Interrogate the Industry: Brandon Marianne Lee
It has felt like ages since my last Interrogate the Industry post. For that I apologize. I think due to the peak of the Fantasy Football season, the Holidays, illnesses things often get put on the back burner for everyone. I wasn’t ignoring the posts as much as not over concerning myself making sure folks responded, etc as I normally would.
That being said, now that I am planning on bringing the series back in full force, especially for the Fantasy Baseball season, I wanted to come back strong. Why not snag one of the amazing sisters from the Her Fantasy Football podcast, and website herfantasyfootball.com?
I had success, and not only that a kick ass response and I think built a friendly and future relationship with the ladies of this fantastic site/podcast. They are making waves in the industry and for good reason. They are women who really know their stuff. They research, they provide insight, they don’t rely on hunches, and most importantly, they actually interact with their followers. An extremely difficult and time-consuming task for anyone who continually develops a larger base of fans and followers.
The Fantasy Football season may be over, but the questions are still fun and well answered. If anything it will give you a heads up onto a great follow and podcast for the next Fantasy Football season. Hope you enjoy the triumphant return, and continue to look forward to more great interrogation’s for the Fantasy Baseball season. Enjoy learning a tad more from one of the absolute best and sweetest in the industry! I also think we have plenty in common, besides Fantasy Sports.
I hope most of you are basking in championship glory and winnings as you read this. Enjoy the Real NFL playoffs while I start getting lubed up for the MLB season to begin!
Interrogate the Industry: Brandon Marianne Lee
Brandon Marianne Lee (@BrandonHerFFB) is a co-founder of Her Fantasy Football (@herfantasyfb), recognized as the first all female fantasy football podcast. The podcast and site launched in August of 2013. She lives in New York but spent the majority of her life bopping between Colorado, Nebraska and Minnesota. Brandon is a lifelong football fan, a four time fantasy football champion, an excel spreadsheet lover and also a playwright and performer in her non-existent free time. You can find all of the goods at www.herfantasyfootball.com and can subscribe to their podcast on iTunes and Stitcher.
1. Everyone got their Fantasy Industry start somewhere. Talk about yours as brief or detailed as you like. If possible include ups and downs, others in the industry who helped?
I started playing fantasy football in 2008. And because I can never do anything part way, I joined three leagues up front and became a research obsessed player. That was also the beginning of our family league. My sisters and I loved fantasy from day one and each year we would do research, read articles, listen to podcasts and gobble up any piece of information that we could find. But we also kept noticing a lack of female voices. Occasionally there would be a woman talking to a man, but there were no women talking with other women. Considering we already did the research and had differing opinions on players and techniques we thought it would be cool to start a fantasy football podcast that would be a roundtable of women talking to other women about fantasy. Then we Googled “how to podcast” and we started on our journey. Literally, we went to Google and went from there.
We’re on the verge of some fun stuff for next year (can’t wait to tell you all about it), but this year we freelanced for ESPNW, we did a guest spot on The Fantasy Zone on DirectTV, every Friday I join Nando DiFino on The Fantasy Funhouse on SiriusXM, we continue to meet great people and are always eager to discover new opportunities.
As far as ups and downs… this year was eye-opening. We learned a lot about ourselves and had to develop thick skin. Frankly, I didn’t know that I could take things personally and how I could get thrown for an absolute loop.
Our concept is a little difficult to explain. The people who actually play fantasy football and find our show get it. When people don’t play fantasy they sometimes take the show and the concept out of context and it can go off the rails. We work very, very hard to make sure that we put out accurate information. Our show notes are around 40 pages long. Seriously. I’m also a spreadsheet nerd that believes color coding is necessary to one’s success. But part of our concept is that fantasy football is a game and it should be fun! We have a great time on the show. We laugh, we joke around and we’re unapologetically women. That doesn’t mean that we represent ALL women, or that we are only FOR women, we simply ARE women talking about fantasy football the way that we want to talk about it and we want anyone who listens to our podcast to win as many fantasy match ups as humanly possible. You can have fun and still be competitive.
At the end of the day, I made 6 of my 9 possible playoffs. A ton of our listeners made it to their championships, both male and female. Are we always perfect? Of course not, but we’re always informed and we will continue to do everything we can to stay that way.
2. Do you all partake in Daily Fantasy Sports? If so, can you see them eventually dominating the industry?
I do some daily. I research more than I play because I want to know as much as possible and come up with some solid techniques before spending a lot of money. It’s tons of fun and certainly at this time of year, when you’re either in the finals or missing fantasy, daily can fill a void. Also, who doesn’t want to win money? As far as taking over the industry… I certainly hope not. I believe that the finesse and strategy of season-long fantasy cannot be matched. I would hate for that experience to not exist for sports fans.
3. Which Rookie Receiver do you think will BOOM the most in the Fantasy Playoffs and next season? Why?
Odell Beckham, Jr. is the best. He just is. In fact, today I turned to my husband and said, “I cannot wait to draft these guys next year.” Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, Jarvis Landry, Marqise Lee… the list seems to go on and on. Also, people keep asking me if they should “bench their studs” for these rookies. I have news for you, these ARE the new studs. I cannot image benching Odell Beckham, Jr. An important part of fantasy is knowing when one of your studs has been eclipsed by an up and comer.
4. With the Fantasy Playoffs complete is there any great advice to give, or you’ve received that you now live by and will use next season? Care to share?
Don’t ignore your kicker! If you play with a kicker, that player can also make or break your season. For instance, Billy Cundiff was released by the Browns. If you had him in your lineup last week, he got you a goose egg. If you don’t want to deal with kickers, don’t use one! You don’t have to play with a kicker, so talk to you commissioner about changes for next year. Also, set your best lineup and walk away. Leave the keyboard. I know so many people who do a last-minute change based off optimistic sound bytes. They hear that a particular player has “upside” and they bench the sure thing. Sometimes that works, but often times (especially late in the year) the “upside” guys also have a lot of “downside.” Be careful.
5. What is the most annoying Fantasy related questions you get on Twitter, or anywhere for that matter? Any examples??
Anything about Bishop Sankey. Ha! Just kidding. That’s a running joke on the show, the fact that 50% of our questions involve whether or not we think this will be Sankey’s breakout game. I think the most annoying thing on Twitter is when someone asks you a question, you answer and then they say, “Really? But what about…” One time I actually responded to a guy, “You don’t need to ask me if you already know what you want to do.” It was a little harsh, and maybe I could have been a little nicer, but come on! We get asked a ridiculous amount of questions every week (we try to get to all of them, but it’s hard) and we really put thought into our responses. We don’t all need to agree, but if you already know what you want to do, own it. Another thing that confuses me: People who respond to the questions that people asked us. “Hijacking the question”. If you want people to ask you fantasy football questions, start your own podcast. I guarantee you, they will start asking. Until then, what are you doing?
6. Any pet peeves in the industry so far?
Not really, other than the fact that we don’t get any sleep during football season. Also, we do all of our own technical support. We configured our website, we put together and produce the podcast, we do all of our social media, you name it. That can be pretty daunting because technical activities are not really our strong suit. I’m also not a bandwagon person. I think sometimes we decide “as an industry” what the major storylines are for the week. **cough, cough ** Johnny Manziel ** cough, cough ** We spend so much time on one or two key players of the week that we don’t talk about relevant fantasy players. For instance, what should we do with the Broncos fantasy players? Does Miami give up more rushing or receiving yards to Running Backs and do we think that could give us an insight as to who will be featured? Can we never start a 49er with any confidence for the remainder of the 2014 season?
7. Can you shut off Fantasy Sports when watching your favorite team? Or do you find yourself thinking “Damnit, we are losing but at least my player is killing us”
It’s hard to have one without the other, I guess, but I always want the Broncos to win first. I’m cool if I also get fantasy points, but the win is most important. Luckily, if they do lose I have a fantasy consolation prize. These days I’ve been able to get winning seasons for my home team and my fantasy teams so things are nice. I think the cool part of being a fantasy analyst is that I prepare myself for how I believe the Broncos game will unfold. I can be a more immersed fan because I understand our competition in a way that I never did before.
8. If you had to write an episode script for any television show which one would it be? Any plot ideas?
I’m also a playwright so this is a very complicated question for me. I would love to write an episode of Parks and Recreation where they do a fantasy football draft. I believe The Walking Dead is best when it’s the most gruesome and filled with the sort of depravity that I believe would exist if a zombie apocalypse really did happen. So yeah, I would love to write an extremely disturbing episode. I’m also extremely excited for the new show, Better Call Saul. I would die to be on that writing staff with Vince Gilligan.
9. If you could hang out, party or whatever for one day with zero repercussions who would it be and why?
This question is extremely difficult. I have such a varied collection of interests. My heroes include John Elway, Weird Al Yankovic, Caryl Churchill, Anna Deveare Smith and Jack White. So I guess I’ll go with Jack White. He’s so talented it borderline freaks me out. And I bet he knows how to party.