Trying to get Fantasy Baseball and Fantasy Football questions answered by Fantasy writers is easier now than five years ago because of social media, but it’s also harder because of the sheer bulk of questions sent to writers now.
When I wrote for CBSSports.com back in the 2000s, I would get a few hundred questions a week to answer, but once I told Emack to stop emailing me, they dwindled to just a few dozen a week.
After a while, I started thinking about which questions I would make sure to answer and which ones I instantly deleted. Here are a few quick suggestions:
- Don’t treat us like a piece of meat. Show you know us, our columns or podcasts, by agreeing or disagreeing with a point we’ve made – before you ask your question. Once we know you’re a regular, you’re in.
- Make us laugh. A quick joke – especially if it’s at the expense of one of our co-workers – and your question likely makes the cut.
- Use few words. No long paragraphs. Be concise. No convoluted trade offers. No elaborate scoring details.
With Twitter and Facebook, writers are able to shoot through dozens of questions at a sitting, and the limited character space keeps them from getting too verbose. But it also means questions are much more similar, and in much larger quantities.
I asked many of the writers I’ve worked with — or have become friends with – to share their thoughts on the subject. And they all answered my questions!
Fantasy Football Questions Answered
One of the most recognizable names and faces in our industry is ESPN’s Matthew Berry, who gets over 30,000 Tweets a month during football season. With over 350,000 Twitter followers (and over 75,000 Facebook fans), the volume of inquiries can be overwhelming.
“Unfortunately, I’m not able to respond to everyone. So, I look for questions that are succinct (long paragraphs about your team, your fears, dreams and tons of variations are not necessary), and address a topic that a lot of people have. Last week, it was announced Carl Crawford was visiting Dr. James Andrews, which brought with it, tons of questions. So I’ll pick the best Crawford question to hopefully answer everyone and is not an answer that can be found elsewhere. Often, I get asked questions that I have already answered in my timeline or in a column or in my rankings. Be polite and ask a legit question (no “Should I cut Albert Pujols?”). Also, this may be a pride thing, but I don’t answer questions that are addressed to multiple analysts. I respect many in my industry, but if YOU don’t care who gives you the answer, then why should I?”
“I try to answer every email sent to me directly, which can be fun at times and challenging at others — except when you’re wrong, then it’s your fault they lost. Facebook and Twitter have changed answering emails because now you can show the questions to the public, which hopefully helps more people with a broader discussion. Using Facebook also allows other Fantasy owners to chime in on a thread, which becomes like a poll on who to start and sit.”
“I do not turn away any questions. Every question is important. But we get so many, that we have to give priority to those who use our e-mail advice features. They get definite guaranteed answers there. We are nothing without our users. That is why we make sure that our staff places a high emphasis and priority on user interaction. I make sure we all do what we can and no one ever gets turned away.”
“Honestly, I now use social media (Twitter, Facebook) almost exclusively when it comes to answering questions that appear in my NFL.com Fantasy mailbag. In terms of which questions I answer, I look for the ones that will not only help that particular reader but a number of other readers as well. Questions like, “What do you think of Trent Richardson this season?” or “Will Chris Johnson rebound in 2012?” are more appealing because there is a greater reach within the audience. The shorter the question, the more widely relevant the question, the better the chance it will be answered. If we are talking about strictly answering questions via social media (direct responses to the reader), I’ll answer anything for the most part. That’s more of a 1-on-1 situation, so I’m not worried about gaining that wider reach.”
“I will usually answer anything from Twitter, because it tends to be brief and less convoluted. If you ask me a question in a three-page email, I won’t bother. And if you ask me a question, don’t bother arguing with my answer. I won’t care what you have to say.”
Some of the common themes running throughout their answers are that they try to answer everyone, especially those with questions that have wide-ranging effects that other owners might have. They’ll answer mostly all Twitter questions. And they often hear back from someone (unfortunately) that doesn’t like the answer given.
Fantasy writers in nearly every sport get beaten up when they’re wrong, but rarely congratulated when they’re right. So when you do decide to email Fantasy Football questions in to your favorite Fantasy writer, and he does answer your question, give him some props – in 140 characters or less!
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.