Ask Your Fantasy Football Whale-Saver: Coleman Kelly of Sports Wunderkind

"If you were drafting a franchise and had to choose between Andy Dalton and Trent Dilfer, you’d have a tough decision."

You can’t stop with one Sports Wunderkind. After interviewing Davis Mattek a few months ago and using his help to delve into the seamy underbelly of daily fantasy, I decided to check out his partner in crime, Coleman Kelly. He has a few things to say about daily fantasy, who to pick up as your trade deadline approaches, and saving the whales.

How’d you get started in fantasy writing? It was actually all because of Dave Cherney of Fantasy Football Oasis. I was just lurking around twitter with 5 or 6 people following me, and he asked me what I thought about a player or something. I told him I was just there to read, and he said something about how I should express my opinion. So… I did. I befriended Eric Dickens and Ryan McDowell and wrote my first article for about 32-team leagues sometime after that. If you’re reading this Dave, hit me up! It’s been too long.

What’s it like to work with “autotune” Davis Mattek at Sports Wunderkind? He told me to ask you about the whales. Ha! Davis is awesome. He’s like my weird stepbrother from Kansas who wears dope hats. We’re both young, so we have a lot of the same ideals regarding fantasy football and speak a similar football language. We’re both stat-oriented analysts, so it’s nice having someone to bounce ideas off of that others aren’t so receptive to. The whales thing started with Rich Hribar. I’m not nearly as active a tweeter as I should be; I don’t have the patience to sit in front of my computer all day talking about fantasy football. Hribar way of rationalizing it is that I’m heavily involved with Greenpeace’s save the whales initiative. People like to diss it, but that’s just because they’ve never stepped onto The Rainbow Warrior.

What is the fantasy Vulcan mind set that’s mentioned on your Twitter profile? From the Wikipedia page on Vulcans: “they are noted for their attempt to live by reason and logic with no interference from emotion.” Having a vulcan mindset is playing without emotion, and doing away with your human nature to shy away from things that have hurt you before. C.D. Carter touches on it in his book “How To Think Like A Fantasy Football Winner,” and rotoviz’s own Renee Miller, a neuroscientist, has some articles on it here. ( Carter’s book says it best: “Winners know they will lose.” You can’t be afraid to start a player who’s burned you in a past. You can’t let emotions muddle your thought process. The “I’ll never draft him again” attitude is a losing attitude. Playing fantasy football like a Vulcan is the first step to winning. Thankfully, they’re a fictional race., otherwise we’d all be in a lot of trouble… [Zach note: Spock never dealt with Trent Richardson.]

Was your Redraft2 victory over me, in which your bye-week-decimated squad had 1.1 QB/RB points yet still trucked me, your greatest fantasy win? I would say that was one of my luckiest victories, for sure. I thought I’d be set with Nick Foles and E.J. Manuel at quarterback… You have to love MFL10s! My greatest victory was probably in week 1 of this dynasty salary cap league I joined this offseason. I won Peyton Manning for under 5% of my cap, and traded for Jared Cook right before the season started. I scored 190 points the first week, with 90+ of those coming from Manning and Cook, against what is now the best team in the league. Ah, the memories…

What were your greatest hits and misses for daily fantasy from Week 9? Too many doses of Jordan Cameron and Steve Smith. The Seahawks D/ST underperformed as well. I used Torrey Smith, even though I hate myself for plugging him into my lineups every single time. Most of lineups had a very healthy combination of Stevan Ridley, Keenan Allen, and Russell Wilson, so it was actually a very profitable weekend for me. Nick Folk was money on DraftDay, too. I lost all my money on FanDuel, but that’s just par for the course there.

Is daily fantasy going to murder yearly leagues, or is there room for both? There’s definitely room for both, and it comes down to what you’re comfortable with. I’m in 7 dynasty leagues, 1 redraft league, and play a ton of daily every week. I can only handle 1 redraft league because I’m terrible with remembering to put in waiver claims, so daily is my savior. My team in the War Room 1K experts league has dropped 3 straight, largely because I’ve been starting Mohamed Sanu since week 1 and never remember to add players. I prefer the one-and-done format of daily games, and have a ton of fun perusing all the optimal lineups out there each week. While daily games are huge amongst our Twitter community, most “civilians” have no idea they even exist. I love getting the “Is he on your fantasy team?” question when you’re hanging out with friends. “Well, I’m in 8 draft leagues, 10 MFL10s, and 40+ dailies this week, so you’ll have to specify!” Most of my friends show zero interest in putting any effort into daily games. I think for them it’s more about the fun of beating friends and coworkers than actually making money. Most people are still in $10 home leagues where Aaron Rodgers goes 1st overall. So… no.

Are you buying on the injured fantasy guys coming back like Harvin/Andre Brown/Michael Crabtree/Randall Cobb? To a certain extent, yes. I think Harvin can be a WR2-type player, but it looks more and more like he won’t be back until after the Seahawks week 12 bye. Brown is the guy I can see having the most impact; there’s just no one talented in the Giants backfield right now. As long as he’s healthy, it’s his job. Crabtree isn’t a guy I’d count on for production. Terrell Suggs came back from a partially torn Achilles last year, and was a shell of his former self. Cobb can be dropped. The earliest he’ll be back is in week 15.

Pats fan? Is Tom Brady “back” or are the Steelers that bad? What we saw was the Patriots offense as the braintrust envisioned it this offseason. A receiving core of Gronkowski, Amendola, and a more experienced Dobson is much better than a receiving core of undrafted free agent Kenbrell Thompkins, raw Aaron Dobson, and college quarterback turned wide receiver Julian Edelman. The inexperienced receivers had a huge negative effect on Brady, not to make excuses for his poor play. He was absolutely terrible, basically Brian Hoyer for the first 8 weeks of the season. I think this game was extremely promising, especially since Amendola is still on a limited snap count. Are the Steelers a lock for a top 5 pick? Those poor yinzers…

Are there some players you’re looking to pick up for trade for to help you win titles? Alfred Morris is a guy I think you can go out and get (relatively) cheap. He’s been hyper efficient, but has 2 fluky games were Roy Helu and Darrel Young had 3 touchdowns each. Those will start going his way. C.J. Spiller is another player; his schedule gets easier for the last 5 weeks of the season. I might take a look at Jordy Nelson too. I don’t think Scott Tolzien was awful, but the schedule is a cakewalk from here on out. [Zach note: If you can afford to wait on the Green Bay receivers, that seems like the way to go.]

Do you have a go-to beer for Sunday football watching? I actually work every Sunday, which causes me literal, physical pain. The amount of ibuprofen I down to get through the day would kill your average Sumatran rhinoceros. When I can watch, I prefer Blue Moon but I’m also partial to Narragansett. I’m young though, so I’ll drink whatever’s around. *prepares to be mocked* [Zach note: Stick with me, kid. Or just ask your local beer badass Rumford Johnny for some suggestions.]

Does your wife/girlfriend/sig other have any issues with your football obsession? I’m currently on the market, interested ladies! Ha, but I’ve found that the girls I talk to think it’s cute (or at least that’s what they say…). My last girlfriend didn’t mind it, which was cool. It’s always fun telling someone “No, I can’t hang out Sunday because football” or “Tuesday night? I can’t, I have a podcast!”

Football or sex: which do you think of more? Definitely sex. I mean, I think about sex while doing fantasy related things, but I’m never with a woman wondering if Marvin Jones’ snap count is going to allow him steady WR3 production. So, sex.

Where are you on the usual football Sunday? I assume there’s a man cave.
Like I said, I work every Sunday, but I’m usually out in time to catch the last half of the 4pm games. I have the DirecTV Sunday Ticket package that came with Madden 25, so I plop in front of my computer, snap that to one side, and have Tweetdeck on the other side. It’s pretty awesome, and most people know that I’m not free on Sundays for anything other that football, so I get disappear for a few blissful hours.

Tell me about a hobby/interest outside of football. I’m huge into ultimate frisbee. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with myself now that the season is over. [Zach note: I’m pretty sure that two former interviewees Dan and Gino play as well.] Music is another passion of mine. I’m a fan of anything metal/hardcore, and I played drums in a death metal band for several years before most of us grew up.

Which football writers are on your must-read list? You have to start with Davis Mattek. He’s got you covered with the weekly waiver wire piece over at RotoViz and fantasy rankings over at SportsWunderkind. Anything Frank DuPont or Shawn Siegele write is a must-read for me. If you’re feeling sassy and have some time to kill, check out Shawn’s site and be prepared to have your mind blown. Jon Moore is my go-to for college prospect evaluation, Ryan Rouillard has done some amazing work on running backs, and Matthew Freedman writes incredible college thesis length papers about players with 3 total yards from scrimmage.

Is there anything I failed to ask that you’d like to address? Tell me about any plugs that you’d like. Sites, podcasts, projects, anything. If you’re referring to things I do, then yeah!, and the SportsWunderkind podcast.

Coleman’s a multimedia dude. Thanks for doing the interview. Check him out on Twitter.

Want to support the site or just like reading about fantasy football experts? Then buy my book There Still Is No Off Season: Interviews 51-100 of the Ask Your Fantasy Football Expert Series. If you want to know more about the experts I interviewed, and what they’re up to lately, check out the experts page.

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