Several years ago, a trio of Dad-bros who were working together at the top of a video-gaming venture in the Phoenix area found themselves spending tons of their time discussing their fantasy football opinions.
Andy Holloway, the chief operating officer, and Mike Wright, the senior audio artist, began a homespun podcast whose sole intention was to ridicule the other eight members of their fantasy league, much to the annoyance of Jason Moore, the company’s owner and president, whose fantasy results lagged behind his buddies’.
The company dissolved but the podcast thrived. Even as Holloway and Moore secured their real estate licenses and began to sell properties, it gained steam. Finally, in February of 2015, The Fantasy Footballers podcast was launched.
They’re not selling houses any more.
Last year the podcast and its products grossed the fellas $1.75 million. Equal partners, they have more than a dozen full- and part-time employees.
This year, on the strength of 30 million downloads last year and the sales of 20,000 Ultimate Draft Kits, they’re on tour. They play the Trocadero on Thursday, July 26.
The stage show is three bearded dudes in their mid-30s, all married with three kids apiece, wearing headsets as they sit around a table parsing the fantasy football issues of the day. Holloway has a marketing background and serves as a natural leader on the show, but each complements the others.
Their Philly date is the third of five tour stops. They sold out in Minneapolis, where the concentration of young men in T-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops resembled a Corona beer ad, but hey, every army needs a uniform.
Marcus Hayes caught up with the Footballers on the eve of their show in Dallas, where they couldn’t wait to jam out on stage like Jagger and McCartney.
Guys, I understand fantasy sports is a big deal, but really: A fantasy football tour? Why should I come see you?
Wright: We pride ourselves on being an entertaining show. That’s a pillar of our success. We energize with the fans. I mean, I’m a musician. In Minneapolis, the energy was like a rock show. I’ve never felt anything like it.
So, what’s special about your product?
Moore: We have two main reasons you should listen. One, we are proven to be highly accurate. (Moore and Wright finished third and ninth, respectively, in one 2017 national ranking). The far more important reason is, we make it very easy and fun. We want to make sure it’s digestible. If you don’t want to put in the time, we’ll do the work for you.
Do you have any fundamental philosophical differences?
Wright: Yeah, so, this is super nerdy, but in most scoring systems a quarterback receives one point for every 25 passing yards, while a running back receives one point for every 10 rushing yards. But if a quarterback rushes for 10 yards, he gets one point, too. That means if quarterbacks like Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, and Tyrod Taylor rush for 30 or 40 yards in a game, those are some serious points (but usually are yards easily gained).
Now, Andy thinks that scoring system is perfectly fine. Jason and I …
Moore: Are smart!
Wright: Right. We think a quarterback should have to rush for 25 yards to get one point, same as he’d have to pass for 25 yards.
OK. Let’s test your expertise. Can you give me a good value for my fantasy draft?
Holloway: A lot of values end up being rookies. Last year, we were high on Alvin Kamara (of the Saints) and Kareem Hunt (of the Chiefs), who went late in most drafts.
This year? I like Sony Michel in New England. He’s going in the fifth round of some fantasy picks. Fantasy owners get a little scared of Bill Belichick backs.
How about an Eagle I might steal?
Moore: Oh, yeah. One of our favorite sleepers is Corey Clement.
With the departure of LeGarrette Blount, Corey Clement could be the goal-line back, with ability as a receiver, and cost you virtually nothing.
The Fantasy Footballers
7 p.m. Thursday July 26 at the Trocadero (all ages), $20-$25, 215-922-6888, thetroc.com