MediaCom Early Leader, While OMD Needs to Step Up Its Game
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Want to know how your agency fares when it comes to fantasy-football skills? The NFL Network's fantasy-football challenge for media agencies is two weeks in and hold your head high if you're rooting for MediaCom, Universal McCann or Busch Media, which are in the No. 1, 2 and 3 spots -- all have two wins and no losses. As for the bottom three? Well, let's just say you might not want to trash talk too much if you walk through the doors of Zenith, Horizon and OMD every day -- all are seeking their first win.
Last week's winners
The high-scoring nail biter of the past week was the PHD-GM Planworks matchup, which Planworks won 114-112, despite the best efforts of fantasy leader and comeback-of-the-year candidate Donovan McNabb, who's quarterbacking for PHD.
And perhaps bringing a WiFi-connected laptop to the draft, held a month ago at Park Avenue Country Club, is paying off for MediaCom, which scored a league-high 128 last week against Wieden & Kennedy.
MediaCom's Dan Geller wrote a piece for the fantasy-league site, touting the brilliance of signing Bears quarterback Rex Grossman after MediaCom's starting quarterback, Trent Green, went down with a concussion. (He said credit should be given to his colleague and roommate, Jeff Cohen, who wrote the headline "Rex-N-Effect.") "We looked at the matchups and saw he was playing Detroit," he told MediaWorks. "It's all in the preparation."
Games to watch
The hottest matchup this weekend -- according to the NFL Network fantasy-football tool -- is Horizon (with the under-performing running back Shaun Alexander) vs. Planworks, led by QB Peyton Manning.
You can also expect lots of point production when Busch Media goes up against PHD. That game features the No. 3 and No. 4 teams in terms of total fantasy points.
And it could be a make or break week for Zenith, as they're 0-2 and going up against red-hot MediaCom.
"It's tough to say it's a must win," said Brad Van Nostrand, sales-service executive at NFL Network. "But you can't fall too far behind."
MediaCom's Mr. Geller may go online and talk some trash to Zenith a little later in the week: "I think they're scared," he said.
Key roster moves
It was a busy morning on the waiver wire and Mr. Van Nostrand outlined some of the key moves made so far this week. MediaVest, after the Eagle's heart-wrenching loss in overtime to the New York Giants, has picked up the Buffalo Bills defense and dropped Philadelphia's.
Horizon, eying MediaCom's success with Chicago's Grossman, went after Grossman's hot new target, wide receiver Bernard Berrian.
And OMD has abandoned the New York Jets' running game in favor of its passing game and dropped Derrik Blaylock and picked up Jerricho Cotchery.
Long, long season
Of course, it's only the beginning of a long, long season -- especially for OMD, which is in last place despite having the first pick of the draft (and holding one of the biggest sports media budgets in the industry).
"It's too early to tell but it looks like if you're riding the hot players -- look at MediaCom -- the transactions appear to be having an impact," Mr. Van Nostrand said. "They picked up Rex Grossman and they're riding the red-hot Chicago Bears right now. If you're paying attention it pays off."
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The standings, as of Sept. 19:
2) Universal McCann
3) Busch Media
5) GM Planworks
6) Initiative Media
8) Wieden & Kennedy
13) Horizon Media