Up Close With A High Stakes Fantasy Expert Part 3 (PREMIUM PREVIEW)
This article is Part 3 in a six-part series leading up to the start of the Fantasy season that will take us inside the minds of successful high stakes players, giving us insight into what they are thinking about and 'how to win' strategy.
(Editor's intro: The Scout Fantasy Football World Championships are well under way. If you want to step outside your comfort zone and challenge the best Fantasy Football players, join one of our high stakes leagues today!)
Those that have dabbled in high stakes fantasy football are surely familiar with the team name, Hawk and Roll. Mark Deming and Ian Ritchie were the brains behind the team that dominated the high stakes space for the last decade. Deming and Ritchie were in fact ranked #1 in the Fantasy Football High Stakes Global Rankings for two years. The dynamic duo have five Top 20 finishes in the World Championships and countless high stakes league championships on their resume.
Today, Deming sits in 36th place and it's not because he all of sudden forgot how to construct championship rosters. He and Ritchie stopped competing in 2011, making the contests more winnable to the rest of the world. The two co-founded the fantasy gaming group at FFToolbox and created the Fantasy Football World Championships. Deming now works to grow his contest in the competitive high stakes arena. When Deming is not attending to his various business ventures, he serves as a fantasy consultant to his large network of follows.
I sat down with Mark to talk about the Scout Fantasy Football World Championships, draft strategy, 2014 outlook and concepts that played a key role in his success. Now on the sideline, Deming was not shy in sharing his secrets.
Gold: Hey Mark. The FFWC has taken off since entering the high stakes space in 2012. Last year, you saw 65% growth in year over year participants. You were the visionary. What is the appeal with this contest?
Mark: Thanks Larry. So many people love competing in fantasy, yet the dollars to allocate to leagues is limited. It's important to listen to the players and deliver a product that entices them. For years, we heard the same commentaries echoed in forums over and over. Players want the same things: more action, more strategies, higher scoring. With the FFWC's unique lineup requirements of 11 starters and double flex, we effectively deliver on all three.
Gold: It's for sure a greater challenge to fill a deeper lineup week to week. Are you ever worried the more difficult criteria would intimidate newer players?
Mark: Not really. Most players really like to take ownership of their teams, as if they are a real life G.M. The extra flex spot affords drafters endless possibilities in flexibility and creativity in constructing rosters. Outside the box thinking isn't rewarded in other types of contests that have a more standard feel to them. In FFWC style leagues, there are so many diverse draft strategies that can prove to be effective.
Gold: So you're consulting more than drafting these days. The high stakes community thanks you. What's your thoughts on fantasy football now vs. 10 years ago?
Mark: Optimal strategy is always changing. Starting RB/RB was the way to go for so many years but now wide receiver is a more reliable position. There is a new breed of athlete coming in more NFL ready than ever before. NFL style offenses are being run in college and the guys are just better prepared. You can draft a rookie with an expectation for meaningful output. Look at Andrew Luck, Keenan Allen and of course last year's class of rookie running backs; Eddie Lacy, Giovani Bernard and Le'Veon Bell.
Gold: Well then surely you have a can't miss rookie that all the readers should be buying?
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