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NFLData Interview And Expert Advice

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NFLData NFLData
http://www.nfldata.com
May 11, 2010

Scott Gimpel from NFLData recently answered a few of our questions about providing fantasy football stats and gave us some fantasy football advice and insight.

What got you interested in fantasy sports?
I got interested in fantasy football back in 2001, when my friends and I started up a dynasty league call the HFFL. It is a full keeper league where we only draft rookies. We use all NFL positions except OL, Kickers and Punters. We start 11 defensive players and 7 offensive players. We still have this league running today with 16 teams and there is a waiting list to get in.

You run a site providing fantasy football stats. What gave you the idea to start providing stats?
For years, weíve manually scored our teams, which took a lot of time. We wanted to get data feeds to automatically score our teams. Stats.com had a package available that provided a data feed every night for $6,000. We did not have this kind of money, so one thing led to another, and I began collecting the data and organizing it into a database, then thought I would sell the data feeds to other people / companies.

Do you provide fantasy stats for football only or for other sports also?
NFL football only.

Would you say the demand for fantasy stats is increasing?
Fantasy Football is growing exponentially every year. Itís actually pretty incredible. The current annual market for fantasy football is an estimated $3 Ė 4 billion. Fantasy Stats are the backbone of the hobby, so the demand for them can only grow as the industry grows.

Besides weekly fantasy stats do you provide any other stats?
We also provide weekly NFL team statistics. And for the 2010 season, weíll be providing all our stats on a daily basis, and even during the day on Sundays as games are completed and stats are compiled.

Are there any stats no one offers right now, that you think would be useful for fantasy players?
I think the main thing that is missing is offensive line statistics and metrics. The most important thing to an offense is the Quarterback and the Offensive Line is a very close second.

Just think back to how teams with dominant offensive lines produced monster fantasy football seasons. Carolina drafted Jeff Otah and DeAngelo Williams had a breakout year. Priest Holmes had a couple monster seasons behind Kansas Cityís dominant, veteran offensive line a few years ago. Besides fantasy success, these teams had highly productive Quarterback play (Jake Delhomme and Trent Green); despite that fact that these Quarterbacks were otherwise mediocre. My point is that skill position players can only produce as much as their offensive lines block for them.

Do you think historical fantasy data is useful to make projections from? If so which historical stats do you believe are the best for projections?
Itís funny when you think about how the major positions vary so much in predictability.

Quarterbacks are very predictable from season to season. Barring injuries to them or their offensive line, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers will almost certainly have big seasons.

Running Backs like Matt Forte and Michael Turner were top five picks in most fantasy leagues and they were huge disappointments in 2009, so thereís really no telling how each will fare in 2010. However, if you get a good running back on your team, his week-to-week performances tend to be very consistent, think about Chris Johnson last year, an off-week for him was 125 yards of offense and a touchdown.

Wide Receivers are another different animal. Wide Receivers can be very predictable or completely unpredictable. If they have stability at the QB and OL positions, then they can be very predictable year-to-year (e.g. Reggie Wayne and Marques Colston). If they have wildly inconsistent Quarterbacks, then they are susceptible to having poor seasons every other year (e.g. Steve Smith and Lee Evans).

What makes your stat service different from other services out there?
We provide the stats in a raw format, so the clients can customize how they use the data. The only other company to offer NFL stats in such a way is stats.com.

Are there any new stats you have in the works that will be available soon?
We will have Receiving Targets for the 2010 NFL season. There may be others announced this summer, but nothing definite yet.

Do you play in any fantasy leagues? If so how have you done?
Iíve played in the HFFL for ten years now and I won the Super Bowl 4 times. My team is absolutely stacked. The strength of my team is the QB and RB position. At QB, I have Drew Brees and Kevin Kolb, who based on his two starts last year, should put up huge numbers. At RB, Iíve got Chris Johnson, Jamaal Charles, Donald Brown and Matt Forte (lots of youth there). We also start eleven defensive players, and Iíve got some studs in there like Jared Allen, Will Smith, Jerod Mayo, Lance Briggs, Louis Delmas... just to name a few.

Do you have any fantasy football advice you could give?
For standard format leagues, draft RBs and WRs who have stability at the QB position. But, also try to be aggressive. Try and find payers who may have breakout years. Given the way Pierre Garcon ended last season, if he stays healthy, he could put up 1,200 yards and 8-10 TDs with no problem. Peyton Manning never misses a game, so you can be confident heíll be throwing passes to Garcon on a regular basis.

If youíre drafting players in a dynasty league (like the HFFL), donít be concerned with the competition they have at the position. Take CJ Spiller for instance... heís a great talent who had Fred Jackson in front of him. However, if heís the next Chris Johnson, then it wonít matter whoís in front of him. Heíll be the one in front within a year. Iíd be more concerned with Buffaloís unstable QB situation. But, once again, if Trent Edwards has another disappointing season, the Bills will replace him with a QB who could be the next great QB. When LTís career started, he had nobody around him. But he made the team better and the Chargers continued to add pieces year after year. He ended up with a great fantasy career. Focus more on the player and less on the situation when drafting in dynasty leagues.

Do you have a favorite football team and if so who is it?
I was born and raised outside Philadelphia, so I am a passionate Eagles fan. I grew up during the Randall Cunningham and Reggie White days, so those are some of the most memorable for me.

Are there certain fantasy gurus or sites you follow to keep up with the industry?
I read Rotoworld.com every day. I also read ProFootballTalk.com and listen to NFL Sirius Radio regularly.

How can fantasy players learn more about your service and what you offer?
You can visit our website at http://www.nfldata.com/. If you still have questions, you can email me at scott@nfldata.com.

Thanks for your time Scott.