Angelo Lilas was the SCOUT Fantasy Online Champion in 2016 and brought home a whopping $50,000 with a dominant team. His team was so dominant that he ran away with the win despite final week heroics from his opponents and leaving Adam Theilen’s 44.6 Fantasy points on his bench. I recently conducted an interview with Angelo to get to know our champ a bit better and figure out how he managed to put together such a strong squad.
Tell us about yourself, an introduction
My full name is Evangelos Lilas, but I go by Angelo. I grew up in Justice, Illinois about 20 min from Chicago. I've been married for six years to my wife, Inga. We have two kids; my five-year-old daughter Lexi and my son one-year-old Parker. Through thick and thin I’ve been a lifelong Chicago Bears fan. I’ve worked with my father in our family business for past 17 years. Nicky’s Hot Dogs since 1967. We’re pretty well known on the southside of Chicago right by Midway Airport You have to try the Big Baby Double Cheeseburger!”
When did you begin playing Fantasy? What brought you to high-stakes contests?
I got started in Fantasy out of curiosity. I had no idea really what it was or how it worked. It was back in the summer of 2008; I had just bought my house and created my Facebook account reconnecting with and old friend of mine who currently lived in Arizona named Christopher Lejawa. I saw a post from him and another friend talking about teams they drafted so I called my buddy and asked what the deal was with Fantasy Football. He explained how it worked and introduced me to my first site, AFFL high-stakes football. So still not having any clue I signed up, and I fell in love instantly. I ended up drafting nine leagues my first year. I enjoyed putting teams together and even finished top 10 out of 600-plus teams. This was 2008, so people were still in the habit of taking a running back in the first round, but I had the 12th pick, so I went against the grain and took the two best wide receivers on the board. That year Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson followed by Wes Walker and Ray Rice. My first high-stakes championship finally came in 2014 after being runner-up three times and also helping my friend draft the 2012 championship. So counting my 2016 title I've now been part of three championships in five years. Fantasy became an instant addiction for me and has grown ever year. I learned pretty quickly to compete with some of the best players. You have to play volume, so I went from nine teams my first year to 40 in 2016 to who knows how many this year. I'm strictly a high-stakes player. I don't play any buddy leagues.
Tell us about your 2016 Online Championship team. Your strategy, your targets, etc.
I drafted July 24, the day after my birthday. I had the seventh pick, and my train of thought was a wide receiver. Probably Dez Bryant or maybe A.J. Green. This was my third year now playing in the FFWC, so I had a good idea by now how these drafts would go. They are usually wide receiver heavy. In this draft, there were some pretty big heavyweights like Brian Owens, Todd Ullman, and Mike Santos. So I knew it would be a tough draft. The draft starts and right on cue, the first six picks are wideouts, so I take a guy who I loved coming into the season in David Johnson. I wasn't going to reach on a receiver at the spot with the potential Johnson had. Now in the second round, I was taking a wide receiver no matter what and was hoping Mike Evans or Brandin Cooks would fall to me. With Evans going one pick before my turn, I went with a wide receiver who helped me win my first championship in 2014. A clear cut WR1 on his team and a contract year player in Alshon Jeffery.
In the third round, I was planning to go wideout again, but there was no one there worth grabbing, and one guy who kept getting passed up was Devonta Freeman. That little voice in my head was praying for him to fall to me. The guy was the No. 1 back in Fantasy the year before and was just being ignored. Luckily, he fell to me. Going into Round 4 I had my sights on two players, Donte Moncrief or Doug Baldwin, thinking LeSean McCoy would never make it that far, but luck was smiling my way because again both wide receivers and McCoy fell into my lap. So a team I thought I'd build WR heavy, all of sudden became a RB strong team. Now I knew I was set at running back and with only one receiver at this point I had to start grabbing WRs. So in Round 5, coming off a big year, I picked Allen Hurns who pretty much busted out. Going into the sixth round I grabbed Andrew Luck who I was really high on. If a potential top-five quarterback is there in the sixth round that's when I'll grab one. I get QB is deep, and the trend by the top players is to wait, but I make no apologies for grabbing a top-three quarterback where I did. In the seventh round, I grabbed Markus Wheaton, again a WR who busted out. I snagged Gary Barnidge in the eighth round at the tight end spot and in the ninth round a sleeper I had in Philip Dorsett, who again was underwhelming. Round 10 was one of my better picks that covered a flex spot and injury in Tevin Coleman.
The rest of the way just fliers and fillers, but another notable pick was in the 16th round when I took Matt Ryan.
Believe it or not, Angelo wasn’t thrilled with the team he drafted which eventually went on to win him $50K!
Now after selecting this team, I wasn't overly excited about it. It was my fifth or sixth draft at the time and was entirely different from the strategy I had been using. But I wasn't going to force myself to overdraft WRs knowing I had to start three. I like to think I’m more of a “draft flow guy,” adjust round by round and look for the right value or I guess VBD. I knew after the draft I was set at QB and RB and would have to search through the wide receivers in free agency all year. I had covered all my running backs on the team with their backups. The team was steady all year, for the most part, finishing 10-3 with only a 147 Fantasy Points per Week average, which isn't great in this format but good enough for best record and fourth in points. By the time the season ended only two WRs were left on my team from the seven that I drafted. After weeks of pickups and drops, I ended up with: Jeffrey, Hurns, Marqise Lee, Adam Theilen, Eli Rogers, Ty Montgomery and Jeremy Kerley. Nothing exciting but the perfect storm of WRs that helped me win during the playoff weeks.
The biggest player pickup came on October 5. Another position of weakness of mine was the TE position. There wasn't much in free agency all year, but I had picked up Charles Clay. So I juggled him and Barnidge all year, and Clay had his biggest games Weeks 15 & 16 scoring 48.5 points combined. Barnidge, by comparison, scored 14.7. I won my title by 18.39 points. So in my view, Charles Clay single handily won me the Online Championship. Two of the craziest things also happened Week 15. My team scored 219 points, and I had a zero in my lineup because Theilen was hurt in his game. So the next week my team scores 211 with Thielen’s 44.6 points sitting on my bench. I was gun shy playing him with so much on the line, and it almost cost me. I couldn't believe it. So to sum this up, I made six or seven great picks during draft then played free agency perfectly to bring me my first title. Oh, and Clay will always have a special place in my Fantasy heart.
Angelo wanted to let me know why he loves playing in the SCOUT Fantasy Online Championships so much.
Like I said earlier, I found FFWC three years ago and was intrigued by three WR and two flex spot format. From my years of playing, I've always been able to build deep rosters and hated leaving points on the bench in 10-man lineups. I love that the best players in the world play here because I'm striving to be one of them. I tell anyone who's interested about high stakes and to check out the FFWC. SCOUT Fantasy is one of the best sights around, period. This is a true passion of mine, and I want to be known as one of the best. My win in 2016 is just the beginning. I'm aiming my sights now on the World Championship next!
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