It’s that time of the year!
The NFL season is back and set to kick off tonight, so here at Brandwatch we thought we’d get into fantasy spirit and reveal what fantasy football fans are saying about their favorite players on Twitter, Facebook, sports forums and major fantasy football networks.
Analyzing a data set of over 130,000 public mentions on social media in the US shows that Adrian Peterson is undoubtedly the #1 most-discussed player for 2013.
More than half of all conversation about fantasy football positions refers to running backs, of which the most popular players are Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin and Ray Rice.
Although an elite running back is usually drafted first as it’s arguably the most important position, this year there are a handful of quarterbacks that made the top 10 in our rankings of the most-discussed, such as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers.
Frequency of Player Mentions in Relation to Fantasy Football
While few commentators put quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in their top rankings for fantasy football picks, fans mentioned these quarterbacks in third and fourth in their discussion about fantasy football – indicating that popular players drive a lot of fantasy football conversation despite expert rankings.
Von Miller also made it into the top 10 share-of-voice rankings, fueled by news of how his suspension could impact the Denver Broncos’ defense overall – despite many fantasy leagues not allowing selection of the player in their systems.
And although not a starting quarterback, news of Tim Tebow’s release from the New England Patriots drove added mentions about him as well.
Overall, most fans seem to trust the official NFL top players of 2013 ranking rather than independent commentators on fantasy football, as their favorite players to talk about align most with the NFL rank.
More than 61% of all public fantasy football conversation we captured in our analysis took place on Twitter. Users also discussed their favorites on mainstream social media sites, such as Facebook (18%), Google+ (1%) and YouTube (1%), though at a far less frequent rate.
How about those sleepers?
Despite being ranked just 173th in ESPN’s top 300 players ranking, tight end Jordan Cameron is the most frequently discussed player in online conversations about sleepers. He is said to be the next unexpected standout player, aided somewhat by his multiple touchdown performance in the second preseason game against Detroit.
When taking a look at all conversation on draft picks by region, Tom Brady seems to be the most discussed player in the Midwest, Northeast and the Southwest of the US.
In general, regional social media conversations about fantasy football picks tend to align largely according to local teams. For example, Russell Wilson and Jamaal Charles are only in the top 10 most mentioned picks in the regions where they play, but they are less popular in discussions elsewhere.
But how will the online buzz around fantasy football shift as the season unfolds? We’ll check back in a month to assess just how accurate football fans on social media are at guessing the underrated and overrated champions.