ESPN Fantasy

Wesleyan football pipeline a point of pride for Yates

ESPN NFL Insider and Fantasy analyst Field Yates might be easy to find across platforms this fall, but that doesn’t stop him from enjoying being a fan and a fantasy player himself. We caught up with Yates between assignments for the second of a two-part post (Part 1 ran on Monday).

SportsCenter Special: Dominating Your Draft

Get expert Fantasy Football opinions (ESPN, 5 p.m. ET, Friday, Aug. 28). The show will feature analysis and debate from Robert Flores, Matthew Berry, Tim Hasselbeck, Field Yates, Sara Walsh and Stephania Bell. Thursday afternoon at 1:30 ET p.m., Yates is a guest on ESPN Radio’s Russillo Show. Learn more about ESPN’s Fantasy Football coverage.

How often do you run into pro football players who comment on your fantasy analysis?
Fortunately that hasn’t happened frequently… yet. But now that I have a bigger role in fantasy this year, especially with player rankings, the opportunities may present themselves more — for better or worse. As a PSA to all NFL players that may see or hear me talk fantasy this year: Putting together rankings isn’t easy! And truth be told, there are weeks where I don’t mind if players that I forecast to have minimal impact actually put together a star performance, as there’s a pretty good chance I own them in a league.

You’re on ESPN.com, TV, radio, podcasts. What are the challenges going cross-platform every day?
If there is a day in which a major story comes out, and I receive a request to cover it on all of our platforms, the trickiest part is understanding that even if you want to make the same key points on TV, radio, podcasting, a written piece, etc., the time or space you want to do so is not the same. For the most part, TV is a succinct window that involves having your best points ready and deliverable in just a few minutes. That expands in radio and podcasting form, while writing allows you to start and edit your thoughts as you continue to research a topic.

As a PSA to all NFL players that may see or hear me talk fantasy this year: Putting together rankings isn’t easy!
– Field Yates, who in his capacity as an NFL Insider will be interviewing players he’s also critiqued as a Fantasy Football analyst

Please tell us about your best (or worst) moment as a Fantasy Football player.
Back in 2011, my best friends from college and I [Wesleyan University, class of 2009] started an auction league with some Williams College graduates, and the team I drafted would’ve been a powerhouse for many years. But I did some roster re-tooling in advance of the first season, and two of my cornerstones were [Kansas City Chiefs running back] Jamaal Charles and [then Houston Texans wide receiver] Andre Johnson. Charles tore his ACL in Week 1, while Johnson played just seven games that season. That was a league where I started off on the wrong foot — and had to hear about it all offseason.

You mentioned your alma mater, Wesleyan, where NFL coaches Bill Belichick and Eric Mangini also went to school. How did Wesleyan become a hotbed for great football minds?
I’m sure both Bill and Eric would concede they realized at an early age that playing football professionally was not in the cards. I had the same light bulb moment at around age 14. But working in the game – coaching it or reporting on it – is far from a consolation. While it may be nothing more than happenstance that each of us has gone on to work in football following our time at Wesleyan, I know we are all grateful for our experience. And the Wesleyan football program has ascended to new heights of late, posting consecutive 7-1 seasons. That makes all of the alumni proud, including our SportsCenter boss Rob King.

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