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)
DB: Kelowna, British Columbia
Current day job
DB: Contract research, Elderly Care
Current fantasy job(s)
DB: Writer/Ranker at DynastyLeagueFootball
One word that best describes how you play fantasy football
Who is your favorite (non-current) NFL player? Why?
DB: When I was young my father happened to own a Green Bay Packers jacket. I think most people in their mid-thirties will remember the style. It had a shine to it and looked like a letterman’s jacket without the leather sleeves. I didn’t know at the time but my dad just liked the jacket, and wasn’t really a fan of the NFL at all, but seeing that I’ve always been my father’s son, I was a Green Bay fan strictly because of his ability to don their colours. Each Sunday that I was able, I turned on the Packers game and watched Brett Favre suit up. I quickly became a hopeless fan, without knowing why. Today I could list stats for pages on why I lucked into a correct player for me to become enamored with as a wide eyed child, but as an adult it was his creativity to make plays when hope seemed lost. He could take situations that look greyest at their best, and turn them into chemically filled fireworks lighting up a night sky.
Current mobile device
DB: iPhone SE
DB: Asus Desktop, MacBook Pro 2011, iPad Mini 2
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?
DB: As a young boy growing up in a fairly small town of 50,000 in Canada, I quickly became obsessed with hockey. Although I couldn’t play early in my childhood I collected the cards, and used to line them up and memorize the statistics while I watched them on Hockey Night in Canada. As I grew I was able to make my way onto the ice, but quickly fizzled out due to a small stature and a realization that hockey wasn’t going to take me anywhere.
After my early retirement, me and some teammates formed our first hockey pool, drafting players out of the newspaper and calling each other on Sundays to update the statistics and leaders. This hobby grew and I made it to the point where I was writing fantasy based articles for some small sites on the web about week-to-week player predictions. A league mate that I talked to often suggested I had the mind for fantasy football, and offered me a team that only needed a slight retooling. I remember the first Sunday. I was used to points trickling in over a long period of time, but this was different; the points flooded in. I called my friend and asked “Is it like this every week?”, and his simple response hooked me; “Every single week.” The migration from the NHL to the NFL had begun.
How many fantasy football leagues do you currently play in? What is your favorite league and why?
DB: After the first year of playing in one league, I quickly ballooned up to the mid-teens. After the realization set in that I couldn’t keep up with the activity level that I liked, and needed to play well, I cut back down. In 2016 I played in five dynasty leagues, and with the addition of one more, Ryan McDowell’s KitchenCinco league, I will be playing at a maxed out six. It’s always going to be hard to beat out a home league when talking about favourites. To me, there’s nothing better than sitting around a table with good friends laughing about bad beats and bad luck.
What’s your best time-saving shortcut or fantasy hack?
DB: I use the RotoWorld app for both my iPhone and my iPad to catch up with any current events and breaking news I may have missed throughout a busy day. I also tend to search out specific individuals such as Matt Berry, Chris Wesseling, Evan Silva, Rich Hribar, and DLF and its crew, on twitter for instant analysis and thoughts. I could list many more great names that would garner a great time investment but that’s subjective to the style of analyst that you may like.
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?
DB: It’s not so much a secret but more of an obsession with advancement. My activity level is much higher than the average owner, scouring the waiver wire, making trades, chatting up league mates, and profiling both the league and owners loping for any advantage I can in order to make progress towards my goal of volume trading for a small profit. Trading has always created a snowball effect for my squads with the small wins eventually adding up to one, or more core pieces that can build depth and strength to my squad.
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?
Beyond a shadow of a doubt it’s the startup draft. The players I normally covet are either valued very highly, or are a bit of a flier leave a gap in some of the middle rounds. I always attempt to buy players who I believe have the best chance of returning value over a short window, but sometimes that fails magnificently. Luckily, the draft is but a blip in a dynasty team’s lifespan. Through high activity and the ability to use the market over my personal evaluations, I can quickly erase any mistakes I may have made and continue to grow my squads.
How would you describe your fantasy football philosophy?
DB: Ryan McDowell once asked this and I replied with “A rotation of trades underneath a core of static performers. Two teams on one squad.” If I were to fancy myself more of a poetic man, I may describe myself as a man, standing on the rain holding a bucket, who catches the tears of league mates in order to fill his vessel at a quicker pace.
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?
DB: It’s difficult to lock this down to a template of activity as every week is different and creates different time challenges. Most weeks I like to watch games as they air, using twitter for instant analysis and my eye for context. Each out of market game is watched either Monday or Tuesday in high speed while I take notes on players who have caught my eye.
Tuesday night I research, checking players I and noted on their draft position, college production, snap counts, and finally I’ll preform a twitter search looking for the market value of a possible free agent pickup. I propose trades when my league mates dictate windows so they can come at any given time during the fantasy season. I try to let the value come to me, rather than chasing it and revealing my hand.
What’s your favorite article you’ve ever written? Why?
DB: Can I say this series? [Editor’s note: Yes, yes you can.] I find great value in the ability to research how owners work, rather than fight through the complexity of the NFL, which seems infinitely more difficult.
Who is the best fantasy football owner you’ve ever played with and why?
DB: In my very first fantasy league I played with a Russian named Viktor whose level of activity formed the basis of how I now play. He was always lurking; the type of player who would shoot you an offer the minute you logged on, looking for any opportunity to improve his squad. Although he wasn’t the greatest evaluator of talent, his play style dictated itself to success. He left the league in 2012 and I wish I should have saved his email address so I could write him and tell him how much he influenced me without meaning to.
What’s your current workspace (for fantasy football) like? Coffee shop with laptop and headphones? Home office with a standing desk?
DB: If you asked me this a few months ago, I would have been able to proclaim that I did most of my work from an office, but I’m currently in the midst of a move. Although it’s currently usable, my workspace is still surrounded by boxes, plants, and paperwork.
Today, I use the armrest of my couch sandwiched in between a fort made of blankets, a setup of a three year olds makeup collection, and a Barbie Dream camper, but the smiles of a child make it the best place I have ever known. I’ll be happy when the office is once again complete, but I’m likely to work from home more often as I’ve recently learned to love the distraction of an occasional hug.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?
DB: I own 2 one terabyte hard drives that save edited plays I can access for future reference. I’ve spent a great deal of time making them sortable so I can easily reference teams, and players. Recently I’ve used the drive to go back and review the progressions and failings of Davante Adams, Sammy Watkins, Dak Prescott, and Rob Gronkowski.
What apps, software, or tools can’t you live without?
DB: After the basics of a mic, headset, and strong internet connection, I don’t have anything that I don’t believe I could live without.
What is your go-to site for your tough start/sit decisions?
DB: 4For4Football.com is my first thought. The accuracy that the crew puts out there is amazing.
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?
DB: I would have to say that the work over at FootballGuys has been indispensable to my progression as a fantasy owner. In addition to the great analysts that they employ, they also have useful team tools that I take advantage of every year. Adam Harstad may be personally responsible for 80% of my dynasty philosophy, with 15% of the remaining being wrong, or simply misguided.
Take a quick peek at your bookmarked sites. What are the top 3-4 sites on the list?
What podcast is currently queued up on your phone?
DB: The Current pod at DLF with George and yourself talking dynasty trades. As something that is so critical to my fantasy success, this is a must-listen.
What are you currently reading? A novel, comic book, website, magazine?
DB: On my nightstand right now sits a book which you personally recommended in Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner’s Freakonomics. In addition to that that I’m currently reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink. I enjoy anything that makes me think about how to think, rather than what to think.
What do you listen to while you play? Got a favorite playlist? Maybe a podcast? Or do you prefer silence?
DB: I prefer the noise of an NFL game on at all times.
Do you have any superstitions on game day? Wear the same lucky T-Shirt? Always make homemade chili before the games?
DB: I’m not a superstitious individual.
How do you recharge?
DB: When playing make-up with my three-year-old, or chatting with my wonderful girlfriend just doesn’t cut it, I golf or box. I’ve always loved both sports ability to put you “in the field” without distraction. No phones, no bills, no stress; just you and your ability.
What’s your sleep routine like? Are you a night owl or early-riser?
DB: I rarely sleep. I’m both a night owl and an early riser.
Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.
DB: Josh Lake
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
DB: Every failure is advancement. My wonderful father.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers and fans?
DB: You’re all fantastic.
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.