Twitter has rapidly risen to become an excellent source of breaking news and a collection of wide-ranging viewpoints. At the same time, however, it can a bit intimidating to the new user. It's sometimes difficult to know who to follow for quality fantasy football-related news. To help erase this difficulty, we have interviewed some of our favorite tweeters.
Name: Matt Waldman
Twitter handle: @MattWaldman
Approximate number of tweets per month: 400-500
Number that are following you: Close to 4900 and counting...
Number that you are following: 165
Tweeting since: I began Tweeting two years ago, but I made it a regular part of my routine when I started the Rookie Scouting Portfolio Blog in May 2011.
Occupation (when not talking about football): I have three full-time jobs when it comes to workload: writing about fantasy football, researching and writing the Rookie Scouting Portfolio publication and blog, and I'm a features writer and associate editor at the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business. My office is a five-minute stroll from Sanford Stadium.
Family life: Alicia and I will be married for three years in October and my family includes our daughter Chandler who is a rising junior studying fashion design at a university. I also have an 11 year-old, drooling feline who is nastier than Jack Lambert in a Browns-Steelers game when the mood strikes. I'm grateful and fortunate to have them as my family.
Quick Bio (who you are, site(s) you represent, etc.): If you're a Footballguys.com subscriber then you know I work for the greatest fantasy site on the planet. I also author The Rookie Scouting Portfolio publication and blog. The publication is the most comprehensive analysis of skill players entering the NFL and has pre-draft and post-draft releases. The blog includes film break downs of player techniques, interviews of former NFL scouts and analysts, and I am hosting a fantastic writer's project with some of the top names in online football analysis as contributors. I also write the Futures pro prospect analysis column at FootballOutsiders.com, I contribute to the New York Times Fifth Down, and I write annual pieces for Fantasy Sports Publications, which has been available at local newsstands for over 20 years.
What is something unique about you that few would know about? Most people that know me in my daily life were shocked to recently learn that I even like football much less devote so much of my life to writing about it. I guess one of those things that readers wouldn't know is that I have never been to a University of Georgia football game despite being an alumnus, covering the team's daily practices and writing about players while I was a student, and then returned to the university in 2006 to work there. I just never had the time. My editor broached the idea of connecting me with a publisher to write the history of the Georgia football program, but I didn't think it was a good idea to pursue a project that I had never experienced at the level of attending a game in-person. I'm not a huge college football fan although I study it as much as anyone.
What you do for fun during the football offseason: It has become a cliché, but for me there is truly no offseason. However, I make time to have fun so I don't lose my mind. I read fiction, watch movies, cook, and travel when possible. I love games of any kind. Card games, backgammon, and for the first time in seven years I bought a used copy of Madden 2011 for my daughter's Xbox while she's home. I've been playing that a few times a week.
Favorite NFL Team(s): I grew up a Cleveland Browns fan in the `70s and `80s. I became a Tennessee Titans fan in the `90s. I also have a fascination with certain divisions. I have always enjoyed watching AFC West and AFC North football - especially the Raiders. The organization has never been boring.
Favorite NFL player(s): Ray Rice, Larry Fitzgerald, Brandon Lloyd, Austin Collie, Aaron Hernandez, Marshawn Lynch, Ray Lewis, and Justin Tuck.
Make your case for why fantasy football addicts should get on Twitter: The application is the most efficient way to get football news and see a cross section of analysis from all parts of the fantasy football landscape. The opportunity to interact with various writers and analysts is also an attractive element.
Except for yourself, give us three to five MUST FOLLOWS on Twitter: I believing that learning about the intricacies of the sport of football is the best way to become a better fantasy football owner long-term. @smartfootball is a great choice if you want to learn about the game. Chris Brown's blog and contributions to Grantland are fantastic. @SC_DougFarrar is a good football writer with a strong understanding of the game. He has excellent weekly podcasts with @GregCosell that are well worth any football or fantasy football fan's time. From a traditional fantasy football standpoint, @SigmundBloom is the most accessible fantasy football source. He loves the medium of Twitter and it shows and I know he watches a ton of football. @JeneBramel for analysis of not just traditional offense-only fantasy football, but IDP leagues, and analysis if injuries. His blog is going to have a lot of value in the coming months.
Years playing fantasy football: 18
Favorite style of play (Dynasty, Redraft, Auction, Best Ball, Survivor, etc): I love them all. However, the one style I have never played or been invited to play (I think for fear that I would kick ass) is Best Ball. I hopefully have a chance to do that one day.
Your biggest score(s) in fantasy football: I won three showcase league auction titles in two years (back-to-back Fantasy Auctioneer Experts Invitational Titles and SOFA Auction League title) against some of the best fantasy writers in the industry. However, my biggest score in fantasy football had to come last year when Ron Eltanal wrote me an email to thank me for my work, which he credits helping him earn $125,000 and the 2011 Footballguys Players Championship. I see my job as helping others win and Ron's email is one of the highlights of my career as a fantasy football analyst.
Name two players that you expect will be undervalued in most fantasy drafts this year. Explain why you think these sleepers could drastically outperform their ADP:
Brandon Lloyd should be a top-15 pick at his position - really a top-10 pick. He knows the Patriots offense because of his years with Josh McDaniels in Denver and St. Louis. He's the most acrobatic receiver in the league and among the best deep threats and red zone players in football. Tom Brady threw for 5200 yards last year and Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez accounted for 3800 of that total. There's room for Lloyd at even just a minor dip in that trio's 2011 production for Lloyd to return to his status as a WR1 in fantasy leagues.
I'll give you a deep sleeper: James Casey of the Texans. Coach Gary Kubiak commented in OTAs that Casey will be used as a hybrid player and more extensively in the Texans passing game. The Texas tried this in only one game last year and the result was a 5-catch, 126-yard, 1-TD performance against the Saints. Casey got hurt soon after and when he returned he was relegated to special team duty. If there's a player capable of developing into the "next" productive move-tight end along the lines of Aaron Hernandez, Casey is my choice.
Name two players that will not be on your roster at any draft position. Explain why you think these busts could drastically underperform their ADP:
Mark Ingram. I loved Ingram as a prospect and I still have hope for him in dynasty leagues, but multiple surgeries on the same knee, including one this spring, has me concerned he won't be a fantasy factor in the Saints offense this year.
Adrian Peterson. I hope I'm wrong about Peterson, but we haven't seen a running back perform at the same level of skill with such a short time table for rehab as he will have. I love to hear that he's running fast in a straight line. However, he still has to be able to make strong cuts. My colleague Dr. Jene Bramel thinks Peterson will probably have an easier time producing than others because of his straight-line style. I slightly disagree with that stylistic analysis. One of Peterson's great traits is making hard cuts. He and Ryan Mathews are the two best runners in the league at clearing the first lane and making a hard plant and cut to change the access of pursuit as they climb from the second level to the third level. A lot of Peterson's runs are shorter gains in the first level and then he makes his name off some huge second- and third-level runs that come off these cuts. I leery about Peterson pushing too hard to return to the field like receiver Jerry Rice did in the same season he injured his knee. There's no way he's falling to me after the 15th round so there's no way I'd consider him this year.
How much of fantasy football is skill? How much is luck? Like any game, there are elements of both involved. Relying heavily on luck won't work for very long. However, skill will only get a fantasy owner only a certain level of success.
What's the biggest mistake you see fantasy players make? I benefit from fantasy owners that use average draft position data as a rule rather than a guideline to make smart choices. They get hung up on "good value," at each individual pick rather than acting on how use the overall tendencies the data reveals to formulate a winning strategy.
What do you wished you had learned about fantasy football five years ago? I enjoy IDP leagues a great deal and developing an eye for mid-round talents at linebacker and defensive end would have gone a long way to help me build stronger rosters. I have made the finals the past two years in IDP Survivor League tourneys at Footballguys, but I need to improve that area of my game. Pairing back my involvement in leagues was another lesson. I love playing, but I'm so busy writing that I've had to learn the hard way to keep my participation lower than I'd like.
Give a wild prediction about the 2012 season that most would be shocked if it happened (out on the limb thought): Russell Wilson will not only start Week 1 for the Seahawks, but he'll be a viable committee starter with at least three, top-five fantasy weeks at the position down the stretch. It cracks me up that few people in our analyst community wanted to compare Wilson to Drew Brees until the Seahawks GM did so. I also find humor in the take that the Seahawks will have to do something "special" with the offensive scheme to make Wilson successful in the NFL. No one says that the Saints scheme is "special" for Brees, but they execute a ton of rolls, half-rolls, and play action in a game to help keep the pocket wide for their quarterback. Brees is in a "special" system, but the connotation is much more positive than it is for Wilson.
Super Bowl Teams and Score: Patriots 27 - Bears 24
NFL Rookie of the Year: Trent Richardson
NFL Comeback Player of the Year: Randy Moss
Parting thoughts about anything at all: Twitter is a great place for knowledge, but to get the most from the experience, respectful interaction is the key - especially analysts and writers.
Others Featured (Listed alphabetically):Interview: Jarrett Behar - Twitter: @EyeoftheGator
Interview: Matthew Berry - Twitter: @MatthewBerryTMR
Interview: Sigmund Bloom - Twitter: @SigmundBloom
Interview: Jene Bramel - Twitter: @JeneBramel
Interview: Joe Bryant - Twitter: @Football_guys
Interview: Ryan Burns - Twitter: @FtblSickness
Interview: Will Carroll - Twitter: @injuryexpert
Interview: Mike Clay - Twitter: @MikeClayNFL
Interview: Jim Day - Twitter: @Fantasytaz
Interview: Eric Dickens - Twitter: @DLFootball
Interview: Gary Davenport - Twitter: @IDPManor
Interview: David Dodds - Twitter: @fbg_dodds
Interview: Joe Everett - Twitter: @RookieDraft
Interview: Michael Fabiano - Twitter: @Michael_Fabiano
Interview: Bryan Fontaine - Twitter: @Bryan_Fontaine
Interview: Chet Gresham - Twitter: @Chet_G
Interview: Ken Griggs - Twitter: @Dexters_Library
Interview: Bob Harris - Twitter: @Footballdiehard
Interview: Bob Henry - Twitter: @bobhenry
Interview: Tom Kessenich - Twitter: @TomKessenich
Interview: Cecil Lammey - Twitter: @cecillammey
Interview: Zach Law - Twitter: @zach_law
Interview: Alex Miglio - Twitter: @AlexMiglio
Interview: Andrew Miley - Twitter: @AndrewMiley
Interview: Sam Monson - Twitter: @Sammonson
Interview: Josh Moore - Twitter: @4for4_Josh
Interview: Chad Parsons - Twitter: @PFF_ChadParsons
Interview: John Paulsen - Twitter: @4for4_John
Interview: Brian Quinlan - Twitter: @BNQuinlan
Interview: Matt Schauf - Twitter: @mschauf63
Interview: Evan Silva - Twitter: @evansilva
Interview: Matt Waldman - Twitter: @MattWaldman
Interview: Chris Wesseling - Twitter: @ChrisWesseling
Interview: Matt Williamson - Twitter: @WilliamsonNFL
Interview: Eric Yeomans - Twitter: @Eric_Yeomans
Interview: Lance Zierlein - Twitter: @SidelineFB and @LanceZierlein
Editor's Note: If you have liked this series, check out Zach Law's interviews here