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).
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.
– 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.