Fantasy Football Toolbox Interview And Expert Advice  
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Fantasy Football Toolbox Interview And Expert Advice

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May 26, 2010

Recently Jeff Christiansen from FFToolbox answered a few questions about the resources on their site and the challenges with making fantasy projections for rookies and injured players.

Tell us about how you first got into fantasy sports?
I joined my first fantasy football league around 1994 and started my first fantasy football website in 1997, which became FFToolbox in 2000.

You have some really unique research lists (running backs age 29+, overused running backs, strong finishers, contract year players, etc.) on your site. How do you figure out which new research lists to create?
Some are tools that I personally wanted to use in my own leagues, others are ones that our users have asked for. We have an extensive database of player information and stats so we can slice and dice things in many different ways.

You have a tremendous amount of information on your site. How do you continually produce so much material and keep it current?
We have an editor and a total of 15 writers who cover NFL, MLB, NASCAR, CFL, College Football, March Madness, and the NFL Draft. We have a yearly schedule for our content that we put together right after the NFL season is done.

How do you go about ranking rookie players who have yet to play a snap in the NFL?
We have a great group of writers that review rookie players' college information and placement on an NFL team (backup, starter, etc.). I rely heavily on them for profiling players.

Can you explain your metric 'fantasy weight' and how is it calculated?
Fantasy weight is our version of Value Based Drafting where league size, starting roster requirements and scoring system are used to calculate an overall ranking for a player.

How difficult is it to incorporate something subjective like 'nagging injuries' into fantasy rankings?
We typically expect most starting players to miss a game or two, but some players with a history of injuries we project to miss several games which reduce their stat projections. It can get tricky, but again I lean heavily on our writers, all but two of which have been with us for several years.

Everyone likes to give their sleeper picks for the upcoming season, but can you tell us a few players that you would recommend avoiding at this point?
Our writers have labeled the following players as busts: WR Deion Branch, RB Darren McFadden, RB Jerious Norwood, RB Kevin Smith and QB Tim Tebow. We have an additional category called "Gambles" ( which are players with both high potential and high risk. We don't recommend drafting more than one or two of these players who include Jay Cutler, Matt Hasselbeck, Matt Forte, Fred Jackson, Jerome Harrison, Wes Welker, and Josh Cribbs.

If someone is brand new to fantasy football, what advice would you give them?
The number one piece of advice I give is study your rules. Drafting for the system is critical and it's why we have customizable cheat sheets on our site (league size, starting rosters, scoring system, etc.)

Is there one stat you have found that has proven to give fantasy users an edge?
Bye week replacement isn't exactly a "stat," but it's something you can use to gain an edge. For starting RBs, draft a backup RB that has a favorable matchup during the starter's bye week. We make it easy by bringing this info together on a single page:

You can take this a step further with QB by committee where you draft two QBs in the middle rounds, which allow you to rotate between the players to exploit favorable match-ups:

How can people follow you and learn more about what you are doing?

Thanks again Jeff for your time, I know this is a really busy time of the year for you.