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By James Barron
The New Mexican
Jim Kutsko doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his obsession with fantasy football.
“A lot of people who know me think I have a little bit of an obsession about fantasy football,” Kutsko said.
But Kutsko, a Lamy resident who is an accountant in Santa Fe, hopes he can profit from his passion while helping others out with their fantasy football drafts beginning this fall. Kutsko spent almost two years developing a draft application that he believes is more adaptable than others on the Internet.
With the help of Santa Fe’s Xynergy Web Design and Digital Marketing, Kutsko developed the website fantasyfootballmaverick.com (for Fantasy Football Maverick) that he is promoting for the upcoming NFL season. The site explains Kutsko’s fantasy philosophy, using the character “Jimmie Maverick” to tout it, as well as a blog and Twitter section in which Kutsko offers fantasy advice. However, the highlight of the site is the “My Perfect Fantasy Draft” application that people can purchase for $5.
The app is only in website form for now, because Kutsko said creating a mobile app for either Apple’s App Store and Google Play is cost-prohibitive at the moment. He added that Xynergy created the app to be user-friendly on any device.
“To get it on Apple or Android, someone has to create those, and most charge $10,000 to do it,” Kutsko said. “When it gets on the ‘Play Store,’ Google and Apple take 30 to 40 percent [of the revenue].”
The app was the key piece to Kutsko’s site because he envisions it as a tool for participants to use to formulate their draft. The app allows users to enter the scoring system used — the most common ones are ones that use overall yardage and touchdowns to create points, while “point per reception” leagues that value catches over everything else — formats for their respective league to help optimize its function.
Users also can apply a variety of filters, some of which take into account age, experience, usage patterns, injury factors and even new teams, coaches or offensive coordinators, to help them find the ideal players they should focus on for their draft.
Kutsko’s idea was the result of all of the work he puts in for the two leagues he has participated in for the past four years. In the past, Kutsko developed a spreadsheet to help him, but it was quite unwieldy and he sometimes had the wrong information about players, especially their ages and years in the league.
Kutsko also didn’t care for some of the applications websites used to help drafters simplify the process.
“You would see how the point schedules for players were completely different from my other league,” Kutsko said. “The value of the player, then, was substantially different from my other league. … The spreadsheet is a nightmare because it is so complicated, but then I thought, ‘If I can put this in an easy interface and add a couple of other things, it could help people with their drafts.’ ”
Kutsko emphasized that his app gives users multiple factors to streamline players they are seeking. He pointed out that some drafters, for example, prefer to avoid older running backs because their performance tends to drop off after a certain age. Kutsko’s app can factor that preference into a running back draft list.
One thing Kutsko said the app sometimes can help drafters who suffer from sometimes misguided assumptions about the value of some players. Kutsko feels “My Perfect Fantasy Draft” can awaken them to facts they hadn’t considered when plotting their draft course.
“This app is all about the lists and finding the players you’d like to take at each level of the draft,” Kutsko said. “Sometimes, it points you to somebody who you might not have considered for whatever reason.”
As for the success of his app, Kutsko said he used a version of it last September, and it helped him reach the championship games in both of his leagues, winning one of them.
And winning is what makes playing fantasy football fun, Kutsko said. He hopes his website can help others like him have more fun in the coming seasons.
“I want to help people win their drafts and then win their leagues,” Kutsko said. “The draft alone isn’t going to win your league. You have to manage your team during the season, but if it builds a solid foundation for [fantasy football] players to rely on every week, you will have an advantage.”