by Lori Capullo
Michael Kruszynski’s entree into fantasy football came when an old college friend sent him an invitation to play in his league. “I was always competitive and loved sports, with football being my favorite sport,” he says.
» Number of leagues he plays in: Four
» Secondary foul: “One year my boss wanted to play fantasy football. I sent him an invite to join. It was the ESPN league with the automatic draft, so great for a beginner. Three weeks in, his team was 0-3. He asked me to help manage his team, which I did so well that I ended up playing him in the championship, and he won. He spent a good deal of time telling me what a great football mind he had for months after the season ended. I told him he was on his own the next season.”
» Favorite team: Chicago Bears
The commissioner of a private league, Jeff Castner relies on daily updates, videos and emails from the CBS Sports website to help him make his coaching decisions, but, he says, “There is so much information out there that it can be overkill. When I find myself getting too involved, it’s time to back away.”
» Banner year: “2008 was my Super Bowl championship year. I had some really good players that year but no real standouts. It seemed that each week I had that one player who had a breakout game and got me a lot of points.”
» Words to the wise: “Never change your Sunday lineup after getting some ‘good advice’ from your buddies at the bar on a Saturday night.”
» Favorite team: Dallas Cowboys
Jack Bardakjian meets a number of professional football players in his profession, which has translated into fantasy football success for him. “I like to call them up and get a little inside information before the games,” he says. “One time, a player whose name I won’t mention was on the injured reserve list. I knew he was going to play two days prior. It was a game-time decision for everyone else, but I had him on my team. He came in the game and scored a few touchdowns for me. It was great.”
» Fantasy footballer for: 10 years
» Number of leagues he plays in: Three
» Go-to sites: “NFL.com is probably the best. ESPN and CBS Sports are good, too. I use them both.”
» First time’s a charm: “My first year playing was by far my luckiest. It was Tiki Barber’s last year in the NFL. He had a breakout year, and that one player helped me win the entire fantasy league that season.”
» Favorite team: New England Patriots.