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Banning Automated Draft Apps


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#1 FaubDawg

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 12:15 PM

Hey, all.  I commish a friendly league that's in danger of dissolving because of the number of owners (about half) who now use drafting applications like Draft Wizard, Draft GM, Draft Master, etc.  The other half of the league doesn't see what's so "fun" about competing with draft apps, and I see their point.  It's one thing to print out some site's cheat sheet; it's another to have a $10 program that makes your selections for you.

The real question is what can be done.  For starters, we play (and must play) on a popular site that syncs with most of these applications.  Further, we're spread out across the country, so there's no way to do an in-person draft.  And, finally, this is a league with very limited in-season moves.  So you really sink of swim based on your draft.

Any ideas?  We already play with a couple non-standard scoring options (.5 PPR and return yards), but do you know of any others that might force people to rely on their own football knowledge?

#2 nickalero99

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 12:32 PM

I have never used draft master or any of the other automated draft apps, but I did have access to looking at it based on being a mod several years back.  The whole app is based off of RW projections of value against position and what is left available if I recall correctly.  In my personal opinion knowing the people in your league and having your own break-out guys is far more valuable than it being automated for you.  I don't really understand what's not fun for the people actually drafting.  I can see the half of the league that basically is basing their draft outcome on who gets a luckier break from the app, but not so much why the people who are actually making their own picks would say it's not fun.

#3 screaming_vultures

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 12:54 PM

the best thing you can do is make the league shallow i.e. the draft doesnt matter. reduce the roster spots. At that point all these apps become useless :)
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#4 Thad

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 01:01 PM

BAN ALL PEAs!!! (performance enhancing apps, heh)

#5 Thad

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 01:28 PM

I don't have a problem with them. I've been in a 12 teamer for the last 3 years and I think there are 4-5 guys in the league who use them. They really don't offer that much of an advantage for those who use them. The draft is only a piece of the puzzle. The person still has to manage their team. Draft apps don't help with trades, waivers, injuries, weekly matchups, or (and this one's a doozy) LUCK. Let them sap some of their own fun away from it. From my 12 years of fantasy experience, I feel that managerial decisions over the course 17 weeks are much more important than a 2 hour draft before a game is even played.

Edited by Thad, 06 July 2014 - 01:30 PM.


#6 TheToeStompers

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 02:37 PM

I feel like draft apps are roughly the same as auto drafting, seems like the live drafters are the ones that would have the advantage... if they're any good at drafting at all

#7 FaubDawg

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 03:02 PM

View PostThad, on 06 July 2014 - 01:28 PM, said:

From my 12 years of fantasy experience, I feel that managerial decisions over the course 17 weeks are much more important than a 2 hour draft before a game is even played.

Moves are extremely limited in this league.  In fact, we played with ZERO last year and are considering doing it again.

It's basically an MFL10 league.

#8 FaubDawg

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 03:04 PM

View PostTheToeStompers, on 06 July 2014 - 02:37 PM, said:

I feel like draft apps are roughly the same as auto drafting, seems like the live drafters are the ones that would have the advantage... if they're any good at drafting at all

I don't think anyone minds autodrafted teams because they generally suck.  The algorithms aren't complicated enough to account for much.

#9 FFCollusion

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 03:13 PM

View PostTheToeStompers, on 06 July 2014 - 02:37 PM, said:

I feel like draft apps are roughly the same as auto drafting, seems like the live drafters are the ones that would have the advantage... if they're any good at drafting at all

I've never used one, mainly because te draft is the best part of Fantasy Football, but last year I downloaded some program so I could quickly Mock draft and simulate drafts by myself.  Draft Day Dominator or something.  It took your fantasy football schedule into play, and then maximized your team to win on a weekly basis.  It's far more than just auto drafting, although everything just boils down to projections.  But the advantage is, if the difference between Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas is 10 points, auto drafts always take the most points total.  But if the weaker WR, matches up better against you opponents on a specific week, that may give you 1 or 2 extra wins, then that's huge over the course of a season.

If the difference between Guy X and Guy Z is meaningless on Week 5, because you're going to lose either way, but then in Week 10, the lower ranked WR has a good matchup and the 2-4 point difference that single week, is the difference between losing, then you begin to see how these 'apps' benefit people.  Even more-so because it's live-updating with every single draft pick, and comparing your team to your competitions, based on your schedule.

Even 1 step further, these programs take into account what's likely to fall into the following rounds.  So where Auto Draft takes the BPA, taking a weaker WR in the 8th, because you know at least 4? RBs are likely to make it back to you in the next round, you can pick 2 players that combine for more points, vs auto draft which takes the highest point total in the 8th, with no consideration to the player pool likely to be available in the 9th.  Then again, these programs (I think?) factor in the tendencies of all teams between your picks, meaning it will predict that 5 WRs and 6RBs go, it could alter its strategy, whereas auto-drafts simply go by ADP or ranking.

I'd be curious to read any stats/data on the success of those types of tools, but... Live Drafts are simply the best, with Auctions shortly behind.  Snakes, despite how much I love them, and fun they are, are honestly the worst way to assemble teams in fantasy.  They're so limiting in what you have to do, or who you can pick when, based on where you draft and what 'rankings' people go by.
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#10 GreatScott!

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 05:40 PM

I'd tell the owners who don't use an draft app to get over it.  If someone wants to use a drat app that they feel will give them the best team, then let them use it.  What's next?  Make people all use the same magazine / rankings from the same place?   Make people not use any sort of cheat sheet and instead make them go out and find out their own information?  You can't draft unless you go out to the individual team training camps and do your own analysis?   Let people use whatever they want to draft.  In the end it's how you manage your team (lineups, trades, waiver, etc) that will win the league.  I've played in leagues where people use these apps and quite frankly it didn't appear to give them much of an edge.  I don't know of anyone in any league that I've been in that has won a league using a draft app.  Did the people in your league who used the draft app have better seasons than those who didn't?
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#11 k.k.

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 06:22 PM

It's a game and everyone wants to win. I get that. But what's the fun in letting a computer or app pick your players for ya? I wouldn't do it. I don't think it's anything for guys in general to be upset about though. Probably just tell guys to let it be, if others want to use an app, let 'em.

#12 SenatorSpaceman

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 07:13 PM

View PostThad, on 06 July 2014 - 01:28 PM, said:

I feel that managerial decisions over the course 17 weeks are much more important than a 2 hour draft before a game is even played.

Idk. I actually kind of disagree. IMO it's much easier to win or lose a league on draft day than it is through waiver acquisitions and trades.

Also, sweet avatar. Thanks to Netflix, I now know who that is.

#13 ss3walkman

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 07:19 PM

Drafting is something that you feel. I'm sure they may be helpful for deciding on picking a elite WR or RB towards the end of the first round and possibly rounds 2-3 but drafts are made during the middle and end of drafts. The sleepers and long shots are what get you the crown. I definitely don't mind people using them.

#14 Bluecore

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 07:35 PM

Sounds like negative amounts of fun.

If I had concrete proof that it gave me an advantage though, I'd probably use it if I played high stakes, like in the thousands of dollars.
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#15 dmb3684

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 08:35 PM

I'd be down for everyone in my league using a draft app. Would put me at an advantage i'd think.

#16 FFCollusion

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 08:41 PM

View PostFaubDawg, on 06 July 2014 - 03:02 PM, said:

Moves are extremely limited in this league.  In fact, we played with ZERO last year and are considering doing it again.

It's basically an MFL10 league.

I feel like, you kinda ask for it, when you restrict the moves.
You've made the entire league, 100% dependent on the draft, and then want people to avoid tools that 'potentially' maximize their draft.  I understand it sucks, but if you can't enforce the rules, then honestly, there's nothing you can do.

I'd offer a 'slow draft' system, but I'm not sure if the Apps can still just have players plugged in manually, so... /shrug.
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#17 FaubDawg

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 10:39 PM

View PostFFCollusion, on 06 July 2014 - 08:41 PM, said:

View PostFaubDawg, on 06 July 2014 - 03:02 PM, said:

Moves are extremely limited in this league.  In fact, we played with ZERO last year and are considering doing it again.

It's basically an MFL10 league.

I feel like, you kinda ask for it, when you restrict the moves.
You've made the entire league, 100% dependent on the draft, and then want people to avoid tools that 'potentially' maximize their draft.  I understand it sucks, but if you can't enforce the rules, then honestly, there's nothing you can do.

I hear you.  Trouble is, these are guys who wouldn't be playing fantasy if it involved weekly moves.  They're guys who work 60 hour weeks, have 3 kids, are underwater on their mortgage, are moving, spend half their lives at the airport, etc.  Basically, it's a group of friends from high school who enjoy having a reason bullshit and trade barbs via the league page on Facebook.  No one minds if the guy who wins knows the most about pro football wins.  But they mind if he's just some idiot who gave FootballGuys $20.

I'm toying with the idea of using a "fast clock" for the draft.  Like 15 seconds or something.  I don't think anyone could manually enter the selection into their draft app and then still have time to make a selection.  Draft Assistant syncs, but 15 seconds might be too quick for it to work (anyone know?).

#18 deuce4off

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 11:08 PM

To be honest, I've never heard of a draft app until now.  Personally, I think it's one of the lamest things I've ever heard of.  The draft is such a huge part of any fantasy sport.  It takes a lot of the fun out of the entire experience in my opinion.  I can't believe that any app could really help someone, unless they are just completely clueless and brain dead when it comes to football.

In the end, I wouldn't have a problem with anyone using an app.  I'm assuming that it wouldn't affect me one bit.  I can guarantee my strategy is superior to some ridiculous app...

#19 FFCollusion

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 01:42 AM

View PostFaubDawg, on 06 July 2014 - 10:39 PM, said:

I hear you.  Trouble is, these are guys who wouldn't be playing fantasy if it involved weekly moves.  They're guys who work 60 hour weeks, have 3 kids, are underwater on their mortgage, are moving, spend half their lives at the airport, etc.  Basically, it's a group of friends from high school who enjoy having a reason bullshit and trade barbs via the league page on Facebook.  No one minds if the guy who wins knows the most about pro football wins.  But they mind if he's just some idiot who gave FootballGuys $20.

I'm toying with the idea of using a "fast clock" for the draft.  Like 15 seconds or something.  I don't think anyone could manually enter the selection into their draft app and then still have time to make a selection.  Draft Assistant syncs, but 15 seconds might be too quick for it to work (anyone know?).

If they are that dis-interested in Fantasy Football to begin with, then do they really care who uses a draft app?  I get the point of the league, but with no money on the table, and a handful of idiots losing money to play a free league... I'm not sure how they aren't just laughed at.  Even if you win, everyone treats it like an Asterisk season probably.  I'm more curious why someone would admit they used it, or more interestingly that they PAID to use it.

15 second picks will only make it harder on humans.  Computers can do 10 million things in nano-seconds, so a 15 second pick gives them an even larger advantage, because it can do all sorts of thinking that I can't in 15 seconds.

You could do a reverse type league.  Mathew Berry has mentioned his a few times, I think it's the Crappy QB League or something?  Everyone has to play a QB ranked out of the top 16, or something weird like that?

Actually... Why don't you just do an 'auto draft' league.  Every team is auto drafted.  I've seen them on Yahoo before.  Never done one, because again, the draft is the most fun to me.  But for your type of league, that might be the best bet.  Just have teams given to you, and then go.  You can allow people to input their custom rankings into Yahoo, and it will auto draft off of those I believe.
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#20 GreatScott!

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 07:19 AM

View PostFFCollusion, on 07 July 2014 - 01:42 AM, said:

View PostFaubDawg, on 06 July 2014 - 10:39 PM, said:

I hear you.  Trouble is, these are guys who wouldn't be playing fantasy if it involved weekly moves.  They're guys who work 60 hour weeks, have 3 kids, are underwater on their mortgage, are moving, spend half their lives at the airport, etc.  Basically, it's a group of friends from high school who enjoy having a reason bullshit and trade barbs via the league page on Facebook.  No one minds if the guy who wins knows the most about pro football wins.  But they mind if he's just some idiot who gave FootballGuys $20.

I'm toying with the idea of using a "fast clock" for the draft.  Like 15 seconds or something.  I don't think anyone could manually enter the selection into their draft app and then still have time to make a selection.  Draft Assistant syncs, but 15 seconds might be too quick for it to work (anyone know?).

If they are that dis-interested in Fantasy Football to begin with, then do they really care who uses a draft app?  I get the point of the league, but with no money on the table, and a handful of idiots losing money to play a free league... I'm not sure how they aren't just laughed at.  Even if you win, everyone treats it like an Asterisk season probably.  I'm more curious why someone would admit they used it, or more interestingly that they PAID to use it.

15 second picks will only make it harder on humans.  Computers can do 10 million things in nano-seconds, so a 15 second pick gives them an even larger advantage, because it can do all sorts of thinking that I can't in 15 seconds.

You could do a reverse type league.  Mathew Berry has mentioned his a few times, I think it's the Crappy QB League or something?  Everyone has to play a QB ranked out of the top 16, or something weird like that?

Actually... Why don't you just do an 'auto draft' league.  Every team is auto drafted.  I've seen them on Yahoo before.  Never done one, because again, the draft is the most fun to me.  But for your type of league, that might be the best bet.  Just have teams given to you, and then go.  You can allow people to input their custom rankings into Yahoo, and it will auto draft off of those I believe.

I have to echo this.  If they don't have that much time for it, why do it?  And if they just like to be able to trash talk, then why care if someone used a draft app to win the league?  Heck, that sounds like some good trash talking right there to me if I found out that someone paid money to get a draft app to win a free league.  That's trash talk gold right there.  Also, have to agree that a shorter time period hurts those not using an app versus those who are.  I'm guessing that the apps probably have some sort of auto draft option (would make sense to me) which would only further give them an advantage.  Again, I'd echo what I said earlier and what others are saying in that there is no reason to try to ban someone from using a draft app.  But again, feel free to talk up the trash on those who are using it.  And when they lose, it's even sweeter trash talk about $10 - $20 going out the window in a friendly league.  Fantasy football is supposed to be fun.  Everyone finds fun from different areas of the game.  I personally find the draft to be the best part (the preparation, the getting together with everyone, trying to outsmart everyone, etc) but some people would rather just draft on auto pilot.  Again, let them.  I have yet to see anyones auto picks or draft apps win them a league.  Unless you are saying that the people with the draft apps are dominating the league?
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