Observations from the Listener League (so far)

Getting the email from The Fantasy Footballers saying I had made it into this year’s Listener League was amazing. I had wanted to get in since I started listening to The Fantasy Footballers four years ago, and given the 1,000+ entries they receive each year, many of you are with me. With only about 1% of submissions making it in, I thought I would give a peek behind the curtain and share a few observations from my experience in the league so far. Please let me know if you enjoy this, and, if so, if there’s anything else you’d like to hear about the league. In no particular order, here are my top observations about The Fantasy Footballers Listener League so far:

  1. It is very competitive. No big surprise when combining 11 dedicated listeners and 3 industry experts, but the competition level is very high. Players didn’t fall much in the draft, and no one was wasting early picks on less valuable positions. While not everyone follows The Ballers rankings and advice to the letter – for example, there is one member who is insistent about keeping two tight ends on his roster – the teams are all well-constructed and the moves tend to be well thought out.

  2. Draft handcuffs. In a competitive, 14-person league, one of the biggest adjustments to make in the draft is that taking handcuffs becomes way more important. Not just your handcuffs, and not just HAAANDCUFFFSSS, but any decent handcuff. RBs come at a premium, so nearly every decent handcuff was drafted. That includes guys like Matt Breida and Jordan Wilkins, who both could end up being week-winning plays week 1.

  3. The league is extremely active. Within two days of the draft there had been two blockbuster trades, and six significant trades total in the first several days. Even now trade offers are exchanged almost every day. You can chalk this partly up to The Ballers themselves leading the way (Jason brokered the first post-draft trade), but everyone in the league is engaged and willing to propose, counter-propose, and counter-counter-propose trades to try and make their teams better.

  4. FAAB is the absolute best. I’ve heard the guys say this for years just like you, but I could never get my other leagues to try it, and, if I’m being honest, I didn’t try that hard. Having experienced it now first-hand, even just for the preseason, I endorse it fully. It’s not just the bidding, which is great, but it also eliminates the free-for-all period each week where the person who gets the Sleeper app update about an injury first runs and grabs the handcuff. Waivers run every day, and it adds a level of strategy and intensity that isn’t there with a standard Waiver priority system. We were all glued to our screens waiting for that waiver report to post the day after the McKinnon injury. When it posted, the Slack channel blew up as we saw the bids for Alfred Morris that ranged from $1 to the winning bid of $33 (out of $100)!

  5. The Slack channel is amazing. The Ballers use the Slack IM client and set up a private channel every year for the members of the Listener League. I’ve been playing fantasy for a long time, often with coworkers I see in person daily, yet this is one of the most active leagues I’ve ever been in. Having a tool like Slack where everyone can have group discussions throughout the day is fantastic and really drives up the interaction. Cannot recommend having something like this enough, and there are plenty of free options like private Facebook groups and Google Hangouts. That brings me to….

  6. Jason is, by far, the biggest trash talker. Sure, it’s easier to talk trash when you are the back-to-back defending champion (and honestly, this is ridiculous), but I do not think it would matter much for Jason. Mike and Andy can mix it up too, but Jason brings the heat every day, praising his own moves, bashing yours, and in general stirring the pot with expert agitation skills. It’s all done in a fun and civil way, but it does keep it interesting, and it really makes me look forward to beating Jason in week 12.

  7. The Ballers take this league very seriously. They regularly talk about their Listener League teams on the podcast, but in case you were wondering if that was just for show, it’s not. It’s clear that this league is extremely important to them. Despite draft season being the absolutely busiest time of the year for them, they are there commenting on Slack, making moves, reacting to news and proposing trades multiple times every day.

  8. The Ballers practice what they preach. The guys follow their rankings and draft strategies pretty much to the letter. Individual cases might come up where team or league composition cause them to zig when their rankings or normal strategy would say to zag, but overall they definitely walk the talk.

That’s it for now. Hope you enjoyed it, let me know what you think.


I don’t talk trash. My magical team speaks for itself. In big big ways.




I was also lucky enough to join the Listener League. However, I don’t feel the competition is tough at all. I can legitimately say that Jason has many more losses than me over the past three seasons.


Magic indeed. What would you say the most blessed moment for your team has been so far? Getting the perfect draw with the #4 draft slot? Having “Your Guy” Kerryon Johnson drop to you in the 5th round of a 14-person league full of people who knew you wanted him? Wait, I know, how about drafting Zeke and McKinnon, only to trade them away to the 49’ers fan in the league the next day for Bell and Mixon, totally dodging the McKinnon injury?

I get it, it’s tough out there for the reigning champ, magic really is the answer.

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Thanks for this… Really enjoyed reading this and enjoyed a little peak inside the league… Good luck this year.

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Thanks @Fr0sty11!

Completely enjoyed. Maybe next year will try, but enjoying a couple #footclan-leagues for now inspite being the least experienced I suspect. Thx for the share.

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Thanks for sharing an insider’s view of the Listener League! I can’t lie…I’m sooooo jealous. Good luck!

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Thanks @papabear! I like my team, but I can definitely use all the luck I can get.

All I know is that Bryan is an even bigger loser this year. Looking forward to watching him crumble. Again.


Do we really consider Kerryon in the 5th as a “drop”??? The HYPE is real!

At the time of the draft, Kerryon’s ADP was 5.08 in 12-team leagues, which would be 4.14 in 14-team. So not much of a drop, no. Comment was more about @JasonFFL’s most adored “My Guy” magically coming to him, at plus value, in a draft full of people who knew he wanted the guy.

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Hi everyone. Now that week 12 is mostly in the books, just thought I’d post a quick update to #6 above. I was very worried about having to play the back-to-back defending champ in the second-to-last-week before the playoffs, but there was no cause. My Dallas Dracarys handily dispatched of @JasonFFL’s DoubleStuf Champs by a score of 70 to 147. If I’m feeling generous, I could note that Jason was without two of his better playmakers with Kerryon Johnson and Marvin Jones out hurt, but it wouldn’t have mattered. Honestly, it was over before it really started, and I commend Jason for quietly showing himself out instead of pretending to put up a fight he was clearly destined to lose.

Anxiously looking forward to the fantasy playoffs…

That’s awesome. Thanks for the insight. I always wondered what actually happens in the listener league.
I wish my main league was a lot more active. You have to pray and maybe sacrifice 2 goats for someone to accept a trade. I’m shocked that the fantasy league I put together for my family this league is way more active. I tried FAAB on that league and it is the absolute best.

What’s your record in that league?

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After this week I will be 9-3 and will move into the #1 seed. I’m excited, but there are several other very good teams, so I’m not feeling overly confident.

I hear you on the trades. I run a league and we have only had one trade (that I did). It’s only our third year, so I’m still working on bringing them around. I’ve even pointed them to the podcast, so hopefully that helps.

I have 6 successful trades! The next person has 2 trades and that’s because I’ve traded to him twice.

Oh awesome! Maybe we’ll hear Jason complain about you on Air.
Good luck! Get that listener title!

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