s his story…
And you fell for it?
WAFS: I guess so, but the point is if your woman walks into your
living room or home office wearing nothing but lingerie and you
tell her ‘five more minutes’ for the third time, you’ve
got a problem.
Agreed, but don’t you think you should be examining
your relationship with your husband rather than some game he’s
playing to escape whatever is happening – or not happening
– between you? What does your ‘husband’ think
of the site? Are you two still married at this point?
WAFS: What is that supposed to mean?
Well, I presumed you and your site’s members killed
him and ate his remains by now or left you, fearing you might
try to sabotage his football season…
WAFS: Or I left him because like the rest of you, he’d rather
watch 300-lb., men in tight pants than a sexy woman without pants
at all. But to answer your original question, we’re still
together. WAFS gives me and the other wives and girlfriends something
to talk about while they allegedly ‘watch’ football.
Seriously, how do you even claim that you watch a football game
if you play fantasy football? You change the channel so much,
that you don’t watch a game at all! You’re just watching
highlights or reading about the game every two minutes on your
laptop. How geeky is that? If you’re a real football fan,
you watch one game.
I have to admit unless the original game is a complete blowout
I can’t stand when people can’t stick with one game.
You miss the subtleties of the game when you’re too busy
trying to watch the highlights. It’s like substituting Cliff
Notes for the actual novel. I don’t mind switching between
two games, but the unwritten rule is you have a primary game and
a secondary game and you only switch from the primary game when
there’s a timeout or commercial break.
It’s still incredulous to me that you and your husband
are still together despite your claims he likes looking at sweaty,
300-lb., men in tight pants more than you, but what seems even
more improbable is that your organization claims it has a guy
who a) played fantasy football and b) supports your site. He must
have quit playing because he wasn’t any good.
WAFS: You mean like you started fantasy football because you weren’t
any good at playing fantasy with your significant other?
Funny, but if you knew her, you know that’s not the
WAFS: Oh, but I do…she joined the site!
No she didn’t…
WAFS: You’re not the fantasy writer who just finally noticed
she knocked down the dining room wall in her house three weeks
WAFS: It will be if you keep holing yourself up in that office
next to the kitchen and not paying attention to her…
(Laughing) Changing gears, give us a top-five list of “When
to say ‘when’” with fantasy sports?
WAFS: Only five? Good enough….
5. When you play in more leagues
than there are weekdays.
4. When family holidays ‘interfere’
with fantasy football.
3. When you can’t remember
the names of your in-laws, but know the measurements of every
receiver on a team’s depth chart.
2. When you pay to have other
non-football players give you advice…
You know, this is the reason my one and only can afford to
tear down a wall…in OUR house!
WAFS: Couldn’t you get a part-time job at Burger King that
pays more for your time?
Yeah that might be a step up at this point, but couldn’t
you get more from your husband with honey instead of vinegar?
WAFS: Shall I continue, or do you want me to keep shooting you
When fantasy sports is better than sex…
Why is that an either or proposition? And why are you presuming
your husband doesn’t have a reason for enjoying fantasy
sports more? Maybe you need to do a bit of self-assessment.
WAFS: Do I need to tell everyone what else your one and only is
saying on our forums?
(Laughing) Mercy. Ok, let’s stop the bickering for
a sec. Have you thought about offering couples counseling as an
WAFS: (Laughing) What? Be serious…
I am serious. Your site could promote ways to help spouses
enjoy the game together. You know, get someone like Dr. Drew Pinsky
or Sue Johanson give seminars on ‘erotic fantasy football’
– it could be fun.
WAFS: ‘Erotic fantasy football’? That makes even less
sense than dumb ass terms like ‘friendly fire.’ No
wonder your girlfriend is on our site. Anyways what self-respecting
woman who enjoys football even likes fantasy football?
WAFS: Name one.
There’s Katie Potts – she’s a regular visitor
to FFToday and she plays in multiple leagues…
WAFS: Come on, you’re making this up.
We have women who visit the site.
WAFS: How many?
Half a percent…more? Probably more that we don’t
WAFS: Uh-huh. Katie must have found a nice way to get attention
– I bet she’s the only woman in those leagues.
In two of them, but she was in an “all-girl”
league that also doubled as a knitting club. She also said it
was about the excitement of the game and not apparel like those
pink and baby blue jerseys some of you wear. By the way, how is
wearing anything but your team’s colors actually showing
loyalty to your squad? Doesn’t that inject a level individualism
that isn’t about the team concept?
WAFS: It’s about having good taste.
It’s football, not fashion. Otherwise the Cleveland
Browns would have changed their uniforms 60 years ago.
WAFS: True. Orange and brown as that autumn appeal, but all that
white and the stripes…yeech!!
Speaking of apparel, what was the idea behind the WAFS clothing?
Are you giving any portion of the proceeds away to charity?
WAFS: We needed something to show our solidarity in the face of
fantasy sports. When I told my friends I was starting the site,
they said if I sold t-shirts they would buy one.
Are you giving any portion of the proceeds away to charity?
WAFS: I’m the charity case. I don’t get to use the
computer and my man is physically, mentally, and emotionally absent
from August through February. I need funds for my therapy sessions…
WAFS: You got it.
In all seriousness, thank
you for joining me today. I heard you got a lot of feedback from
fantasy enthusiasts and writers. After reading some of the responses,
I have to tell you some of these folks need to get a life. Even
someone like me who annually plays in six to seven leagues, writes
52 columns a year, and publishes a 500-page book in between, realizes
this is just tongue and cheek fun on your part. If they don’t
see the humor, something truly is wrong.
WAFS: Absolutely. It’s all
in good fun. Thanks for having me.
My 2008 Drafts
My leagues encompass a wide spectrum of fantasy football. This
year I am in seven leagues:
I’ll provide the link to the league, the roster drafted, and
- SOFA Auction League –
Another showcase auction league with a flex player that can
be a 3rd RB, 4th WR, or 2nd TE. It’s a 12-team league
that awards points per reception (PPR). We drafted a week ago,
Tuesday. I won this league in 2006, but just missed the playoffs
- Fantasy Auctioneer Experts Invitational
League – This is the fifth year for this showcase
auction league with 12 teams. I won the league in 2005 and 2006,
but bottomed out in 2007.
- GOIDPANKAL – A 12
team, 26-round, slow draft with a full complement of individual
defensive players. The owners include Mike MacGregor, Tony Nowak,
and DraftGuys TV personalities Cecil Lammey and Sigmund Bloom.
- FFToday Staff League –
This is a traditional re-draft league in its first year with
12 teams. We’ve talked
enough about this one.
- My Old Standby –
I’m drafting this weekend in this 12-team league with
- Ironman 3 – The Ironman
leagues are dynasty leagues with 14 teams, 40-man rosters, a
four-player taxi squad, and two-player injured reserve. The
league awards points per reception and fields a full complement
of individual defensive players. Our rookie draft was in May.
I lead the regular season in points last year, but lost in the
- HAFAX-II – This is
a glorified showcase keeper league with 16 teams, player contracts,
a salary cap for two slow auctions with restricted free agents
and unrestricted free agents, and the off season ends with a
rookie draft, which we’re in the middle of as we speak.
Mike MacGregor plays the role of owner/coach and I play the
role of GM/coordinator. Basically, I shop for the groceries
and he starts the players. We took over a CBS Sportsline team
in 2007 that had some Chicago Bears-like luck with it’s
draft picks on offense and made the playoffs in year one.
Auction League – The prices aren’t listed on this
roster link, but here they are for my squad. This
link may work for the rest of the squads. If not, don’t
write me, or Krueger.
| FFToday MW (Wildman)
||San Diego Chargers
My approach for this auction was to initially spread the wealth
with my $200 salary early in the draft to grab two strong backs
and then wait until I had more funds than most everyone else in
the auction. I normally take the approach of landing as many studs
as I can and then fill out my roster with bargain plays. With
the flex player, I felt I needed to be more judicious.
Portis and Lynch were 41% of my cap, but they are two players
that I believe are “what you see is what you get,”
at the running back position. Add Ricky and DeAngelo Williams
as late picks, where I had a bidding advantage with funds and
my RB corps looks good because three of the four backs are every
down runners with goal line duties. I’m an Ahmad Bradshaw
fan, but Derrick Ward was excellent last year prior to injury
and he can catch the football.
In hindsight, I may have waited a bit too long to get receivers
giving up on bids for younger, big-play guys. Still, Jerricho
Cotchery has T.J. Houshmadnzadeh-like potential with Brett Favre
in the fold and Isaac Bruce is excellent value in Martz’s
offense. I’m not happy with Galloway or Jennings although
one of them should work out for the price. Throw in Jerry Porter
and sleepers like Antonio Bryant and Derek Hagan, and I may be
shuffling my receivers in the first third of my season to find
the right combination.
Drew Brees was a mid-round bid that didn’t turn out to be
the deal I hoped, but I’ll pay the price for his skills
– especially when I can land Eli Manning as a second QB
for just three dollars. Vernon Davis is my breakout gamble. The
Chargers was admittedly a lucky bid, because there was an issue
with the bidding process that league voted not to roll back. In
my opinion this is a solid team and playoff contender if Galloway
and/or Bruce can maintain their history of strong play.
Auctioneer Experts Invitational League – This league
may also be difficult to access, but here’s my roster below.
| FFToday MW (Wildman)
||Antwaan Randle El
This is more like the strategy I like to employ in auctions –
go bold or go home. I expected Peterson to go higher because in
auctions from previous seasons the top two or three backs went
into the $70-$80 range. Getting Larry Johnson for $35 was an unexpected
surprise. I wouldn’t have paid more than $40, so I was shocked
his value has declined so much among fantasy writers. I’ll
gladly take LJ as my #2 RB at a #2 RB price! Chris Perry was a
pick I made prior to Marvin Lewis making his “if the season
started now…” statement so I feel optimistic that
I have at least some modicum of RB depth in case of injury, although
he shares Peterson’s bye week. Brandon Jacobs to me is an
injury waiting to happen. I’m probably prejudiced, but a
back this big seems like more of a liability than an asset because
as quick as he is, he’s still not as agile as a back 30
pounds lighter. He will get beat up, because there is more of
him to get hit in a pile. Homespun logic? Sure, but talk to me
when Jacobs carries the ball more than 250 times and misses fewer
than three games in a season.
Landing Owens and Fitzgerald has me feeling like one of my readers
that e-mail me asking for advice for teams so stacked with talent
that I wonder whether they are bragging more than seeking advice
(you know who you are). I actually think Jackson has the opportunity
to out-play Chris Chambers who seems to have more issues with
holding onto the football. Although I ranking Chambers higher
than Jackson, I wouldn’t be surprised if the primary receiving
role flip-flops from one week to the next. Since this is a high
risk-high reward lineup, the odds of one of my depth chart receivers
busting out are slim. I’ll hope I find a quality receiver
through free agency.
Vernon Davis again graces my roster and if you’ve read my
stuff for any length of time, you know why. Favre at $10 was just
too good to pass up. As you know I’m a believer that he’s
going to reverse the Madden Curse (sorry Green Bay fans, but I
think the Madden Typhoon his headed to Wisconsin). This team should
contend as long as they stay healthy and will be capable of gargantuan
– This will be one of the most competitive leagues I am
in this year. I had the first pick and knew this heading into
the summer. So I weighed my options between Adrian Peterson and
Ladainian Tomlinson for quite a while.
| Wildman - Matt Waldman
|Favre, Brett NYJ QB
|Young, Vince TEN QB
|Perry, Chris CIN RB
|Peterson, Adrian MIN RB
|Taylor, Chester MIN RB
|Turner, Michael ATL RB
|Williams, DeAngelo CAR RB
|Williams, Ricky MIA RB
|Berrian, Bernard MIN WR
|Bruce, Isaac SFO WR
|Colston, Marques NOS WR
|Hagan, Derek MIA WR
|Morgan, Josh SFO WR
|Ward, Hines PIT WR
|Davis, Vernon SFO TE
|Williams, Pat MIN DT
|Carter, Andre WAS DE
|Kearse, Jevon TEN DE
|Crowell, Angelo BUF LB
|Fletcher-Baker, London WAS LB
|Hayes, Gerald ARI LB
|Peterson, Julian SEA LB
|Urlacher, Brian CHI LB
|Finnegan, Cortland TEN CB
|Phillips, Jermaine TBB S
|Polamalu, Troy PIT S
I’m very pleased with this team. Peterson and Turner are
a powerful, 1-2 punch and my 3-4-5 of Ricky Williams, DeAngelo
Williams, and Chris Perry make my RB depth chart an asset I might
be able to use for trade bait in case my quarterbacks or receivers
need help. I was disappointed I couldn’t take DeAngelo Williams
and Jonathan Stewart back to back, which was my plan, but I waited
a round too late. I can envision growing frustrated that I leave
points on the bench if the Williams’ duo or Perry start
and perform as they have in the preseason.
I’m happy with Marques Colston and I believe Hines Ward
and Isaac Bruce will show they have enough left to make fantasy
owners happy as #3 WRs. Bruce will be open because Martz’s
offense spreads out the defense and Ward is now healthy. I’m
not sure Bernard Berrian will produce consistently as a fantasy
#2 WR, but with my RB corps, I’ll take the trade off. I
should be adequate at this position considering we start three
Vernon Davis and Brett Favre were mid-to-late round targets in
this draft also. Vince Young is a gamble I can afford to make
with Favre as my starter.
Defensively speaking, I have a good linebacker corps headlined
by Urlacher, London Baker-Fletcher, and Julian Peterson. Urlacher
and Baker-Fletcher are tackling machines and Peterson has 10-sack
potential. Crowell and Hayes provide decent bye week depth.
My defensive ends are below the radar, but Andre Carter was productive
before Jason Taylor arrived to D.C. and Jevon Kearse gets to work
with the strongest front four he’s seen since leaving Tennessee.
If they don’t work out, I should find at least one quality
starter on the waiver wire. I felt I could gamble more on DL and
DB and much less on LBs.
The secondary should be decent. Cortland Finnegan will get targeted
a lot, but is good enough to get his share of positive results
each week. Jermaine Phillips finally played within the realm of
his potential and the front seven is going to show some age this
year. If Troy Polamalu stays healthy, I got nice value.
3 – This one was strictly a rookie
draft. Here are my picks. As you see, I didn’t have
a first or third round pick.
| FFToday MW (Wildman)
||Keller, Dustin NYJ TE (R)
||Omon, Xavier BUF RB (R)
||Hubbard, Paul CLE WR (R)
||O’Connell, Kevin NEP QB (R)
||Avril, Cliff DET DE (R)
||Parmele, Jalen MIA RB (R)
||Boyd, Cory FA RB (R)
||Urrutia, Mario CIN WR (R)
Dustin Keller fills a need for my squad. I also picked up TE
Kellen Davis last week to stash him away. Xavier Omon has potential,
but he may bounce to another team and need a year or two to make
a case as a contributor. Hubbard will be a name to remember for
in a year or two. O’Connell has outplayed Matt Cassell in
camp. Cliff Avril has drawn comparisons to Dwight Freeney although
he has a long way to go in order to get there. Parmele could surprise
if given an opportunity. Boyd and Urrutia are no longer on my
roster. As you can see this was a purely a draft for the future.
Players I hoped to get included Keenan Burton, Josh Johnson, and
This is my final update to my rankings. As a reminder these are
projections for a 12-team league and a starting lineup of 1 QB,
2 RB, 3 WR, and 1 TE lineup with FFToday
default scoring. In order to remain conscious of space and formatting,
I will only list the top 32 QBs, RBs, and TEs and the top 50 WRs.
I had a number of e-mail requests for me to provide projections
for other scoring systems, but I will not have the time to do more
than this type of league. I suggest you register for a MyFFToday
account (it’s free), input your league scoring system,
and use your scoring system to run the numbers from the Crank
Score Calculator to get the raw data. Then use the previous
articles as a guide to calculate the simplified new Crank Score.
| Tier Color Codes
|Primary Back ups
|Secondary Back ups
The tier color codes are my way of grouping the players by specific
ranges in Crank Score. Once can see the codes have some mathematical
logic, but it is still a subjective delineation on my part. One
could argue that there are only two elite backs or there is seven
to twelve elite receivers depending on how one looks at the impact
of the Crank Score attributed to the positions. Again, this is
a limited list of players. There are far more flier/waiver wire
picks for my personal draft list. The players in bold reflect
changes from last week and there are significant changes –
some bigger than others.
Brett Favre continues to rise and Manning’s iffy week one status
drops him a few notches. McNabb’s receiving corps woes drop
him a bit, but he’s used to working with a rotating, makeshift
cast, so he didn’t plummet. DeSean Jackson does find a spot
on the list because I like what I’ve seen from him as a
receiver – he catches contested balls, takes the hit, and
should be able to get deep on some opposing corners early in the
year. Kitna, Cutler, and Hasselbeck leapfrog Vince Young because
I haven’t seen a receiver step up for the Titans. I still
like Young as an upside pick, but his draft value is such that
you can get him well into the second half of a draft. Kurt Warner
makes an appearance because I don’t see how Ken Whisenhunt
– denials from him included – can’t bench Matt
Leinart. Rodgers and O’Sullivan get slight bumps because
they will get enough opportunities to get points, even in garbage
While tempted to move Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams
up my rankings I think the Carolina passing game will offer more
balance than what we’ve seen from Jacksonville with their
1-2 punch of Taylor and Jones Drew.
drops, because I’m wary of his consistency and believe Vincent
Jackson and Chambers will be more interchangeable from a fantasy
perspective than it appears on paper. Jackson is clearly coming
into his own as a receiver and I think he’s in store for some
big games. Kevin
Curtis drops off the deep end due to his hernia.
That’s the final installment of my Crank Score projections.
Good luck this year!