Image By: Thomas Tipple
I first heard of this Scott Fish Bowl thing in 2020. I was new to the fantasy football community on Twitter. So new, I hadn’t even started creating content. I couldn’t scroll for 30 seconds on my newsfeed without seeing this mysterious, unknown hashtag: #SFBX. What did it mean and what is the Scott Fish Bowl or SFB? Then waves of tweets posting screenshots of an invite into #SFBX flooded my timeline, and I started to understand–sort of.
I quickly realized that Scott Fish Bowl is a fantasy football redraft league for charity, specifically #FantasyCares and Toys For Tots put on by fantasy football industry heavyweights Scott Fish and Ryan McDowell. See? That was easy. But wait, there’s more.
There is a common misconception the Scott Fish Bowl is only for those in the fantasy sports industry and celebrities. However, nothing could be further from the truth. It’s actually created to pin the pros versus the average fans. It allows those who think they can compete against the best to do so.
The Scott Fish Bowl is an event for everyone. Anyone can register to play; you are welcome whether you are a casual fan, an analyst, or have never even played fantasy football before.
What Is So Great About the SFB Invite?
What isn’t immediately evident about Scott Fish Bowl - furthermore referred to here as SFB - is how much a labor of love this is for Scott and Ryan. First, the invitees are hand-selected by Scott and Ryan for this tournament, with Scott personally sending every invite himself.
When my wife Jen and I got our first SFB entrances in 2021, I’m not kidding when I say we jumped around our house in celebration. It felt like, at that moment, we had just won the fantasy football lottery.
You’ll understand more about why in a few paragraphs, I promise.
As emails went out, we also started to see some people we might get to play alongside; Matthew Berry, Field Yates, Heath Cummings, Mike Mills from R.E.M., James Roday Rodriguez, and the list goes on. It was a veritable who’s who of names you would fantasize about getting to do anything with, let alone compete against in a fantasy football league. Of course, we had known this from watching the SFB excitement from afar in 2020, but seeing it when you know you’re also in is somewhat surreal.
Pre Draft Preparation
Once Scott has delivered all invites, entrants are assigned a draft slot and divisions. Here’s where things get cool. Due to the incredibly unique SFB scoring, abnormal strategies are created. To help one another, people start massive group chats with people in different divisions who have the same draft pick slot. Most are on Twitter, with some getting so large they move to Slack or Discord. What starts as discussions around what players to target turns into networking, which turns into friendship. My seventh-pick chat group is still active. We share our work, support each other, and continue to network. I’ve made connections that will last a lifetime.
The draft is an experience in and of itself. Because of the crazy scoring, you will find yourself in multiple mock drafts, giving yourself a chance to see what your strategy should be from your actual pick. Everything from negative points for incompletions to optional kicker flex slots applies. In addition, these mocks are a fun chance to engage with new people. You may even find yourself rubbing elbows with one of the big-name analysts or celebrities.
The actual SFB draft generally starts around the 4th of July. My Fantasy League website, one of the most customizable fantasy sports platforms, hosts the tournament. It’s a whirlwind event, going much quicker than you would expect for a fantasy football draft in July. We’ve all been waiting at least a month for this to start, and we are champing at the bit to show off our team. Kickers were first included in 2021, throwing another wrinkle into our drafts. It was an exciting experience seeing people tweet out their draft progress, as analysts and fans alike employed so many different draft strategies.
In 2022 Scott and Ryan are introducing live drafts into the fold. There will be multiple locations with giant Draft Boards and killer Championship Trophies. TrophySmack will be hosting one at our new office for 30-50 lucky contenders. You can check out some of the light details here. Don't forget to change your live draft location to LA if you're interested in joining—it's going to be wild.
If you didn't learn something along the way, you weren’t paying attention.
What is the SFB Podathon?
There are many different branches of the SFB launching every year. One of the most popular has been the SFB Podathon, organized and hosted by our very own Sal Leto and his team. It’s 24 hours of incredible guests, including some of the biggest names in the fantasy football industry. Then, of course, there’s also music, jokes, games, and general tomfoolery. It was enough of an event that Jen and I watched all day while on vacation. We both made surprise appearances throughout the podathon, an honor neither of us will soon forget.
Another fantastic way SFB raises money for charity is through their expansive merchandise offered up by Veridian Global and Rotowear. They have designs for a handful of divisions and the Podathon, all to go along with the tournament's theme. The majority of these are designed by the SFB Avi Makers team, who also will create a custom SFB-themed Twitter avatar and Twitter bio header for a minimum donation. These phenomenal artists create the art without asking for a penny, all in the name of a good cause.
In addition, we will be launching limited edition memorabilia for those who are invited. Then there will be qualifying prizes for those hitting certain levels throughout the tournament. Stay tuned for those items to come.
What Exactly Is the Scott Fish Bowl Tournament?
The SFB regular season commences in Week 11 of the NFL season. Half of the entire field makes the “wild card” playoffs. Every team with more than seven wins advances, with the remainder getting in based on total points. Elimination is based solely on cumulative points in the playoffs; there are no head-to-head matchups.
The next four weeks will see sixty percent of teams eliminated, leaving only forty percent for the semi-finals, then whittled down to one percent for the championship. One player will stand above all others after Week 17, laying claim to the 2022 Scott Fish Bowl Championship Trophy. The 2021 champ was a fan, so it's anyone’s game.
I’ve been stewing over how to write this column for weeks. How do you explain that a charity fantasy football tournament is so much more than football?
Scott Fish Bowl is a movement. A movement to use a fun game we all play to drive positivity and generosity amongst us. It’s all about inclusion and giving back, and I hope I did it justice here.
Scott, Ryan, and Sal put in work all out of love and a desire to do more good for the world around us. It has inspired others to join them in pursuit of helping their communities, with organizations like Warrior Bowl, Brighter Skies, and Polly’s Playoff all using their platforms for causes near to their hearts. In addition, it spawned the popular best ball tournament #FCEliminator and the SFB satellite tournaments, all in the name of generosity.
If you haven’t already, there is still time to sign up, and if you don’t get into the main event, don’t worry! There will be an opportunity coming up soon to join one of the many satellite divisions. Also, consider supporting other causes, whether it's through a charity league, your time, or individual donations. The need for help doesn’t end here.
Thank you for taking the time to read my opinions. You can find more of me on Twitter @NatePolvogt & more of my writing here in the #SmackZone