How could fantasy football games be improved?
January 17, 2008 1:20 PM   Subscribe

If you could could develop the next generation of a fantasy fantasy football games how would you change/improve them?

For players of fantasy sports at yahoo, sportsline, espn etc... especially the league manager/commissioner games - what features would you add if you could start from scratch? Social, asynchronous gaming, mmog etc... total blue sky?
posted by specialk420 to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You know what would be really cool, though might not be possible... Something like Handicapping in bowling. Supposedly in yahoo, they keep track of your overall fantasy record, maybe at the commissioner's discretion it would be possible for newer players.inexperienced players to have a handicap or a spread they could try to cover.
posted by drezdn at 1:35 PM on January 17, 2008

Response by poster: hey drezdn... i have to guess that some commissioner products would enable their users to do that - but yeah that is an awesome suggestion... it is a really hard hobby for noobs (as my slowly getting text tech savvy ex-girlfriend likes to call herself) to pick up.. feel free to share more.
posted by specialk420 at 1:39 PM on January 17, 2008

This was my first year of fantasy football, and I played on Yahoo. I ended up in 2nd place, probably because I obsessed about it too much.

This is pretty mundane, but what I really really wanted was better stats. I wanted a player's standard deviation so I could tell how consistent they were. I wanted to be able to compare any of the stats amongst any number of players for any week or set of weeks.

I know some people like to play out a game in Madden before the real game. Maybe a way to hook into that to simulate your fantasy scores? (There are people who are obsessed enough to do that for every relevant game, right? ;))

If you're auto drafting, you should be able to specify how you want to draft by position. So, for instance, you'd tell it you want to draft a RB, another RB, a WR, your QB, another WR, etc. It'd pick the top player at each position, obviously.
posted by natabat at 2:15 PM on January 17, 2008

Mid-game lineup changes. If my starting QB blows his knee out in the 1st quarter, I'd want to switch to my backup. For scoring purposes, the two QBs stats would be pro-rated and added together (e.g. QB #1 was replaced at the five-minute mark in his game, so the stats generated by QB #1 before the five-minute mark in his game and the stats generated by QB #2 after the five-minute mark in his game are counted to my total at the QB position as a whole).
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:40 PM on January 17, 2008

Oh, and you treat these changes like pitchers in baseball -- once they're removed from the game by the fantasy league manager, they're done for the day.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:42 PM on January 17, 2008

Response by poster: Great suggestions - the real time lineup changes is definitely an interesting one. How about from an user experience - user interface standpoint? I find the tables and forms mind numbing... but ... hardcore users like the raw functionality.
posted by specialk420 at 2:50 PM on January 17, 2008

Mid-game lineup changes

THIS! But only in the case of injuries, otherwise I see it being abused. Alternatively if coaches could decide who's riding the pine the night before and not five minutes before a game starts that would be helpful too.
posted by Big_B at 3:49 PM on January 17, 2008

Response by poster: How about a game that allowed real-time lineup changes... so you could actually bench players and play others as needed or conditions in the game changed (goal line stand - bring in your big strong RB etc..) ? technnically very hard to accomplish - but curious what your interest would be?
posted by specialk420 at 4:47 PM on January 17, 2008

real-time line up changes would be cool, but I'd leave it at the you bench them and they're out. It would really reward people following the game real time.

However, if you don't really want to reward the obsessives, it would be cool if you allowed "if this player gets injured during the game sub this player." You could do it using the matching minutes way mentioned above, you could just combine the two (reward people for picking players that will get injured and call it the Stephon Marbury method), or if your player gets injured and automatically replaced, their stats from that game are completely null and the replacement's stats are used (this would probably be the easiest to program).
posted by drezdn at 5:46 PM on January 17, 2008

This response might be a bit broad for the question, but is a cool direction I'd like someone to try for a fantasy sports league.

One idea that I thing might be a bit far out for what you're looking to do (and would probably work better for baseball) would be to take the weekly stats and drafting concept and use it to make a D&D style fantasy game where what happens in the real world controls what happens in the game.

So you build your "party" of players and really they're trying to slay goblins or something and the number of goblins slain is controlled by the number of yards the players combine for. A touchdown or an interception could serve as a sort of multiplier. This probably wouldn't be the best way to implement it, but I think the rough idea would be really cool (and appeal to the nerdier fantasy sports fans like myself).
posted by pembleton at 5:58 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Probably off topic, but what I really want for fantasy sports is uniform rules and scoring across sites. Not having this makes talking about your fantasy team with someone who plays on another site really difficult. Like I might say to a friend "I'm such an idiot! I benched Reggie Bush and then he scored 20 points last week!" and my friend might look at me with a blank stare, because he plays fantasy on ESPN, where 20 points is a bad week for a player, and I have to explain all the scoring ins and outs of my Yahoo league where 20 points is a lot, and by the way we have to start three RBs and two WRs so that factors into the consideration, and my friend gets bored and walks away.
posted by Dec One at 8:03 PM on January 17, 2008

Making it more interactive on game day would be nice. I played with for years because I missed the gameday interaction. If there was some sort of "halftime" between the morning games and afternoon/night games, it would make things interesting.

For example when watching games with friends we would bet on everything. and I mean everything. first downs, who's gonna call a time out next, run or pass on the next play, challenges. hangtime on punts. Which coach would get the next sideline shot, with bonus points if he's yelling at someone? finding some way to work that level of detail into the game would be fun. Or maybe a super simple fantasy game that you could play during any game you happened to be watching. instead of making it more complex, find ways to appeal to "casual" gamers.I used to play fanatically, but haven't played in a couple of years, but when I'm watching a game, I still wish I could jump in for that week.

More visual and realtime reporting of games as they happened. Some sort of customizable gamecast of your matchup that week. Maybe the reporting has improved in the past couple of years since I played, but it was always pretty dry.

The Hail Mary...some sort of longshot propositions to pull out a win when a game is close. I'm reminded of all the "moral victories" people would come up when they lost. "but my kicker outscored all of his wide recievers, that's gotta count for something?" If a games is decided by less than a predetermined number of points, the losing team can call a hail mary and add some sort of outlier statistic randomly chosen from a blind list. Like for all games decided by less that 4 points, each team gets one point for each time their starting quarterback ran for a first down.
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:58 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

I want more comprehensive scoring. Count more stats, not just yardage and touchdowns. I refer to them as the "tangible intangibles," because they're already measured stats that don't make the highlight reel (or the fantasy scoring) but affect the outcome of the game. If my tight end comes up big on third down, I want points. If my cornerback gets called for late hits twice a game (I'm looking at you, Rodney Harrison), take points away. If my QB gets sacked, maybe that pushes his team out of field goal range; deduct points.

Add an offensive line. Split IDPs by position. Create a home-field advantage.

Make the playoffs count. Let the top four teams at the end of the season keep any players that made the playoffs on their roster. Liquidate the other rosters (temporarily, if it's a keeper league) and hold a one-time snake draft to fill out the playoff rosters. Make the first two rounds count as one game and the divisional round and Super Bowl combined count as the championship. No pick-ups allowed, making individual scoring less important than team survival.

Give me free real-time scoring. Give me instant SMS updates if I want them.

Most importantly, make next season get here faster, because I'm already thinking about draft strategies to improve upon my third-place finish.
posted by kyleg at 2:08 AM on January 18, 2008

In any fantasy league there are people who abandon their teams. I wish leagues had provisions for this. Like if a team is abandoned, it could be disbanded and the players distributed among the other teams. Whether a team is abandoned could be measured by the number of injured players or players on bye weeks a team owner leaves in the starting lineup.
posted by Dec One at 5:34 AM on January 18, 2008

An idea stolen from the Sports Guy:

Allow players to combine the stats of platoon players at the same position on the same team. For football, this would only really apply to the RB position.

"But if we're going to try this gimmick with the NFL, it makes the most sense to start with Carolina running backs DeShaun Foster and D'Angelo Williams since they've been killing each other's fantasy stats the past two seasons. Why couldn't we call them DeShangelo Willster and combine their stats next season? Can't we all agree to try it with them and see how it works?"
posted by Rock Steady at 10:17 AM on January 18, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great suggestions guys - we never touched on UI/GUI - is everyone happy with the current forms based model?
posted by specialk420 at 11:01 AM on January 18, 2008

I really like how Yahoo does their UI/GUI... The only complaint I have with it, is that if you move a player and don't submit changes and then try to view stats, it will either warn you, or just negate the player change.
posted by drezdn at 1:39 PM on January 18, 2008

Response by poster: thanks drezdn

yahoo does really provide a great example for simple clear ease of use - albeit a little dry.
posted by specialk420 at 9:53 AM on January 19, 2008

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