“OK, serious Jeff is done now.”
Most Dynasty League Footballers include an NFL or college football player in their avatar. Jeff Miller has Tom Selleck. There’s a story in that avatar. When he’s digging through yard sales looking for vintage video games, he’s thinking about how to make your fantasy teams better. Maybe he’s not thinking that, but you know that he’s capable.
How’d you get started in fantasy writing?
The company I used to work for founded the daily fantasy site, DraftDay. I’ve enjoyed creative and humorous writing going as far back as elementary school. so I offered to do some blogs for the site. They allowed me to hone the off kilter style I took to numberFire last year and brought with me to my current gigs at DLF and Sportable. So I guess you could say I started in sixth grade when I wrote a first-person account of a white blood cell traveling through a person’s body. [Zach note: Let me spoil the ending: the white blood cell tears an ACL.]
What got you the shot at the “big show” of DLF?
I’m honestly not entirely sure. I was friendly with Eric Dickens on Twitter and thanks to guys like Sal Stefanile and JJ Zachariason plugging the hell out of my work, I know he read at least some of my stuff on numberFire. I think maybe they were just looking for somebody who brought a sense of fun to their writing. That or it was the nude pics I have of Eric and the Hamburgler. [Zach note: He was hot and he was hungry.]
Why can’t people get over the “purty” that is Cordarrelle Patterson? Who are you drafting instead in that 4th round redraft range or even higher in dynasty?
I don’t think it’s much of a secret that guys like shiny things. It starts when we are babies and our mothers cruelly dangle car keys in front of our faces and continues into adulthood with temptresses sporting low-cut shirts or short skirts. Give us something nice to look at and we all turn into blithering idiots covered in so much drool.
In dynasty, Patterson barely makes my overall top-50, so I’m drafting a ton of guys ahead of him. I am the only ranker at DLF to have Roddy White in front of CP. I’ll take the two years of top-15 production with legitimate top-eight upside over CP any day.
His ADP in redraft is actually much more palatable. Still, looking at ESPN’s current data, I’m taking Michael Floyd and Golden Tate ahead of him for sure. It isn’t close, really.
Since you’re not in the Patterson camp, who’s going to benefit from Team Norv in 2014?
I should be clear that it isn’t that I dislike Patterson as a player. [Zach note: No, you really hate him. He's coming over to your house to kick your ass.] I do dislike his dynasty ADP and I don’t think he can be an effective, consistent fantasy asset in a role at all similar to how he was used late last year. At some point he will need to run actual routes or he’ll end up being a taller Devin Hester.
The two guys I like most under Norv are Kyle Rudolph and Greg Jennings. If he manages to stay on the field, Rudolph has every chance to be a top-three tight end and I’ve been beating the hell out of the drum for Jennings for months. He averaged 14 PPG with Cassel under center last year and was one of the best deep ball receivers in the NFL during his time with the Packers. Jennings isn’t a kid, but when you watch his tape from last year, he hasn’t lost a step. I really see no reason he can’t be at least a mid-range WR2 with ease.
What’s your NFL team?
I am a dyed-in-the-wool Bears fan.
How can a poker dude help the fantasy player?
I think the biggest thing is my mantra that results don’t matter as much as the method. In poker, you never worry about how much money you make in the short term. You spend your mental energy on playing the best game you can, confident the results will be there over the long haul. In fantasy football, the sample sizes are never big enough to be statistically significant, so as counterintuitive as it may seem, short term or individual results are unimportant to the point of not mattering at all. [Zach note: So hard to say you had the right process when the result is Trent Richardson.]
For example: If there are 10,000 Cordarrelle Pattersons, I am confident my take on him is going to end up being right a vast majority of the time (history is on my side as we’ve yet to see a similar player manage a successful fantasy career). If that is the case, my method for coming to my conclusion is a sound one, and if I follow it on every player, I am going to continue having success in fantasy sports.
The problem is that there is only one Patterson. And even if my method is 95% accurate, there is that niggling 5% chance I am wrong. For me, I can’t let the results of my individual predictions affect the way I approach fantasy. If I do, I’m just another guy on Twitter telling everybody how great I am when I get something right and making excuses when people point out when I am wrong.
How’d you get to be such a shrewd internet commenter?
Up until very recently, my day job included running an online poker forum at one of the most popular poker training sites out there. After seven years of moderating and participating in hundreds of thousands random internet discussions and arguments, I have a certain perspective to which most people aren’t privileged.
As my old forum friends could attest, I’ve not been above being one of the idiots arguing over the years. I guess I’m just sort of over it. Maturity is a hell of a drug.
Is dynasty the king’s game when it comes to fantasy football? Do you like to pay other styles?
I play dynasty, redraft and daily fantasy. I’m in a couple salary cap leagues, numerous 2QB leagues, and more than a couple with an auction format. Because my life is already lacking in sleep and personal hygiene, the two formats I’ve not gotten into are IDP and devvy. If somebody invents a portable shower I can wheel into my office so I can check lineups while scrubbing my undercarriage, maybe I’ll reconsider.
Do you believe that your mustache could take down Jeff Fisher’s in a Thunderdome-esque showdown?
No chance. My mustache is more of a lover than a fighter. His name is Gilles and he is fluent in both French and Italian. Especially French.
The spouse question: Does your wife have any issues with your football obsession?
Not so much now, but in 2012 when I was getting into DFS I was putting in 25-30 hours a week on developing a system and such. That was sort of a drain on all of us and led to me taking 2013 off entirely. But because I have borderline unhealthy obsessive tendencies, I instead turned to doing weekly game recaps for numberFire. That meant 3500-4500 words every Sunday night before bed so they could be published bright and early on Monday. If you’ve never written a haiku to recap a Jags game at 3am, you’ve not lived.
This season I’ve vowed to back off, but I’m really enjoying writing for DLF, and Sportable is addictive as hell, so we will see if I can actually follow through on that promise.
Football or sex: Which do you think of more?
Football for sure. If I was immersed in sex as I am football, my gentleman’s sausage would look like a deflated football from all the use.
Alternate answer if the above isn’t appropriate for your uses (!): Football for sure. If I thought about sex as much as I do football, I’d have to change the URL of my site from FFJeff.com to XXXJeff.com. [Zach note: I had to keep both answers, for science.]
What’s your usual Sunday football tradition? Is there a go-to beer?
Because I am West of the Rockies, I get up bright and early to go over my lineups and dispense Twitter wisdom. Then I settle in and watch the Bears from tuck to tail before moving to Red Zone for the rest of the day. I rarely drink while I watch, but if I do, it is a lowball of bourbon.
I will say that I strongly prefer to watch games alone. Nothing irritates me more than people talking over a game.
Which football writers are on your must-read list?
I think my number one guy is probably me; I am fantastic. Outside of myself, I read pretty much everything that hits DLF. I know that sounds like I am company shill, partly because I am, but it is also the stone cold truth. If I had to pick a guy on there whose work I’ve really loved lately, it would have to be Eric Hardter. His Pass Catcher’s Portfolio and the related articles are amazing.
Tell me about a hobby/interest outside of football.
A bit back I got into buying and selling video games. Much more recently, it became my full-time occupation. Basically, I hit up yard sales, pawn shops, flea markets, and Craig’s List to buy anything I can make a decent profit on, then flip it on eBay. It is hard work, but it is fun and incredibly rewarding.
Let me know about any sites/podcasts/contests that you’d like to ‘plug’.
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.