The Fantasy Player of the Year is Matt Bayley
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Football > Preseason > The Fantasy Player of the Year is Matt Bayley

The Fantasy Player of the Year is Matt Bayley

Matt Bayley is crowned the first ever Fantasy Football World Champion!
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MATT BAYLEY, Natick Massachusetts wins $200,000 and is crowned the Fantasy Football World Champion

What does your spouse think of YOUR fantasy addiction? Read on...

Jul 3, 2013 Las Vegas, NV - Playing fantasy football is simply a fun hobby for most people. For others, it's a whole lot more. For the last ten years, on opening weekend of the NFL season, thousands of fans have traveled to Las Vegas for the camaraderie and challenge of competing in the pro circuit of fantasy football. One player, Matt Bayley, certainly knows these leagues are not just for the local neighborhoods anymore. Winning $200,000 playing a game where the prize used to be a case of beer will have that affect.

So who is Matt Bayley? For starters, he is The 2012 Fantasy Football World Champion. After this victory, Bayley has cracked the Top 10 Fantasy Players, now ranked the #7 Fantasy Player in the world, according to the Global Fantasy Player Index, a ranking of the top high stakes players in the world across all the major circuits. Using the arm of Robert Griffin III, the legs of Arian Foster and the hands of Brandon Marshall, Bayley earned the title and the fat paycheck without the bumps and bruises. Take that Joe Flacco.

Bayley has been honing his craft for a long time. After years of drafting and trading with his buddies in his neighborhood, he decided to try his hand at the national contests. For the past decade, the Massachusetts resident has been a mainstay participant in the growing community of fantasy players who boldly put their money where their [smash] mouth is. "The competition is considerably more difficult than the local leagues," Bayley said, "but it's like anything else. Once you compete in the league for a couple of years, you really get the hang of it."

Um, it would appear so.

The husband and father of two had participated in several high stakes contests, when his interest was piqued by a new national contest sponsored by Emil Kadlec and Ian Ritchie, two notable figures in the fantasy football world, who operate FFToolbox.com, one of the largest independent communities of fantasy players. Enter the Fantasy Football World Championships. $1575 for one team is a big commitment for the bartender from Massachusetts. "But, after talking to them, I felt comfortable joining," Bayley said.

Besides the entry fee and the level of play, perhaps the biggest difference between the neighborhood and high stakes games is that every owner has a no-trade clause. No transactional shenanigans, none of those lopsided swaps that occasionally leads to a war of words even in the friendliest of leagues. "We've all seen it. The uncle pulls a trade with his nephew and all hell breaks loose. At this level of competition, trading just doesn't work," said Ritchie.

"This was one of the first things about the national competitions that changed my mind set," and most high stakes veterans agree, "it's an additional challenge" said Bayley, who participated in his draft online. "It makes your draft more important."

The no trading angle also means outside of the weekly waiver wire claims -- there is no opportunity to right those draft day wrongs. Bayley's advice: leave the herd mentality at the door.

"If you're going to put up that kind of money and you're going to take pride in what you do and you like a guy - take him. I've had people laughing at me at these draft tables for some of the players I've taken," Bayley said. "Sometimes it's been warranted, but I can honestly say every team I've had has been my team. I don't care what people think. You draft whom you want. That's the bottom line."

Bayley's bottom line grew substantially in late December thanks to decisions made back in August. Perhaps most notably, passing on the obvious starry passers and eventually drafting RGIII, the Redskins rookie quarterback who led the fantasy world in scoring deep into the season.

One week into the season, everyone knew the Bayley's of the world had a steal. Even though late season injuries yanked Griffin in and out of the lineup, Bayley survived.

"It was obviously the pick of my draft," the beaming owner said. "I didn't expect him to turn out to be what he was, but I was just hoping he would be value. He was certainly value."

Bayley and his brother were flown to Las Vegas on Super Bowl Weekend, picked up in a limo at the airport and spent two nights to the Mirage Hotel and Casino where they received the $200,000 winner's check and championship jersey presentation inside the hotel's sportsbook.

Matt Bayley arriving in Las Vegas to pick up his $200k check

What does Bayley's wife think about him playing now? "She's happy. She was right by my side watching the game the day we won. I kept telling her that it wasn't over, but she believed in me. She was more confident in our team than I was. I'll definitely be back next year to defend my title."

It will be interesting to see if he can become the first Fantasy Football World Champion to repeat.

For more information on the Fantasy Football World Championships visit www.fftoolbox.com

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