Next fantasy football season ( 2012 ) will be my 13 season playing this frustrating game from the ups and downs year after year its been fun. During this time I’ve had awesome teams and probably more often I’ve had bad teams. Now when I say bad, I mean real bad, you may know one of those teams ( coughNLS III New Breed Leaguecough ) where you have injured players or you’re just unlucky and you pretty much know you have no shot at winning that season….. Sucks, oh how I know.
Now for me in NLS III it was a bit different because it was a dynasty league and I could make moves to better myself for the next season but some owners just do not have the motivation to fix dynasty teams or they play in a redraft league where there is no season beyond this season, if your eliminated.
So what do you do when you’re eliminated early on in a fantasy season, but you still need a fantasy draft fix in week 6, week 10 or even in the post season. Join another league?
I know, I know, you are probably saying, “Mike how the hell do I join another league?” Its easy, just go here: Fantasy Throwdown and for those of you who are lazy, here is a quick summary of the game:
Fantasy Throwdown makes it easy to get in the game with drafts that are very quick or time flexible.
- All challenges are one week in length.
- Choose three NFL matchups to create the player pool.
- Hold a quick draft to field a starting lineup.
- Play as much as you like, whenever you like. Registration is free (trash talking optional).
After playing this game with HT I really liked it. It was easy to sign up, to play and to understand everything. I have been playing in a tournament with a bunch of guys from twitter and I began talking with Mike MacGregor owner of Fantasy Throwdown and subsequently asked him for an interview, which he quickly accepted.
Lets get into this here.
NLS: Before we get into the site itself lets get into you and your history of Fantasy Sports. So how long have you been playing Fantasy Football for?
Mike: I’m closing in on 20 years. I can’t remember the first year for certain. I started with some old CDM salary cap games entered through the mail from ads in magazines. I remember my first ever draft pick in my first typical head-to-head fantasy football league was RB Chris Warren for the Seahawks. Looking back at his stats now, I sure hope that was 1995 (1,500 yards, 16 TD) and not off the big year drafting him in 1996 (1,110 yards, 5 TD), although I can’t say for sure either way.
NLS: Fantasy football seems like your past time do you play other Fantasy Sports?
Mike: I’ve played fantasy baseball for the last 4-5 years, but not with the same intensity as football, which is the wrong way to go about it to be successful. Baseball requires a ton more time to stay on top of it, which doesn’t exactly jive with the other things I’ve got going on. Not to mention the middle to end of baseball season runs into the start of football season. I tend to draft a good team and start off well, but then things fall apart when guys need to be replaced on the roster in-season.
The reason I got into baseball was because years ago a number of my Cheatsheet Compiler & Draft Buddy (custom rankings and draft tracker software) fantasy football customers clamoured for a baseball version, so I obliged them. From there I reasoned I’d better figure out more about fantasy baseball if I was going to give them a good product.
NLS: Where do you reside and what other hobbies do you have besides play around on the PC?
I live in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. It is about an hour north of Toronto. I moved here from Toronto 2.5 years ago. I collect comic books. I’ve got a lot of superhero comics, although no individual ones of any high dollar value worth mentioning. And I play soccer.
NLS: You run a pretty interesting site how did the idea come up and how long did it take you to put it together?
Oh… there is a long version and a ridiculously long version to this tale. I’ll try to hit the highlights, and lowlights, to get us where we are today.
I first came up with the idea for Fantasy Throwdown in 2006. Mike Krueger, Matt Waldman and I – the FF Today three amigos at the time – planned to meet in Kansas City at Krueger’s pad to discuss ideas for the future of FF Today, the fantasy sports industry and our place in it. The idea I brought to the table was, Fantasy Throwdown, although I didn’t have a good name for it.
I guess I thought of the idea from personal experience. Fantasy players like myself were growing up, from fresh out of university or college with little responsibility, to ever increasing responsibility and time commitments between work, a wife and kids. How would these people, like me, still get our fantasy fix? There had to be a better, more convenient way than a deep, fun but incredibly time consuming fantasy league. Remember how at the time every new concept fantasy league you were offered to join was deeper and more complex than the last (dynasty, IDP, 40+ man rosters, auction-contracts, etc.)? So I took it the other way. It had to have the key elements that we loved the most about fantasy football – the draft and head-to-head competition. Plus the draft had to be a challenge, not just draft any player and turn it into a Pro Bowl game. That is where selecting the three NFL games to form the player pool came from. Matt Waldman gets credit for the name Fantasy Throwdown. We added the Block after the first incarnation, but that was still very early in the process. The game really hasn’t changed at all since the original concept back in 2006.
For fun, check these links: 2006 Fantasy Throwdown – 2006 Fantasy Throwdown
If it is such a good idea – we believe it is – why hasn’t it seen the light of day until now? Developers. We’ve had a terrible time running through two different developers who both went way over their time estimates to complete the application. The first, after 2-3 years, gave us what turned out to be a prototype. It was live on the internet for much of the 2009 NFL season, but couldn’t support very many people and looked like it was built in someone’s basement.
The second and current beta website was from a more professional web development company, but they still spent so much time on design and had trouble wrapping their heads around the concept (a concept we thought was very simple), we missed an entire NFL season they promised we’d be ready for (2010), and then barely got it done for the start of this past season. And here we are. Matt and I always thought this was a good idea and potentially great idea. We seriously thought it might never happen.
NLS: So is Fantasy Throwdown a part of FF Today or is it just a few of you guys running Fantasy Throwdown?
Not at all associated with FF Today, even though I did and still work for FF Today. I brought the idea to the table at FF Today, but it wasn’t a priority for FF Today to pursue at that time. Where it went from there is Matt Waldman (now with Footballguys and of Rookie Scouting Portfolio fame) and I teamed up, just us, to create Fantasy Throwdown.
NLS: Your site is a free service right now is the goal to keep it that way?
We’re undecided long-term. Since this has been so long in the making, we’re just excited to get it out there and have people play to see if they like the game. That feedback has been tremendous.
Still, we have a big investment sunk in and we’ll have a lot of additional and ongoing costs if we can manage to add things we want to add to improve the website, so for that to happen, there needs to be a revenue stream of some kind eventually.
It is basically decided that Fantasy Throwdown will be free to play next season at a minimum, since we considered this year our beta year and the only way we got people to play this year was through word of mouth. We want lots of people to try the game and play the game because they love fantasy football and this new way to play. Keeping it free is the best way to do that.
If we eventually go pay there are lots of different ways to structure it, so it may never be 100% pay-to-play.
NLS: What is the long term goal for your site?
No more third-party developers? (laughing) Not sure that is going to be possible.
Matt and I aren’t expecting this to be a get rich project. We’re conservative realists, and have relatively modest desires in life. Success for us will be something that provides a decent income for our time and energy, still lets us balance our family life, continues to be a fun job and grows to something we can be proud of.
Plus one day I want to be standing in the line at the grocery store and be able to do a quick fantasy draft with a friend from my phone. We’ll need to get Matt a smartphone.
NLS: Whats the most amount of fantasy leagues you have played in during one season?
Probably a dozen. Maybe a baker’s dozen. Not including sideline games like best ball drafts and weekly pick a lineup type contests.
NLS: If I were to ask you on the spot right now would you be interested in joining a newly formed IDP Dynasty league what would your answer be?
Sorry to say, but probably no. I was very happy with the life balance achieved playing in just three leagues – an all-time low since year one – this past year plus lots of Throwdown games.
NLS: Darn, I am looking for owners for a league and thought you would bite. Lets get into some of your favorites:
NFL Team: Buffalo Bills
MLB Team: Toronto Blue Jays
NBA Team: Don’t watch it, but I’ll back the Toronto Raptors
NHL Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
College Team: Since I didn’t go to college in the U.S., I don’t have an alma mater to support. Here is an oddball choice. After last year’s March Madness tourney, Virginia Commonwealth. They helped me win my March Madness Survivor Pool I run every year.
Food: Used to be Mom’s lasagna but now my wife’s lasagna has overtaken it. Sorry Mom!
TV Show: Breaking Bad, Big Bang Theory
NLS: I talked with a buddy and a site member of NLS after we played a game over at Fantasy Throwdown and asked him a few questions just to give another opinion on the product so the readers do not think I am sprucing this up just for you.
HT what are your thoughts on the software offered by Fantasy Throwdown?
HT: I really like the concept, head to head challenge to see who’s the best. Its fun and it worked great.
NLS: Would you recommend this to a friend?
HT: Definitely, and I did recommend it.
NLS: With that said what would you do to improve the Fantasy Throwdown product?
HT: I’m constantly on the go and the website was difficult from my phone. A more mobile friendly site or an APP would be awesome.
MIKE: I agree. Definitely at a minimum we need to make the website more mobile friendly.
NLS: Do you have any questions for me?
If you could change one thing about Fantasy Throwdown the game concept, what would it be?
NLS: The game itself hmmmm honestly there is not one thing that sticks out to me at all but if I had to pick something it would be live scoring. Honestly that is not something that is needed just the only change I think I can think of.
If you could change one thing about Fantasy Throwdown the way the website functions, what would it be?
NLS: I mentioned it on twitter to you I believe but possiblly a chat box somewhere in the draft window it really does not need to be a live window either just a place to post a quick message or something to that extent. With that said I think that will finish up this interview. Its been fun learning more about the site and talking with you more. I appreciate the time please leave any links you want for the viewers to play the game or contact you.
Thanks Mike! Really appreciate this. If anyone would like to contact me about Fantasy Throwdown, or anything else we discussed, my email is email@example.com or tweet us @FantasyThrowdwn