Interrogate the Industry No. 12 : Matt Rittle


We are back with another Interrogate the Industry! I have to apologize to my regular readers for the delay between posts. Perhaps it has been so long you forgot to read my Interrogation of Rumford Johnny. Either way between the kickoff of the NFL season, Fantasy Baseball playoffs and of course family obligations time dwindled away so fast I couldn’t squeeze in the time to write my favorite posts of all.

Anyhow, we are indeed back and I have plenty of great industry insiders to come. This week I was able to snag Matt Rittle for a few questions. Matt is about as accessible and visible on Twitter as the hashtag is and typically for good reason. He knows Fantasy Football, especially best-ball formats and he is an all-around great guy. If you don’t follow him yet get on it here @ffrittle.

I hope everyone’s Fantasy Teams are doing alright so far, especially after the oddity that was Week 2. I am holding a mixed bag, but all in all doing relatively well. It is still early, but I do believe that if you start off 0-3 you are in danger, and if you are 0-4 well the odds are against you. No need to panic yet, but make sure you aren’t holding out for a great turnaround, this is Fantasy Football, anything can happen, but you could just as easily face the highest scoring team three weeks in a row too.

Week 2 WR Rankings - Fan vs Machine Cash

Before we get in to the interrogation, I have to promote SKYLLZONE.com. If you haven’t played yet you really need to try it. It takes minutes to draft, It is a snake style draft, so no worries about budgets. It also involves drafting against 9 computer opponents “Machines” as we affectionately call the buggers. It is completely free, and if you win enough contests, SKYLLpoints you can enter and win cash contests. So, let’s repeat….minutes to draft a team. Completely Free. It is fun! Seriously try a draft this weekend. I will consider my self a failure if you don’t join after reading this.

Interrogate the Industry No. 12: Matt Rittle

1. Everyone got their Fantasy Industry start somewhere. Talk about yours as brief or detailed as you like. If possible include ups and downs, others in the industry who helped?

Sure, but first of all – thanks for having me on. Also thanks for asking me to talk about myself. Who doesn’t like that? Honestly, it’s really all just twitter. I joined for the sole purpose of reading some offseason fantasy content. I would just hop on at times and RT articles I wanted to read later. I had no idea back then that RT’ing was some kind of twitter currency. Somehow, I gained some rather mainstream people as early follows. Fantasy Douche, Chet, and Ryan McDowell were three of my first 20 followers or so. I had about 100 followers when Ryan Berger (@theffghost) asked me about writing for a new site that Vincent Frank was starting. It seemed an insane offer to me, but as I’ve learned, passion and friendliness opens a lot of doors in this community. That’s really it…Just a long slow process from there. That first year I probably wrote three articles, all of which are hilarious (in that awkward way) to read today. The next year I wrote for a couple different sites, but still just churned out a few more pieces over a year. It’s really not until this last offseason that things have started to click for me, in terms of how to write well, how to write more consistently, and the such. There’s a definite learning curve…learning to write engagingly around all the stats and analysis, as well as learning to allow the space in your life to write content consistently.

I’ve just always approached this from a friendly point of view. I really just viewed twitter primarily as a social venue to enjoy myself and have some fun. Along the way, I’ve ended up making some great connections and friendships in the middle of that. Some of my friends are random people in random cities who just love sports like I do. Others are writers for or owners of great sites. The fantasy community is great in that kindness and friendliness are rich currencies that double as networking. That’s always the best way to go about this, in my opinion. There are just so many people willing to connect with, and help out aspiring writers. It’s in an incredibly kind and generous community. Kindness and friendliness are truly the only secret ingredients to acceptance.

2. Do you partake in Daily Fantasy Sports? If so, can you see them eventually dominating the industry?

I. Love. Daily. DFS will continue to grow by leaps and bounds I think. I’m not sure what it will take to see that same explosion online (and offline) poker saw when Moneymaker won the main event. We sometimes get wrapped up in our fantasy community and forget that a ton of fantasy players still buy magazines, and play in 10 team 2 WR leagues.

I think DFS will dominate the writer and twitter communities. It already is, to an extent. It’s only a matter of time until there’s some “explosion” and becomes something you can talk about with strangers you run into around town, the same way you can talk about your seasonal leagues.

3. Any players you expect to bounce back after their Week 1 & 2 struggles? Why?

Jamaal Charles, RB, KC, Best spot to draft

Photo Credit: LI Phil

Talent often finds a way to rebound. So, even with some hopefully minor injuries, I’m ultimately not too worried about the Jamaal Charles, A.J. Green, or Demaryius Thomas type players..

Some of the players I liked haven’t found consistent usage, yet. I’m not worried about Carlos Hyde, Torrey Smith, Jeremy Hill, or a few others, but Bishop Sankey appears to be a long-term hold in deeper leagues for now. In the right league depths, I’m willing to wait and hold onto guys like Sankey and Lorenzo Talieferro to see if they can work their way on the field as the season progresses.

4. Would you rather be leading by 30 plus points and watch it evaporate late Sunday night or Monday night to end up losing? Or would you rather crawl back from a 30 point deficit only to lose by a few points in the end? Why?

Not sure how to answer this one. I’ve found those adrenaline rushes are not healthy for my emotional state. I try to avoid them entirely. It’s why I play in so many draft only formats, and enter multiple DFS lineups every week. I’d rather avoid the situation entirely.

5. I know you play MFL10’s obsessively. Do you follow them closely each week, or simply check in every now and then?

Last year I didn’t even check them until after week 10 or so. In the last 4-6 weeks, I’d check on the close ones every week. I had planned on following the same plan this year, but I agreed to write a weekly MFL10 follow-up for Sportable, so I’m kinda stuck there. I think you have to keep a steady check on your emotions overall. Early on, I’m far more interested in rosters than points. It’s a long season.

6. Any Week 1 and 2 stars you expect to keep up their unexpected success? Any Kevin Ogletree’s?

Fantasy Football Week 6 Recap - Victor Cruz

Cruz hasn’t been dancing much in 2014

These first two weeks offered so much confirmation bias for me.Guys I loved who did well are automatically awesome, and guys I didn’t love who did well are lucky, ya know?

We already have so much more information after week one. We see a guy like Carlos Hyde who blew up in fantasy in week one, though he did so with limited snaps. He may be a boom or bust fantasy player until Gore slows down or gets dinged up. I’m fairly nervous about Allen Hurns. He really just came from nowhere, and for every Jeremy Lin and Victor Cruz there are dozens (or hundreds) of Kevin Ogletree’s. Hurns might be fine, but I’m just not confident, you know? Steve Smith is no Kevin Ogletree. Steve Smith is a flat stud getting tons of targets. If the targets tail off, he may be more of a WR3 than more, but that dude just never dies.

7. Do you believe it is possible to be in “too many” leagues in Fantasy Sports?

Absolutely. That balance will be different for everyone, but you have to make sure you’re keeping up with everything (lineup setting, tracking injuries, etc..) and accomplishing your goals. If your goals are to trash talk with league-mate’s, you may end up with fewer leagues than if your goal is to profit over the span of several leagues. You just need to make sure you’re having fun, that you’re keeping up, and honestly that it doesn’t become a priority over family.

8. If you could do a weekly podcast with anyone in the industry who would you ask?

Great question. I’d have to think about that. I’d want to be with someone I enjoyed, socially, though. That’s so important to me, and I really place a premium on it. The podcast would likely be with one of Salvatore Stefanile, Rich Hribar, JJ Zachariason, Liz Loza, Shawn Seigele…people like that, where you can have fun and pretend to be smart at the same time. I’ve done a few podcasts with Marc Hava, and we interact with each other really well. There’s just so many names to mention as possibilities.

Edit: Just thought of a great one. Will Carroll. That would be a ton of fun, and really informative about so many sports and life topics.

9. If you had to write an episode script for any television show which one would it be? Any plot ideas?

Oh man. Great question. It’s borderline shocking to me that I’ve never considered this before. I think I’ve thought more about being an advisor more than writer, to be honest. I’d rather say, “That’s dumb. Have the main character pursue this other girl instead” than actually write pages of dialogue to that end.

10. If you could hang out, party or whatever, with whoever you want for one day with zero repercussions who would it be and why?

If that’s dead or alive, I’d say my Dad. I was young when he passed away, and I’d enjoy throwing a few beers back with the man.

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