The Meteoric Rise of Fantasy Flock Network
Late every summer when football season is right around the corner, I like to spend some time checking out the creator market for Fantasy Football analysis to see who's out there making content. There's certainly no shortage of Fantasy Football armchair generals out there eager to share their opinions on who will be the biggest sleeper of the upcoming season, and that makes standing out among the crowd all the more challenging. After all, every creator is working with the same information, talking about the same players, and reacting to the same daily news.
That's why I've been so impressed with what Mason Dodd has done with his channel, Fantasy Flock Network, this year. Fantasy Flock wrapped up the 2021-22 NFL season this February sitting at around 65k subscribers on YouTube, a respectable total but hardly noteworthy. Going into the new football season this fall, Mason set a target of 80k subscribers before kickoff of the first game. His channel managed to hit its target with just a few days left before the start of the 2022 NFL season, and Mason celebrated with a 24 hour long livestream where he completed dozens of live Fantasy Football drafts along with his audience on Underdog Fantasy, who weren't even sponsoring the channel.
Since that stream, Fantasy Flock Network has exploded to over 150k subscribers and boasts a daily livestream with over 1k concurrent viewers, making Mason the single biggest Fantasy Football creator on YouTube practically overnight. So what's the secret sauce of Fantasy Flock's viral success? Let's dig into his content and figure it out!
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Is Mason Dodd a Fantasy Football Genius?
You don't have to spend a lot of time on Mason's channel to realize that he's definitely done his research and knows what he's talking about when it comes to Fantasy Football. His analysis is crisp, concise, and most importantly based on solid statistics and well-reasoned arguments. That being said, he's no Nate Silver and can't accurately predict what's going to happen over the course of the season.
Every NFL Football fan knows that between all of the injuries, trades, and other completely unexpected events that occur throughout the season, the moniker "Any Given Sunday" has certainly earned its reputation. As a result, there are plenty of things that Mason gets wrong. Some of his notable mistakes this season include hyping up Kyle Pitts as a top 3 Fantasy Tight End (he currently sits at 18th among TE's in half PPR formats half way through the season), and telling his audience week after week to trade for breakout star Running Back Breece Hall, only for Hall to suffer a torn ACL in week 7 against the Broncos.
Ultimately, since no one expects Fantasy analysts to be perfect, Mason's fantasy advice is definitely good enough to make you trust he's an expert. There are 2 things that stand out with Mason's content that give his fans faith in his expert fantasy analysis. The first is his infectious smile and confidence. Mason is always smiling on stream, even when discussing brutal news like the Hall injury that had a huge impact on his own teams' performances, let alone his audience. Mason's positive attitude reminds audience members that Fantasy Football is a game, and playing it is meant to be fun, even if money is on the line. It makes watching his content that much more bearable when things aren't going your way, and that much more exciting when they are.
Second, unlike most fantasy analysts out there (especially legacy media analysts), Mason is always the first to admit when he's wrong. Mason is genuine with his audience, he doesn't try to convince his audience he's a fantasy genius, he just does his best to give people advice and create fun, engaging content. Fantasy Football livestreamers in general have the added challenge of having to directly face their audience each week on their streams. They can't hide their mistakes the way analysts who write articles or host shows on TV/radio can since their audience can call them out in real time. Mason has managed to turn this challenge into a huge advantage, since he uses his mistakes to make real connections with his audience, rather than trying to put himself on a pedestal.
Work Ethic Matters
If there's one thing you see on every "how to become a successful youtube creator" listicle that holds true for Mason and whoever is helping him manage Fantasy Flock Network, it's that more content = more subscribers. Mason's work ethic this fantasy season has been nothing short of legendary. The guy produced so much content over the first couple of weeks of the season that his voice gave out on him completely for a couple of days, yet he somehow managed to wheeze his way through hours of content over the following few days while his voice recovered.
This season, Mason has been releasing 2-3 pre-recorded videos per day, with average run times of around 16 minutes. On top of the videos, Fantasy Flock has been going live for about 2 hours every day, where he answers fan questions and sets his lineups for the week. Mason himself says on his show that he hasn't missed a single daily fantasy advice stream in over 120 days!
Fantasy Flock Network's insane work ethic was on full display during the NFL's trade deadline week. There were more trades occurring leading up to the deadline this year than there has been in many years, and every time I'd get a notification that a trade occurred, I'd head to youtube where sure enough, Mason was live at the top of my recommended feed breaking down the potential fantasy impacts of the trades.
The Fantasy Flock Secret Sauce: Building Community through Engaging Live Content
While knowing your stuff and working hard are clearly integral to success as a livestreamer, the same could really be said for any profession. What really allows Mason to stand out in the world of Live Fantasy Sports shows on YouTube is the way he engages with his audience. Mason is constantly asking his audience and compiling their opinions, and does a fantastic job walking his audience through his decision-making while doing live drafts or choosing which players to start any given week.
Furthermore, Fantasy Flock Network is consistent with responding to audience comments on his regular videos, and getting his audience to give their opinions or ask for advice in the comments. For his live show, Mason has monetized his advice brilliantly through superchat, by prioritizing fantasy advice to people who are donating to his channel. He's tapped into the average fantasy fan's desire to get expert advice and more importantly, be validated in the decisions/trades that they've made. Overall, what Mason and his channel have accomplished this year in building a central hub for the youtube Fantasy Football community is nothing short of incredible, and I, for one, can't wait to see where his channel and career go from here.
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About the Author
Conor Eliot has been working with creators since 2015. Fluent in Mandarin, he helped globalize the creator economy by connecting major Asian and Western brands with content creators in foreign markets. Recently, Conor spent two years leading Asia operations for TSM Esports, where he worked with some of Twitch's biggest creators. Seeing that non-gaming live creators were being massively underserved, Conor joined Opus, where he works with creators to push the boundaries on what is possible to do with the livestreaming medium.