Ask Your Fantasy Football Handicapper: Ray Summerlin of Rotoworld

"As I say every time I watch them, thank you Pablo Sandoval and Prince Fielder for giving me hope I too can be a professional athlete."

You scout players, determine isolated traits and skills that translate to pro production, and you move accordingly. That’s what Rumford Johnny did when deciding that Ray Summerlin would be his next co-host. They’re only one show in, but I guarantee that you’ll have their show on your list of must-listens as we get closer to the season and DFS heats up. Ray’s another big brain at Rotoworld who came up with the Adjusted Explosiveness Index (AEI), and that’s not just what happens to my can of beer when I drop it before opening.

Ray Summerlin, he be pretty

Note: Not actual size

Let’s chat.

How’d you get into fantasy writing and how did you end up with the Rotoworld gig?

I got into fantasy writing I assume the same way most people do. I had just graduated college with little idea what to do with my life and needed something to do. I started playing fantasy sports when I was a wee lad, seemed to be pretty good at it and thought I should give it a shot. My first real experience in the fantasy community was a podcast with my friend Jared Ferree called What’s Your Fantasy, and from there I have just kept plugging away.

What was it like being the “rebound” guy for Rummy’s podcast heart? Talk about Rummy & Ray and what the podcast audience can expect during the offseason and beyond.

The beginning of the podcast was kind of serendipitous. Rummy made an offhand comment on Twitter about finding a new co-host, I made a half-hearted remark about me being the best candidate and it just kind of worked out. The expectation we have for the Podcast is we will attack both traditional fantasy and daily fantasy from a betting perspective. Not just in the traditional over/under ways DFS is discussed in general, but also in line movements and big sharp plays that could highlight some untapped value each week.

Rummy and Ray, another must-listen 'cast

Does your statement on 2015 rookie QBs mean that you think the rest of the bunch after Winston/Mariota are a bunch of Adrian McPhersons?

Outside of Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, the quarterback cupboard is bare this year. I know some people like Brett Hundley’s potential, but I very much doubt he will ever reach it. Bryce Petty is an erratic thrower and slow processor. Garrett Grayson has the same processing issues of Petty and a worse physical profile. There are no quarterbacks besides Winston and Mariota even worth a day two pick in this draft, and I would be shocked if anyone besides the top two turn into fantasy starters.

Are you waist deep in rookies? How does this class feel compared to 2014?

As bad as the quarterbacks and tight ends are, the running backs and wide receivers make up for it. This is the deepest running back class in quite some time, and there is an argument to be made that this wide receiver group is as good as last year. That should make rounds two and beyond of Dynasty rookie drafts very profitable this summer. David Cobb, Devin Smith, Tre McBride, Chris Conley, Kenny Bell, Malcolm Brown and Zach Zenner are really interesting players currently going round three or later in Dynasty rookie drafts.

How do you get into the “palace of solitude” or “mind palace”?

Brown liquor. [Zach note: Mine is brown beer.]

I’m so sorry that you’re a Titans fan. Is their hope for the franchise? Who are you taking at #2 overall and who do you like in that #33 slot?

The only hope is the sale rumors are true. I think they are, and though the new owners will likely be just a terrible as the last, as least we can be rid of Ruston Webster.

If the Titans are not taking Mariota a No. 2, and it does not appear they are, then a trade down would be the best option. There are so many needs to fill, getting several first-round talents and perhaps a pick for a competent general manager to use next season would be a good idea. As for No. 33, it would be great if a guy like Ereck Flowers or T.J. Clemmings fell that far, but the reality is there are enough needs that we can just go best player available.

Are the Philip Rivers trade rumors insane or really insane?

I think just insane. It is very rare that a franchise quarterback is traded, so that alone makes this rumor insane. If I were the Chargers, though, Rivers’ comments about not wanting to move to Los Angeles – I am unsure how signing with a new team next season would be any different, but whatever – would at least give me pause. If I think Rivers actually may leave and I could parlay him into another potential franchise quarterback, then that is a deal I have to make. We have seen in Indianapolis how just having a great quarterback year on year can make you a perennial contender, and it would be hard for San Diego to find that quarterback if Rivers walks. Mariota and even Winston are not on Andrew Luck’s level, but it at least gives the Chargers a shot.

Is there hope for Bishop Sankey to be better than terrible this year and beyond?

I was not a fan of Sankey coming out, and I did not see anything last season to change my mind. He always played slower than his timed speed, and I am not sure he has the vision and natural football instincts to be a starting running back.

I forget, are you Team Mett?

I was much higher than everyone else on Zach Mettenberger last draft season, and I am still higher than most. I do not think Mettenberger is going to win anyone a championship, but he is a lower-end starter that could have success in the right situation. Despite how much I like him, Mettenberger’s presence should not stop Tennessee from taking Mariota if they feel Mariota can be more than a mid-level starter. [Zach note: Poor man’s Tom Brady, which I think is Spergon Wynn.]

How do die-hard fantasy footballers survive this time of year?

Daily fantasy baseball. [Zach note: I died a little.] I am really getting into it this year, and so far it is the most annoying thing I have ever done. Who knew hitting a little white ball traveling 95 miles an hour was so difficult?

How do you feel about the DFS landscape in 2015?

It just keeps growing, and that can only be good for the players. There are more sites, more games and more opportunities to win every year.

Here’s a quick intermission to remind you that yes, this site offers other content.

Check out the previous Ask Your FF Expert interviews.

Watch “our” weekly Going for 2 youtube hangout channel with Sharona and cool guests (and beer).

The spouse question: Does your wife have any issues with your football obsession?

Only when it prevents us from watching The Walking Dead on Sunday nights. Luckily, Game of Thrones is in the spring.

Football or sex: Which do you think of more?

I plead the fifth.

What’s your usual Sunday NFL football tradition? Is there a go-to beer?

I spend my Sundays on the clock at Rotoworld, so unfortunately I am unable to imbibe. Luckily, I have a big enough TV in my man cave that all eight games on the NFL Gamemix fit comfortably on the screen. The future is wonderful.

My Thursday night routine has recently become the aforementioned brown liquor and long-winded rants about the horrors of Phil Simms.

Which football writers are on your must-read list?

Obviously every thing at Rotoworld. Mike Clay, Pat Thorman and really all the guys at PFF. I love the Reception Perception work done by Matt Harmon. The Fantasy Underground podcast with Field Yates and Chris Harris is a weekly listen for me, and Matt Waldman’s RSP Film Room is an excellent series. I know I am forgetting people, but those are the first names that come to mind.

Tell me about a hobby/interest outside of football.

I love to play video games. I got my first NES in 1989 and have been hooked ever since. I am also an avid golfer, much to my checking account’s chagrin. On the more intellectual side, I have done some masters work in Economics and am very interested in econometrics and money and banking. I read way too much about politics, and I am fascinated by philosophy, most notably Existentialism, Absurdism and the mechanics of thought. [Zach note: Absurdism fits nicely with fantasy football.]

Is there anything I failed to ask that you want to address?

I like turtles.

Is there anything you’d like to ask me?

Do you like turtles? [Zach note: more than Titans]

Let me know about any sites/podcasts/contests that you’d like to ‘plug’.

Check out the Rummy & Ray podcast, Rotoworld, and of course, Ray’s Twitter feed.

Thanks Ray for answering my questions.

If you want to read my previous fantasy football interviews, check out The There Is No Off Season Series.

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