Welcome everybody to my first blog of the 2015 EFFL season. As some of you may know, some may not, last year I wrote about my weekly trials throughout the season in relation to my decision making and my thoughts on the players I was working with in any given week. I have decided to change the format this year as I feel I don’t want to do the same thing and I doubt anyone else would want to read the same stuff over with only the names changing. That said, I’m in a very different position this year than I have been in the previous two seasons of the EFFL. Heading into week 3 win less with a team who have failed to deliver on every front, a waiver wire that is so thin it’s anorexic and injuries popping up daily, it would appear that the record of 0-3 seems like an inevitability. Here was me thinking this sort of thing only happened to Rab and Nicky. So do I panic, the answer to that is……..not quite. The talent of my players, I believe, has not just disappeared but certain factors of their individual teams set up has changed. I still feel that if the Broncos and Eagles sort out their offensive lines then Murray and Anderson will come on strong after all Eddie Lacey didn’t start well last year and was looking like a complete bust before picking his game up and finishing strongly, the same is true for Tom Brady who was written off then ended up with some new jewellery on his fingers. In my last two seasons I have started very well and been on the cusp of a comfortable play-off berth for it all to go a bit pear shaped before spluttering out of steam and exiting after the first play-off game. In a standard scoring redraft league I feel there is benefits to a early waiver pick into mid season to establish yourself with a solid deep team, hopefully I’m the kind of coach who can pull that off. Only time will tell.
This year our league was joined by Shaun and Stuart who replaced Russell and Harry and it got me thinking about how I go about my research into all things fantasy and if there was anything I could do to help these two rookies out, and anyone else for that matter, so I thought I would set out some of my tools and links to them with a bit of reasoning into why I like and use them.
On our first year Twitter was my crutch, I had never really got a handle on the old Twitter up to that point but there are so many great analysts and on the spot beat reporters working on the medium that it is the on tool that I can check quickly and get a great deal of information from in a short space of time. At the end of this I will put some Twitter handles that should be followed for reliable information.
My next research tool, as anyone who knows me, is the podcast. I love a podcast, it was another thing that I hadn’t really paid much attention to pre EFFL but it has been a saving grace for me. All my working life, 28yrs(!), I have always listened to the radio. If I’m doing anything around the house, in the car, out walking/running I need either music or radio as company, helps me focus I suppose, I have never thought of it as a distraction at all and I absorb more info that way than by reading screeds of articles, web pages and the likes.
The first podcast I got on board with was ESPN’s Fantasy Focus with Nate Ravitz, Matthew Berry and Stephania Bell. Nate has now went off to “push paper” and Field Yates now has the task of keeping TMR in check. They may tout the advice as “mediocre” but I can safely say over the years I have gleaned some solid heads ups on future stars weeks before they became the number one pick on the waiver wire. Nate was always a great foil to Matthew and would bring him back to earth when he was running away with a player, Cordarrelle Patterson being a fine example of this. Field has yet to get there but comes across as a very good evaluator of talent and how they fit in the organisations for which they play. Stephania Bell was my first injury analyst and does great work deciphering injury reports and has me primed every week that if they don’t practise Friday then things aren’t going to be good this weekend. There is great chemistry within the team and it has some real laugh out loud moments and features. Almost forgot Podvader and now Secret Squirrel are the guys on the buttons.
Through Matthew Berry I invested in the Rotopass subscription which gives you access to Football Guys, ESPN Insider, Rotowire, Pro Football Focus, Rotoviz apps, Fantasy Insiders and a couple of DFS sites, the cost for Rotopass for the year is about £35 which may seem pricey but that’s a night out in the Red Lion if truth be told.
Out of these I first used Football Guys. They are brilliant. The site is jam packed with all the facts and figures you need with really well research articles on every facet of the game. The Audible is their podcast and is presented by Cecil Lammey, Sigmund Bloom, Matt Waldman and Doctor Jene Bramel. These guys know their stuff, are really enthusiastic about Fantasy Football and have a depth of knowledge of the game that really puts them as leaders in the market. Sigmunds On The Couch pod is a philosophical take on the approach to Fantasy Football and the guest he has on are top notch. Dr Jene will go back and watch tape on player injuries and can give a solid breakdown of time scale and long term effects of said injuries on players ability to perform if back early. Matt Waldman is your go to guy for rookie evaluation. Cecil is a specialist on the Broncos but has more firepower in his cannon than that, as a team they have the lot covered. It can be a bit intimidating when you initially listen, as fact,and figures fly about at a hundred miles an hour but sticking with it these become your bread and butter when you are evaluating your players and, hopefully, your future pick ups on the year.
I have picked up two more podcasts this year and I find I’m getting different spins on things from both, which goes to show that not one group of people have it all down pat.
The first one is the Harris Football Podcast, the little podcast that could. Christopher Harris worked for ESPN last year and did the Fantasy Underground pod, I listened a couple of time but didn’t really get into it. This year I found out he had set himself up in the market so I thought I would give him another try, and I’m glad I did. His mantra is ignore the box score and look at the tape, he watches every game, I assume this is coach film and assesses the players on ability, can a back cut to make extra yards or just balloon through a crater style hole for 8yds, can a wideout make separation and run a clean route or is he a yard short on pace for what’s required on the play. This is invaluable stuff when your studs aren’t performing and you just want rid of them in a hurry. He has helped me focus on where the problem lies, be that with the player or with the o-line or even the quarterback. He also gets good guests on and gives them room to air their thoughts. He has quirky segments including a music slot and a weekly spot for his cousin Josh.
The last one now, found via the Harris Football pod, is Living The Stream. I have always streamed my defence, quarterbacks and Tight ends to some degree. Hosted by J J Zachariason and C.D. Carter this pod concentrates on which of the aforementioned positions are likely to score well at the weekend. This is a weekly pod and the guys have there own secret formula as to who to pick up on waivers that week, as with all these podcasts none of this is guaranteed but I like their approach and can see positives in the results so far. These guys live and die by the predictions so they have to be on their game. I’m tracking them thus far and they may not have been killing it but they are far from duds, let’s face it weeks 1 and 2 have been bizarre to say the least.
That’s enough from me, I’ll put Twitter handles below,
From behind the Purple Door.
Twitter Handles: Matthew Berry @MatthewBerryTMR
Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter
Eric Karabell @karabellespn
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
Greg Cosell @gregcosell
Stephania Bell @Stephania_ESPN
Adam Rank @adamrank
Michael Fabiano @Michael_Fabiano
Tristan H. Cockroft @SultanofStat
Christopher Harris @HarrisFootball
Chris Mortensen @mortreport
Sigmund Bloom @SigmundBloom
Jene Bramel @JeneBramel
Matt Waldman @MattWaldman
Cecil Lammey @CecilLammey
That should do for a start.