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: Ryan Burns
Twitter handle: @FtblSickness
Approximate number of tweets per month: Just doing the math, it appears to be a little over 1,500 (he typed, gasping in amazement at his own ability to waste ungodly amounts of time). In reality, that is heavily skewed toward the NFL season and draft periods.
Number that are following you: 2982 as of this writing. Hard to know how spamfiltrated that number is, though.
Number that you are following: 531
Tweeting since: April 2010 (just in time for the draft!)
Occupation (when not talking about football): Attorney. Primarily business litigation.
Family life: Married with a 4-year old son.
Quick Bio (who you are, site(s) you represent, etc.): I'm Editor In Chief at FootballSickness.com, an Online Community for Pigskin Addicts and what we like to call Your Football Homepage. Together with my partner-in-Sickness Sen Sogah (@eastcoastdog), I co-host the Football Sickness Podcast available on the site and via iTunes. I also manage the always-under-construction Sick Links pages at FootballSickness.com, which we believe to be the most comprehensive collection of football links anywhere on the web. A lifelong Browns fan and UCLA alum, I know a thing or two about gridiron-induced misery, and look forward to brighter days. They have to be coming soon. Right?
What is something unique about you that few would know about? Hmmm. I do a startling Neil Diamond impression.
What you do for fun during the football offseason: Most free time is now daddy time, which is fantastic. Still follow baseball and basketball pretty closely, along with obsessively studying the NFL draft. Play some music here and there. Always love a good book.
Favorite NFL Team(s): Cleveland Browns. Second-tier favorites include the Packers, Seahawks and the California teams.
Favorite NFL player(s): Ever? Bo Jackson, Joe Montana, Lawrence Taylor and Ronnie Lott. Current: Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Ray Lewis and Patrick Willis.
Make your case for why fantasy football addicts should get on Twitter: Easily the best way to get a broad range of opinions, perspectives and analysis concerning fantasy football. I was always a "check as many sites as possible" kind of guy. I wanted to collect as much information as possible and then filter it down to the most useful according to my own views and philosophy. Twitter allows me to do this exponentially faster while also giving me access, in many cases direct, to some of the best minds in the industry. It's a fun, sharp and interactive community. Twitter is simply one of the single most important developments in fantasy football history.
Except for yourself, give us three to five MUST FOLLOWS on Twitter: Oh, man. Just 3-5? I follow a couple hundred folks purely for fantasy purposes and keep a list available at my twitter page (including just about everyone associated with Footballguys, Pro Football Focus and Football Outsiders). Breaking it down to bare essentials is a nearly impossible task, but I'll go with: Greg Cosell (@GregCosell), Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman), Sigmund Bloom (@SigmundBloom), Evan Silva (@evansilva) and Chet Gresham (@Chet_G).
Years playing fantasy football: This is year 20. I await my gift.
Favorite style of play (Dynasty, Redraft, Auction, Best Ball, Survivor, etc): Though it appears the definition is somewhat subjective I really like dynasty leagues. The challenge of building over time tends to attract more attentive owners, bigger football freaks, and also dilutes the impact of pure, unadulterated luck (of which I seem to have very little, making this point even more attractive to me as a fantasy football player).
Your biggest score(s) in fantasy football: Besides ending up with Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy at minimum salary in my home league going into the upcoming season, you mean? I actually don't know the number offhand, but it was substantial. I know I cleared 300 in a couple of different full-roster IDP leagues this past season, for example.
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: Jay Cutler is a guy that I think is poised to enter the upper echelon at his position both in real life and for fantasy football purposes. He played outstanding football in 2011 despite limited receiving options and a nearly useless offensive line. While I'd have to concede the latter issue has been thus far insufficiently addressed, count me among the folks who see the additions of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey as a really good thing. Plus, you'll likely be able to get Cutler way down the board given that most folks view him as well below the usual top tier guys like Rodgers, Brady, Brees and company. Second, and this will no doubt come off homerish, but I genuinely believe Greg Little could put up substantially better numbers than his ADP would predict. The Cleveland offense was an utter disaster last year, but Little managed to put up highly respectable rookie numbers. This requires an assumption that Brandon Weeden will be better than Colt McCoy, so if you don't believe that, don't get excited about Greg Little. If you do, grab him. I'll throw in Donald Brown as well. I think it's time.
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: These are always tough for me. I'll start with DeAngelo Williams, who seems to generally be considered the best back in Carolina. And he may well be. But the bottom line is they still have three talented backs (what a shock, no Jonathan Stewart trade) and a supremely gifted young quarterback who already has the keys to the offense. It's tough for me to get excited about having Williams at the slot he's going. In most leagues, I'd rather find my WR3, honestly. Another is Vincent Jackson. Don't get me wrong. I like the addition for Tampa Bay. But I promise you two things: First, Greg Schiano is going to pound that rock with Doug Martin and LeGarrette Blount in house. And second, Josh Freeman is not yet Phillip Rivers. Not by a long shot.
How much of fantasy football is skill? How much is luck? This varies from league to league, depending on format. The more long-term and deeper rostered a league is, I think the more skill is involved (or at least, knowledge). Luck (good fortune, health breaks, etc) have a greater impact on single-season leagues. But I know in the leagues I have played in for several season, patterns emerge. The same teams, for the most part, tend to be better year-in and year-out. It's no accident. Skill is still by far the larger piece of the causal pie in fantasy football.
What's the biggest mistake you see fantasy players make? I call it Acute Tinkeritis- a disease that inflicts us all at one time or another. It's when you just can't stop tweaking your squad. It's like John Wooden used to say: Do not mistake activity for achievement. Don't just make moves to make them. Have a plan.
What's the thing you wished you'd learned about fantasy football five years ago? How to stop obsessing over it. I'll let you know when I get there.
Give a wild prediction about the 2012 season that most would be shocked if it happened (out on the limb thought): Mark Sanchez, Pro Bowler? (Struggles to maintain deadpan...)
Super Bowl Teams and Score: Green Bay Packers 27, New England Patriots 24
NFL Rookie of the Year: Trent Richardson (and I've just jinxed him).
NFL Comeback Player of the Year: #18 in a walk.
Parting thoughts about anything at all: Like many folks out there, I've long since begun fiending for the 2012 football season (like, since roughly early February). It is a fascinating and historic time for the game, both at the NFL and collegiate level. Evolution and paradigm shifts are taking place on and off the field at incredible pace. What a moment to be a football fan. Enjoy, everyone!
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