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From the outburst of attention to sabermetrics thanks to Moneyball (which has made Billy Beane and Bill James household names among even the most casual of sports fans), and the seemingly unrelenting meteoric rise of fantasy sports that has people clamoring for every edge publicly available, the application of analytics to measure performance in sports has become a thriving industry in and of itself.

Beyond niche fantasy or perceived nerdy sports numbers sites, said industry is very much mainstream with ESPN centering a whole afternoon program around stats and spreads.

When and Bleacher Report NFC North Lead Writer Andrew Garda first proposed the idea of a Numbers-based panel, we thought of creating a stand-alone fantasy-based panel around an event like the NFL Draft.  As Andrew helped us dig deeper, we realized just how diverse and robust the topic could be.

As such, we are thrilled to have it included in BWB5, helping us really extend the breadth of topics being discussed this October.

Meet the panel:

Moderator: Amanda Rykoff, espnW:  Amanda Rykoff is a New York City based sportswriter and contributor to, ESPN’s online destination for female sports fans and athletes. Baseball is her passion and Amanda writes about subjects ranging from athlete profiles to female sports executives to auditioning to be a Washington Nationals Racing President. She is an avid fantasy football and baseball participant and the reigning champion in her longtime fantasy football league. Follow her on Twitter: @amandarykoff.

Andrew Garda, B/R,  Andrew Garda is the lead writer for the Bleacher Report NFC North blog, a staff member of the fantasy football site, and the NFL writer for He hosts a weekly video podcast on Livestream called The Hard Count and also has appeared on numerous podcasts and radio programs. Andrew has interviewed numerous NFL players including Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Quinton Coples at this year’s NFL draft—the third he has attended as fully credentialed media-and events like the Senior Bowl and various Pro Days.

Michael Smith joined ESPN in July 2004 as a National Football League senior writer for, covering league news and major events such as the NFL Draft, NFL Playoffs and the Super Bowl, and is currently the lead commentator for ESPN2’s Numbers Never Lie. He was a correspondent for E:60, ESPN’s first multi-themed prime-time newsmagazine program, which debuted October 2007.  Prior to joining ESPN on a full-time basis, Smith was a reporter for the Boston Globe (2001-2004) where he served as the paper’s NFL and New England Patriots beat writer.  He covered the Patriots in their first two of three Super Bowl victories – 2002 (XXXVI) and 2004 (XXXVIII).  Smith began his journalism career while a student at Loyola University in New Orleans serving as a sports reporter and copy editor for the New Orleans Times-Picayune. He received a bachelor of science degree in mass communication in 2001.  (Bio from

Bill Squadron has been an executive, government official and attorney in the telecommunications, sports and media fields for more than 25 years. He currently heads Bloomberg Sports, the division of Bloomberg LP that provides data, statistical analysis, and visualizations for sports professionals and fans.  Before joining Bloomberg, Mr. Squadron was President of the IP PRIME division of SES Americom, and a member of SES Americom’s Management Committee Previously, Mr. Squadron headed advanced media and technology in North America for IMG, where his team produced a variety of Web and wireless products and services in sports and fashion for Tiger Woods, Maria Sharapova, Jeff Gordon, Fashion Week at Bryant Park,, Sprint, the Staples Center, the USTA and many others.  From 1997 to 2003, Mr. Squadron was co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Sportvision, Inc., which remains the premier provider of technologies that enrich sports telecasts. Examples include the company’s Emmy-winning inventions of the 1st and Ten® yellow first down line, NASCAR “Race F/X” and the “K Zone” baseball tracking and display system. In 2001, Ernst & Young named Mr. Squadron New York City Entrepreneur of the Year in the media category. Before founding Sportvision, Mr. Squadron was Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning, at News Corporation. From 1990-93, as Commissioner of the NYC Department of Telecommunications and Energy in the Dinkins Administration, Mr. Squadron administered New York’s cable franchises, oversaw the City’s communications and energy policies, and launched and managed the City’s five-channel cable network. Prior to that, Mr. Squadron was a partner at the law firm of Morrison & Foerster in Washington, D.C., where he also served as an aide on President Carter’s Domestic Policy Staff, taught at Georgetown University Law Center, and served as Press Secretary to Congressman James Scheuer. Mr. Squadron is a graduate of Swarthmore College and the University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall) School of Law. (Bio from BloombergLink)

Joe Fortenbaugh resides in Las Vegas where he covers the gaming side of the NFL and NCAA in addition to leading the National Football Post’s fantasy football coverage.  He previously worked as an NFL agent at JB Sports from 2003-2006 while earning his degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego.

Compared to Bill James by The New York Times Magazine, Aaron Schatz is the creator of and most of its original statistical metrics for analyzing the NFL, including DVOA, DYAR, and Adjusted Line Yards. For eight years, he has served as lead writer, editor, and statistician on the book series Football Outsiders Almanac. He also writes for and ESPN The Magazine, and during the 2011 season was a regular panelist on the ESPN2 show Numbers Never* Lie. Before Football Outsiders, Aaron spent five years on the radio at WBRU Providence and WKRO Daytona Beach, and three years as the writer and producer of the Lycos 50, the Internet’s foremost authority on the people, places, and things that are searched online.  He lives in Framingham, Massachusetts with his wife Kathryn and daughter Mirinae.

Tom Haberstroh is an ESPN Insider covering the NBA with an analytical focus. He joined the writing staff in 2010 after spending two years a a consultant to ESPN’s Stats and Analysis group, a researcher for Keith Law and a writer for Hoopdata and Hardwood Paroxysm. His work can currently be found on ESPN Insider, ESPN Heat Index and ESPN the Magazine. He proudly holds a degree in economics, but more importantly, an unofficial degree in sabermetrics.


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