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How Social Media Fueled My Fantasy Football Team

This is my first year playing fantasy football. In a nutshell, it has been…interesting.

My friends in the league, many of whom are fantasy football experts, had super low expectations when it came to my performance. To be honest, I had no idea what I was getting into when I agreed to join, but my competitive drive kicked into overtime and it wasn’t long before I was certain of one thing – there was no way I was going to come in last place.

There’s been a long road of trash talk to get to this point, but I’ve ended the regular season 8-5 in a 10-person league and I have social media (and maybe a little luck) to thank.

4 Social Media Keys For Fantasy Football

1. Utilize Twitter to Identify (and Use) Your Influencers

There are some expert fantasy football-ers out there. People who live and breathe the sport – and make it their life mission (or at least hobby) to inform and educate others.  I asked around at work and got some good names to start: Matthew Berry, Christopher Harris, Tim Hasselbeck, Jamie Eisenberg, and the list goes on and on.

Twitter is a sweet resource when it comes to figuring out how to organize how you want to get the information. TweetDeck lets you set up a specific influencer list so that you can have a 24/7 streaming experience. If I wake up at 3:30am Sunday morning panicking that I made a fatal error in drafting that sleeper running back, I’ve got a specific Twitter list at my fingertips to pick apart and overanalyze to my heart’s content. You can add and subtract influencers as needed, so your resources are constantly changing according to your needs. And no other social media channel beats Twitter in terms of real-time activity. When the NFL breaks news about an injury or any other potential catastrophic issue, you’re going to get it first there. It’s invaluable for those last minute pre-game time decisions.

2.  Stalk Your Players on Social

Stalk may be a strong word, but I’m not kidding. Knowing your players better than they know themselves is crucial, especially when it comes time for nail-biting trade decisions. I got peer pressured into trading Bishop Sankey for Larry Fitzgerald earlier in the season. I had no idea what I was doing, so when my friend first requested the trade, I denied it without thinking. I saw him a few days later and he went into a lengthy discussion about how it was in my best interests, roster-wise. That night I went home and stalked both players mercilessly via social. After some serious Fantasy Football blog reading and scanning player attitudes on Twitter, I decided it wasn’t the worst idea in the world, so I accepted the trade.

The next game, Bishop Sankey only scored 6.8, but my newly acquired Larry Fitzgerald scored 28.5. He went on to be a consistent starter on my lineup, and I love rubbing that in my friend’s face.

3. Use Social Analytics to Set Your Roster

There’s no telling what each week will bring in terms of your team’s performance. A good way to strategize amidst all the uncertainty is by looking at what’s been happening on social recently and using that data to inform and plan.

The Seattle Seahawks use Simply Measured for their own analysis, with focus on cross-channel comparison, fan engagement and growth, and benchmarking against competitors.

You can follow their lead when it comes to reporting; comparison of player and team accounts can lend amazing insight into what your roster should look like leading up to game time. It can also clue you into where the activity (or lack thereof) is, and any major trends you should be aware of.

4. Take Things With a Grain of Salt

Projected fantasy scores sometimes work,  but more often than not, they don’t. Fantasy Football is nothing more than a game of luck. You have the same chance as anyone else at the beginning of the season, and there’s no telling which players will emerge as the rising stars or who will have devastating impact.

I had an epic win in the first round of playoffs but got leveled big-time in the finale. Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson (normally my top two performers) got steamrolled despite decent projected scores.  Ironically, it was my hometown team, the Buffalo Bills, who crushed them and thus, my dreams to win back my $50 buy-in.

My first season as a Fantasy Footballer has been a crazy ride, and I’m hooked. I’m about as far from an “expert” as they come, but this season has proven to me that paying close attention to your team on social will give you a definite leg up on your competition. And that’s what it’s all about.




Annalise VanHouten

My job is to help marketers identify needs and spread the social media analytics love. There's nothing I love more than talking to people about something I'm excited about, and I'm lucky enough to get to do it every day!

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