Posted on: June 29, 2010 9:23 am
Edited on: June 29, 2010 9:58 am
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College Fantasy Football Commissioner

Well folks, it was only a matter of time.  Once we got individual players and live scoring for College Football teams it was only a matter of time before we gave you the full commissioner experience for College Fantasy Football.  We now have live scoring for ALL Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Div. 1A) schools.  Basically, if you love College Football, this is the best Fantasy experience you can have with it and best of all, it's FREE.  You can choose which conferences you want to use as your player pool, set the rosters up anyway you want to, and customize your scoring system just like any of our other commissioner products.  I have to say that I was skeptical of Fantasy College Football at first.  I barely knew the players on the teams I rooted for let alone try and figure out who the good players are throughout College Football.  But since there is really good content and projections, I've drafted some really great teams in recent years which, in turn, has actually elevated my interest in all of College Football.  I find myself watching WAC games until all hours of the night, just to root on my guys.  It's done for me, what Fantasy has done for Pro Football.  So, get your buddies together and start a league.  Check it out here .  

Posted on: June 22, 2010 9:45 am
 

How Do You Access Your League and Why?

It's been kicked around here for a while now that the League Homepage might not be the most ideal experience for team owners.  We've always looked at it as sort of a one stop portal into your fantasy league.  You can get a lot there - content, player news, see your team and standings, league message board, transactions, and view your commissioner's message - but you can't really do anything there. I already know that the lineup page is the most important page in Fantasy, so are we doing you guys a disservice by not giving it to you right away?  Are we getting in the way of you accomplishing your task?  On the other hand, there is a lot of communication that goes on inside of a league.  And we need a way to let you know what is going on.  So, what would be the ideal experience?  If you could design the page that you see when you come into your league?  What would it be? 

I would imagine that everyone has their own definition of what it should be.  For me it would be this:

1.  My Team - a place for me to quickly set a lineup or make a roster move and see some player news about my players, and any trades offered to me.
2.  A place to quickly see what is going on in the league - message board postings, recent transactions, commissioner's message, standings.


That's it.  Anything else is extraneous to me.   

Category: Fantasy
Tags: Homepage, Lineup
 
Posted on: June 1, 2010 9:36 am
 

Weekly and Rest of Season Player Rankings

I posted a previous entry about our AccuScore projections and how we're using that data.  We've made an update to include weekly and rest of season player rankiings based on that information. 

You can get general rankings on our Fantasy News site by clicking here . Or better yet, you can get them specific to your league's scoring system by clicking the link under the Cover Story on your league homepage.  I'd post the link here, but it is specific to each league. 


Here is the description by our editorial team...

We've combined statistical projections from AccuScore with your specific scoring system to provide you with the most accurate rankings possible for your format. These rankings will be updated multiple times DAILY, taking into account matchups, past performance and news developments. You can choose to either view our rankings for the next seven days for immediate lineup advice or for the rest of the season to get a broader view of how we think each position might shake out for the remainder of the year.
Posted on: April 2, 2010 3:26 pm
 

Daily, Weekly, and Rest of Season Projections

I know it's been a while since I've updated the blog.  A lot has been going on that will make the site better that you all should start to see over the course of the next few months.  But in the meantime, we're adding a really cool feature for the start of Baseball season that we're hoping will add to your roster management experience.  We've partnered with AccuScore to bring you in-season projections for all of your Fantasy Baseball players.  In the past we've given you our own pre-season projections for every player.  And these are very useful in making decisions around drafting and pre-season pickups. But as the season wears on, we all know that things change.  So looking a pre-season projections becomes pretty useless after a point. 

AccuScore has a unique system, explained in detail here , but basically they simulate every play from every game 10,000 times to determine the best probability of what will happen.  Through this method, they will be feeding us daily, weekly, and "rest of season" projections for every player.  So, on your sortable stats pages, you'll now find selections for the projections for the upcoming day, scoring period, and a players projections for the rest of the season (or from that day on).  Also, on the player pages, you'll now see projected points for a player on the Fantasy Trend component for Head to Head leagues, and projected stats for a player in Roto leagues.  You'll also notice a 'Next 7' as an additional lineup view on your Set Lineup pages. 

So, as always, your feedback is welcome and encouraged.  It is the only way we'll know if this is useful for you and how we can make it even better.  We're excited about bringing you this additional data and hope it helps. 
Posted on: February 5, 2010 3:11 pm
 

Baseball Scoring System Changes - 2010

Folks,
I remember how passionate most of you were about the changes we made to the standard Head to Head scoring system last season. Without further adieu, I'm going to point you to a column that Eric Mack wrote about the changes for this season.  We took a lot of your feedback, even from this forum into consideration.  Please don't hesitate to let me know your thoughts.  You can check it out by clicking HERE .
Posted on: November 6, 2009 1:04 pm
Edited on: November 6, 2009 1:18 pm
 

Preview Page Questions

I was recently checking a report that shows what keywords users are searching for in our help center database.  I was a little surprised when I saw that many of the features of the Preview Page (Live Scoring/Preview in your leagues) were on the report.  To be honest, it had been a while since these features were examined and I even had to do some homework so I could remember how each component was determined. The bottom line is that I can see how people would have questions about things such as how the coach rating is determined, so we're going to be including some explanations on that page in the future.  But until then, this will have to suffice.  If you have any further questions, ideas of ways to make this better, or ideas for additional items you'd like to see on this page, please feel free to drop them into the comments section.    

Coach Rating – This basically shows the ratio of actual fantasy points that your team has scored in relation to the amount of fantasy points your team could have scored if they had started the best possible lineup each week.

The formula is: Actual Fantasy Points/Optimal Fantasy Points * 100
We then rank the teams in the league to give some relevancy. 

Example:  
              291               /         362                    * 100 =  80   (11)         
Actual Fantasy Points / Possible Fantasy Points * 100 = Rating (Rank in League)

My personal feeling on Coach Rating is that it's an interesting indicator that can be great for smack talking, but that it often requires a deeper dive to find out if that particular coach is as good or bad as the rating indicates.  For instance, a team could have a terrible bench and therefore the owner has no difficult decisions to make each week, which would result in having a great coach rating. Is that owner a great coach?  No, he/she just has no other options.      

Schedule Difficulty – This is basically an indicator of how difficult a team’s schedule has been.  It takes into account each opponent’s cumulative win/loss record as if that opponent had played every other team in the league on that week. But it's different than the Standings/Breakdown page (another great indicator of how good a team is) because it looks at the breakdown for each team's specific opponents on the specific weeks that those teams met.

Example (and this is admittedly a lousy example as it provides no context whatsoever):
        9              /         14                         =     .391 (11)
Cumulative Wins/Cumulative Games Played = Winning Percentage of Opponents (Rank in League)

I think this is a true indicator of how tough a team's schedule has been which means that it is doing its job. Points Against can be deceiving if a team played a team that had an absolutely monster week. And the Standings/Breakdown is more a reflection on how many points your team has scored rather than giving context to your opponents. 

The rest of these are pretty straight-forward, but I put the definitions in for clarity sake. 

Passing Rank – The total Fantasy Points (active lineup) your team has scored from the QB position in relation to the rest of the league.

Rushing Rank – The total Fantasy Points (active lineup) your team has scored from the RB position in relation to the rest of the league. 

Receiving Rank – The total Fantasy Points (active lineup) your team has scored from the TE position in relation to the rest of the league.
 
Defense/ST Rank – The total Fantasy Points (active lineup) your team has scored from the DT, DST, or ID positions in relation to the rest of the league.  (Depends on how your league is setup)

My feeling on these is that they are not the most accurate portrayal of a team's strengths and weaknesses.  It doesn't take into account if you've made any recent trades to better your team in a particular area.  It doesn't take into account if you have players on your bench who might be performing better than the players you are starting each week.  And it doesn't take into account any injuries that might be giving a player on your team added value.  I'm going to look at tweaking these a little bit. 

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: September 17, 2009 4:54 pm
 

Who is the Guru?

Throughout the years, we've had many incarnations of and therefore, questions about the Guru.  The Guru, as it was designed, was a formula that was supposed to give an indication of how well your player will perform in the upcoming week's football game.  It appears on every team's 'Set Lineup' page.  It used to take into account the player's past performance, some projections, injury status, and opponent.  We would tweak the actual formula from time to time.  It wasn't perfect, but we thought that it served its purpose. 

Our content team, including but not limited to Dave Richard and Jamey Eisenberg, apparently used to get some emails from readers who thought that they were the 'Guru' offering this advice. And when it didn't work out for that particular reader, those emails could get pretty nasty.  I guess those guys had just about enough of that when they came to us last year and said that if they were going to take flack from the readers that they at least wanted it to be based on their own weekly projections for each player so that they could defend their decisions.  It seemed like a daunting task, but they were up to the challenge. So now those Guru numbers you see on your Lineup page are the result of those guys projecting out a weekly stat line for each player.  Each site then applies those stats to your league's specific scoring system and spits out what your score would be with that stat line.  If you want to see the stats that go into your 'Guru' number, just click "Weekly Projections' at the top of your 'Set Lineup' table. 

Personally I'm still not sold on which way is better.  While it's nice to have a projected stat line on each player, it really puts pressure on thye football writers to have to determine which players are going to score TDs that particular week or not.  For instance, with the old system, because it was a formula, the number could be the result of an average number of TDs per game.  Say RB 'X' rushed for an average of 65 yards and had scored 3 TDs for the first 6 weeks of a season.  The formula might have projected that he would have 65 yards and .5 TDs that week - an average score of about 9 points.  With our content team projecting out a weekly stat line, they don't have the luxury of predicting out .5 (or half of a Touchdown).  So if they player has been averaging about 65 yards a week, they have to make the call between saying he'll score a TD which would put the player at about 12 points, or not scoring a TD which would put the player at about 6 points.  It's a pretty big difference.   Which do you prefer?  Think about it and let me know. 

Category: Fantasy Football
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com