To Our Customers and Partners,
Members of Advanced Sports Logic’s (“ASL”) team recently attended the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (“FSTA”) 2014 summer conference in San Francisco. Attending the conference afforded us several exciting opportunities, including:
- Participating in the FSTA Experts Draft for the fifth year in a row – each previous year The Machine has made the playoffs and we like our chances again this year
- Demoing our 2014 mobile products which we plan to make available as a free extension to desktop later this year
- Meeting with partners to explore ways to work together to create the best experience for mutual customers
- Introducing I/T Solution services to potential partners in the industry
FSTA Experts Draft
Using The Machine as our guide, Josh Rabbitt, The Machine’s Product Manager, (via Skype) and I navigated the draft, starting with the number two overall pick.
This continues our tradition of using The Machine to participate in this draft since 2010. We have made the playoffs four years in a row and have the highest regular season head-to-head win percentage.*
From 2010 through 2012, the Experts Draft had very interesting and challenging rules which had actually made it easier for The Machine to dominate. In 2013, the scoring rules changed, leveling the playing field by bringing the draft into more familiar territory for most experts. Nevertheless, The Machine adapted its strategy and delivered another year of solid draft recommendations. At the conclusion of the draft, The Machine gave our team a 17.3% probability to win of which, starting from a field of 14 teams, is 2.4 times more likely than average.
In past years, wide receivers were undervalued in the early rounds and The Machine capitalized on this. From the photo of the draft board below, you can see that this year the selection of wide receivers and running backs in the early rounds was quite balanced and The Machine adjusted accordingly.
I am excited about our new free product this year called Rate My Team so, out of curiosity, I ran a Rate My Team a week later to see how we did:
I am impressed with the balance between regular season wins and playoff optimization. The Machine projects our team to have a great chance of being the first seed, and also to have the top score every week of the playoffs. Given that the season-long weekly projections are a blend of Pro Football Focus, Fantasy Sharks, and Fantasy Football Metrics, I have more confidence than ever that the playoff optimization is more credible at this point in the season than in past years.
With the enhanced Waiver Recommendation feature, which calculates bidding bucks and balances current week needs with long term success, I feel more prepared than ever for the upcoming season. In fantasy football, there is always a large element of chance and a 17.3% win probability is far from actually winning, but Josh and I like our team and are excited about our chance to win it all this year!
The following graph shows how The Machine “thinks”. It does not add fantasy points; it uses probability distributions to model the future performance of players and teams. This graph shows The Machine’s week 15 calculation of our team’s probability to score various ranges of fantasy points. The bottom axis shows fantasy points, so the more to the right a curve is, the better a team is optimized for the playoffs. Our team is clearly better optimized for the playoffs than any other team in the league.
The Machine on Mobile 2014
The Machine will be available on Android and iOS devices later this year. Most features are currently running fine with our R&D team right now. During the conference, we had the chance to demo our mobile product to some of our partners. In 2014, The Machine for mobile will be a free extension of the desktop product for ESPN, MyFantasyLeague and RealTime Fantasy Sports, and will support all main features except pre-draft features for dynasty and keeper leagues. Here are a couple of screen shots:
Discussions with Partners
My team and I enjoyed meeting with partners to explore ways to work together that give our mutual customers a greater experience. We are pleased to offer three new features this year:
- Direct setting (available with CBS Sports, MyFantasyLeague, and RealTime Fantasy Sports) enables customers to enter lineups, waiver wire requests, and manage trades directly from within The Machine
- Auto-cycle (available with CBS Sports, MyFantasyLeague, and RealTime Fantasy Sports) empowers customers to set lineups for multiple teams with the press of a single button
- Co-pilot (coming soon for ESPN, MyFantasyLeague and RealTime Fantasy Sports) allows customers to receive timed reminders that include push-button access to specific recommendations from The Machine
Combining these features, our customers could receive a lineup reminder 30 minutes before the games start on Sunday or a waiver reminder 30 minutes before their waiver wire deadline, click on a single button to view The Machine’s recommendations, click on another button to enter the recommendation into their league, and click on a final button to fire off the recommendations for their other leagues.
We are also working with Sports Injury Predictor, Fantasy Football Metrics, and Pro Football Focus to enable premium access to their content from within The Machine. Partners we met at the conference are excited by ASL’s efforts to make fantasy football easier and more fun to play.
I/T Solution Services
Finally, John Mincarelli, (co-founder and Chief Information Officer) presented our new I/T Solution Services at the FSTA elevator pitch session. This is more fully described in our press release. Here is a photo of John and I presenting at the conference.
That about wraps up this year’s summary of our attendance at the 2014 FSTA summer conference. My team and I are grateful for the FSTA and many hard working people that make this semi-annual event possible, and for all the partners that work with ASL toward bringing the best experience to our mutual customers. Wishing our partners and customers a great 2014 fantasy season!
CEO, Advanced Sports Logic, Inc.