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Fantasy Draft Tools Interview And Expert Advice

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Fantasy Draft Tools Fantasy Draft Tools
http://www.fantasydrafttools.com
May 15, 2010

Mike Pera from Fantasy Draft Tools recently answered a few questions about their fantasy draft software and how to best approach a fantasy draft.

Can you tell us how you first got interested in fantasy sports?
I've been playing fantasy football since I was in 6th grade...I'm not going to give away my age, but I'm a father of 4 who didn't have his first child until I was 28. When I first started playing, you had to wait until Monday's newspaper to tally all the points for all games to see how you did and I've been playing ever since

How long have you been operating your website fantasydrafttools.com?
fantasydrafttools.com has been in business since 2006, but I started selling my draft tools before I knew anything about websites.

You have put together some really impressive fantasy draft tools. Can you explain what motivated you to first create them?
Thank you, I am the commissioner in my auction league for 11 years and I love playing around with Microsoft Excel. I was tired of using sticker boards, markers, and a calculator to keep track of our auction...plus, if you factor in some "adult beverages", the math goes out the window. As a result I decided to sit down and build a tool to track draft picks, auction values and dollars spent. Before I knew it, other owners were buying it off of me and FantasyDraftTools.com was born.

You have created a lot of tutorial videos about your software which I think really sets your marketing apart. What feedback have you received about the videos?
Pictures (screenshots) can say a 1000 words, but videos can say millions as you see our fantasy draft tools in action. I've had numerous customers tell me: "Just purchased your fantasy football draft tool. Your Youtube demo cemented the deal."

What makes your draft tool software different from your competitors?
Our fantasy draft tools are Microsoft Excel based, which mean no extra install needed (assuming you have Excel of course). They work on both Windows and MAC based computers. You can use our draft tool like you use any other Excel file: transfer it from your work computer to your home computer to your girlfriend's computer. The best part is you can reuse our fantasy draft tools for 1 draft or 15 drafts, just start with a new version of the file for each draft...try that with a $30 sticker board.

Do you need to purchase a new version of your software each year, or can you purchase it once and use it in future years also?
Each year we roll our new and exciting features that you want to have for your fantasy draft, so a purchase is necessary each year. Our customers have been so satisfied with our draft tools that they keep coming back each football AND baseball season.

I see you offer draft tools for fantasy football and fantasy baseball? Is there more of a demand for one sport over another?
As you know, fantasy football has been the dominant fantasy sport for years with the demand for our fantasy football draft tool, but we've seen dramatic increases in our fantasy baseball draft tool sales each year.

Can you explain a little about the draft software customization services you offer? How much time does it usually take to customize it?
Usually, a current customer or potential customer will ask if we can add a certain feature, if its possible, we will create a prototype for that customer in a couple days (free of charge). Not only will that potential feature help that specific customer, I always ask myself, "Will this feature be beneficial to others?". If so, I will implement that change into the current fantasy draft tools for everyone to utilize.

Are the player rankings in the software updated throughout the preseason?
Absolutely, our first set of rankings will go out sometime in June/July and we will send out weekly updates up until the start of the season. We will even send out and update after a major move has happened (injury to key starter, benching/promotion of player, trade, etc). Our projections are sourced from our exclusive partner, the Fantasy Football Mastermind (ffmastermind.com), who has been providing comprehensive information, rankings, draft guides, cheatsheets, newsletters & more throughout the fantasy football season since 1996.

Would you recommend purchasing your software as soon as it is available or waiting until as close to your fantasy draft as possible?
I would recommend purchasing our fantasy draft tools as early as possible to take advantage of our early bird pricing. Currently our fantasy football draft tool can be purchased for $11.95, which 37% off of 2009's Retail price!! So whether you purchase now or later, you will always have the latest and greatest set of projections/enhancements.

Do you change your software much from one year to another?
After the football and baseball seasons officially start, I reach out to all customers who purchased our fantasy draft tool for that season asking for feedback (good and bad comments are always welcome). We also ask for feedback on any enhancement they would like to see and depending on that feedback, I will look to implement those changes into next years model.

Do you have any new features coming out in your software for 2010?
Based on last years feedback, we've implemented a major enhancement...Prepopulated Auction Values. 'Starting Auction Value', represents the auction value at the start of the draft before any picks are made, based on your customized league settings. 'Current Auction Value', represents the current auction value throughout the draft. Meaning, as picks are made and dollars are spent, the Current Value is updated accordingly. If owners are overpaying for players, the current value will go down as there is less money to be spent on the players, however, if owners are getting players cheaper than the Start Value, then the Current Value will go up as there is more money than expected to be spent. Another cool feature that we added to our "All Teams Grid", which looks like those big sticker boards, is the ability to sort the players in the grid based on draft order or by grouping the players by positions (all QBs, then all RBs, etc) and its color coded so that its easier on the eyes.

It seems that many people fall in love with players they draft in the first or second round, and they have a hard time letting go of them even if they are having a bad season. At what point of the season should someone start to look at changing their roster?
Personally, I would recommend looking to change you're roster every chance you have. I usually look to wheel and deal a trade right after and sometimes during the draft. Most teams are reluctant to make a trade, but as long as you offer a fair trade that includes a position they have a need for, anything can happen. Last year, I made 22 trades where Patrick Willis was the only player that I drafted who stayed on my team the whole year.

What are some of the biggest mistakes fantasy players make during a draft?
They fall into traps. You have a plan going in, but once other teams draft a kicker, then kickers fly off the board, same with Team Defenses. The point differential between Kickers and Team Defenses will not win you a championship, so there is no need drafting a Defense in Round 6 when you can land a quality position player (or prominent backup).

How can your software help fantasy players avoid these mistakes?
Our fantasy draft tools will give you more insight into how the draft is progressing than any tools the other owners have. However, if there is a Kicker run and you are someone that usually succumbs to peer pressure, you will probably take a kicker too (no matter what fantasy draft tools you are using)

Can you offer any advice for fantasy drafts?
Go in with a plan and stick to it. There is a reason you prepare all summer for your draft, don't let the picks of other owners get in the way of your game plan.

Are there any 2010 fantasy football sleeper picks you can recommend?
I am very high on Kevin Kolb this year. Everyone thinks the Eagles will be sub-par and rebuilding team, but I think Kolb has a chance to flourish with the weapons around him in Andy Reid's pass-happy offense. I really feel that he can finish in the Top 10, even the Top 8 of fantasy QBs. Call me crazy, but you'll be thanking me in December.

How can fantasy players learn more about your software and what else you are doing?
Please feel free to check out our website, FantasyDraftTools.com for details of all of our features, screenshots, and a tutorial video. If anyone has any questions, they can send me an email at mike@fantasydrafttools.com or call me directly at (610) 298-1159.

Thanks again Mike for your time. I would encourage everyone to check out Mike's software to see if it can help you in your fantasy draft.