Fantasy Sports: How to Separate Yourself from the Pack
Once upon a time, people merely dreamed of having the opportunity to run their own teams and manage real players. Today, it’s not only an obsession for millions of fans, but it’s also given rise to an entire industry of fantasy-related content. As a result, it’s now possible to make a living as a sports writer discussing only fantasy sports.
However, because the fantasy sports landscape is so saturated, it’s difficult to stand out. Every mainstream and underground sports site offers the same analysis with the same content ideas. It’s not easy to get noticed, but by taking a different approach, you’ll be that much closer to making your dream a reality.
Think Outside the Box
You don’t have to try particularly hard to find a conventional fantasy sports column. There are “start ‘em/sit ‘em” articles on every corner of the Web. Every site has a waiver wire column, and even non-fantasy writers love to predict their own fantasy sleepers. Needless to say, if you intend to get to the big time using these ideas, you’re going to have a hard time getting noticed.
So, then, what to do? Think of the things that make you unique and put them into your writing. That’s how noted fantasy expert Matthew Berry got his start. He talked about his own experiences in the context of his column and it worked. You don’t have to generate a huge catalog of stories to do this. Just focus on what makes you tick. If you’re obsessed with bad movies, pepper your work with references to these movies, or even give your articles a bad movie theme. If you’re into rap, work as many old-school rappers and lines from rap songs into your pieces. Whatever you choose, if you’re having fun writing, your audience will have fun reading.
Look at the Minor Leagues
There’s a tremendous desire for fantasy sports players and pundits alike to be ahead of the curve. Everyone wants to know who the next big player is before he even arrives on the scene. A writer with a knack for picking future talent would be a highly desired read by many.
With that in mind, a regular article looking at the minor leagues or college sports is a ticket to success in fantasy sports writing. Nothing is guaranteed in life, and a decent portion of a player’s success depends on the situation in which he finds himself in the big leagues. But if you can provide people with an educated reason why a player might be successful, you’ve got a great chance at making a name for yourself. Especially if you can find things that the mainstream experts missed.
All professional sports are in the midst of a cultural revolution when it comes to statistics. The traditional stats, such as batting average in baseball, are beginning to show their age. Younger, more savvy fans have begun to replace these limited stats with new numbers that show more of the big picture. These stats don’t necessarily count in fantasy, but once again, they can uncover something that nobody else sees.
A fantasy column focusing on advanced stats would fill a major niche. It would appeal to both fantasy fans and stat nerds at the same time, and it would do a lot to brand you as a forward-thinking writer. Advanced stats can help turn hunches into tangible reasons why a player could be successful, which is what people really want to see. Anyone can guess which players will do well, but someone who can back it up with stats is taken much more seriously.
You’ll notice that these tips focus largely on thinking differently and presenting things in a new way. They’re not so concerned with being right all the time, and there’s a reason for that. Knowing your stuff is one thing, but you’ll never get an audience unless you can entertain your readers. Have some fun and give people a reason to keep reading your work, and before long you’ll stand out in the world of fantasy sports.
Bryan B is a freelance writer based in Long Island, N.Y. He is passionate about bad movies and bad puns, and he still thinks pro wrestling is real.