Interview with Joe Bryant and David Dodds
By Clayton Gray
June 3rd, 2010


Last week, we started a thread in our message board allowing board members a chance to ask our owners (Joe Bryant and David Dodds) questions. The topics were quite varied. We pulled over 30 of the questions and sent them to Joe and David to be answered. Simple enough, so let's get to the answers.

Let's start off with a few questions from the personal side.

From Instinctive: How did you manage to get into FF as a job?

David Dodds: I played in a work league that started the 1st year FF Index came out. I am highly competitive (and started building tools to get a better grasp of things). I created an AOL page that got shut down because of AOL bandwidth numbers. I decided to launch mrfootball.com as a landing space for some of my thoughts and things took off from there.

Joe Bryant: I got into it the same way lots of people get into whatever business they're in: I was a customer myself and looked around at what was offered and thought "I can do this". I knew the kinds of tools and features that I wanted as a fantasy owner and I figured that if they weren't available, we'd start a business and create them. I figured there had to be more people like me. Turns out that there were.

From cheese: When my job was in sports, it basically ruined my ability to enjoy it as a fan. Have either of you had a similar experience with starting to view football as "work".

DD: Not here. This "job" affords me so many things that I desire. I get to work from home. I am part of a fun business with a great staff. Sure, 16 hour days suck no matter what you are doing, but time goes by pretty fast in this gig for me. I don't play as many leagues these days and I actually favor the drafting and forget style of play because of in-season time constraints. I am still enjoying all of this a great deal. You guys are likely stuck with me for a bit here.

JB: Not really. I think it's that I love the game of football itself so much. Work is work sometimes and sure there are days when I'd rather be surfing the message boards sort of relaxing as opposed to having to think about writing or editing an article. But the topic of the work is still incredibly attractive to me. I also get to do more "big picture" stuff now than I used to because we have so many talented writers and that's a great thing. The truth is I still feel like I'm cheating when I talk about having to "work" and watch Football.

From Tiger Fan: How many leagues do each of you plan in each year? Also, approximate split between leagues with friends, industry, and popular high stakes leagues?

DD: I generally will play in about 6-8 leagues. I like at least half or more of them to be draft and forget situations. I mostly play in leagues associated with the site (Mock Draft, Survivor) and in the industry (FFPC Joe's / Pros, FF Index Auction, SOFA, etc). Last year I played in some high stakes leagues that I enjoyed.

JB: I've had a fundamental shift in this area. I've basically pulled away from just about all the personal leagues I was in and shifted that focus from me trying to win a league to helping our customers win their leagues. It hit me one day as I was looking at attending a competition BBQ cooking school that was pretty expensive. Two different businesses offered it. One of the businesses stressed all the awards the guy teaching the class had won. The other business stressed all the awards that participants in the class had gone on to win. That was the business that was way more attractive to me. I wanted the guy that was focused on helping me win.

From Drink G2: Do you guys hate hockey?

DD: I think it's an OK sport, but living in California my whole life basically makes Hockey pretty low on the list of sports I played frequently as a kid. I did play a lot of broom hockey in college and dug it. So had I grown up in Canada or Minnesota, I am sure I would have loved Hockey too.

JB: I don't care enough about hockey to hate it.

From Masked Vigilante: What were your thoughts on the final ten minutes of Lost?

DD: I actually loved the whole series immensely. I was not one of those people that had to have every mystery wrapped up neatly. It's a TV show. Everything can't tie up perfectly. For me the show was the journey of the characters. So it was a fitting end for me to see them all acknowledge their special bonds that they had lived on the Island in an afterlife setting.

JB: David is the Lost expert; I'll defer to him. With 4 kids and a wife and two businesses, my TV watching time outside of the NFL Network and Food Network is pretty much nil.

Now, we'll take a general look at Footballguys.com.

From fridayfrenzy: Is FBG a corporation? Or a partnership?

DD: It's a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC). Joe and I own 87% of the company. The rest of the staff own the remaining piece of it.

JB: We're an LLC. (Limited Liability Corporation. David and I own the majority with the rest of the ownership among our staffers.

From Dope: If [the two of you] disagree strongly about a key decision, who holds the tie-breaker vote?

DD: Every once in awhile, Joe and I are on complete opposite sides of issues. We are truly equal in voting rights, etc. so we have to come to a resolution. But I can honestly say that those drag out situations where we both likely hate each other for a few days has led us to some great decisions. I jump and then react mostly. Joe is more conservative and likes to think before jumping. It takes both skills to be successful. I can't imagine FBG without both of us at the helm. Together we almost always get things right.

JB: I don't know that I'd advise our setup for everyone as David and I are equal partners. There is no "tie breaker". The advantage we have is we both like and respect each other a lot. When we do disagree, we're both smart enough to "pick our battles". In other words, if we differ on an issue and it's not really that big a deal to me but I can clearly see it's a big deal to David, I'll yield to him. And he does the same for me. If it's a big deal to both of us, we work through it until we both can be happy. It's like any good relationship - it has to work for both sides. And both sides have to always consider the other. We're a lot alike in some ways but quite a bit different in other ways. I think the strengths of one are often the weaknesses of the other and we complement each other well.

From benson_will_lead_the_way: How many paid subscribers are at FBGs? Did that number increase over the past couple of years or decrease? Is the amount of staff members increasing/decreasing?

DD: We finished the year at just under 40,000 subscribers last year. That number has increased every year. We debuted with just over 18,000 subscribers our first year as a pay site. We tackle staffing needs a lot different than most companies. We have a giant blueprint of all the things we want to do. To us this has always been about having the most complete fantasy football website. We will add as many people as it takes to cover the areas we are trying to cover. If our own guys want to do more (for more pay), we usually go down that path. Lately our move has been away from freelance help (News Blogger and Game Recap writers) to better utilizing the talent we already have in place. We added Andrew Garda this year and likely will be adding resources to make our new website (Today in Fantasy) special too.

JB: Last year we were fortunate to have about 40k paid subscribers that were with us. That's a huge honor and responsibility because each one of those people is expecting a lot. Because we promise a lot. One of the fun parts of this thing is the challenge of meeting the expectations we set. We've been fortunate to see that number increase over the years. The Staff has been slowly increasing. We are proud to have added Andrew Garda this season. And also my friend Sean Alsobrooks who isn't a writer but will be doing our graphic design work. I'm a big believer in trying to create a fun and rewarding environment where people want to work for Footballguys.

From crush304: Can you keep the subscriber pay model and continue to expand? Have you ever considered offering everything for free and making your money off advertising instead of subscriptions?

DD: Clearly it's possible, because sites like Yahoo and Google always do this. Our problem is we know fantasy football. We don't know New York ad agencies, how to maximize CPM rates, how to sell ads, etc. It's also just not the company we want. If we sold ads we would have to have an ad department, form alliances with people we hate, etc.

We already offer a ton of material for free (All of our content until July 15th, news, message boards, depth charts, podcasts, Lexycasts, daily email, schedule maker, 1st releases of the Draft Dominator/VBD App, iPhone App, Rate My Team, etc). I would argue that our free site is better than any other free site out there. With nearly 40,000 subscribers, I doubt we change this model much going forward. I do see additional revenue streams going forward in the mobile space though.

JB: That's the age old (well at least as old as the internet) question. Pay vs Ad Model. Am I going to sit here and act like I know the answer? No way. I don't think anyone does. You see sites like WSJ.com that are incredibly successful with the subscription model. The New York Times has made headlines going back and forth on how they'll do it. But you also see sites that are incredibly successful with free content making all their money on ads.

We've settled on the subscription model as that's what feels most comfortable to us. Primarily because we feel we have some control over the revenue. With an ad model, you're beholden to advertisers - many of whom you don't really know or have a relationship with. They can decide to cancel an ad buy simply because of budget cuts or things completely not related to how well we perform. When we generate the majority of our revenue through subscriptions, it's a much more tangible relationship with the people providing the revenue. If we do a good job, people pay us and subscribe. If we don't do a good job, they don't subscribe. In my mind there is a much closer relationship between performance and revenue in that model that I like. Again, I don't claim to have the right answer. It's just what we think works for us.

From markb: How will an extended strike or lockout impact sites like FBG? Will FF players get mad and walk away if it's prolonged?

DD: There is no doubt this could suck pretty bad for this industry. As for us, we will survive. Worst case is they don't play a season. FBGs then spends more time developing things and has an even cooler site with an extra year of development. My best guess is that cooler heads get a contract in place, but it will likely be in late August with a shortened pre-season, no training camps, etc. I am sure our revenue will be way down, but we have had a lot of great years before this. A new deal will ensure lots more after the deal too. So bottom line is we'll make it here.

JB: A work stoppage is obviously a concern for folks. I really do think all the parties involved won't kill the Golden Goose though. I think it could get ugly, but in the end, I think they get things done. But in the event we do have a stoppage, we're prepared. Fortunately, we have zero debt. If need be, we could ride out a storm. I'd have to sell more boats and fortunately, David has a killer stash of wheat pennies to get us through...

From Foosball God: Do you feel that allowing free forum access allowed you to move into a dominant position in the market while other FF websites where charging for forum access?

DD: We were slow to get a forum. The Huddle was crushing us in that regard when they signed a deal with Fox Sports many years ago. As part of that deal they moved their boards behind the wall. That opened a door for us and allowed a lot of the "hardcore" players to hang out at our site. We will always keep our forums free. They have helped us find talented staff and keep us engaged in what we are doing. It's an integral part of the whole puzzle here.

JB: The forums are incredibly important to me. Every year I'm asked for a subscriber only forum where people essentially pay to have access to a limited forum and every year I say no. I think we'll always have the forums free. There's just something about zero barriers to participate that I think is valuable. Not to say other sites are doing it wrong. For some, a pay forum may make sense. For us, free is how I like the forums.

From saintfool: Would you consider diversifying the FBG "brand" to include league hosting, a la MFL? It seems like a natural progression to me that FBGs has somehow resisted to this point.

DD: I think that boat has sailed. MFL has about a million scoring options alone. This software has evolved a lot over the years. The free sites (ESPN and Yahoo) are also quite good these days. I think it would take multiple years of fumbling to try and launch something like this that would have any chance of competing. Every year 2-3 more products come to the market, but they always stumble while CBS Sportsline, MFL and RT Sports pick up additional market share.

JB: It's something we've looked at every year. For us, it seems to be a "can't beat 'em / join 'em" thing. There are so many good options out there that it's seemed to make the most sense to us to work with them instead of trying to compete against them. I'm also a never say never kind of guy so who knows how that might play in the future. But for now, it's not high on the priority list. But thank you for the compliment on the FBG Brand.

From SSOG: I often say that in order to be the best, you either need to do the same thing that everyone else is doing better than everyone else is doing it... or else you need to do something different than what everyone else is doing. It seems that FBGs first made their mark on the scene by doing something different (Value-Based Drafting), but has now adapted to doing the same thing that your competitors are doing, but trying to do it better than they do. Would you agree or disagree with this perception? If you disagree, then what do you see FBGs doing to innovate fantasy football? If you agree, then are you content with your new role in the market or are you actively working to find new inefficiencies in the market for the average fantasy football player to exploit?

DD: I feel we have been the leader and innovator from the very first day we opened up shop. We have products that fantasy players want/crave. Name almost anything we do and it's not just better, it's significantly better than all of the other sites. A competing site has a set of projections. We release 4 sets for offense, 2 for IDP plus do forward projections during the year. We also have a Projections Dominator tool to further tweak these numbers plus actuals.

We have tools that no one has (I personally don't think these sites would even know how to create them in many cases). Things like the Draft Dominator, Game Log Dominator, Lineup Dominator, iPhone App, Rate My Team, etc. We are doing 5-minute sound bites (with Lexy.com). We are about to unveil Today in Fantasy which might end up being a bigger deal than even FBG. Personally I don't think someone could buy 4 other subscriptions and have as much coverage as we give people. Besides our tools, I will take our core of writers and compare them against any other site. It would be a landslide in favor of what we are doing. There is a reason we continue to grow at a time when NFL.com and ESPN are releasing more and more free content every year.

JB: I think you can do both. At its essence, Fantasy Football is basically about predicting player performance. And there are only so many ways to do that so by definition, lots of sites are going to be somewhat doing the same thing. But at the same time, I think we'll continue to innovate and then make more improvements as the competition catches up. Our Rate My Team from last year was a good example of that. It's a way to talk about our Player Projections in a format that we haven't been doing before.

Our Mobile Applications this year is another. Other sites have mobile apps. We're not going to say we won't do a mobile app because we're not the first one to do it. We'll do one and try to be the best one in our market. So I really do think it's a mix.

The one area I do think we have a real advantage is with our staff and how we're getting better at leveraging and merging content. Again, Rate My Team is a good example of that. Rate My Team brings in multiple features and content from a ton of different writers all into one package for the end user. Trying to blend all these moving parts we've had into one coherent "voice" has been a goal for a while and I feel like we're just not scratching the surface there.

From Studs & Duds: is there place to send resumes for hire a new modrator[?]

DD: (blows out) I defer hiring decisions to Joe.

JB: Absolutely.

From JohnDoe: What are the biggest changes in FF since you started this site many years ago, and how has the competition changed the way you present news/information and development of the tools we use? Do you see an expansion or contraction of on-line FF sites in the next 5 years, and why?

DD: When we first started we would create a competition matrix and evaluate ourselves against what everyone else was doing. That definitely helped focus us and led to acquiring Red Eye Sports (to bolster IDP) as well as some other key decisions. Lately though we have been executing our own vision to what we want our site to be. It seems like there would not be much of a barrier to creating a successful website. But I think as sites like us, the Huddle, Fantasy Guru have established themselves so it probably is hard to sell many subscriptions unless you are doing something really outstanding. And even then it's a bit hard to get noticed when we are crushing things by releasing 50,000 pages of content. There will likely be contraction of sites, but the real question is why would a successful site buy another? Unless they have some technology that you can't recreate, we generally have favored building the tool / creating the content with our own people.

JB: We were laughing about this recently. When I started playing Fantasy Baseball in the pre internet days, you had some real inside information if you knew what players were actually in camp. Nowadays, you know every pitch from every game in Florida and Arizona each spring. I used to pay a large amount of money to get a weekly 3 page fax with Fantasy Football information. I'm talking about 20 years ago, not 50. Last year, Footballguys produced 50,000+ pages of content. So things move fast.

I think one of the biggest changes is how news has become a commodity. Every site can have the news. The change has become interpreting the news. How does an injury to player A affect players B, C and D? That's the real news. So I've seen the change become what kind of value can the site add. I really don't know what the future holds for contraction / expansion with FF sites. There are always news ones popping up. The question for many of them is what is their pain tolerance for grinding things out to get started? Will there be sites willing to work the stupid hours for no pay like we did? Probably.

Let's move to more specific questions about the site.

From scientist: When can we expect an overhaul of Lineup Dominator, reborn as "League Dominator"? MFL Import is a great start, but an app better suited for managing multiple leagues is needed. Consolidation of the apps would be nice - how awesome would it be if you could open up one app, and every time you opened up a league, you could set it to auto-sync with MFL?

DD: I definitely think there is a need here, but the problem is not trivial. CBS leagues are behind their fence. MFL is about the only one that is truly open with documented hooks into their code. Fanball, ESPN, Yahoo, Fantrax, Rapid Draft all have systems too. There is a company Open Sports that I believe is trying to do exactly what you want to do here (one console to manage multiple platforms). I see us growing out the Lineup Dominator as a really cool mobile product where you can create custom weekly (and forward) cheatsheets/top 200s/waiver scenarios, etc.

JB: I hear you as I know more guys are playing multiple leagues. The trouble is accessing all the leagues. But we're seeing the need there and I do see it going the way you're talking about.

From Gottabesweet: Will the smart phone apps cut into the actual website content?

DD: Nope. This is just another delivery system for us. Whether you go to the website or you get the info from your mobile phone, the plan is to do the same things we have always done. Our next iPhone release is beyond compare. Soon you will have Top 200 lists, ADP, projections, all the articles, Lexycasts, and TIF content all via the free FBG mobile platform.

JB: No. I see the phone as just another way to view the content. For all practical purposes, it's just another computer the guy happens to carry in his pocket. The goal is to make the actual website content viewable / workable on the phone or iPod. The actual website content drives everything - the phone is just another device on which to view it on.

From ditka85: Will there be Mac versions of your applications?

DD: Maybe. This is the first year we actually bought a Mac. So before this was always a no as we didn't even own a machine to be able to test what we would have created. We are going to try some tools that say we can cross compile for the Mac and Windows. But we don't know if we will be successful. The problem we are having with creating a Mac version is that the real version that needs to be created is a web/iPad version. This is an area where we truly are constrained by quality people and what to put those people on. Bruce and Doug have been hammering away at the iPhone and TIF stuff. Those are both huge priorities for us.

JB: That's been a tough one for us. I own an iMac and a Macbook. I get the appeal. For us, it becomes prioritizing manpower. Some of our apps are so FBG centric that it's really tough to just contract that kind of project out to a 3rd party. So that's been a snag. But I do know the Apple products aren't getting any less popular. So right now, the honest answer is "we're considering it but don't have a definite timeframe for it". Sorry if that's not the answer Mac folks want to hear but that's honest.

From Ministry of Pain: What can folks expect from the new contest and leagues that you all are going to run this season? I think most of us are eager to see this. When can we sign up and can you go over the fees and prizes?

DD: We don't actually have leagues at all, but we are running the FBG Players Championship. Here are the relevant links:

  • Overview
  • Prize Structure
  • Register
  • I think our contest is the one to be in this year. First, it has a progressive jackpot. So if we fill more than 50 leagues, the prizes increase. At 100 leagues, the jackpot is $75K plus a lot more prizes have increased as well. Second we are paying 60+ spots deep. Based on early signups, our extensive mailing list and a cool contest that is priced closer to what people can actually afford, we think this concept has the makings of something very special indeed.

    JB: The contest is something that David and I wanted to do for many years. It's a fun and big thing with lots of appeal. But we were also very honest with ourselves in knowing that while it would be a really fun thing to do, we just didn't have the skill / desire / manpower to handle the day to day details of running a contest. It's the classic "big picture vs actual execution" thing.

    Finding Alex and Dave from the FFPC was the answer we'd been looking for. These guys are incredibly detail oriented. They're the guy in your league that actually likes doing the commish job. So partnering with them was an easy decision for the Footballguys Players Championship. David and I do the "big picture" stuff and they do the detail work. It's been working great and I'm confident it'll be the contest you guys are expecting from us.

    From scientist: How much has interest in dynasty leagues grown over the past year compared to the past five? At the current and expected rates of growth, when do you see the tipping point occurring and what is FBG going to do to keep up with demand?

    DD: It's growing, but it's still a niche within this market. Obviously early in the preseason, these players are very vocal on our boards as this is when they are having rookie drafts, etc. But based on year end surveys and page count on dynasty content, this is still a rather small piece of the pie. As far as keeping up with demand, we hire people that get it. Guys like Bloom, Waldman, Lammey and others spend a lot of time analyzing the players in the NFL draft. Others like Pasquino, Tefertiller, etc play in a lot of dynasty leagues. Out of these players, we believe we have a good balance to produce the content people want in this area.

    JB: Our data shows that it's slowly growing. I think we do more and better Dynasty content than any site but we still realize it's a niche part of our customer base. Granted, the players are very vocal so reading the boards, it might look like it's a significant part of the base. The challenge we have as a company is putting our resources in the right area and we'll continue to devote a ton to Dynasty Content. We realize fully well that even though the numbers may not be there, the Dynasty guy is typically a more serious player and those are always the guys we want to go after.

    From fzrback77: Is there going to be an Ultimate Survivor Contest this year? I have always enjoyed those contests and hope that even though there were a few issues with the start-up last season that this contest continues in 2010.

    DD: We definitely will do this again. We have not thought it through much yet, but it's too much fun to not do. I suspect we will start having competitions for the spots near the middle of this month with drafts happening in July.

    JB: Yes. It's always popular.

    And now a few rankings-specific items.

    From gheemony: What do you read to improve your projections and statistical analysis? Do you read much of the work by SABRmetricians to inform your work on football stats?

    DD: The baseball people have it easy. Every player has so many plate appearances that statistics hold so much truer (in my opinion). What I do is watch a LOT of football. I missed a few plays last year, but going into the season I always plan on watching every single play of the season. That's now possible with Direct TVs short cuts where an entire game is reduced to 30 minutes showing every play. I know Sigmund Bloom also watches every play so I also read his game/player recaps religiously.

    Besides watching a lot of football, I use a system that forces the numbers to match historical NFL levels. This keeps my numbers "real". Last year of the 22 sites that submitted their preseason numbers to the FSTA, I took 2nd overall. And I feel confident that my in-season numbers are better than any other site. This is where having tried systems makes a world of difference (as the data is due so much faster each week). Our own Andy Hicks did an internal study and Sigmund and I crushed everyone. Some big sites don't even update things after Friday which is big considering all of the news that breaks Sunday morning.

    JB: I joke that if Footballguys has a "family tree", Bill James is probably at the head of it. Several of us cut our teeth on his work. He doesn't like me saying it but I believe our own Dr. Doug Drinen rivals James in some aspects. Our Chase Stuart isn't far behind.

    I think the thing that's helped us over the years is tempering excitement. You'll often see projections out there that simply don't make sense from a historical level. I think some of the spikes predicted (and they're almost always optimistic spikes) just aren't going to happen. That doesn't mean you never go out on a limb. But I think tempering the hype a bit has been something that's helped us keep perspective.

    From Cooley's Angels: Do you ever get sick of rating players by ranking them numerically and have you discussed an alternate (or additional) method? Such as "Odds of being #1 at the end of the season?" Or "Percentage chance of finishing in the top 5 (or top 10, 20, etc.)?"

    DD: We do talk about this stuff, but in the end there is a reason people rank players. I think what we try to do differently is to have a lot of our staff participate in this process and give comments for their outlier rankings. This gives these rankings depth in my opinion and why our rankings pages are the best in the industry.

    JB: Yes. But some of that is driven by what people want. And by and large, what people want at the end of the day is player projections which are turned into numerical rankings. I do believe we can get better and more creative with visibly demonstrating the drop-offs and tiers better but in the end, you give the customer what they want. And gently show them maybe better ways to look at the data.

    From gheemony: How much time do you spend tweaking Joe's Secret VBD Formula? Is it pretty much set or do you continue to develop it? Why not use Tremblay's auction formula method instead of Joe's VBD Formula? What are strengths and weaknesses of each?

    DD: Joe's formula is pretty much set, but we sometimes tweak it. Drafts and auctions play out a bit differently. I can't fully explain why that is the case, but they do. I think it has to do with the ability of crafting a great team without ever spending a lot on one player. This usually leads to a more robust middle for QBs, etc. I use Joe's secret formula for drafts and Tremblay's auction baseline for auctions as I think those both approximate what is likely to happen in those situations.

    JB: It's iron clad and unchangeable. Ok, maybe David tweaks it a little. ;)

    From scientist: Do you see any benefit in using "non-traditional" econometrics in football now, and is there any research in the field that makes you optimistic about its use in the future? I've seen IBM commercials advertising their work with professional sports organizations in developing useful data for quantitative analysis of player performance. Do you think only well-funded organizations will be able to implement useful metrics in football due to the complexity of the game?

    DD: We have Doug Drinen. He has a PHD in stats and has the best football databases (with us and at pro-football-reference.com). We have been creating statistical models for a long time at this site. We are able to backtest these models with literally reams of data going back many years. I got an engineering degree at USC, but I was inches from becoming a stats major as well. Clayton was an Algebra teacher. We have a lot of people with significant math skills on staff. So yes I do think that background helps us a lot. But you also have to watch a lot of football and understand what you are seeing. We have both kinds of people on staff which is how it should be when our product is accurate forecasting.

    JB: Our Doug Drinen and Chase Stuart have been leading us there. Doug's database (and his skill in manipulating it) is incredible. Some of my most fun conversations I have are me asking Doug, "Why can't we predict ....." Sometimes he says, "That's insanity, Joe. We just can't". But sometimes he rubs his eyes and says, "Yeah, I think I can do that." For instance, I want to really know how weather (wind / rain / temp) affects performance. Not just how I think it affects performance but how it really affects performance. We're getting really close to having a super cool feature on that backed up by factual data.

    From gheemony: Have you thought of adapting a computer model for projections like KUBIAK or Accuscore?

    DD: We crushed those people in the FSTA event and every comparison I have ever been part of. I am a numbers guy that watches a lot of football. So are Sigmund, and Jason and Maurile. We will always beat the computers because they don't understand WHY something happened. And until you understand that those yards came on 5 plays where their star CB was off the field, you are going to be in a lot of trouble competing against guys watching every snap of the NFL season.

    JB: As long as the ball is shaped the way it is, I really trust our predictions with a bigger human influence. I think too many people want to make our sport into Baseball with fewer repetitions. It's just not that way. Baseball is easy with one player at bat. Granted there are some considerations to other hitters in the lineup but by and large, it's one guy against the other 9. Football is nothing like that with all the interdependency.

    From Mohawk: Why is there no post-season analysis of how well each FBG prognosticator did?

    DD: Mostly because it's somewhat pointless to go backwards. Fantasy football is looking forward by nature. I do a thorough analysis on how well I predicted a team's run/pass prediction each week and also for the whole season. The players…well they are the noise elements. Guys emerge, others get injured, etc. It's also extremely difficult even coming up with a system that accurately rates how well you predicted things. Let's say you had a QB high and he was the best in the NFL after 10 weeks and then missed the last 6 weeks to finish as QB14. Should you really be penalized that you had him as QB6 higher than everyone else? We do these internal things you are stating here, but we use those findings, etc to get better data going forward.

    JB: We do much of this informally and internally and we control who does our rankings and how they're presented. We know that every staffer represents Footballguys and it's up to us to "protect the Black Eyed Joe" to borrow a phrase from Roger Goodell. That to me means making certain I'm comfortable with every staffer's ability to rank and forecast players.

    Now a few questions/suggestions on improvements that could be made.

    From bigmiiiiike: Can you please add rankings for Dynasty PPR? These types of leagues seem to be the most common on the message boards here; it only makes sense that you have rankings for this. I'll take this a step further and propose multiple dynasty rankings, i.e. dynasty rankings if a team is in "win now" mode, and dynasty rankings for teams that are rebuilding.

    DD: I don't actually think adding Dynasty PPR would change things that much personally. This stuff is already pretty fluid between the varying opinions from our staff that do this content. I see our focus on the Dynasty stuff to be more about the words than the numbers actually. It's always going to be extremely difficult to categorize the next 3-5 years of a players career into a ranking. Rankings and projections work great for how someone expects to do now. I think words are a better fit for multiple seasons. We try and do both on our rankings pages.

    JB: One trouble spot with "Dynasty" is just how you start splitting team goals. As you say, a player will have different value to a "win now" team vs a team that is "building for the future". Much like real players and teams do. I hear you there as I do find that part of the dynasty angle appealing. But not sure how we'll be able to implement it. I do hear you though.

    From Lash: Has FBG ever thought about adding "FBG Live Chat" to the Community section?

    DD: We have 140,000 people on the free email list and nearly 40,000 subscribers. I think this would be super popular for sure, but not sure anyone could follow a chat with 500+ people attending. I remember mrfootball.com chat events that were that big and that site was small compared to this one.

    JB: I subscribed to a fantasy football service many years ago, he had a feature where you could actually call the owner one night a week. This was well before chat rooms. The result was that I always got a busy signal. I fear we'd have the same thing happen with us in a chat room. I type pretty well but I know I can't keep up with 1,000 questions a minute. So I think we have to be creative and find other ways for people to connect.

    From Ministry of Pain: Why don't you all spearhead a get together in Vegas for week 1 of the NFL? Many of the staff are probably there anyway for the WCOFF; why not have a major FBG event at one of the hotels so posters can meet some of the folks that have grown to admire or not admire so much?

    DD: This stuff sounds so much easier to do than it ever turns out to be. Like you said, we always have a contingent out there for the high stakes events. We are not hard to find there at all. In fact this contingent will be at the FFPC draft party that Thursday night.

    JB: I love this idea and get excited about it every year and then eventually realize it's more than we can do. But I'm not giving up on the idea. The FFPC guys we're partnering with on the contest are good at this kind of thing and maybe they can help us in the future.

    From CiscoKid: Why does my daily information email end [at] kickoff opening day? Yes, I know there's a bunch of content posted for the week if I just log on, but sometimes the email is all I have time for, and time (or lack thereof) is why I pay for the service instead of doing the research myself. Plus, the info on the web portal doesn't match up with the overall quality of the daily email when it comes to a quick read, IMHO (one source for news and opinion).

    DD: This is changing this year. The free daily email will extend through the entire season. I can't really defend why we have not done it sooner. It's been discussed for the better part of 5 years now. We committed this year to doing it though. I think there a lot of people that have always wanted this daily to continue through the season. We finally got the message.

    JB: I'm glad you asked this as you're going to like this one. For this year, we'll be continuing the Daily Email format though the season. I'll be honest, part of the reason we've stopped the Daily Email at kickoff is that after 150+ consecutive nights of me creating them, I didn't have time to continue them in addition to the inseason things I'm doing. But we're working on a solution there that will free me up on some other duties and also get some help doing them inseason.

    Finally, let's close out with something brand new.

    From ceo3west: I saw this on your FB page and was going to ask about it. So, what is TIF?

    DD: It stands for Today in Fantasy. Imagine Google for Fantasy Football. You type in fantasy related searches in Google now and it's a joke. In a nutshell this is the free site we have created:

  • We log EVERY free piece of content in the fantasy space. This includes articles, podcasts, rankings, projections, tools, etc.
  • We tag all of this content to relevant players, themes, teams, etc.
  • We add quick summaries so you know what you are about to read.
  • We make everything highly searchable. You want to see every piece of FBG content. No problem. You want to see the 25+ articles mentioning Marion Barber this preseason...again piece of cake. You want to see everything that Matt Waldman has written...same great result.
  • Besides the highly searchable site, you also can get on the email list to have this info sent to you every day. It will also appear on a future release of FBG Mobile.
  • We are debuting this for football within days here (We have a hard deadline to have this ready before the FSTA meeting next week). We are committed to rolling this out for MLB, NBA and NHL as well (and maybe even more than that if this is as successful as we hope it will be).
  • JB: We're really excited about this new site - Todayinfantasy.com. In a nutshell, it's going to be a "humanized" Google for Fantasy Football. Much like the computer models are lacking in some respects, we think an automated search falls short when it comes to bringing to our reader everything we think is cool related to Fantasy Football each day. Whether it's a great strategy article from one site, or a Dynasty ranking from another site, or a study on WR production from somewhere else. We realize there is a great big world of cool content outside of Footballguys. And we're going to organize that and bring it to you. And it's obviously scalable and transferable to other sports and topics. Hang on.