The Rotoquant

Describing and predicting the world of sports in the language of mathematics

Month: August, 2014

Data Is Beautiful: DFS Through The Eyes of a Machine

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. – Confucius 

If you’ve been following the Rotoquant you’re well aware of my obsession with data. Typically I restrict the content posted here to sports, sports betting and fantasy sports analysis; in this narrow domain of the world there’s an infinite amount of data to pour over. But with my recent career change I’ve become very interested in the data generated by the daily fantasy sports periphery. The universe is chalk full of data, it’s generated everywhere by damn near everything, and – as the quote from Conscious above would imply – seeing the beauty of this data is only a matter of viewing it through the appropriate lens.

I went off on a computational tangent today at work while obsessing over the following question: what is the internet footprint of the DFS industry? If a machine could paint a realist painting of what a daily fantasy sports website looks like through it’s steely eyes, what would that portrait look like? In order to find out for myself I dug up some web-crawling code, optimized it a bit, and started drawing pictures. Let’s start what the page you’re looking at right now. Below is a network graph of all links associated with rotoquant.wordpress.com.

RotoQuant.WordPress.com:



RotoQuantWebCrawl

 

… Pretty cool, right? When I first saw this image I was sort of impressed – my little blog has a much more complicated internet profile than I naively assumed. Part of the complexity is due to the shear quantity of posts I’ve put up, another part has to do with my general rule of putting at least 1-2 bits of linked content  in each post, and still more of the complexity comes from the wordpress.com wrapper on the site itself. At any rate, this graph gives the impression of a central core of closely linked content, linking to a few critical gateways to the outside world.

So what do other sites related to daily fantasy sports look like?

Well, one of the most popular and helpful producers of fantasy content is Rotogrinders.com. Anyone who has played or plays DFS seriously for any amount of time knows about and probably uses Rotogrinders content. Here is what Rotogrinders.com looks like under our new microscope.

RotoGrinders.com:

RotoGrindersWebCrawl

 

Woa! This explosion of connectedness is overwhelming – it’s very difficult for the program to arrange the graph such that you can identify any meaningful structure. But this makes intuitive sense – Rotogrinders produces links to hundreds of bits of content every day, and they have links and advertisements to dozens of daily fantasy sports sites and sources of research / content on almost every page.

After looking at few these images I wanted to understand what the DFS sites themselves look like, and what I found was pretty interesting. Stepping away from the link-spaghetti that is Rotogrinders. Below is an image of my new site Victiv.com:

Victiv.com

VictivWebCrawl

… Much more digestible. Of course – we are still in a beta period (sign up for the free $5,000 guaranteed NFL preseason final beta contest here). I can’t wait to track the growth of Victiv.com from this obscure lens, just to see how it evolves. Keep in mind that a bigger graph doesn’t necessarily represent a better site – smaller more digestible graphs could point to a clean, elegant design with fewer distractions and a better UI. All these things are context dependent, and the key is that the structure of the site match and compliment it’s intended use.

For your entertainment I mapped out the other major DFS players (curiosity killed 3 hours of my time). Enjoy these images – if you have any special requests for a web map leave it in the comments and I’ll see what I can do. Enjoy!

DraftDay.com

DraftDayWebCrawl

 

FanDuel.com

FanDuelWebCrawl

 

DraftKings.com

DraftKingsWebCrawl

 

StarStreet.com (Note: as part of the recent wave of consolidation in the industry, StarStreet was acquired by DraftKings and the site is being shut down. It was interesting to see what the final stages of a DFS site look like, compared to these other examples):

StarStreetWebCrawl

 

 

Free Money and the Victiv.com $5,000 Beta Social Freeroll

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in all my years, it’s that I really like free money. It’s so much better than other free things – like the tiny free waters they give out at fast food joints, or the complimentary black-and-green peppermints that restaurants who are too cheap to have Andes mints put out.  Free money is so flexible; literally anything that can be bought can be bought with free money.

So it’s with great pleasure that Victiv.com announces its $5,000 Social Freeroll tournament to thank our beta testers for their valuable input during the preseason. This contest is free to enter and needs at least 500 participants to run. The payout structure is:

Place Payout
1 $500
2 $250
3 $150
4 $100
5-10 $50
11-100 $20
101-200 $10
201-300 $5
301-500+ $2

Just to be absolutely clear – this is a contest in which you literally cannot lose. If it hits 500 users, it runs, and everyone wins. This free-cash bonanza is meant to reward all the users who grinded with us throughout the preseason during our beta period, testing the product and giving us feedback, and incentivize anyone who hasn’t checked out the site to come aboard before the start of the regular season. You can find a list of the key features here, and with all the consolidation going on in the DFS industry we couldn’t be more excited to offer daily fantasy sports participants a new, better way to play.

The only risk to you is that if the contest doesn’t get to 500 entries it doesn’t run. Be sure to do your part to earn free money for everyone and sign up at Victiv.com. Share it, retweet it, make a video of you dumping a bucket of money on your head to raise awareness, whatever. Let’s get this thing filled.

That’s all for now. Later today I’ll post my 2013 backtesting results picking games against the spread as we head into this year’s LVH Super Contest. I’ve got two entries in the 2014 contest and plan on detailing my weekly progress right here for you to follow along.

2014 Season Long Redraft Fantasy Football Player Rankings

The official start of the NFL season is in 12.91 days as of right now (check as of the time of your reading here).

That’s right, in less than 2 weeks the drama that is the NFL will begin to unfold before our unblinking eyes. If you’re like any of the other 40+ million fantasy sports playing Americans you are waiting with baited breath for kickoff. Some of you have already had your drafts, but the majority of season long drafts will take place over the next two weekends. And in my opinion that’s a good thing: draft day is one of the best days of the year. Very much like Christmas – on draft day your faith and dedication are reliably rewarded. You get to turn all of your research, dedication, and degenerate podcast listening into draft picks; draft picks that will ultimately turn into success in your league; success in your league that will typically turn into cash prizes and respect from your friends; cash and respect that will ultimately turn into a sense of personal happiness and a lifelong aire of calming peace.

That’s right – draft well, and you too can reach a state of fantasy inspired spiritual transcendence (and, as an obligatory side note – if you haven’t checked out any of the Daily Fantasy Sports sites, you are seriously missing the boat… Christmas every Sunday is not an overstatement. Check out my own site’s live beta at Victiv.com).

A ton has transpired this preseason. While I’m typically pro-degeneracy, I have to admit that watching every NFL preseason game is a bridge too far. Luckily for you, I drive a hovercraft. What does that even mean, you ask? It means I don’t do bridges … I watched every single preseason game. Every one of them. Seriously. It’s my job as CIO at Victiv.com. And while I can’t make any claims as to how coherent I was during said games, I can tell you this – watching preseason games this year *was* a job. Between the pandemic penalties and extra points looking like field goals, I was longing for the regular season.

It’s coming. And I want you to be ready for it. As I’ve always insisted – fantasy inspired spiritual transcendence is not only for the 1%. So I’ve condensed all the days of preseason footage I consumed, the hours of listening to the ESPN and CBS podcasts for the latest news and opinions, and the minutes I spent copying, pasting, and editing these rankings in Excel into a definitive list of the top 200 NFL players I’ll be targeting in my drafts this season. You’re welcome, America.

In general, this list is sorted from most to least valuable – at any given point in your draft, all things being equal, you should draft the next man up in the list. I’ll put the list up for reference, and then point out a few things I’d like to highlight for this year that might just help you win your league.

RANK ESPN NAME POS AVG ESPN RANK Diff.
1 1 Adrian Peterson, Min RB 1.8 0
2 2 LeSean McCoy, Phi RB 2.8 0
3 5 Matt Forte, Chi RB 6 -2
4 3 Jamaal Charles, KC RB 3.6 1
5 7 Calvin Johnson, Det WR 7.1 -2
6 10 Jimmy Graham, NO TE 11.4 -4
7 16 Dez Bryant, Dal WR 17.6 -9
8 8 Eddie Lacy, GB RB 8.4 0
9 17 DeMarco Murray, Dal RB 18.1 -8
10 13 Demaryius Thomas, Den WR 14.6 -3
11 19 Brandon Marshall, Chi WR 20.3 -8
12 15 A.J. Green, Cin WR 16.6 -3
13 18 Zac Stacy, StL RB 18.8 -5
14 21 Julio Jones, Atl WR 23 -7
15 22 Alfred Morris, Wsh RB 25.2 -7
16 23 Jordy Nelson, GB WR 25.3 -7
17 4 Peyton Manning, Den QB 5.3 13
18 12 Drew Brees, NO QB 13.7 6
19 29 Giovani Bernard, Cin RB 31.3 -10
20 28 Antonio Brown, Pit WR 30.9 -8
21 26 Montee Ball, Den RB 29.5 -5
22 24 Alshon Jeffery, Chi WR 27.8 -2
23 20 Le’Veon Bell, Pit RB 22.8 3
24 6 Marshawn Lynch, Sea RB 6.6 18
25 14 Doug Martin, TB RB 15.1 11
26 9 Aaron Rodgers, GB QB 10.4 17
27 27 Reggie Bush, Det RB 30.9 0
28 11 Arian Foster, Hou RB 12.6 17
29 30 Randall Cobb, GB WR 33.6 -1
30 49 Roddy White, Atl WR 52 -19
31 42 Pierre Garcon, Wsh WR 45 -11
32 50 Andre Ellington, Ari RB 53.4 -18
33 44 Ryan Mathews, SD RB 45.5 -11
34 45 Wes Welker, Den WR 46.1 -11
35 46 Victor Cruz, NYG WR 46.9 -11
36 47 Keenan Allen, SD WR 47.5 -11
37 25 Julius Thomas, Den TE 29.5 12
38 32 Andre Johnson, Hou WR 35.5 6
39 52 Trent Richardson, Ind RB 53.7 -13
40 31 Rob Gronkowski, NE TE 34.3 9
41 33 Matthew Stafford, Det QB 37.2 8
42 34 Larry Fitzgerald, Ari WR 37.5 8
43 35 Cam Newton, Car QB 38.3 8
44 36 Vincent Jackson, TB WR 38.5 8
45 56 Michael Crabtree, SF WR 58.5 -11
46 43 C.J. Spiller, Buf RB 45 3
47 37 Frank Gore, SF RB 39.9 10
48 39 Ben Tate, Cle RB 40.6 9
49 38 Andrew Luck, Ind QB 40.5 11
50 60 Toby Gerhart, Jac RB 61.9 -10
51 40 DeSean Jackson, Wsh WR 42.2 11
52 51 Percy Harvin, Sea WR 53.5 1
53 61 Rashad Jennings, NYG RB 63.8 -8
54 41 Vernon Davis, SF TE 44.7 13
55 71 Michael Floyd, Ari WR 74.2 -16
56 66 Cordarrelle Patterson, Min WR 70.6 -10
57 72 Jeremy Maclin, Phi WR 75.6 -15
58 73 Joique Bell, Det RB 76.4 -15
59 83 Golden Tate, Det WR 84.8 -24
60 57 Chris Johnson, NYJ RB 58.8 3
61 64 T.Y. Hilton, Ind WR 68 -3
62 70 Shane Vereen, NE RB 74.2 -8
63 78 Bishop Sankey, Ten RB 80.3 -15
64 82 Emmanuel Sanders, Den WR 84.6 -18
65 76 Stevan Ridley, NE RB 77.5 -11
66 67 Steven Jackson, Atl RB 71 -1
67 77 Reggie Wayne, Ind WR 79 -10
68 88 Matt Ryan, Atl QB 90.2 -20
69 95 Darren Sproles, Phi RB 97.8 -26
70 59 Ray Rice, Bal RB 60.5 11
71 55 Jason Witten, Dal TE 58.2 16
72 79 Marques Colston, NO WR 81.1 -7
73 74 Sammy Watkins, Buf WR 77 -1
74 91 Kendall Wright, Ten WR 93.2 -17
75 94 Terrance Williams, Dal WR 97.7 -19
76 63 Torrey Smith, Bal WR 65.9 13
77 93 Dennis Pitta, Bal TE 96.7 -16
78 97 Fred Jackson, Buf RB 100.5 -19
79 58 Colin Kaepernick, SF QB 59.7 21
80 53 Robert Griffin III, Wsh QB 54 27
81 62 Tom Brady, NE QB 65.5 19
82 54 Nick Foles, Phi QB 57.6 28
83 87 Pierre Thomas, NO RB 90.2 -4
84 85 Eric Decker, NYJ WR 86.5 -1
85 68 Julian Edelman, NE WR 71.1 17
86 84 Maurice Jones-Drew, Oak RB 86.5 2
87 92 Anquan Boldin, SF WR 95.1 -5
88 112 Bernard Pierce, Bal RB 113.9 -24
89 86 Mike Wallace, Mia WR 89.8 3
90 96 Danny Woodhead, SD RB 100.2 -6
91 98 Cecil Shorts, Jac WR 102.6 -7
92 69 Jordan Cameron, Cle TE 71.5 23
93 80 Greg Olsen, Car TE 82.1 13
94 102 Tony Romo, Dal QB 104.7 -8
95 65 Russell Wilson, Sea QB 70.5 30
96 103 DeAngelo Williams, Car RB 104.9 -7
97 104 DeAndre Hopkins, Hou WR 106.8 -7
98 100 Chris Ivory, NYJ RB 104.1 -2
99 101 Knowshon Moreno, Mia RB 104.3 -2
100 113 Danny Amendola, NE WR 114 -13
101 157 Kelvin Benjamin, Car WR 136.3 -56
102 114 Lamar Miller, Mia RB 114.8 -12
103 106 Riley Cooper, Phi WR 110.1 -3
104 150 Donald Brown, SD RB 133.4 -46
105 153 Justin Hunter, Ten WR 135.2 -48
106 129 Shonn Greene, Ten RB 125.8 -23
107 149 Heath Miller, Pit TE 133.3 -42
108 182 Devonta Freeman, Atl RB 145.1 -74
109 152 Andre Williams, NYG RB 134 -43
110 154 Terrance West, Cle RB 135.4 -44
111 119 Tre Mason, StL RB 121.4 -8
112 105 Philip Rivers, SD QB 107.9 7
113 107 Dwayne Bowe, KC WR 110.2 6
114 109 Jay Cutler, Chi QB 112.8 5
115 110 Khiry Robinson, NO RB 112.9 5
116 118 Darren McFadden, Oak RB 121.3 -2
117 121 Greg Jennings, Min WR 121.8 -4
118 115 Hakeem Nicks, Ind WR 116.6 3
119 130 Brandin Cooks, NO WR 125.8 -11
120 127 Steve Smith, Bal WR 125 -7
121 135 Mark Ingram, NO RB 127 -14
122 136 Mike Evans, TB WR 127.3 -14
123 170 Rueben Randle, NYG WR 141.3 -47
124 175 Jarrett Boykin, GB WR 142.7 -51
125 145 Tavon Austin, StL WR 132.3 -20
126 144 Jeremy Hill, Cin RB 131.7 -18
127 169 Steve Johnson, SF WR 141 -42
128 141 Eric Ebron, Det TE 129.6 -13
129 147 LeGarrette Blount, Pit RB 132.9 -18
130 111 Kyle Rudolph, Min TE 113.2 19
131 142 Christine Michael, Sea RB 130.2 -11
132 155 Carlos Hyde, SF RB 135.7 -23
133 164 Doug Baldwin, Sea WR 139.1 -31
134 189 Markus Wheaton, Pit WR 147.3 -55
135 117 Jordan Reed, Wsh TE 119.3 18
136 123 Antonio Gates, SD TE 122.6 13
137 161 James Jones, Oak WR 136.8 -24
138 132 Martellus Bennett, Chi TE 126 6
139 148 Coby Fleener, Ind TE 133.2 -9
140 162 Zach Ertz, Phi TE 137.1 -22
141 165 Charles Clay, Mia TE 140.3 -24
142 171 James Starks, GB RB 141.4 -29
143 185 Marqise Lee, Jac WR 146.1 -42
144 167 Odell Beckham, NYG WR 140.8 -23
145 172 Andre Brown, Hou RB 141.7 -27
146 173 Ladarius Green, SD TE 141.8 -27
147 174 Kenny Stills, NO WR 141.9 -27
148 48 Seahawks D/ST D/ST 50.7 100
149 75 Panthers D/ST D/ST 77.4 74
150 134 Bengals D/ST D/ST 126.3 16
151 179 Brandon LaFell, NE WR 143.9 -28
152 181 Knile Davis, KC RB 144.3 -29
153 183 C.J. Anderson, Den RB 145.3 -30
154 184 Roy Helu, Wsh RB 145.9 -30
155 188 Latavius Murray, Oak RB 147.2 -33
156 192 BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cin RB 148.9 -36
157 195 Andrew Hawkins, Cle WR 149.3 -38
158 196 Jonathan Stewart, Car RB 150.4 -38
159 198 Delanie Walker, Ten TE 150.8 -39
160 178 Marvin Jones, Cin WR 143.5 -18
161 81 49ers D/ST D/ST 83.6 80
162 89 Matt Prater, Den K 91.3 73
163 90 Broncos D/ST D/ST 92.5 73
164 99 Stephen Gostkowski, NE K 104.1 65
165 108 Johnny Manziel, Cle QB 112.3 57
166 116 Cardinals D/ST D/ST 117 50
167 120 Justin Tucker, Bal K 121.7 47
168 122 Chiefs D/ST D/ST 122.3 46
169 124 Andy Dalton, Cin QB 123.3 45
170 125 Rams D/ST D/ST 124.1 45
171 126 Eli Manning, NYG QB 124.6 45
172 128 Alex Smith, KC QB 125.1 44
173 131 Patriots D/ST D/ST 126 42
174 133 Joe Flacco, Bal QB 126 41
175 137 Ben Roethlisberger, Pit QB 127.5 38
176 138 Bears D/ST D/ST 127.5 38
177 139 Sebastian Janikowski, Oak K 128.6 38
178 140 Steven Hauschka, Sea K 129.3 38
179 143 Mason Crosby, GB K 130.6 36
180 146 Josh Gordon, Cle WR 132.5 34
181 151 Josh McCown, TB QB 133.7 30
182 160 Texans D/ST D/ST 136.6 22
183 156 Steelers D/ST D/ST 136 27
184 158 Carson Palmer, Ari QB 136.3 26
185 159 Ryan Tannehill, Mia QB 136.4 26
186 163 Ravens D/ST D/ST 138.3 23
187 166 Browns D/ST D/ST 140.5 21
188 168 Phil Dawson, SF K 140.9 20
189 176 Saints D/ST D/ST 143 13
190 177 Bills D/ST D/ST 143.4 13
191 180 Adam Vinatieri, Ind K 144.1 11
192 186 Robbie Gould, Chi K 146.3 6
193 187 Buccaneers D/ST D/ST 147 6
194 190 Nick Novak, SD K 148.2 4
195 191 Blair Walsh, Min K 148.6 4
196 193 Matt Bryant, Atl K 149.1 3
197 194 Dan Bailey, Dal K 149.3 3
198 197 Alex Henery, Phi K 150.5 1
199 199 Shayne Graham, NO K 152.3 0
200 200 Nick Folk, NYJ K 153.5 0

You should be able to copy and paste these rankings into Excel to make adjustments.

To use these rankings, check out the RANK Diff column to figure out if the player is typically being drafted sooner, or later than I have that player ranked. Players that are being underdrafted, representing good value according to my rankings will have a negative number in the RANK Diff column – the more negative the better the value. Players being underdrafted and representing bad value (again, by my logic) will have a positive number.

I’ve pulled some targeted examples that I think will be key drafts this year to demonstrate the principle. Below is the value list – not the players with the absolute largest RANK Diff – but those that I’m most excited about.

RANK ESPN NAME POS AVG ESPN RANK Diff.
7 16 Dez Bryant, Dal WR 17.6 -9
9 17 DeMarco Murray, Dal RB 18.1 -8
19 29 Giovani Bernard, Cin RB 31.3 -10
30 49 Roddy White, Atl WR 52 -19
32 50 Andre Ellington, Ari RB 53.4 -18
45 56 Michael Crabtree, SF WR 58.5 -11
59 83 Golden Tate, Det WR 84.8 -24
67 77 Reggie Wayne, Ind WR 79 -10
68 88 Matt Ryan, Atl QB 90.2 -20
69 95 Darren Sproles, Phi RB 97.8 -26
77 93 Dennis Pitta, Bal TE 96.7 -16
88 111 Kyle Rudolph, Min TE 113.2 -23
101 157 Kelvin Benjamin, Car WR 136.3 -56
105 153 Justin Hunter, Ten WR 135.2 -48
106 129 Shonn Greene, Ten RB 125.8 -23
107 149 Heath Miller, Pit TE 133.3 -42
108 182 Devonta Freeman, Atl RB 145.1 -74
123 170 Rueben Randle, NYG WR 141.3 -47
124 175 Jarrett Boykin, GB WR 142.7 -51
128 141 Eric Ebron, Det TE 129.6 -13
129 147 LeGarrette Blount, Pit RB 132.9 -18
134 189 Markus Wheaton, Pit WR 147.3 -55

Highlights here include Giovani Bernard, Roddy White, Matt Ryan, Kelvin Benjamin and Shonn Greene. The list of fades is as follows:

RANK ESPN NAME POS AVG ESPN RANK Diff.
17 4 Peyton Manning, Den QB 5.3 13
24 6 Marshawn Lynch, Sea RB 6.6 18
28 11 Arian Foster, Hou RB 12.6 17

As well as all defenses, all quarterbacks, TE’s outside of Gronk, Graham and Thomas, and all kickers. It’s almost impossible to produce a fades list because the general public drafts so differently from those who play fantasy sports with any level of seriousness. While the value list is mostly the result of favorable circumstances, the fades list is a long hodge-podge of general draft theory. If you have specific questions on this, post them – but otherwise just stop drafting Gotskowski in the 9th round and the Seahawks D in the 5th. Seriously. Stop it.

Plan B: A Season Long Fantasy Alternative

I think the above information should help you hold your own in any league. But, inevitably, it’ll be week 3 and Bernard will have pulled a hammy, Calvin will have turf toe, and the Falcon’s offense just wont be performing how I expected. That’s it, right? Better luck next year – or at best if your in a dynasty league it’s time to start rebuilding… No more Sunday funday – who can have fun when you’re the laughing stock of your league? No success, no cash, no respect, and not a chance of transcendence or inner peace… We’ve all been there – it’s the worst thing ever.

Well now there’s another way. If you find yourself in this fantasy middle-ground – take a shot at Daily Fantasy Sports. Flex your intellectual muscles daily by drafting teams and playing against people for real money, every day. Like I said, it’s like Christmas every Sunday – check it out at Victiv.com.

Good luck to all of you (and dear Lord spare Geo’s hamstring and Calvin’s toe). Till next time…

 

Introduction to Victiv.com: A Better Daily Fantasy Sports Experience

Someone once told me to do what I love. In fact, everyone tells me that, all the time.

It’s with this advice in mind that I left my position as the Director of Technology for Wolfram Solutions and accepted a position as CIO at Victiv.com — a new and exciting daily fantasy sports offering. I had to put the blog on pause for the last few months in order to figure out what I was going to do with my life, and I decided to do what I love.

The focus of the Rotoquant last year was on spread betting in the NFL and fantasy sports predictions for the PGA. Those aspects of the blog won’t change, but I’ll be adding more fantasy-focused content for NFL and potentially including information on a variety of other sports including NBA, MLB, NHL and NCAA basketball and football. My plan is to post more general sports or DFS-related ‘Data is Beautiful’ type analyses as opportunities arise. Finally, I find myself in a place where all the sports data I could ask for is at my fingertips and I’ve got unlimited time to invest in it. I’ve already started digging in and trying to push the boundaries of sports analytics and data science. Needless to say, I can’t wait to see where this thing goes.

Victiv.com offers a fantasy sports experience with unparalleled attention to all elements that matter most for fantasy sports lovers everywhere. Behind the scenes are sports and user analytics to optimize every aspect of the gaming experience; athlete salaries, research statistics, in-game athlete and user real-time stats — even the user experience itself will be continually improved based on data-backed insights as we grow. We are launching this season with an impressive set of data-driven tools and dashboards and the list of planned additional improvements is never-ending. In my opinion, the most impressive thing about Victiv.com right now is the team we’ve put together; how our founders managed to scrounge up such a motley crew of amazingly talented fantasy sports fanatics, I’ll never know. Every day of my life is now a cross between Silicon Valley and The League.

In this first post of the 2014 NFL season, I want to highlight some of the features we’ve been working on for launch, explain the foundations of our roster and salary decisions, and provide a link to the live beta for you to check out (live beta is happening now — click here to skip all this drivel and get straight to the good stuff).

  mithc-01 Victiv.com

Anyone who has played daily fantasy sports for any extended period of time will tell you that the industry has come a long way. At the beginning, features like quick contest enter, better contest overviews, lineup-centric dashboards, and real-time stats updates were a mere twinkle in the DFS’ers eyes. The DFS community consistently called for these features, and many more, for years. Today, many of these requests still remain unmet. At Victiv.com, we have been tirelessly researching, discussing, developing, destroying, and redeveloping the site to ensure the experience not only meets these needs in the most transparent fashion, but also addresses the unmet needs of new users who never get a chance to voice their concerns and are driven away from the industry by a terrible first experience without ever giving it a second chance. No feature set can please everyone, but I want to quickly rundown the details of the site, highlight the features we plan to launch with and list those features we will be rolling out shortly after launch.

Features

  • Our roster setup is unique to the industry. Designed to increase the flexibility during roster creation and allow a wider range of team-creation strategies, our standard NFL rosters will consist of the following positions: QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, FLEX (RB/WR/TE), FLEX (RB/WR/TE) and DEF. Having two flex positions really allows for the creation of an amazing diversity of rosters. And, of course, we’ve given the kicker the boot (terrible pun, heavily intended… I’ve been jaded on kickers from the tender age of 13 by Adam Sandler’s timeless anthem).
  • Our salaries will be set by yours truly and I expect them to be the sharpest around. By sharp, I don’t mean The salaries are as predictive as possible of expected performance. Identifying value is challenging resulting in a huge diversity of lineups and minimal overlap in player ownership. We also set the absolute level of the salaries at a level where users are forced to make important choices between studs, mid-tier guys and scrubs. The salaries will have the widest range I’ve seen, with a $2,000 minimum value at all positions. We’ve also adopted a $50,000 salary cap.
  • All scoring is standard except for the following adjustments: 0.5 points-per-reception, 4 points-per-passing-touchdown and 4 points for a defensive safety. Defenses are awarded +12 points at the start of the game and are penalized 0.5 points for every point scored by the opposing team. See the FAQ section of the site for more details.
  • The lobby, contest enter, lineup creation and in-contest experiences all have a sleek, modern design and feel. There isn’t a single popup, and every aspect of the interaction has been pored over ad nauseam to make sure the user experience is top notch.
  • A huge part of DFS is the added entertainment value it brings to the live contests. During testing, our real-time data feeds from STATS LLC have been updating athlete stats before our users see the plays on ‘live’ TV coverage. These updates are integrated into projections, and visualizations designed to help you better understand where you stand with respect to your competition, which athletes you should be pulling for and who you need to fade.

  • Users can track their action with three distinct dashboards: Contests, Athletes, and Lineups. In the contest overview, you can easily see all of your contests to understand where you rank, how many points you’ve scored and your projected payouts — all on a single page. The contest overview dynamically updates in context with real-time STATS feeds with alerts as to when you score points, improve your rank or earn your way into the money — there’s no need to reload the page to know where you stand.
  • Follow along on an athlete-by-athlete view in the Athletes dashboard. Every athlete you own across your rosters can be viewed in a single page along with their real-time stats, the player feed for their in-game activity, information about their contests and lineups, and detailed information about your dollar-exposure to that athlete.
  • One-click quick enter from the lobby, advanced athlete statistics and comparisons, and lineup exposure calculations are just a few of the features we will have live at launch.
  • Contests for the upcoming NBA, MLB, NHL, PGA and NCAA basketball seasons, are in the works this year, with college football to come next year. We plan to regularly incorporate new sports as they become popular in the DFS community.

 

Highlights

  • One of the features I’m most excited about is what we’ve dubbed the VICTRON. This is a slider system that allows the user to set the importance of various statistics in their roster-construction considerations and generates lineups with players that excel in those statistical categories. You can give more or less weight to different fantasy-relevant statistical categories, incorporate match-up strength, and consider more recent or historical data to create your lineup. With this tool, a user can create a lineup of ‘hot right now’ momentum plays, a team of ‘touchdown-dependent boom and bust’ type players, or emphasize the entire body of work by looking at longer historical stats. Obviously, the VICTRON can’t substitute for hours of research and staying abreast of the latest news — but it provides a handy starting point for those trying to familiarize themselves with the game or longtime DFS’ers looking for lineup inspiration.

  • One-click quick enter from the lobby. No popups. No import needed.
  • Lineup edit. Accessed through the Lineups dashboard, Lineup edit allows users to easily manage their lineups and produce a diversified set of lineups to ensure they have the right amount of action on their favorite athletes each week.
  • Anonymous H2H contests. Tired of having your H2H contests picked off by grinders? Our anonymous H2H contests match users randomly to ensure a fair fight.
  • Innovative rake structure. Our executive staff has years of experience in real money gaming and understands the longer-term impact that rake has on player ecology. We break the mold when it comes to rake — with anonymous H2H contests offering rake as low as 6 percent!
  • 100 percent first deposit bonus up to $1,000.

Twitter1

Coming Soon

  • Global swap from the lineup edit. We are taking our time on this one and have a global swap experience designed that is powerful, intuitive and unique to the industry.
  • Aggregate in-play data (current contests, upcoming contests, $ in play, currently winning). All of these things are on the radar — we are making sure to integrate them with the same careful consideration we’ve given to the other features.
  • Alternative game types. If you think traditional DFS is entertaining, just wait. We’ve dreamed up contest types that aren’t offered anywhere in the industry and have the potential to change the game forever.
  • Loyalty system. Details coming soon.

Sign up here for the open beta. We are looking forward to all of the feedback, comments and suggestions!

It’s good to be back to posting – keep an eye out for my season-long re-draft rankings coming later today. The NFL is finally here and it’s gonna be one helluva ride.