If you aren’t a Twitter user and you are a dedicated fake footballer, you are missing out. If you are worried that Twitter is a bunch of self involved idiots telling each other in 140 characters or less what they ate for breakfast, you are wrong. Well, you may be right, but that hasn’t been my experience. If you follow the right people, use the right tools and follow a few simple rules, you can get a lot out of this Twitter thing.
As fake sports players we need a couple things, information and the ability to bounce ideas off of other fake sports players. Those two things keep us on top of what is happening injury/roster-wise and helps us evaluate our own understanding of players and situations.
There has never been a forum like this before. You can communicate with hundreds of people from all facets of the game — fantasy football writers, beat reporters, national journalists, sometimes actual players, and a load of people eager to argue and converse about the game we love.
Yes, you may worry that your league mates will steal your fantasy info, but there is just too much info to steal! Don’t limit yourself to one person or site to listen too. That’s what is so great about Twitter; the information is continuous and from all over the place. The work you have to put in is being a good filter. It does take time to become a good filter I know, but if mollusks can do it I know you can!
So I’m going to take you through some of the ins and outs of the Twitter for you, the fantasy football enthusiast.
1. Sign up for a Twitter account and follow some of the best guys and gals out there for NFL info. At the end of this post I’ll give you a starter’s kit of must follows.
2. Download a Twitter program like TweetDeck. There are others and I’m sure people would argue about which is better, but TweetDeck has always worked fine for what I use it for. And what I use it for, is to separate the people I follow into separate columns. This allows you to group them so you can filter the type of information you want into categories. I currently have a group for beat reporters/national journalists/fantasy writers/fantasy focused people/tweets directed toward me. These groups change constantly as I add and subtract people, so I am always fine tuning my Twitter experience.
3. Be a helpful Twitter type person. Yes, you can just follow some key people and gain fantasy knowledge, but interaction is the best way to learn and become a better fantasy player. If you read a tweet that you find helpful, then RT it to your followers so they can get that same info. RT stands for Retweet and all of your Twitter programs including TweetDeck will have an easy way to pass along RTs. And help people out. If they are asking who they should start or sit, give them your opinion and maybe why you think what you do. The main thing, don’t be a dick.
I have had an amazing run on Twitter with very few d-bags cluttering up my experience. There is a laid back, insightful and helpful fantasy football community to join. And the best thing about it is, it isn’t insular or exclusionary. There isn’t a cool kids table that you aren’t allowed to sit at. So get in there and ask and answer and pontificate and have a good time. One of the best parts about fantasy football is sharing our experiences and knowledge. Keep up the tradition.
4. Follow people who follow you. This is just nice. A lot of people on Twitter like to get followers and even though it’s a pretty meaningless number, be nice and give real people with similar interests who give you a follow, a follow back (girl). You’ll learn how to spot spammers and people not worth following pretty quickly. I try to do this as much as possible. And with a program like TweetDeck, if some of the people you follow aren’t always writing the most profound and awe inspiring tweets, then it’s no big deal to exclude them from the groups you pay close attention to. They get to be followed by a rockin’ dude/chick and you don’t have to read every thought that comes into their head. And this goes both ways. I tweet an ass-load and sometimes people get a little annoyed. I understand, and to tone me down, get TweetDeck and put me in that insane fake football tweeter who never shuts it column.
5. Don’t follow players. They are boring as hell. There are some that can be somewhat interesting, but I just wait for someone to RT them. And it’s usually not good fantasy information, it is more likely something stupid. I’m looking at you Dockett. I also don’t follow celebrities. They are morons.
6. Follow ESPN’s Adam Schefter. I’ll get to more people, but The Schef is always cooking up useful and breaking NFL news. There is some Twitter app that shows who you RT the most and for me it’s always him by a landslide. If you want to be the first person in your league to grab the backup of somebody who was just put on IR, he’s the guy to follow.
I have tips for those who want to gain followers, but that’s not what this post is about. It’s not about promoting yourself, but becoming a part of the Twitter Fantasy Football community that will help you get a leg up on your opponent. So here is a starter pack of must follows —
The Big Wigs:
Adam Schefter — Yeah, he’s bad ass.
Jason La Canfora — NFLN NFL insider. Great guy who will answer questions from the lowlies like us.
Michael Lombardi — Another NFLN guy with the scoop.
Chris Mortenson — The old guard at ESPN, still kickin.
Peter King — Not as much a breaking news type, but brings an interesting perspective.
These people watch film and know what the hell they are doing.
Matt Williamson: NFL Scout for ESPN.com and Scouts, Inc.
Matt Waldman: Author of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio
Greg Cosell: Executive Producer of NFL Films
Pro Football Focus: Great Football stats you can’t find anywhere else.
Football Outsiders: I could roll around in DVOA all day
Fantasy Football Writers:
There are a lot of great people to follow in this category, but I’ll focus on some the fantasy footballers that interact the most.
Evan Silva — Rotoworld writer.
Chris Wesseling — Rotoworld writer.
Sigmund Bloom — Football Guys writer
Matt Schauf — Draft Sharks and IDP dude
Melissa Jacobs — The Football Girl
Mike Clay — Fantasy Editor at Pro Football Focus
Fantasy Douche — Not really a douche
5th Down Fantasy — NY Times Fantasy Football Bloggers
Rotoworld Fantasy Football — Fantasy Football Updates
Ryan Burns — Football Sickness editor
Brad Evans — The noisemaker at Yahoo Noise
Bryan Fontaine — Writer for Pro Football Focus and Dynasty Blitz
The Fake Football — Like it says
Rumford Johnny — Good egg and football-shaped mind
Dynasty League Football — The name says it all
Jim Day — Fantasy Football Whiz!
Josh Moore — His genius is circular, but oblong when it comes to football
FantasyOMatic — Love their take on stats
Alen Dumonji – Looks at the tape and gives us the scoop
Dexter’s Library — Expert fantasy football advice for the functionally illiterate
Trent Dilfer — He may be the worst QB to win a Super Bowl but he gives a ton of good info from his tape study
Matt Waldman — Another watcher of the tape with a fantasy take
And you can always follow me, even though that guy is kind of a jack!
There are literally a ton more twitterers out there to follow and here is a larger list right in this general area.
These tweeps are perfect for their own list/column.
Here is my list of beat guys and gals (No, Kerouac and Cassady are not on Twitter).
Will Carroll: Injury Expert
Eric Stangel: Letterman writer and sports snarker
Sports Pickle: Pickled sports tweets
So, there’s that. Don’t be afeared of the Twitter. You don’t have to be on it 24/7 like me to gain knowledge. Have fun with it. And follow me because for every new follower, the closer I get to Twitter heaven.