Henry Muto is from Geneva, Ohio — about 30 miles outside of Cleveland — and has worked for 20 years as a Plant Process Administrator at American Brazing. He is a die-hard Cleveland Browns fan and a huge Dez Bryant supporter.
Jason Jenks lives in Charlotte, N.C. and works in information technology as a Disaster Recovery Specialist. He bleeds blue for his Carolina Panthers.
These two men don’t have many similarities. The one thing they share is a true passion for football. Specifically, Fantasy Football.
Muto has been playing Fantasy for more than a quarter of a century. He participated in his first league in 1990, but his love and dedication grew over the years. He decided to start several leagues over the next two decades and commissioned two dynasty leagues — one in 1997 and another in 2010 — and two redraft leagues in 1990 and 1994. After seeing incredible success in his local leagues, Muto stepped his game up to the high-stakes level in 2003.
Jenks started much later. in 2006, he played in three leagues and won two championships. His desire to win stuck with him as he continued to play over the years, winning at an extremely high rate. However, he hadn’t yet dipped his feet into the waters of high-stakes Fantasy Football.
In 2010, Jenks was surfing a Fantasy website’s forum when he came across an interesting conversation in which several forum members were ganging up and attacking one man.
“Henry was a very ‘popular’ forum member on ‘The Huddle,’” Jenks said. “Henry is a very confident guy when it comes to his Fantasy Football knowledge. I think he may have caused some resentment among the other members. … But I found it interesting because he was always talking about high-stakes. And the way he talked about it made it sound extremely compelling. Even though some people had some jealousy or resentment or what’s the word … hate, I thought everyone was being unfair and bullying him.”
“So I just found myself really supporting what he was saying and we just got to know each other. He proposed the idea of splitting a high-stakes team together.”
Despite never meeting each other, the two men exchanged contact information and sparked a friendship that resulted in several Fantasy teams together. That bond is still going strong to this day.
“In 2010, Jason and I joined our first league together,” Muto said. “We were literally one play away from making the playoffs and were beat on a fourth down to knock us out of contention.”
The two continued to compete together in various leagues, never recording a losing season but consistently falling just a few points short of a championship. Finally, they won their first league together and things have been going pretty smoothly since then. After procrastinating in 2013, Muto and Jenks signed up for the Dynasty Football World Championship, presented by SCOUT, in 2014. They called themselves “The Iguanas.”
“We got into the league one year late so what happens is a lot of teams, by drafting well and trading well, have a year head start on us,” Muto said. “I mean, there are some amazing, amazing teams out there, and you don’t think you have a chance. So we were just going to throw the season. We were going to trade away all of our top picks and get future first-rounders.”
The initial plan was to buy a second team. One team would try to win the first year and the other team would play for future draft picks. However, Muto and Jenks never purchased a second squad and when the draft came around, the teammates decided they were going to go for the win.
In order to compete with the best teams, they needed to make some trades. Muto spent an entire month swapping draft picks for more draft picks. It didn’t matter if they were moving up or down in the order; all that mattered is that they were gaining value. When all was said and done, “The Iguanas” had acquired nine picks within the first six rounds.
“We made some great trades to get a lot of high draft picks, but it basically backfired,” said Muto. “All of our trades were made prior to the draft or during the draft. We never bolstered our lineup during the regular season other than on the waiver wire.”
One thing was certain though: “The Iguanas” were going to end up with Dez Bryant.
“I really wanted Dez Bryant,” said Muto. “He’s my favorite player, so Jason finally bought in on Dez.”
After snagging Bryant with the third overall pick, Muto and Jenks hit the jackpot on their two second-round selections: Le’Veon Bell and Rob Gronkowski. They also swung a deal during the draft to land fourth-round pick Arian Foster. But “The Iguanas” certainly made a few mistakes. Five picks from Rounds 3-6 were used on Cordarrelle Patterson, Michael Crabtree, Zac Stacy, Kendall Wright and Nick Foles.
However, despite their weak wide receiving corps, “The Iguanas” finished the season with their league’s second-most points and a league-best 11-2 record. This meant that Muto and Jenks would not only advance to the league playoffs but also to the Championship Round where the winner would be awarded $7,500!
In the first week of a three-week postseason points shootout (Week 14 of the NFL regular season), six of their starters produced at least 22 Fantasy points, and the team moved from 51st to 10th place in the Championship Round. After Week 15, “The Iguanas” pulled into first place in their own league and second place in the Championship Round.
After a strong outing from C.J. Anderson, their most significant waiver wire pickup of the year, Muto and Jenks reached first place in Week 16 and never looked back! They won $7,500 for winning the championship bracket and another $1,750 for winning their individual league. Not too bad for two guys who thought they had no chance of winning in their first season.
While they were ecstatic about the victory, they are the first to admit that their roster needs work if they are going to build on their 2014 season. They traded away most of their early 2015 draft picks and may struggle to even make the playoffs this season. Still, Muto and Jenks know that anything can happen in the world of Fantasy Football and that one trade can change a team’s outcome.
Being a Fantasy Football owner is no easy task. An entirely new dynamic is added to the equation when two people partner up to own a team. There can be resentment if one owner wants to trade a player the other owner likes. There can be blame when one owner makes a costly mistake and so on. However, without even meeting each other, Muto and Jenks have developed a chemistry and respect for one another that is not much different than a coach and his staff. Their trust is unbreakable, and their respective focus on the task at hand allows them to coexist as two tremendous Fantasy owners.
“There is definitely this feeling of if I make a mistake, there is a guilt that will be there,” said Jenks. “And of course it’s a dynasty league, so it doesn’t just go away next season. It sticks with you. I don’t think we hold it over each other’s head though because we both make some (mistakes). … Generally, if one of us has a really strong feeling about a certain player, that is who we are going to go with. Even if we disagree, if the other person feels so passionately about it, we’ll go with that player.”
“We actually agree on a lot of things,” Muto added. “We play two dynasty leagues together and six to eight redraft leagues together, but we also play in leagues where we aren’t partners. We’ll actually e-mail each other and call each other and ask for advice in those leagues and take that advice.”
Muto and Jenks have such a great dynamic going that even when they are not teammates in a particular league, each of them knows that there is someone to talk strategy with and a trusted opinion to fall back on.
“I’ve learned a lot from Henry,” Jenks said. “I’ve always been one to lean more towards shiny new objects, and he just goes with the most valuable guy and doesn’t fall in love with next hyped-up rookie.”
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