The Rookie Scouting Portfolio Publication: A Q&A

New to the Rookie Scouting Portfolio blog? Haven’t heard of the RSP publication? Heard of it, but haven’t given it a try? Learn more about this annual publication that has been available for download every April 1 for the past seven years and why it has become a fave among draftniks and fantasy football owners.

BTW – Best pre-draft scouting report on every conceivable guy [at the skills positions] is by @MattWaldman. Very good read –

Chris Brown, author of and Grantland contributor, via Twitter

Q: What is the purpose of the RSP?

The RSP isn’t a draft-prediction publication, it’s an analysis of talent based on a player performance on the field.  This can help draftniks learn more about the talent of players without worrying about the machinations of the draft that are often an entirely different animal from talent evaluation. The evaluation techniques for the RSP are designed to target a player’s athletic skills, positional techniques, and conceptual understanding of the game. It also makes a great resource for fantasy football players.

Q: What makes the RSP different from other draft analysis?

I use an extensively documented process and I make the work available for the reader to see – although I don’t send them through a forced death march through the material. As a reader, you don’t have to feel the pain I had writing it – the masochism is provided at your convenience.

Still, the process is important to talk about. It has helped me arrive at high pre-draft grades for many underrated players, including Russell Wilson, Matt Forte, Ahmad Bradshaw, Dennis Pitta, Arian Foster and Joseph Addai. Where it really makes a difference is when I’m studying a player in a game where the competition limits a player’s statistical success and I’m still able to see the talent shine through. Likewise, this process has helped me spot critical issues with players like Stephen Hill, Isaiah Pead, Matt Leinart, Robert Meachem, and C.J. Spiller when others anticipated an early, and often immediate, impact.  

Q: The RSP is huge, but you say it is easy to read and navigate. How is it structure? Is it iPad-friendly?

The easiest way to describe the RSP is that it’s an online publication with two main parts:

  • The front part most people read, which is the same length of any draft magazine you see at the newsstand.
  • The back part that my craziest, most devoted, and masochistic readers check out – all the play-by-play analysis of every player I watch.

The RSP has a menu that allows you to jump to various parts of the publication so the crazy detail in the back doesn’t swallow you whole and you never return to reality. I continue to provide the back part because many of my readers love to know that I back up my analysis with painstaking work. In that sense they are also sadists, but being the ultimate masochist that I am – I appreciate their sadism.

“The GoodReader app takes anything I want to read in PDF form, presents it very nicely, and makes the document portable and enjoyable. The encyclopedia that you’ve created (which I absolutely love 25% into it) would require someone to peer into his or her computer/laptop screen for a very long time. On an iPad inside that app it bookmarks your place and makes reading long files a joy…AND PORTABLE.”

-Ray Calder

Q: How is The Rookie Scouting Portfolio rooted in best practices?

I managed a large branch of a call center and eventually had responsibility for the performance evaluation of over 70 call centers around the U.S. I began my career from the bottom-up. I was heavily involved in recruiting, hiring, training, and developing large and small teams of employees.I often had to build large teams that competed with a client’s internal call enter and with a fraction of the budget to train and develop in terms of time and money.

We beat them consistently.

One of the biggest reasons was a focus on instituting quality processes. We figured out what was important to us, how to prioritize it’s importance, and how to evaluate our employs in a fair, consistent, and flexible manner to spot the good and bad. Eventually, my company sent me to an organization that provided training for best-practice performance techniques that successful Fortune 500 businesses tailored to their service and manufacturing sectors.

The most important thing I learned that applies to the RSP is best practices for monitoring performance. Although the original purpose for my training was to monitor representatives talking with customers over the phone, these techniques also made sense to apply to personnel evaluation in other ways. Football is one of them.

Think the NFL couldn’t use a best-practice approach? Read about its current evaluation system and what former scouts have to say about the management of that process and you’ll think differently. The RSP approach makes the evaluation process transparent to the reader and helps the author deliver quality analysis.

Another “best practice” I’m implementing in 2012 is “giving back.” Ten percent of each sale in 2012 is going to charity.

Q: What do readers think of the RSP?

I collect these emails like one of my favorite pizza joints in Colorado collects napkin drawings from customers and places them all over the walls of its restaurant. If you have one you want to send me, please feel free. I’ll add them my list. Here are some of them below:

“If you don’t buy the RSP, be prepared to get dominated in your rookie draft by someone that did.”

– Jarrett Behar, Staff writer for Dynasty League Football and creator of Race to the Bottom.

“In complete awe of the 2007 Rookie Scouting Portfolio via @MattWaldman — Incredibly in-depth analysis that required time & football smarts”

– Ryan Lownes, NFL Draft analyst, writer or

“Any diehard #Dynasty #fantasyfootball fan should go get @MattWaldman’s Rookie Scouting Portfolio You’ll thank me later”

-@JamesFFB NFL Draft analyst, enthusiast, and writer for and Bleacher Report.

“For someone like me who doesn’t closely follow the college game, there is nothing I have found even vaguely measuring up to your thoroughness and point by point analysis of the draftable rookies. Among my favorite things is that at the core you rely on play rather than comparing stats produced or combine numbers. Measurables I can get anywhere, but numbers offer little perspective on what they mean or what factors together created them. I want to know what a guy looks like out there, who plays fast – rather than who runs fast in shorts with no one to dodge or avoid. Which WRs can and can’t run routes or consistently get separation or catch with their hands or fight off defenders to make contested catches. Your exhaustive package gives me a basis to work from including a careful look at every significant player. I can read and add the views and comments and stats I want to like ornaments on the Christmas tree – where that tree is the foundation of player abilities that you weave together into a ranked whole.

I have no way to know how right or wrong your conclusions are. You certainly don’t shy away from controversial evaluations. But overall, for just plain understanding of who the rookies are, how they play and what we might expect in the NFL – I don’t know of anything close. After reading this tome, I would feel blind and naked walking into a rookie draft next year without having that insight. My huge thanks!”

Catbird, message boards

“Love your work. I’ve subscribed to your RSP for the past 3 years and it is my bible for dynasty league rookie drafts.”

– David Liu

“In our business, we are able to access many different types of reference materials. The Rookie Scouting Portfolio stands above the rest for one simple fact: it is more comprehensive than anything else I have seen. Matt Waldman is head and shoulders the best fantasy football expert I have had on the air, and his expertise starts well before the players get to the NFL with analysis and game film study of the incoming rookie class. I can’t recommend the RSP highly enough.”

– Ian Furness
Host, Sports Radio 950 KJR
Seattle, WA

“All I can really say at first is “Wow!” There is just a TON of great and useful information packed into that report. I thought I’d give it a quick glance during my lunch hour and I found myself reading quite a bit of it over the next 2 hours. I like the way everything is laid out. It’s easy to understand and covers all the items necessary to make it a top notch scouting report for the fantasy footballer.

– Tim Huckaby

“IMHO this is a MUST read. Matt really does the work and tells it the way he sees it. Had a couple of GREAT picks this year with Austin Collie and and I think Stafford. In prior years, he has lead me to Ray Rice in a PPR no less and Mike Sims Walker… If you are like me in a Zealots league, go back and read the prior years as it helps with the RFA/UFA process.”

– Tony Madeira

Hey Matt,

Just thought you would want to know that I enjoyed the 2012 Rookie Scouting Portfolio so much that I had to buy the other six years, to see what you had to say about previous players. I’ve been playing fantasy football for over 20 years (started at age 11) and I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to see someone put this much effort into analyzing prospects skills, and then filtering that info back to their potential fantasy value.

Not sure if you have a running testimonial page but if your ever inclined to do so, feel free to use this email as one, if you wish.

Not trying to kiss your butt or anything but your work is really an inspiration for someone like myself.

Thank you for your efforts,

Sean Douglas,’

Download the 2012 RSP or purchase past issues (2006-2011)


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