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Matt Waldman

Member Since 11 Apr 2003
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 12:12 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: 2014 RSP and Post-Draft Update Now Available for Download

14 July 2014 - 12:58 PM

I'm posting tiers based on them, but I haven't published the full projections. 

In Topic: 2014 RSP and Post-Draft Update Now Available for Download

15 May 2014 - 08:48 AM

The 2014 Rookie Scouting Portfolio Post-Draft Add-On is ready for download.  If you're in a dynasty league, the combination of the 2014 RSP and the RSP Post-Draft will have you prepared for this year and beyond. Want details? Need details? I have 'em right here:

  • 84 pages
  • How to use the RSP and RSP-Post Draft together
  • Overrated/Underrated
  • Good/Bad post-draft fits
  • UDFAs to watch
  • Long-term dynasty waiver wire gems
  • Strategic overview of 2014 rookie drafts
  • Tiered Value Chart Cheat Sheet across all positions
  • Post-Draft rankings analysis and commentary--including notes about impending contracts years of competition on the depth charts
  • Average Draft Position (ADP) Data of 19 dynasty drafts
  • RSP Ranking-to-ADP Value Data
  • Raw Data Worksheets to continue calculating additional ADP data for future drafts

Take a video tour of the 2013 post-draft to see what I mean.


Seriously, this analysis is worth the price of the 2014 RSP package alone, but you get this as a part of your purchase with the 2014 RSP. Remember 10 percent of each sale is donated to Darkness to Light to prevent sexual abuse in communities across the United States.


Download the 2014RSP and RSP Post-Draft here

In Topic: 2014 RSP and Post-Draft Update Now Available for Download

12 May 2014 - 09:12 PM

Lambert--server update....no later than Friday 





In Topic: Matt Waldman: 75% chance Bridgwater falls due to racism

30 April 2014 - 04:39 PM

To clarify, it's what this thread has devolved into and not your act of posting the topic. I'd like to assume the orginal intent was the desire for substantive discussion. However, by the time I arrived to the thread to make points I saw enough inappropriate behavior that I came to the conclusion that having a productive discussion in this thread would be difficult, at best.


The only thing I do regret is not encouraging that kind of discussion that I offered today. However, when you see folks engaging in personal attacks it's easy to write off the thread in its entirety. So yes, your original post--I haven't seen it, but I presume--was fine. 

In Topic: Matt Waldman: 75% chance Bridgwater falls due to racism

30 April 2014 - 01:29 PM

I had no intention to return to this thread because before I posted the first time I saw the vitriol that got personal.  I felt that the thread would never be a setting for respectful discussion on this topic. I still feel this is the case because those who truly wanted to have a substantive discussion about this topic could have contacted me via PM or email--and a few have.


However, I am going to share my basic points, background, and experiences that contribute to my views so those of you who haven't thought to PM me or email me might feel encouraged to do so. 


I gave my opinion on Bridgewater and race based on a variety of things.


1. The NFL is just like any other business organization out there. Some are managed well, others are managed poorly.


2. I talk with scouts, former scouts, and consultants with the league. They have or had regular interactions with players, coaches, and upper management. The stories they tell me concerning front office decision-making includes generous amounts of the following:

  • scary-bad armchair psychiatry,
  • subjective wants by one or a few overruling the detailed work of many
  • fear-based decision-making based on image and playing it safe
  • processes that are far more lacking than the public realizes

3. My 20 years of experience in operations management with a lot of experience recruiting, interviewing, training, and supervising employees. This includes seeing my share of HR issues and being asked to travel to locations and help repair and re-train employee teams that experienced these HR issues--race sometimes being a significant factor.


4. My personal experiences of what it means to be white in America.


5. My personal experiences of how that experience changes when you actually have a personal understanding of what non-whites in America can, and still often do, experience in society.


My statement is that Bridgewater will fall out of the top 10 and there's a very strong chance that racism will be an unintentional factor. There is a strong psychological component to racism. People see the institutional racism and think politics. I could care less about politics. At its core racism is an interpersonal dynamic.


Just like relating to the opposite sex is interpersonal, so is relating to race. Neither types of relationships are taught well at an institutional level (school) and it is at best, hit-and-miss when families teach how to relate.


Think about how people learn to relate to the opposite sex. They may be "told" how to do so, but they learn the most from modeling the behaviors of those around them. Johnny is told to be respectful to women, but his dad is an abusive, alcoholic man that he saw verbally and physically abuse his mother and sister.


Johnny may not have grown up to be an alcoholic or hit and belittle his wife like his old man, but he has issues communicating to his wife and his wife still feels like he doesn't treat her the way a husband and wife should relate.  The behavior Johnny modeled is still unhealthy and it lingered beyond a generation.


An example could be Johnny never expressing outright anger to his wife. Instead he's nitpicking her about things that have nothing to do with the real issue and then withdrawing from her and breaking out in some unexplainable rash because his behavior still doesn't compensate for the powerful emotion of anger that he's feeling.


Johnny doesn't realize he behaves this way until someone confronts him about it. For awhile, he's also in denial about this behavior until something shakes him to his core just enough that he decides to seek some help/knowledge to learn about this behavior, the root of the behavior, and how to address the expression of this behavior.


Once Johnny realizes that the behavior he was showing wasn't healthy and he works on fixing it, he begins to see how he relates to others and how they relate to him in a clearer light. He's no longer in denial. When he begins to recognize a layer of behaviors that other people use to interact that aren't healthy.


Racism is like that. You can be told not use epithets or treat people poorly because it's wrong, but you can model behavior that sends the wrong message without knowing it. It's easy to be white, read about the civil rights movement in a history book, see people different skin colors people living on your street or working at your company, and believe everything has changed.


A lot has changed. But my parents, in-laws, and grandparents experienced what it took for our country to begin changing first hand. I'm old enough and experienced enough to see a lot change. I'm also old enough and experienced enough to have seen first-hand what hasn't.


However, the attitudes of some--not all, but enough--people in power haven't changed a lot. Some have changed on how to play the game of "how do I not be called a racist," even though they may be unwittingly still engaging in racist behavior.


This leads to a huge issue our country has. People are deathly afraid to be called racist in America. They think of racism and they think of the White Supremacist movement or images of brutality and hatred.


Racism is rooted in ignorance, not hatred. Folks are so afraid of being accused of racism, they'd rather just avoid the issue entirely and they wind up making assumptions about what they know-don't know instead of making an honest inquiry and admitting ignorance.


The desire not to look ignorant, but behave ignorantly is the predominant form of racism that's around these days. A lot of America believes racism is over because slavery is over or that the Civil Rights Act passed a half century ago.


Institutional racism has been weakened. However ignorance and sometimes hatred still exists. Just like Johnny who doesn't beat up and belittle his wife, but nitpicks her for things that have nothing to do with his real anger, a lot of our country is still in denial about its ignorance or strong, negative feelings about race.


I've seen it, worked around it, and lived around it as a single white man with no interpersonal connections to people of color beyond casual friendships. I've seen how companies have added layers of interviews with candidates that are really no more than contrived, but legal a "do they pass the look" test.


I've seen individuals in workplaces try to work around people of color when they have to go to them as the designated authority. I've seen managers scared of employees who do great work because they thought they were somehow doing that person a favor by hiring them and then try to sabotage them.


This was before I became a member of a black family and I saw more. I saw behaviors of mine that were unintentionally racist. I saw my childhood family reveal its ignorance and either change its behavior or abandon the relationship altogether. 


I've seen everyday people make decisions and communicate in ways towards my family - often in front of me, thinking I'm someone else waiting in line behind them or mulling around - that are far different than I've been communicated to for the same things.


You may not find it easy to understand, but racism is an added layer of society that white people generally don't fully grasp or know how to negotiate. Once you have people--often the same people--treat you differently because they no longer identify you as a white individual but a member of a black family, you begin to see that layer a little clearer.


When you begin to see how people of color often have to navigate a white society, you begin to see the unwritten rules of that society that you just accepted because there was nothing inherent about you that chafed against them and created a negative reaction.


It doesn't happen everywhere or all the time. But as a white man who has seen how the world treats me as an individual and how it treats me or the people I am in relationships with either up close or from an observable distance, I can tell you it still happens enough to matter.


In my opinion, there are three types of racists: 


1. People who are truly intolerant and hateful. 

2. People who are clearly uncomfortable with diversity and have preconceived, deep-seated fears or discomfort, but are scared to death of confronting the fact that they are behaving this way. 

3. People who are against racism/sexism/gender inequality and would be mortified if they were labeled intolerant, but they don't really have a true understanding that their behaviors or others behaviors as individuals and/or institutions are supporting ignorant or intolerant thinking. These people are benevolent racists


So when I talk to NFL people and they have no physical-performance issues with Bridgewater that differ from other prospects, but they are nitpicking "soft skills" like leadership, toughness, and communication skills and some of these criticisms are based on the same arm-chair psychiatry I've seen managers make about black employees in my work places or assumptions I've seen made by teachers, doctors, or everyday business people with whom me and my family interact with, it becomes evident that there's still some sentiment in the NFL -- that's not always intentional -- that doesn't recognize it's bias.


And that bias isn't against drafting black quarterbacks. It's a very specific one regarding a top-10 pick being the face of the franchise and not having the game-changing athletic ability that no one can deny.


Cam Newton, RGII, McNabb, Vick, Russell, McNair, and Akili Smith were all quarterbacks with enough mobility to be considered threats with their legs. None of them were purely heralded as pocket passers who won on their intellect for the game. Newton "shocked" many for his skill in the pocket. McNabb and McNair had to transition from runners to pocket players.


The only black quarterback drafted in the top 10 in the past 20 years that has been drafted for his pocket skill sans mobility is Byron Leftwich. His general manager was James Harris, a dark-skinned black man.


Bridgewater relies on his arm and intellect more than his legs. Teams are nitpicking Bridgewater for being soft and using Leftwich as an example. That's like saying, "that cookie isn't sweet--it reminds me of that soft drink." Leftwich might have been a bad starter due to his windup, but saying he isn't tough is like saying he doesn't breath air. The fact that we're hearing glorified PR from folks like Phil Savage that no team had Bridgewater as a high first round pick and that it was media-driven fits into the point former scout Daniel Jeremiah has made weeks ago: "At this final month before the draft, it's time to stop believing most of what you hear or read." 


Our country still has special biases reserved for dark-skinned black people. One of those biases has long been that dark skinned black people aren't fit for mental work. These overtones still exist in our general society. It's not always the case, but it happens often enough to notice it. It's often ingrained in this form of benevolent racism I described earlier. 


Top 10 players are often the face of the franchise and earn an extra layer of scrutiny. They want these guys to project a CEO-quality. Nitpicking soft skills and doing so inaccurately is a huge red flag that there are teams that are hung up on what they see in front of them. Using the "Has 'It'" reason is about as subjective of an excuse these teams can invent to stand behind their bias without looking deeply into them.


And they don't look deeply into their issues. I know a former scout who had stints with four teams does analytics consulting for numerous teams. He's in demand with them and turns down more work than he takes. He has told me that scouting and decision-making with the draft is still in the dark ages.


He went on to tell me that he was shocked to read the RSP in 2007-2008 and see someone who not only saw behind he veil of NFL scouting process but tried to do something to make it better.


I'm not saying I'm a better scout. There are great scouts out there that I could learn a lot from. However, he has told me my process and structure is light years ahead of most NFL teams that he has seen -- and he has seen a lot.


I was also approached by an NFL exec last month to provide the team analysis on a player that they're interested in and they want to fill in the gaps. I learned that he has been reading my work for two years and agrees with a lot of my analysis. I have media people who are former players and scouts who read and value my work, but cannot give testimonials because of their work commitments. 


Some of these people see and my points and agree; others disagree but understand how I arrived at that argument. 


I originally didn't address my opinion on the thread for several reasons. One, it was my opinion and not a part of my RSP analysis. I don't project talent based on draft position. If I did, my takes would be far different.


Two, I had been sleeping three to five hours a night for two months to finish writing the RSP. I have three jobs and a family. My immediately priority wasn't to devote to a forum thread--especially when the responses I've gotten outside of this thread have been wholly positive. 


Three, my opinion is based on a lot of established race theory, 20 years of anecdotal observation, and an understanding of the psychology of this issue that few will respond to with any level of grace, maturity, or openness. 


Twitter has been almost 100 percent positive and those who disagreed strongly were respectful about how they chose to engage me. This forum from what I'm gathering had a solid mass of criticism for my opinion, which I expected to get some. However when I went to check this thread for the first time on  the Saturday(?) before I published the RSP,  I read enough of the thread to see that the behavior also included a good bit of hatred or inappropriate commentary that got deleted such as posts about my family. 


I've made a choice to respond in more detail so that those of you who are reading this thread and are curious as to why I formed my opinion (and the background behind) can have that information. Then if you choose to contact me and engage in a respectful discussion that you'll know that I am open to doing so with those of you coming from a place of respect--whether you agree or not. 


If anyone thinks that my belief (that Bridgewater's race created a layer of negative bias in 3-5 teams that could pick a quarterback in the top 10) somehow distorts my view of what happens on the field when I grade a player hasn't read the RSP. I don't rank by draft position or character. If I lose credibility to those of you who feel that way, I think it's a ridiculous, emotion-filled jump to make, but so be it. 


If my reasons are too anecdotal for someone to consider, so be it. I'd think my fairly unique experiences would provide some insights that are worthwhile, but I imagine for some it's easy to dismiss me as biased. 


If the fact that there are more quarterbacks in the NFL who are black than ever is a data point to make in response to my opinion, then I think they are missing the point of my argument, which is the top-10 and specifically dark-skinned black quarterbacks who don't offer the running back element. It's a very specific point.


But all some people heard was "racism", didn't consider the specificity of my point beyond the 75 percent number (which if you're latching onto that and not the explanation then you're missing the point). Bloom and Dr. Octopus have been pretty on-point about my take and still there are folks who saw something very different. I wasn't surprised that some of those reacting had even read any of my work or even listened to the podcast until those two went point-by-point. 


It's an opinion that I could be wrong about, but I said it because I believe it needed to be said. Those who protest vehemently about it beyond, "I disagree and don't think he's right about it," and they have decided that I've somehow lost credibility for the work that I do they have their own issues to work out. I can't help them. 


What I tell them will never be enough--especially if it forces some of them to confront something that feels uncomfortable.


Then again, I'm not sure why anyone cares so much about what I have to say, I'm just a fantasy writer.