The following quotes are from the same man.
"I’m never one to miss the opportunity for a poop joke."
"I’ve always thought if there is a God then it is probably a flathead catfish burrowed down in the mud of some Kansas river."
When you think Chet, you think rugged good looks, deep soulful eyes and creative facial hair. Or you think of the character from Weird Science played by Bill Paxton. Chet Gresham is the main fantasy football writer for Razzball. With a name like that, the content has to be good. It’s quite good. You have your analytical writers who throw stats and spreadsheets your way. You have your writers who like to throw in pop-culture references and be a stand-up comedian all the time. And you have Chet, who manages to combine both in an entertaining yet informative fashion.
We’ll go back to the original font style for this one. Titan loser blue for me and manly black for Chet.
How did you get into fantasy football writing?
Well, the one good thing about fantasy writing is anyone with a fifth of a brain can do it (and sometimes less). So if you have an opinion and can spell opinion, then you can usually find a venue to spout that opinion. I started over at Sporting News forcing my opinion on others in the forums and then started my own crappy little blog and then eventually started writing for Razzball.
I like how you effectively combine humor with fantasy goodness in your columns. How did you figure out your writing style?
I think reading Grey Albright (real name redacted to protect the innocent) gave me permission to just let go. He founded Razzball, which started as just fantasy baseball and I found the site and was so entertained by his writing that I stuck around. I probably tried a little too hard to be funny in the beginning, which is the death of funny, but I think I’ve found a happy medium now.
Tell me about the Razzball setup, because I’m not intimately familiar with the history of the site and all that jazz.
So Grey started it and asked if anyone was up for heading a football site under Razzball and I thought I’d give it a shot. So we have baseball, football and now basketball sites. Curling is in the works.
Tell me about your real-life NFL rooting interests.
I try to stay neutral as far as my rooting interests in fantasy and in my writing, but underneath it all I’m a die-hard Steelers fan. Since moving to Chicago I have had a love/hate relationship with the Bears. I’m not sure why, but I’ve found myself rooting for them of late. It doesn’t feel right.
Kudos to you for breaking the trend and going with the summer mustache. There should be a question in there somewhere, but I’m trying out to be a sideline reporter.
I’m a slave to fashion.
What gave you the idea for the Twitter 101 article?
I see a lot of people making fun of Twitter, saying things like, "I don’t care what you ate for breakfast or how often you walk your cat!" so I just wanted to show that it’s a lot more than that and you can actually learn something, especially about fantasy football.
Tell me about your day job, unless you actually are Doc Holliday in which case, I apologize.
I have a few of them. Besides gunslinging lunger dentist I teach college English and work for a non-profit here in Chicago. Both take away from my true love of bird watching.
Can you tell me more about the bird-watching? I like hearing about interests outside of football.
Birding was an obsession of mine for a long time. I broke the record for most bird species seen in one year in Kansas (yeah, it’s a thing). I also put 40k miles on my car that year! I don’t bird that hardcore anymore, but I know more about birds than I do football! And my summer job (for some reason they don’t pay teachers much in this here U.S. of A.) is working outdoors restoring native vegetation in Lincoln Park so I get my bird fix that way as well.
With your English-teaching ways, do you do any non-fantasy writing?
Yeah, I got my MFA in Poetry at Columbia College Chicago (where I teach now). I still write poetry, but fantasy writing has taken up a lot of my time recently. [Zach note: read two sample poems here and here.] I sometimes throw some poetic devices in my fantasy writing to humor myself.
Do you have long-term goals with your fantasy football writing?
Not really. I’ve had a lot of fun with it and continue to. If it stops being fun I think I could walk away fairly easily. If it leads to more, that’s cool too! But you can’t get into this for money or you will die penniless and be thrown into a shallow grave if you’re lucky.
Football or sex: which do you think of more?
I’ll go with Rex Ryan and put the two together.
Which fantasy writers are on your must-read list?
Grey for baseball is my favorite fantasy writer period (but I doubt he’s ever heard of Peyton Manning). For football I really enjoy checking out my friends on Twitter. There are too many to name them all here, but I like Chris Wesseling, Evan Silva, Matt Schauf, Sigmund Bloom, Mike Clay, and Jim Day to name just a few.
Better fantasy experience: Long-term league with friends or fantasy "expert" league?
I’d probably lean expert league since most of my real friends are poets and birders instead of football fans.
Tell me about any plugs that you’d like. Podcasts, sites that you write for, expert leagues, anything.
Much thanks to Chet for taking the time to answer my questions and my follow-ups. I owe you a slug of rotgut if ever we meet. There will be another interview next Monday. Thanks for reading this week’s edition of Ask Your Fantasy Expert.