Mark Mitchell finished second in our SCOUT Fantasy Football World Championship. We interviewed Mark to get to know him a little bit better and learn how he became such a successful high-stakes owner!
Mark is proud New Jersey native, born and raised in Montvale, NJ. He made it a point to state that although he’s lived in numerous states around the country, he’s a New Jersey resident and “will always call New Jersey home.”
Following high school, Mark attended Georgetown University, where he graduated in 1999 before entering the Marine Corps. He was commissioned an Officer upon his graduation and is currently an F/A-18 Pilot in the Marine Corps. Currently, he is approaching his 18th year of service to his country. Despite his success in life and service in the military, he appears most proud of his beloved wife and three beautiful daughters.
Mark was asked about how he got started with Fantasy Football, and his story was incredible:
“I got started in fantasy with some guys in my fighter squadron in Iraq back in 2004. It was more of a way to pass the time, and we weren't able to watch any games, but it was my first experience. A few years later I joined the league with my Georgetown crew. Our league isn't the highest of stakes, it’s a few hundred bucks per team, but I'll put the enjoyment factor up there with any league in the world. Every year, the Saturday before Labor Day, we hold our draft at the Borgata in Atlantic City. The date never changes, so guys can block off that Saturday a year in advance. It helps us get at least 11 of the 12 guys there every year since the wives know not to schedule anything for that weekend. We go all out and get the biggest suite they have available and spend two nights absolutely tearing it up. Surprisingly, we do actually manage to squeeze in a draft on Saturday evening, but it's more about getting after it as a group, renting a cabana, hitting the tables and bars and just enjoying a kid-free, ultimate annual 'guys weekend.'"
We asked Mark about his mindset heading into his 2016 Fantasy Football World Championship Draft:
“This year, as always, the mindset going in was "best available." In just about every league in the world, the top three picks were Antonio, Odell Beckham Jr. and Julio in some order. I absolutely loved David Johnson, but picking seventh overall, I didn't think we had a shot at landing him. When he fell to seventh, I was ecstatic. This trendy notion of "zero RB" is just ridiculous in my mind. In the second round, we snatched up Jordy Nelson. Coming off the knee injury caused him to slide a bit, so I happily scooped him up I wanted a piece of the GB offense and also a stud WR to anchor the WR corps. With a stud RB and stud WR, I just continue to take best available. In the FFWC format, where you can start 5 WR's, the WR's usually fly off the board. This often helps find value at the RB position.”
Who was his favorite pick on this super team?
“The third round was my favorite pick by a mile. In a format like the FFWC where WR’s are so coveted, a guy like McCoy often falls. A talent like McCoy in an offense that wants to run and has a great O-line is simply stealing in the third round … Another favorite pick was Tyrell Williams in the 16th. Again, read a bunch of quotes from Philip Rivers talking about his talents and simply took a shot as a sleeper. Who knows how big a role he would’ve played had Keenan Allen not went down, but he’s another guy who returned crazy value relative to his 16th round price tag. “
And which pick would he love to have back?
“My one regret was taking C.J. Anderson over DeMarco Murray in the fourth round. I was probably one of the biggest DeMarco fans around coming into the draft season, but the old paralysis by analysis in the preseason led me down the "Derrick Henry will steal work” road and opted for Anderson as our RB3. Had I gone with my gut, this team would’ve been even better.”
Of course, the early rounds form the heart of your team, but we also wanted to know how he approached the middle and later rounds:
“With the heart of the squad set with the first six rounds, it was time to start addressing the WR position and filling in depth. Come the seventh round, the WR’s selection in the FFWC is slim-pickings. Michael Thomas was the eighth round pick. I had been following the Saints beat writers from camp and kept reading how much trust Brees was showing in him during camp. He turned out to be the guy that returned the most value relative to his draft position. Corey Coleman was another rookie I wanted some stock in. Figured game script would lead to Cleveland playing from behind a bunch. Unfortunately, his wrist injury curbed his upside all year. Josh Doctson never got off the ground with his Achilles.”
Mark also broke down his waiver wire moves and his mindset for his in-season adjustments:
QBs: Carson Palmer, Robert Griffin III
RBs: David Johnson, LeSean McCoy, C.J. Anderson, Carlos Hyde, Devontae Booker
WRs: Jordy Nelson, Corey Coleman, Michael Thomas, Mohamed Sanu, Dorial Green-Beckham, Tyrell Williams, Victor Cruz, Josh Doctson, Chris Conley
TEs: Greg Olsen, Charles Clay
PK: Dan Bailey
DEF: New York Giants
QB: Jameis Winston/Carson Palmer
RB1: David Johnson
RB2: LeSean McCoy
WR1: Jordy Nelson
WR2: Mike Thomas
WR3: Tyrell Williams
TE: Greg Olsen
Flex: Carlos Hyde
Flex: Tyreek Hill
PK: Cairo Santos
"Fortunately, the squad had no major injuries, so the waiver wire was more about building depth and taking flyers on guys than filling holes left by injury. Jameis Winston was added, and already having Carson Palmer, gave us three games against the Saints in Weeks 14 to 16. The big waiver add though was Tyreek Hill. Talk about a special talent, and the guy absolutely flies I was watching the Chiefs get blown out by the Steelers on a Sunday night game in October, and he caught my eye. Picked him up for dirt cheap a week or two later and he popped.
I've never had a team stay so healthy throughout the year, so luck played a huge role in our success this year. We had a few guys miss a game or two, but our studs all played almost every game. The healthiness of the RBs and the emergence of Thomas, Williams, and Hill, allowed us to enter the playoffs ready to roll with great depth and I knew we had a great shot."
Despite falling just short of a first-place finish, Mark loved his experience playing in the SCOUT Fantasy, Fantasy Football World Championships and offered congratulations to the champ:
"In the end, we came up .77 points short of the $150K, but what a fantastic season. The playoffs were a complete roller coaster of emotions, and unfortunately we came up just short, but it was pure excitement all season long. A huge congrats to Kimra Schleicher who took home the title. She was on the same roller coaster of a ride in the playoffs and had an incredible team as well.
The FFWC is by far the best fantasy experience out there. Playing against the best keeps you sharp and the competition is cutthroat. For those curious but apprehensive, I recommend jumping in one of the starter leagues or online championships to get your feet wet. From the draft software to online support, these guys run an amazing show from start to finish I highly recommend the FFWC, and this is where I'll continue to play."
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