Go ahead, call Lindsay Soto a fantasy football geek. She can handle the truth.
One of the new co-hosts for the NFL Network’s “Total Access” hour-long news shows cringes when she says she’s an owner in six fantasy leagues now. Even if it’s a job-related accident that workers’ comp probably doesn’t cover.
She also aims to win them all.
“I’ve turned into a dork, seriously,” she admitted. “I can get competitive. I have that in my blood.”
The payoff to this should be obvious: By knowing all there is to know about the NFL, she’s much more entrenched in her role and can talk off the top of her head easier about stats, injuries, roster moves and past performances.
On the days she isn’t working on the Lane Kiffin USC show for Prime Ticket, Soto is as focused on Arian Foster’s hamstring as anyone else with a faux roster to worry about.
“You find yourself up on players who aren’t so much the bigger names, but you need to know about,” said Soto. “It’s become a fun way to do your normal research. Honestly, we find ourselves talking more about fantasy leagues, and by doing it, my depth of knowledge is a byproduct.
“I never did any of it before last season. The fantasy football editor at NFL.com got me involved. I thought I should get a team so I knew what I was talking about. Before I knew it, I had six teams – one with NFL.com, my brother’s friends, my fiance’s friends, my sister-in-law . . .
“By the end of last year, I was coming to (the NFL.com fantasy editor) for questions, doing mock drafts on my computer . . . boy, a lot has changed.”
Change has also taken place at the NFL Network.
Andrew Siciliano, who hosts DirecTV’s Red Zone Channel, has teamed with Kara Henderson to co-host “Total Access” from the NFL Network’s Culver City studios on Monday through Thursday. Soto, who had been on the NFL’s “Game Day” Sunday morning preview show, teams with Scott Hanson on weekends, starting Friday.
She arrives this time much more up to speed on the league, as she learned can happen while getting into baseball fantasy leagues when she was covering the Angels.
“At the NFL Network, you’re tied to 32 teams,” she said. “At Fox Sports Net, it’s covering a Laker game one day, then the Ducks, then USC. You can’t emerse yourself as easily into that. In the past, I didn’t do NFL fantasy teams, because I didn’t need all that extra information in my head. I had just enough capacity to cover all the teams and sports I was doing.”
Team names are something she’s got to work on now.
“YoFace” is one of her teams. Another is “PeaceSucka.” But most of those have come from other suggestions.
“I’ve given up the naming rights to my teams,” she said. “I’m not creative when it comes to that. I feel like I’m being judged. If I were in charge, they’d all be named ‘Lindsay Soto’s team.’”
The last roster she just drafted was dubbed “Team Asterisk.”
“The draft for my sister-in-law’s league (an all-girls league) was a little traumatic for me Sunday,” she said. “My computer froze throughout the duration of my third-round pick and the computer auto-drafted Shonn Greene for me — in the third round, when I already had two running backs.
“I had to play catch up for the rest of the draft, so I felt it important for the girls to know that if they beat me there would be an asterisk next to their win. So I changed my name to Team Asterisk. All I know is this: Shonn Greene better not let me down.”