Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Experts

Let me preface this by saying that this is simply a trial run for a project that I'm designing and launching later in 2010. Here, I will include all ramblings fantasy relevant.

My thoughts on the experts:

Brandon Funston - The Commish. This guy doesn't get enough credit for the job he does. The commenters don't see beyond his job as a writer. This guy runs the show. I can't confirm the amount of work and hours he puts in, but if the responsibilities tied to his title play out as advertised, then you can't really fault the man for his lack of published posts. Granted, I do feel he should lateral the responsibilities of the Big Board to a fellow Yahoo! writer. I'm just sayin', I remember when I first started folllowing the Yahoo! writers, the Big Board would be my favorite read. An efficient top 50 rank with insightful bullets. But when this gift is not delivered on time, and not delivered frequently, well then a change should be in order. As far as fantasy insight goes, Funston's is the epitome of consistency. The NFL Skinny, a weekly preview of every single team in the NFL from a fantasy perspective, is a terrific read and a useful tool for prepping for the weekend's match-ups.

Scott Pianowski - This cool cat brings a unique style of writing to the table. A portion of the Yahoo! readership harp on him for what they deem as "a dull read." You can't win 'em all. With regards to the amount of information one can extract from each bullet, Pianowski ranks first, in my opinion, among Yahoo! writers. He also uses his resources effectively (same can be said about Andy Behrens). He gives you facts and skips the filler. His subtle humor is appreciated as well. I sense a touch of Pianow Man's style in the writings of his close amigo, Michael Salfino (who, I admit, I don't read much of). Personally, his endorsements of Moneyball, The White Stripes, and the film, Up in the Air, have only enriched my life. The commenters love him for his willingness to provide, virtually, instant feedback (the same can be said about Roto Experts' The Pick-up Artist, Paul Bourdett AKA The PUMA). As far as consistency goes, from what I've seen firsthand, Pianowski tends to deliver solid finishes pretty frequently. Among fantasy writers, he ranks in the top 2 alongside Behrens.

Brad Evans - Of the near dozen expert leagues I have tried my hand at, surprisingly, not once have I faced off against Bradley "The Big Noise" Evans (I find it kind of puzzling that more commenters don't label him "Big Nose" Evans. Am I the only one who finds humor in that?). There's nothing wrong with Evans himself (though many would beg to differ), but his writing is a painstakingly difficult read. Here's why: His humor seems forced (as opposed to others whose humor feels natural); he goes too far with the alliteration at times; he often focuses more on his writing than providing stats; and, given a 1,200 word assignment, three lines might be relevant. This is not an intentional knock on Evans; when he first started releasing his articles, they were fresh. I was a fan. I would have "became a fan of Brad Evans' writing" on Facebook. But then, for me, it lost its luster and became a routine. In terms of fantasy insight, rarely will I seek an Evans article. But I give the man props for finding his own niche, and being delightfully amusing as hell, especially on camera. He also takes accountability for his misses and that's refreshing in the fantasy community.

Andy Behrens - Sex Drive. The Editor. Every wrestling reference Brad Evans can think of. If I was stuck on an island, coincidentally with working wi-fi on my laptop; given the option, I would read Behrens' articles till they sent help. A delightful read. If I'm looking for an opinion regarding a crucial call on gameday, I'm still going Pianowski, but Behrens has the ability to deliver an easy read while providing detailed insight and dry, subtle humor. The times I did have a chance to challenge Behrens, his teams seemed more strong in focused areas (for example, quality receivers but mediocre backs) as opposed to Pianowski's teams which were more well-rounded. Behrens' strength lies in baseball and football. I haven't seen enough of his work covering basketball to give a detailed assessment. Yes, I did read Beauty and the Bully and there were times when I laughed out loud (and no, I do not collect royalties for promoting the book ... though a bobblehead would be appreciated), and yes, I also caught Sex Drive in its opening week. If you haven't, check it out on DVD.

Matt Romig - An editor in his own right, Matt Romig provides quality coverage of the happenings in the fantasy hockey world. Look, I have nothing against Romig, but the first impression I had of him was unpleasant. Of course, in the end, it was probably my misinterpretation of his dry humor which lead me to feel slighted. I have no beef with this guy ... unlike this guy. That guy has been critical of Romig since splashing onto the fantasy commenting scene. Really, though, I appreciate the opportunity I was given to compete in a F&F league. Truly a remarkable experience. And Romig gave the green-light. I am often morally opposed to Romig's ranking of Marleau on the Big Board, but aside from that, it's well done. The NHL Skinny spotlights the week's events in fantasy hockey and Romig gets straight into the facts. What I'd like to see: More players whose value have fallen in the Market Movers segment, and more prognostication (more forecasting instead of highlighting last week's trendy contributors).

Matt Buser - Formerly Yahoo!'s resident basketball guru. And now, well, Yahoo!'s resident basketball guru. I got into a 'buser invitational roto' league this season. I'm holding my own. Battling for first riding the strong play of Nash, Kobe, Duncan and Camby. If this were five years ago, watch out.

More and more, I find myself reading Buser's work. Basketball was my first love then that dedication gravitated towards football. A resounding love for football. And now, slowly, that passion I once had for roto b-ball is starting to resurface. Buser's writing is very straightforward as he'll drop facts and stats on you. A simple, easy read and you get the information you were searching for. This is no bs. Check out his site at:

Paul Bourdett (The Pick-up Artist AKA The PUMA) - My intial impression on Bourdett was that he felt he was above the readership. The commenters. The little guys. And that just didn't turn out to be the case. In fact, it was the polar opposite. Bourdett often spends time - his own time - responding to comments and providing suggestions. It often feels that he's scratching the bottom of the barrel for some of his endorsements but he stands by them. Hit-or-miss, he'll stand by them (a memorable example was Dontrelle Willis), and that's something you have to respect if you play fantasy sports. I lead an onslaught of commenters (realistically, like five of us) in a gripping battle of right-versus-wrong in an attempt to end Bourdett's reign of terror: his usage of pick-up lines. Yes, actual pick-up line. No. Just, no. Eventually Bourdett started sticking to strictly the numbers and facts formula and results followed, as evident by his increasing following. It's an enjoyable read because it's simple and he'll often provide readers with help regarding weekly start/sit calls in the comment section.

Janet Eagleson of - Eagleson knows her hockey. She finished second in the 2008 F&F League. She often opens her articles with non-fantasy related stories that later tie in with fantasy relevance. A news story; a strong opinion; a thriving NHL team. The opening is very hit-or-miss with some. It's unique but I often jump right to the bullets. Her cut-throat approach to writing and the believability in what she has to say should keep the fantasy masses interested. She was actually very supportive of me being the "average guy" in the F&F League, and comes off as a genuinely decent individual.

Michael Gehlken - Tip of the cap for capturing the 2009 F&F League, sir. It has always been a joy for me to watch the underdog take out the big guns. Every dog has its day. I read virtually every article this guy puts out there, and I think you should, too. He takes you into the world of the amateur writer competing against the pros; the experts. The case could be made that he could produce a more compelling underdog tale but the novelty would exhaust without question. I'm interested in how he'll go about writing next season as the defending champ. Might we see a change in style given his (well-deserved) victory? Now they're after you, big dog.

And similar to the fact that these experts have their biases with fantasy players, I have my preferences with their style, personality, and overall compatibility. To each his own.

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