The NLL Fantasy Lax Champion for 2012 says part of his keys to success are to invest heavily in faceoff men, such as Jeff Reynolds of the Philadelphia Wings. Photo Credit: Larry Palumbo
Interview with the winner of the Fantasy Challenge
By Alexander Hinkley, Fantasy Lacrosse Content Manager for NLL.com
Rory McDonald is the manager of the fantasy team which finished at the top of the standings this year, beating more than 2,800 teams that participated this past season. The 34 year-old hails from Welland, Ontario and specializes in the building and maintinence of nuclear power plants and oil refineries. I recently spoke with Rory about his experience playing the Fantasy Lacrosse Challenge and he shared a few tips on how increase your own team’s success next season.
Hinkley: Tell me a little about yourself. How long have you been a fan of lacrosse?
McDonald: I have been a fan for 28 years now. I start playing when I was six and been hooked on the game ever since.
Hinkley: What is your favorite team in the NLL?
McDonald: I don't really have a favorite team at all. I enjoy individual players more. I do like the Buffalo sports scene. It's just so drama filled that it's hard not to like the Bandits. The Roughnecks play a great up-tempo style; it makes them very exciting to watch. Plus the half court game of the Rock and the Mammoth, being so talent-laden, is offense at its finest.
Hinkley: Do you play any other fantasy sports?
McDonald: I played fantasy football once a few years ago, but nothing else.
Hinkley: How do you think the NLL Fantasy Challenge compares to other fantasy sports?
McDonald: I can't really make a comparison but I really enjoyed playing this one.
Hinkley: How much of fantasy lacrosse would you attribute to luck and how much would you attribute to knowledge of the sport and players?
McDonald: I think it is a mix of both. I know a lot of the older players in the league, from my own playing days growing up, so I think that helps. Also playing for nearly 30 years, I would like to think I know a little about spotting talent on the floor. With having said all that, you never know when someone is just not feeling it that night. For example, John Tavares scoring just six fantasy points one night or Jordan Hall tearing his ACL in the first quarter.
Hinkley: What was the secret to your success? Did you have a specific strategy?
McDonald: I liked to look at the weekly match ups and I tried to read as much information as possible. Strategy wise, I went with a lot of face-off guys for my transition players and defense because I felt that was the best way to maximize their dollar value. Power play guys for the offensive end are always a plus and you have to find a way to get players that are going to increase in value at the start of the year so you can boost your net value later on. This helps you stack your lineup with the top guys for the last couple of weeks.
Hinkley: Which player do you think helped your team the most throughout the season?
McDonald: Obviously, John Grant Jr. and his phenomenal season was key, but you don't have to be a genius to pick the greatest player in the game. Jordan MacIntosh and his growth were huge for me. Billings, the Snider boys, and Jeff Reynolds from Philly, were all very important as well.
Hinkley: If you could change one thing about the Fantasy Lacrosse Challenge, what would it be?
McDonald: I would not change much at all. All of the Internet buzz, is to "fix" the Goalie situation. Some say you should just tank the goalie position with a low value goalie (like using Blasdell who costs $3) to take another high priced forward, but I never subscribed to that thinking. It is tough to pick the position because a goalie is the only position that can have a negative number at the end of the game and the next game get you 30-plus points the next. If anything, I would make the save reward the same as the goal deduction (2 points). Lacrosse is an offensive game and I feel it might eliminate the negative points in the game. But if your goalie is cold and the other is hot you are in trouble no matter what the scoring system is. It's nerve racking. I guess we all kind of know what that is like.
Hinkley: Thanks for your time. Any final thoughts?
McDonald: In closing, I would just like to thank the NLL and the fantasy league people for putting together a terrific league that made this great lacrosse season even better. I would also like to thank the participants in the league for making this a very fun experience. A special applause goes out to the top ten managers (Terry, Adam, Dwayne, Tomas, DJ, Mike, Shawn, Aaron, and you too BF).