Monthly Archives: November 2015

The BA’s Playbook for Fantasy American Football – 4 Match Ups

My fantasy NFL team continues to go from strength to strength. However this is due to the calibre of the players I was drafted rather than my skill as a manager. One of the tasks I need to do as a manager though is consider the weekly match ups, and the point scoring system of the fantasy NFL to maximise the number of points I can get from my team in any given week. Eliciting this information and understanding the match up process is difficult to represent using a standard analysis technique.

Let me expand. In real life NFL games, points are gained for a touchdown resulting from a passing plays or rushing plays. In passing plays the Quarter Back (QB) to the Wide Receiver (WR) or Tight End (TE). In rushing plays the QB hands off to the Running Back (RB)

In the Fantasy game it is slightly different. Points are gained for the number of yards, irrespective of whether a touch down is achieved, from passing plays or rushing plays, with additional points awarded for a touchdown. For example a QB may get 1 point for every 10 yards achieved by the play, and the WR or TE get 0.5 points for every 10 yards achieved by the play, or a RB. May get 1 point for every 6 yards rushed in the play. Additional point can be obtained via interceptions. Fumbles and loss of yardage can result in a negative score.
This is all important when considering the weekly match up in the Fantasy league.
Remembering my Fantasy team is made up from a selection of real life players who belong to a number of real life teams, each week I need consider which real life teams they are up against and select the players who have favourable match ups. This way I am likely to get my fantasy team the most points, putting my other fantasy players on the bench, or trading for others via waiver process.

In its simplest form, match ups can be assessed as follows. For the Fantasy QB, WR & TE: find the average number of passing yards gained per game and their overall rank in the NFL. For each of their real life NFL defence for that week: find average passing yards given up per game and rank. The best way to describe this type of information is by specifying a few examples.

So considering my match ups for this week’s match up:

Matchup 150

N.B. Rushing yards given up is to all rushers, Passing yards given up is to all receivers in team

This is something I need to do a weekly basis. There seems no best way to model this from an analysis perspective apart from following examples. In reality there is more to assessing match ups than this and the stats to do so are readily available on a number of NFL site.

The information I have elicited here really requires me to revisit my use case model and data model. However – I will leave that to next year’s season!

The BA’s Playbook for Fantasy American Football – 3 The Waiver Process

Week 7 of the NFL Fantasy Football League, still heading the League!

My team is good but I have had to make a couple of changes here and there. This has meant getting to grips with the Waiver Wire Process which is the process for dropping and requesting players from the fantasy team. At first glance this look straightforward. This is highlighted by the process flow below.


I can look at the pool of free agents – i.e. those players who are in an unassigned state, and select one if they suit my purposes. I must indicate which player I am willing to drop if this transfer goes ahead.

Here’s where it all starts to get complicated. All waiver requests are received in a certain time period. Once the time trigger passes the requests from all teams in the league are evaluated, as other teams may have asked for the same player as me. Waiver requests have a priority assigned to them, the team at the bottom of the league at that point in time has the highest priority. If they request 1 player then they are guaranteed to get him.

The waiver priority is covered by a set of rules which go like this. Team E is bottom of the league so has priority 1 for the waiver wire. That request will process then the priority becomes 5 for the second request, and 4 for the third request, and so on, as illustrated below in the decision table, until all waiver wire requests are processed.

Team League Position Round 1 priority Round 2 priority Round 3 priority Round 4 priority Round 5 priority
A 1 5 4 3 2 1
D 2 4 3 2 1 5
C 3 3 2 1 5 4
E 4 2 1 5 4 3
B 5 1 5 4 3 2


If the requested player has already gone, then the Team’s next request is processed. If not player has been requested then the priority moves to the next team.

After each week’s matches the waiver wire process is reset. This brings balance to the teams by giving the worst team first choice of unassigned players on the waiver wire.

There are tactics to employ here. I could opt to drop the same player for more than 1 transaction. I could request player A from the free agents and opt to drop player Z. However due to my position in league and subsequent priority, player A may be gone, so then I could also request player B and opt to drop player Z. If I get player A, then my second request is ignored. If I don’t then I can still barter player Z for an alternative.

What happens to player Z? Well he goes into NFL Fantasy Football limbo for a specific time period, before joining the pool of free agents as an unassigned player. This provides a check to stop teams colluding on exchange of players. Important if you are playing for money rather than fun!

Next week….the match up process or how to select which players to play in any given week!