Several years ago I began working remotely for a startup non-profit after spending most of my career in retail and corporate offices. As any quality researcher would do, I immediately began looking into tips and tricks of how to be successful working remotely. I stumbled across an article series by Lifehacker, called “How I Work,” which essentially was a collection of interviews, focusing on best practices, workflows, workspaces, and gadgets used by successful business people.
This article series is a nod, or rather a direct copy of their idea, from a fantasy football perspective. I’ll seek to interview the most interesting minds in fantasy football, procuring their secrets, routines, bookmarks, and more in an effort to pull back the curtains and provide you with resources and information. I hope you enjoy!
Your Twitter handle
Your location (city/state)
DR: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Current day job
DR: Senior Fantasy Writer
Current fantasy job(s)
DR: Senior Fantasy Writer
One word that best describes how you play fantasy football
Who is your favorite (non-current) NFL player? Why?
DR: Ed Reed. He was so smart, so savvy and so dangerous, and he’s been that way since he ever stepped foot on the field at the University of Miami, where we both went (me before him).
Current mobile device
DR: Dell laptop
First of all, tell us a little about how you got your start in fantasy football. How did that evolve to what you’re doing now?
DR: Long story short, I landed a job with CBS Sports back when it was called SportsLine. In 2001, they paid for the right to produce NFL.com for the league and I wrote, edited and produced content for it. I was known for being a good Fantasy Football player at the office and asked if I could write for NFL.com. They agreed. Less than five years later I moved to CBS Sports’ Fantasy site full-time. Been there since.
How many fantasy football leagues do you currently play in? What is your favorite league and why?
DR: I played in 13 this year. My absolute favorite league is my 12-team non-PPR keeper league. Everyone in the league is either related to me or a high school/college friend of mine except Dave Melam, my arch nemesis.
What’s your best time-saving shortcut or fantasy hack?
DR: Google. It’s a life hack. Want to know who the MVP of Super Bowl XXIX was? Who leads the NFL in receptions? How many red zone targets does Amari Cooper have? Google knows all.
In order to be successful in fantasy football, you have to do at least one thing better than the average owner. What’s your secret?
DR: I think I’m good at a lot of things but it all generates from working hard. I hammer away at Fantasy Football EVERY DAY. It’s literally my job, which is why I’m often deflated and flabbergasted when predictions go awry. But I’m also very satisfied when I see a player about to break out and he comes through. It all comes from a very strong work ethic and inability to not hustle.
What’s your greatest weakness in fantasy football? Startup drafts, mining the waiver wire, making trades, lineup decisions? How do you make up for it elsewhere?
DR: I don’t take my own advice. I will often start high-upside players over “safe” players, even if I rank the safe players higher in my own ranks. These decisions usually happen within 15 minutes of lineups locking and often cost me wins.
How would you describe your fantasy football philosophy?
DR: The first rule of Fantasy is to know your rules. The second rule is to pay attention. It’s really simple — just don’t forget about your league. The waiver wire, the trade market, the lineup setting … it’s all really important if you want to win. Just gotta pay attention. If you can’t do that then you’ll never win.
Walk us through what your week looks like during the season as a fantasy owner. When do you watch games, process waivers, propose trades, etc?
DR: On Sundays at 1p, games kick off. The whole Fantasy Football Today crew watches games together in our green room. I’ll come home for the Sunday night game but — big secret — I often don’t watch the second half until Monday morning. Long story: I need sleep or else I’ll die.
Monday morning I’ll watch a few games, rank players and set up the Trade Chart. Monday night is another game, which I’ll finish watching Tuesday morning.
I’ll put my waiver claims in Tuesday evening after a day or podcasting and filming analysis of the hot free agents. I’ll set all my lineups by Thursday afternoon, check them again Saturday morning and one more time Sunday morning.
I usually finish watching games from the past week by Friday. Sunday morning is our live show at 11am. When that’s over, the process repeats.
What’s your favorite article you’ve ever written? Why?
DR: I can’t think of just one. I’m very proud of the ones where I touted players before they broke out (Antonio Gates, Arian Foster, Alfred Morris), and my deep sleepers story from 2015 was really, really good. But I’m just as proud of the stories I’ve written where it wasn’t the analysis that stood out, but the colorful dialogue.
Who is the best fantasy football owner you’ve ever played with and why?
DR: Jamey Eisenberg and Adam Aizer are damn good. It’s like they do this for a living or something.
What’s your current workspace (for fantasy football) like? Coffee shop with laptop and headphones? Home office with a standing desk?
DR: I have a desk at our office with two huge monitors, a TV and a dock for my laptop. It’s a 30 second walk from our podcast studio and video sets. When at home I’m usually at our kitchen table.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?
DR: DVR, for obvious reasons.
What apps, software, or tools can’t you live without?
DR: Waze is terrific for avoiding traffic. I use the CBS Sports app because it’s fast, clean and tells me how many Fantasy points a player is worth right there in the box score. And, of course, Google.
What is your go-to site for your tough start/sit decisions?
DR: Uh, CBS Sports.
If you could only read one website (other than those you contribute at) for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
DR: YouTube, for its endless and constantly evolving content
Take a quick peek at your bookmarked sites. What are the top 3-4 sites on the list?
DR: 1. my work email; 2. NFL GSIS, which is the live data feed of the NFL; 3. Pro Football Focus, for their live data and statistics.
What podcast is currently queued up on your phone?
DR: I really don’t listen to podcasts. I do listen to on-demand shows and segments on SiriusXM, which is like a podcast.
What are you currently reading? A novel, comic book, website, magazine?
DR: The Walking Dead comic book
What do you listen to while you play? Got a favorite playlist? Maybe a podcast? Or do you prefer silence?
DR: I listen to a lot of stuff. Usually it’s the sound of ocean waves, sometimes it’s 80s rock, sometimes it’s 90s rap, sometimes it’s classical, sometimes it’s KISS, sometimes it’s this decade’s electronica. I’m all over the map.
Do you have any superstitions on game day? Wear the same lucky T-Shirt? Always make homemade chili before the games?
DR: I have one superstition for Fantasy: whenever I make a title game I offer to split first- and second-place prize money with the other team. If the other team agrees, that’s fine. But I hope they say no — then karma is on my side. I’m a believer in karma. Stuff goes around.
How do you recharge?
DR: Once a year, my wife and I go to Las Vegas. No kids, no work (usually). My wife is a big-time football fan like me, so we’ll often talk over my picks for the season and who will do well or do poorly.
What’s your sleep routine like? Are you a night owl or early-riser?
DR: I USED to be a non-sleeper. Then I met my wife, then I had kids. As I’ve gotten older and had early morning responsibilities, I learned I can no longer function on 4-6 hours of sleep. My doctor basically told me I needed at least 7 good hours on a nightly basis or else I’d get sick. So I’m sticking to that.
Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.
DR: Adam Aizer
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
DR: Life’s short, be happy
Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers and fans?
DR: The act of players getting yards and touchdowns to help your Fantasy team’s score accumulate is all luck. The acts of acquiring players and choosing which ones to start is all skill.
The How I Play series asks writers, developers, editors, and fantasy football degenerates to share their secrets, bookmarks, routines, and more. Have someone you want to see featured, or questions you think we should ask? Email Eric Dickens or start a conversation with him on Twitter.