Evan Silva is the Senior NFL Editor for Rotoworld, and also writes for NBCSports.com and Profootballtalk. He recently won the FSWA award for Best Ongoing Fantasy Football Series and he was kind enough to aswer a few of our questions.
Congratulations on winning the FSWA award for best ongoing fantasy football series for your weekly Matchups article at Rotoworld. The article is one of my few must-reads each week and is always well researched and in-depth. What is your process in putting it together? And how much Red Bull is needed?
Hey thank you, Chet. I really appreciate the kind words. I'm more into coffee than Red Bull, but yeah it's lots of coffee. Several cups per day. My process usually begins with combing over statistical trends on Mondays, and beginning to look at Vegas lines. I'll also write a rough draft for my Thursday night game Matchup column. My two-year-old daughter is home from daycare on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so I crank out game and player watching during her mid-day nap and after she goes to bed at night. Thursday is typically my biggest writing day. I try to forecast game flow (tricky) and arrive at potential ranges of outcomes. What I believe is most or least likely to happen for each player in every game. The injury report comes out on Friday, at which point I often have to go back and make edits.
Fantasy Football continues to grow by leaps and bounds along with the NFL. We saw an explosion in season long leagues and now an even more concentrated explosion in daily leagues. Where do you see our game moving forward?
I think DFS will continue to grow at a rapid rate over the next two years. I agree it exploded dramatically in 2014, but I think we'll see an even bigger explosion in 2015. Season-long leagues will probably always have a place, but I think DFS accentuates fantasy player skill, whereas luck plays a bigger role in season-long leagues. So I think the skilled players will continue to gravitate toward daily fantasy. Either way, I think fantasy is a booming industry and a great one to be involved in with tons of room for additional growth.
What do you feel are the main differences between writing about fantasy football versus those who cover the NFL in general? Do you ever see yourself moving away from focusing on fantasy like some Rotoworld alumni have?
When analyzing "real" football, you're less beholden to numbers. In "fake" football, numbers are pretty much all you care about, and you want to come up with a process that gives you the best possible chance to forecast them. I also think a big difference between "real" and "fake" football analysts is hindsight vs. predictive analysis. Fake football analysis is much more concerned with what will happen in a given game -- or over the course of a season -- while real football analysis is more concerned with what has happened to that point in the season.
I'd say the job of a fake football analyst is quite a bit more difficult than that of a real football analyst. When a real football analyst gets a forecast wrong, everyone forgets about it the next week. When a fake football analyst gets a forecast wrong, his readers remember it, oftentimes for years down the road.
If you weren't writing about sports, what do you think you would be doing?
Writing about sports is pretty much all I've ever known. I've been doing it since I was a little kid, when I used to type up depth charts and player rankings and seasonal predictions on a typewriter. If I wasn't writing about sports for Rotoworld, I'd be doing it somewhere else.
I'm sure you are often asked for advice from aspiring fantasy writers out there. To save you some time, what would you say to those young writers who want to get into the fantasy writing business?
Start a blog. Track players over the course of their careers. Research historical information on them. Look for trends. Soak up player information like statistics, efficiency numbers, age, and size. Form a foundation of player knowledge, and when you write be very concerned with detail. Two great ways to appeal to your reader are to be very informed about players and to be an "easy read," where the reader isn't turned off by grammatical or spelling errors and can 100-percent focus on the content you've produced.
Do you really hate the (insert name of NFL team here)? I kid of course. Every sports writer is called out for hating a team now and then. How do you deal with negativity?
I used to get caught up in it, then I really didn't sweat it anymore and just thought it was funny. I'll definitely take note when someone offers constructive criticism, which happens frequently on Twitter from smart people. When someone is insulting because they felt like you took a shot at their team, I think it's just best to ignore.
And finally, if you could only play in one type of fantasy league forever (including DFS) what would it be and why?
It would probably be DFS because of the daily thrill. Whereas in a season-long league you have to wait a number of months for results, in DFS you get daily results. I've gotten into daily NBA pretty hardcore and have done really well. I didn't do as well in daily MLB last year, but I think my process will be much better this year and I'm hopeful it will translate to more success. But yeah, the immediacy of DFS goes a long way for me. When you put in time and research and have a good process, it can be very, very rewarding on an everyday basis.