“The biggest flaw with fantasy rankings is extrapolating past into the future instead of projecting. That’s why I don’t have Manning as QB1.“
You have to look into Joe Redemann’s Twitter handle to know that he’s a man of numbers. If he put his full name on there, he would have wasted precious characters. Joe is a drama teacher (not queen) by day and a Numberfire/Top Team Fantasy writer by all other times.
How’d you get started in fantasy football writing?
JR: I actually started to co-manage Yahoo! fantasy baseball and football teams with my mom when I was about seven or eight years old! [Zach note: I think we've discovered a prodigy.] That first year, we did terribly, and nearly every year since then, I have made it my personal job to come up with my own rankings (and in high school, a rudimentary VBD system). I got in touch with some of the online community of FF in 2013, and after speaking with Jonathan at Top Team, I was brought on to contribute to the fantasy football staff. I’ve been at it for a year and two months now, and I couldn’t be happier.
Your TTF bio says you focus on advanced statistics. Could you give me some more basic stats so I can keep up?
JR: One really easy stat to follow is wins. They TOTALLY mean the world when it comes to quarterback value. They mean even more in relation to D/ST units. Actually… *goes to run regression/correlation on D/ST fantasy points vs. win percentage*
You have Ryan Tannehill rated as your #9 dynasty QB. Do you believe in the Lazor show in Miami?
JR: If I was into MDMA and there was some raging EDM, I still couldn’t be more all over MIA right now. I’ve liked Tanny since scouting him in college, and I think he has a legitimate chance to take a step forward this year with a bona fide QB guru as his OC. (How many more acronyms can I put in here?) [Zach note: I'm torn on Tanny. People either think he's going to 'splode this year or he's going to remain not good.]
Are you falling for all of the early WR love in redrafts this year?
JR: I’m not sure “falling for” is the right term. I’m a total romantic, but it’s more of a carefully discussed, calmly reasoned, and warm embrace I’m stepping into with them. There just isn’t as much surety with running backs as most think. If I don’t get Shady, Charles, Peterson, or Forte at the top, I’m going to Megatron, Demaryius, Dez, and even AJ Green, especially in PPR.
Do you like to toss in some older players into your dynasty startup drafts, or are you one of those cats who can’t draft anyone older than 25 years old?
JR: I’m not so much an ageist as I am a value hawk. [Zach note: The Value Hawks = quality fantasy team name.] I don’t like to draft older veterans early on in my dynasty startups, but once we get into the 6th round or so, if the value is there, the value is there. I’d still prefer to swap back and acquire extra rookie picks with that slot, but I won’t balk at taking a veteran if the price is right.
Could Aaron Dobson be the Alshon Jeffrey of 2014?
JR: That’s a tall order. I’m a Packers fan and I love Jeffery, so that’s saying something. [Zach note: Packers fan in Minnesota?] Jeffery and what’s happening in Chicago are pretty unique, but do I think Dobson can take a massive leap forward this year? Yes, absolutely; he was a fantasy WR2 while healthy in 2013.
Are you as fashionable as Brady, or does Brady look up to your style?
JR: It’s funny you ask me this today, because I just moved, am unshaven from a few days, and haven’t had a haircut in two months. But tomorrow, I am getting my hair faded again and my face shorn, so I might give him a run for his money. I’d never wear Uggs though. #ShotsFired
How’d you get hooked up with NumberFire?
JR: JJ and numberFire put out a call for NFL staff after the end of the football season last year. I applied, went away from my computer for a week to visit my family in Wisconsin, and when I got back, I saw he’d asked me to join and write for them. It’s heavy-duty number work that really helps to paint a brighter story of what happens in the NFL, and that I really love about analytics.
How many Net Expected Points do you get per article compared to say, Zachariason?
JR: Oh, JJ blows us all at nF out of the water. That man cannot be measured in NEP. Except on the Fantasy Football subreddit. There he’s banhammered. #ShotsFired
Tell us about your day job. Are you a better actor than Brett Favre in There’s Something About Mary?
JR: I actually don’t tend to act anymore! I’ve focused on directing, writing, and education more as I’ve explored the performing arts world. I teach in a “literacy and social justice through storytelling” program with the Minneapolis Children’s Theater Company, and that is the most rewarding work I’ve ever done in my life.
That said, if Favre ever wants to do dueling Shakespearean soliloquies, tell him I called him “a fusty nut with no kernel”. #ShotsethFiredeth
The spouse question: Does your wife/sig other/girlfriend have any issues with your football obsession?
JR: I’m actually single, though seeing someone fairly regularly. I am really proud of the work I do for Top Team and numberFire, though, so when I met her I did tell her about football writing as part of my answer to “What do you do?” I got a wry, bemused smile in return at first, but she supports it. [Zach note: I'm sure a lot of women have the "oh no, another one of those" looks prepared.]
Football or sex: Which do you think of more?
JR: Oh, man… It’s very situationally dependent. More often? Sex. More for an extended period of time? Football. During sex? Sex. During football? Depends.
What’s your usual Sunday football tradition?
JR: I work Sunday opening at my day job, so I get up at 6am, start setting lineups over a bowl of cereal, and my phone doesn’t leave my hand until 7.30am when my shift starts and I have to plug it in because the battery is dead. Then my best friend and co-commissioner of my home league and I hit up Liquor Lyle’s (best drink specials in the city) in the afternoon to watch the rest of the days’ games.
Which football writers are on your must-read list?
JR: I know it’s cliché, but there are too many to list. I personally have focused a lot on college scouting lately, and I love reading the work of Ben Natan and Derik Klassen for scouting takes. For IDP thoughts, I always go to my main man Matt Lane at Fake Pigskin. For dynasty, Jeff Miller at numberFire and DLF puts out stellar content and is always willing to talk advice and fantasy theory. For everything else, Leo Howell always has awesome and in-depth material to read.
I’m immensely lucky in the community of authors I get to read. It’s a good time to be in football writing.
Tell me about a hobby/interest outside of football.
JR: I love to cook. It might be genetic; my mom was a general manager of a Denny’s Restaurant for nearly a decade, and my sister is training at the Culinary Institute of America. Wherever it came from, I can modestly and honestly say that I am pretty darn good as a breakfast cook, soup chef, and homemade bread baker. You have not lived until you’ve tried my Grandma’s recipe for ham-and-bean soup, or my own personal invention: the Eggs Benedict Breakfast pizza, complete with hollandaise as the pizza sauce.
Is there anything I failed to ask that you’d like to address?
JR: Let’s see… I’ve called out celebrities, reddit, and one of my editors; you got my secret breakfast recipe and discovered my thought patterns during multiple occasions. Only other things I can think of are that penguins are my spirit animal and I also rap. Other than that, we’re good!
Let me know about any sites/podcasts/contests that you’d like to ‘plug’.
JR: Dude, check out everything we’re doing at Top Team Fantasy. We’re expanding content rapidly, trying to bring as much interesting information to you as possible, and we have such talented writers who are getting their first step into this field too. Love on them.
Check out the numberFire machine as it rolls toward certain domination of the world.
I don’t know if you normally do this, but I am currently directing a production of the play “Fool For Love”, going up in Minneapolis in the fall of 2014. If you are here, or are visiting, let me know and come see it for free!
Get thee to the theatre, I sayz. Thanks to Joe for answering my questions and of course, follow him on Twitter.
If you want to check out my interview work of the past, you can get There Is No Offseason: The First 50 Interviews from the Ask Your FF Expert Series, and There Still Is No Offseason: Interviews 51-100 of the Ask Your FF Expert Series.