Go to any fantasy football message board and you are likely to find more than one person claiming to be the greatest fantasy football player to walk the face of the Earth. By nature, fantasy football owners are a boastful bunch, instilled with the notion that, in the world of draft-and-trade pigskin contests, the mental gymnastics that they perform on a daily basis are deserving of a gold medal.
Of course, they’re all full of hot air. The true king of fantasy football hails from a small town in Wisconsin and prefers the Emmitt Smith approach to success – hand the ball to the referee after a TD and act like you’ve been there before.
John Rozek, a former defensive back at Carthage College and now a Chicago accountant, not only can claim to be the greatest fantasy football player in the world, he’s got an award from the World Championships of Fantasy Football (WCOFF) to prove it. But despite such a lofty title (based upon historical achievement, not just one season), you can be sure that it hasn’t gone to his head (or his mouth).
Q: You were ranked as the No. 1 fantasy football player after the ’10 season, according to WCOFF. Did you still hold that distinction after the ’11 season? And is there an actual crown (or trophy) that comes with the distinction of being named “King of Fantasy Football”
Rozek: I was ranked No. 1 by WCOFF and Footballdiehards.com in 2010 and No. 1 by Footballdiehards.com in 2011 (WCOFF did not have rankings in 2011 since they folded and the 2012 rankings have not been released).
Q: Do you find that people in your leagues now feel like they are lambs being led to the slaughter, or are your friends and leaguemates even more motivated now to knock you off your pedestal?
Rozek: A little bit of both, there have been some work leagues where I've been banned from playing while most other leagues everyone is looking to knock me off.
Q: When did you first start playing fantasy football, and were you successful from the start?
Rozek: My first year was in 1990 while I was in high school. I continued to play football thru college so there was 5 or 6 years of overlap (fantasy and college football). I had some success early on but have definitely improved over the years.
Q: What part of the fantasy football experience brings you the most enjoyment?
Rozek: Definitely the competition and camaraderie with your league mates. The draft for a couple of my local leagues is one of the best days of the year.
Q: Has there been a consistent strategy that has been key to your overall success, or has your strategy changed and evolved through the years?
Rozek: I had a consistent strategy of hoarding running backs early for many years but that strategy has evolved as the NFL has turned into more of a passing league. Now I'm just as likely to go WR/WR with my first 2 picks as am to take RB's. I'm also typically the last team in my league to take a QB. Changes to the scoring in fantasy leagues has also made me change my strategy.
Alright, it’s time for the two-minute drill of this Q&A
Q: What is your ideal league size? 10, 12, 14, 16, more
Q: PPR or no PPR?
Q: Red Zone Channel or stay tuned into one game at a time?
Rozek: Red Zone
Q: How many leagues will you play in this year?
Rozek: Around 20 - 25
Q: Eli or Peyton?
Rozek: Eli, for this year
Q: How about a deep sleeper or two – care to tip your hand?
Rozek: No comment
(Un)spoken like a true champion, John