If you’re looking for Field Yates this fall, he won’t be hard to find. As a writer for ESPN.com and ESPN Insider, a contributor on several ESPN television shows including NFL Insiders and SportsCenter, and now co-host of the venerable Fantasy Focus Football podcast with Matthew Berry, Yates is all over ESPN platforms this season covering both NFL and Fantasy Football. We caught up with Yates between assignments for the first of a two-part post (Part 2 will run Thursday on Front Row).
You’ve got quite a busy schedule this season to say the least. How are you managing it all?
The approach is one day at a time. When the NFL regular season starts, each day of the week will start to look a little more consistent. Reporters are always cognizant of the tent poles each day that will bring news, like final cuts to 53-player rosters, for example. But being aware that news is moving more rapidly than ever, with social media in the mix, means trying to size up work just one day – or even sometimes one hour or Tweet – at a time.
NFL reporter versus fantasy football analyst. What’s the difference?
There’s a difference in the process involved with each role. My reporter duties include covering, breaking or confirming news stories, while my analyst role in the fantasy space is contextualizing news and using it to project what it means for players. But I do firmly believe that each is predicated upon the same tenets: educating our viewers, readers or listeners on any story. I’ve found that fantasy football players have an appetite for coverage of news and what it means for their rosters, so there’s always natural crossover.
One of your new roles is joining Matthew Berry as co-host of the award-winning and highly popular Fantasy Focus Football podcast. Any pressure replacing Nate the Hate (@NateRavitz) on the “06010″?
Even though some of the loyal listeners liked to joke that I had “averaged-size” shoes to fill (a longstanding joke on the podcast), Nate [Ravitz] helped build the podcast into the wildly successful endeavor it’s been for almost a decade. Some may not know this, but Nate was one of the first people that I got to work with closely at ESPN, and he made an early investment in me that I’m forever grateful for. Nate and Matthew had a rapport that showed they weren’t just co-hosts, but also friends. My approach in replacing Nate is not to try to emulate him, but to do what he did — provide the audience strong, pointed analysis while also allowing his personality to shine through — with my own twist. Even in the early stages of the podcast, I’ve come to learn just how engaged the audience is. My Twitter timeline has become a lot more fun since beginning the podcast.