Tag:Fantasy Football
Posted on: October 26, 2009 4:37 pm

More Thoughts on Predictive Content

I had no idea that the topic about the Guru was going to be such a polarizing subject.  I absolutely love the fact that you (the collective fantasy community) can put so much thought into not only whether you preferred one way over another way, but also coming up with totally different ways to derive a data point that would be relevant in making your lineup decisions.  I even enjoyed the fact that people took the time to criticize my spelling. For the record I don't spell, grammar, or even fact-check these blogs.  My main goal is to make it through each blog without swearing (a challenge for me on a sentence to sentence basis when I speak). 

A few main themes I have gotten either through the feedback on this blog or feedback from other forums:

1.  The Guru (or any predictive number for that matter) being on the Set Lineup page sways people's decisions.

This may sound strange but I don't think I understood the effect that putting a predictive number on the lineup page has on people until I read this column.  We've had it as a part of our products for so long that it's easy to forget that people actually use this as the sole basis for setting their lineups.  I have always looked at this number sort of like an 'over/under'.  It's a number that's out there, determined by some "expert" and it's on me as the team owner to figure out whether each player will exceed that number or fail to reach that number.  After all that is supposed the be the allure of Fantasy Sports...that I, as the team owner ultimately decide what each player will do each week.  If you are like me, you do not want to rely on someone else, even someone who gets paid to analyze this stuff, to make the final decision on who goes into your lineup.  But I am now realizing how tempting it can be to see a big number next to a player and want to put them in because of that. 

I saw the idea tossed around that maybe there should be an option to have the Guru turned off, or at least not show it on the Set Lineup page.  I even saw a comment that the lineup page is cluttered enough already and the Guru doesn't need to be on there.  We already have plans to tweak the Set Lineup page, and all of this feedback will be considered. 

2.  Both ways of doing the Guru, either by formula or by human, are inadequate.  Users seem to want additional data points. 

This one doesn't really suprise me at all.  And I want to give you all of the data points you can handle.  I've mentioned before the idea of a 'Consistency Factor', which would come in handy when trying to decide between between two players who average 10 points a week, but one guy is consistently in the 8-12 range while the other guy is either scoring 20 points or 0 points.  For some, they may want the guaranteed 8-12 points, but for others, they need the risk/reward play of a guy capable of blowing up for 20+ points. Regardless, it's relevant data. 

So, what else would you use as a data point for making your lineup decisions? 

3.  Users seem to want to see a "rating" of the predictions.  Meaning that you'd like to see how close/far the predictions have been overall.

I love this idea.  I've always believed that there isn't nearly enough accountability in the Fantasy prediction field.  Plus, Dave Richard and Jamey Eisenberg are running out of reasons to dislike me, so I should provide them with a few more.  Seriously though, I think we should do this not only for our writer predictions, but for the formula as well.  I'll have to see if I can get buy-in from our editorial team. 

I really appreciated all the feedback I got from that last post and would love to see everyone keep it coming.  There are some big changes on the horizon not only in Fantasy but for all of CBSSports.com and this has proved to be a great source for great ideas.   

Posted on: June 26, 2009 4:46 pm
Edited on: June 26, 2009 4:47 pm

College Fantasy Football...We've Come a Long Way!

The road towards making College Fantasy Football a true 'viable' fantasy sport has been a long and, at times, painful one.  From concept to execution it has taken nearly 4 years just to get it to a point where it is up to par with our other Fantasy products.  We started from some very humble beginnings.  So, I'd like to lay out for you where we started and where this product is now, just to illustrate the commitment we have to College Fantasy Football


Where we started...
The first year we rolled this product out, the concept of College Fantasy Football was so new that we had a difficult time just finding someone to provide stats for the game. The stats were inconsistent all season long at best.  You could check out one source for college football stats and find one number and check out another source and see another number.  The problem is that there is no one set official stat provider for College Football. 

Where we are now...
We've spent the last few years working with our stat provider for this game to really solidify the feed.  We've both gotten better at getting the accurate stats up in a timeframe that CBSSports.com Fantasy players are used to.  I think you'll find that this year's statistics will be the best yet and at a level that we can all be proud of. 

Player Pool

Where we started...
When we launch this game (typically Late June/Early July), we have no idea of who is going to make a College roster.  There are incoming freshman, 5th (and 6th and 7th) year seniors, redshirts, transfers, and other anomolies to deal with that just don't exist in other sports.  And again, there is no one set official source for college rosters.  In the past this has led to some really good players not being available in the player pool for the draft and sometimes to start the season.

Another issue is the fact that until last year we had to use 'Team Units' rather than individual players.  So, I would have to select 'Florida QB' rather than Tim Tebow and I'd get stats for any Florida player that was listed on the roster as a QB.  The same went for Running Backs, Wide Receivers, and Tight Ends.  It's hard to root for a player when you're looking at a screen that says 'Team RB' and it's just not the same experience as rooting for a specific player.

Where we are now...
We have continued to work with our provider on getting the rosters as early as possibile.  They have done a tremendous job getting the information from the schools earlier and earlier each season.  We currently feel like we have a great player pool and it is being updated daily with all of the new information get this summer. 

We've pushed the envelope in terms of using individual player names.  You can now select the players you want rather than the 'Team Units'.  It makes for a much better user experience and makes it so much more fun to watch College Football. 

Live Scoring

Where we started...
Live Scoring was another problem.  Anyone who is familiar with our products knows that our Live Scoring is second to none.  For many of you, it is the reason you come back here year after year.  So, not having Live Scoring for College Fantasy Football was very troublesome to us. The first year, we had to show stats the next day after games were played.  The next year we added links to the GameCenter pages so at least you could follow your player's game.  But still, stats didn't appear in your GameCenter until the next day. 

Where we are now...
This is the first year we are trying Live Scoring for this game.  We have a live scoring feed for the following conferences and teams: ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, PAC 10, Conference USA, Notre Dame, and all teams in the AP Top 25. You can still use anoy of the other conferences in Division I, but only those listed will score live.


Where we started...
The sheer volume of teams and players in Division I College Football is so great that it makes providing valuable fantasy content and updates very difficult. The player updates and outlooks were at times sparse and often outdated. 

Where we are now...
We've gotten better each season and this season will be no different.  We've really beefed up the content for this product this year.  You'll find exponentially more player updates.  The news and analysis will be both plentiful and timely.  It will be more in line with what you've come to expectt from other CBSSports.com Fantasy products. 

My favorite part of this game is the fact that I can select which conferences I want to use in my player pool.  The whacky WAC league I play in every year is the most fun.  You never know what is going to happen in those games. 

Basically what I'm saying is that I'm really happy with where this product is now.  I'm sure it is the best College Fantasy product on the web and I'm proud to have it in the CBSSports.com Fantasy suite of products.

Check it out and let me know how it can be improved. 

Posted on: June 4, 2009 9:59 am

The Voice of the CBSSports.com Fantasy Draft Room

I received a few questions during Fantasy Baseball Draft season about the new voice in the draft rooms.  For those of you in a typical "snake" style draft, the voice lets you know when you are on deck to pick, or when you are on the clock to make your pick.  If you are in an "auction" style draft the voice lets you know that time is running out on the current auction by saying "Going Once", "Going Twice", and "Sold" once a player is sold.  It also lets you know when it is your turn to nominate a player. 

We've gotten some good feedback on it.  A lot of people wanted it so they could leave the room during a draft, turn the volume on their speakers up, and the voice will let them know when they are on the clock.  Some people have gotten annoyed with it, but we do offer an easy way to turn it off.  But most of the feedback we've gotten is about who the voice is. Many people thought it sounded familiar to them, but that they could not place it.

Since we launched Fantasy Football this week and drafts are going to start ramping up soon, I thought I'd post it here. Anyway, the voice of the draft room is none other than CBSSports' own Gus Johnson . If you are familiar with Gus Johnson's work, you know that he is Mr. Excitement when it comes to calling a game.  If you are unfamiliar with Gus Johnson by name, you've no doubt heard him call either NCAA Tournament or NFL games and probably asked yourself why this guy was getting so excited about a random play in a game.  He calls every play in a game like it is the most important play in the game.  And that's what we liked about him.  He was a no-brainer of a choice when we were trying to determine who was going to be the voice of our draft rooms. He brings a high level of excitement to what we feel is one of the most important days of the Fantasy season.  

We also had Gus create a bunch of other sound bytes that we are going to try to work into the draft room as well. So you can look out for those in the future.  By the way, he's also in the Mock Draft rooms which are also up and running if you want to check it out. We'll have Mock Drafts for Auction leagues coming soon. As always, if you have any feedback about the voice of the draft room, I am listening.
Posted on: April 28, 2009 9:19 am
Edited on: April 28, 2009 9:20 am

Football Commissioner 2009

I know most of my traffic right now is coming from Fantasy Baseball leagues, but I thought I'd let everyone know that Football Commissioner 2009 will be "rolled over" to the 2009 season this morning.  Basically that means that if you had a league with us last year, the site will be updated with the 2009 schedule, 2009 player pool, and 2009 projections.  All of the rookies that were drafted during this past weekend's NFL draft have been added to the site. 

For anyone who is new to the Commissioner products, we leave the sites up year round so you can make any changes you need to during the offseason.  As soon as it makes sense, we "roll over" to the upcoming season so that you can begin preparing for the next season.  All of the previous years' standings, schedules, transactions, rosters, and league history are archived and easily accessible on the site. 

Category: Fantasy
Posted on: April 27, 2009 2:04 pm
Edited on: April 27, 2009 2:07 pm
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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com