Heading into Week 7, Darren Newberry, a contestant of many years in PlayFFWC’s contests, had three teams within the top 12 of the Overall Championship standings. After Sunday’s action, those three teams are now within the top 10! He has a brilliant chance of winning the $50K Grand Prize as we approach the mid-way point of the Fantasy season, but there is still a lot of time left and it’s anybody’s contest to win. Still, we thought Darren’s accomplishments thus far have been amazing so we decided to ask him some questions. Get to know your potential 2018 Online Championship winner, Darren Newberry!
Scout Fantasy Sports: When did you start playing Fantasy Football? And when did you graduate to high-stakes leagues?
Darren Newberry: I started playing Fantasy Football during 8th grade, so about 22 years ago, and up until college really just played with friends and family. In college, I started playing online for a bit of money. I didn’t start with high-stakes until 2012-2013.
Scout Fantasy Sports: What drew you to the Online Championship? How many years have you been playing in the FFWC? Why do you like this format / platform?
Darren Newberry: A good friend of mine and frequent Scout player, Rob Finkel (the “Excellence” teams), introduced me to the FFWC back in 2012. We’d been in a lot of leagues together before, but I’d never heard of the FFWC or the Online Championship at that point. I really like the draft and waivers format, and the prohibition on trading players in the OC. Once I started with Scout leagues, it stuck, and aside from an office league with co-workers, that’s what I exclusively play now.
Scout Fantasy Sports: How did you prepare for your drafts this season?
Darren Newberry: I usually don’t do a lot of preparation using other people’s opinions. I don’t like having too much information and competing opinions on sleepers/busts and player rankings. I follow player news, stats, information on playing time, things like that and come up with my own idea of players I want to target and strategy.
Scout Fantasy Sports: Talk about how you navigated your draft to construct your 20-man lineups. What was your strategy? (Late-round quarterbacks? Early running backs? Certain players to target? Etc.)
Darren Newberry: When the draft allows, I like to get as many good WRs as I can, but I’m mainly just trying to take who I think is the best available player when I’m picking. Most of my better teams are WR-heavy but I don’t reach on a WR just for the sake of taking one. I worry about filling out the lineup after the first 4-5 picks and start targeting guys based on that during the middle rounds.
Scout Fantasy Sports: Who were some sleepers you targeted that you were able to land?
Darren Newberry: I wouldn’t call them sleepers but there were a few guys I was high on and wanted as many shares of as possible based on where they were typically being taken. Adam Thielen and Zach Ertz were definitely two. In the later rounds, I was high on Austin Ekeler this year as more than a handcuff and was able to get him in a few leagues.
Scout Fantasy Sports: You have three teams within the top 12 in the overall standings. Which team are you most excited about and why?
Darren Newberry: I’m most excited about Ithaca Bombers 15. My RBs are a little thin but I’ve got a great group of WRs, a top-3 TE in Ertz and two solid QBs in Cam and Matt Ryan. If that team stays healthy and I get a little luck at the running back position, I think it has a chance to go all the way.
Editor’s Note: With Matt Ryan left to play in tonight’s Monday Night Football action, Ithaca Bombers 15 is expected to move from sixth place to third place by the end of the night! Check out his squad!
Scout Fantasy Sports: Is there any significance to the team name “Ithaca Bombers”?
Darren Newberry: Only that it sort of started as a joke at my lack of choosing clever team names. I was in a league with some guys a while back, including Rob, and at the time we were drafting, I hadn’t thought of a team name yet. I went to Ithaca College, who are the Bombers, so I just put that in. It stuck.
Scout Fantasy Sports: How confident are you about winning the $50K Grand Prize? And if you did win, what would you do with the 50K?
Darren Newberry: It’s great having three teams so high but, honestly, with as many good teams as there are and the injury factor, I’m not overly confident. A lot has to go my way and once the standings are recalculated with the weekly average from weeks 1-13 when the playoffs start, everything will be a lot closer. I’ve had teams in the top 20 before and one bad week in the postseason kills you. That being said, I’m really excited about seeing this all play out. I joined a lot of leagues this year, the first year I’ve competed in more than 8 leagues, so I’m trying to keep my excitement in check and just win as many leagues as I can.
Though it’s not very exciting, if I do win the 50K, I’ll probably be doing mostly practical things with it. I think I’ll take the family on a nice vacation but aside from that, I’ve got a couple student loans I’d love to pay off!