Interview with John Haskell
By David Dodds
July 20th, 2011

The Fantasy Football Players Championship is the premier high-stakes league around. Winning it is an extremely difficult task. Recently, our David Dodds got together with 2010 FFPC Champion John Haskell to discuss his run to the title.

David Dodds: How does it feel besting everyone in the FFPC Main Event?

John Haskell: Wow, it was just an amazing feeling. I truly believe that the FFPC brings in the best of the best in High Stakes Fantasy Football and to win it all was surreal.

DD: Tells us a bit about who John Haskell is? (Age, what you do, relationships/kids/pets, etc).

JH: I'll be 43 next week. I've been a Police Officer for 19 years and I'm married with three daughters and a son.

DD: A lot of us know you as a high-stakes veteran. How long have you been playing fantasy football? How many teams did you field in 2010?

JH: I've been playing Fantasy Football for approximately 10 years. In 2010, I ended up playing one FFPC Main Event team, two FootballGuys Players Championship Teams, and seven FFPC satellite leagues.

DD: Take us through how you approached the draft for your winning FFPC team? Were you targeting certain players? How many players at each position were you trying to get? How did the dual flex and 1.5 PPR for TEs impact your draft strategy?

JH: My whole draft plan ended up getting blown up in the second round which probably saved my season...I was targeting Gates and/or Clark and both went before it got back to me in the second. I try to do a ton of mocks and/or Satellites in preparation for the ME and it proved to be huge in being able to roll right into another plan on the move.

I was also targeting Adrian Peterson, who ended up falling to me with the third pick. I was also targeting Hakeem Nicks and Pierre Garcon and I got both of them.

I try to get two good QBs and as many serviceable RBs and WRs as I can which plays into who I deal with the dual flex. I believe that in this league you need a top tier TE to compete, and I ended up grabbing Witten in the third.

DD: Coming out of the draft (of the winning entry), did you feel you had any weaknesses? Who did you have rostered for the week 1 games?

JH: I was very worried about my RBs. I drafted AP and then didn't come back to them until the seventh round. I then drafted Hightower and then McFadden in the eighth. That one was a game changer.

My Week 1 starting lineup

  • QB: Tom Brady
  • RBs: Adrian Peterson, Darren McFadden
  • WRs: Brandon Marshall, Pierre Garcon
  • TE: Jason Witten
  • Flex: Tim Hightower, Hakeem Nicks
  • PK: Matt Prater
  • Def: Philadelphia Eagles
  • DD: Besides a great draft, the best fantasy players work the waiver wire extremely well. Tell us about some of the moves you did that really catapulted this good team to a great one.

    JH: The big one would obviously be Michael Vick after Week 1. Although Brady was very good all year, Vick was just out of this world and was really the difference.

    DD: Some say fantasy football is more luck than skill. Your consistent top finishes seem to indicate something completely different. You want to weigh in on this debate? How much is skill vs luck?

    JH: I absolutely believe that luck plays a big part of it but like Poker, there is a reason that certain players are at the top of the leaderboards every year. I'm also a big believer that "Chance favors the prepared mind". To my wife's dismay, I really start my preparation and drafts around May and go non stop till the draft. I just don't think that you can pick up a magazine or go to a website a week before the draft and expect to do well. She really can't complain anymore about it, though. LOL

    DD: Without giving all of your secrets for 2011, can you give us a few players that you expect to be undervalued in drafts this year (production greatly exceeds draft pick)? How about some players that you expect to be overvalued?

    JH: I think that Ryan Grant and Eli Manning will be undervalued and Desean Jackson and MJD will be completely overvalued.

    DD: Walk us through the last weeks of this competition. You knew you had a strong team going into the final weeks, but until it's done nothing is certain. How crazy was the anticipation of the last few weeks of games? Who was watching the final moments with you? Were you shouting at the TVs for your players to get you those extra yards? When did you know that you had won?

    JH: The last two weeks were kind of nerve racking. The first week of the Overall Playoffs I posted a very good number which brought me into contention. I then followed it up with another huge week (I hadn't had a two week total that big all year). After Week 15 (2nd playoff week) I started to get nervous. I finally told my wife what the situation was and a few close friends. I even remember emailing you, David, LOL. What really got me was after the Sunday afternoon games of the final week, the team in first place was done and myself and the next closest team were about 3 points difference, and we both had players in the Vikings/Eagles game. Well, we all know what happened. That game was postponed until Tuesday night, prolonging my agony. I had Vick and Peterson and he had Maclin and Philly's D. I had a fairly large get together with family and friends for the Tuesday night game. The game started out fairly stagnant with Vick and Peterson not really doing much. By half time I actually went outside alone to get some air and relax. The second half proved to be a lot different, and I remember feeling confident that I won when Peterson ran in the 4th-quarter TD. It was just a great feeling to celebrate with the people closest to me.

    DD: How did you celebrate? You buy anything nice? Take a trip?

    JH: I did the "right thing" and bought my wife all new kitchen appliances :) ....I knew that would get me on her good side, at least for awhile. I paid off all of our debt and bought myself a nice set of Nike golf clubs. Everything else was invested....and I had to save some for this years Fantasy season.

    DD: Parting thoughts. This is your spotlight to say anything you want. You bested everyone on the biggest stage. We are all ears.

    JH: The only thing I can say is that it was truly a life changing experience and to even be mentioned with other great Players that have won before me is awesome. It is something that I will never forget as long as I live.

    © 2011 Footballguys - All Rights Reserved