Guest Post: Fantasy Football Command Center: How I Manage, Balance My Scores of Fantasy Squads

Contributed by Ryan Lessard and originally posted at RotoViz. Follow Ryan on twitter @ryanlessard and read more of Ryan’s Fantasy Football pro-tips here.

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling the pain after drafting a few too many teams this year.

I’ve noticed that I’m not the only one playing in more leagues than ever before. My friends all seem to be playing in three-plus leagues this season and a quick search on www.myfantasyleague.com reveals that there are three times as many MFL 10/25/50s than last year. Despite the success of a handful of systems, I doubt many people playing in three-plus leagues do so exclusively via one outlet, so I wanted to share how I’m managing my teams across several systems.

This season my Minimum Effective Dose strategy has been helpful, but with so many teams spread across seven different fantasy football systems (MFL, NFL, Fanium, Yahoo, ESPN, Stats.com, and Fleaflicker) it hasn’t been enough.

On top of the various systems, I’m playing in several formats. Contract, PPR, Standard, Dynasty, Keeper, Best Ball, IDP, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 teams. So naturally, I needed to find a way to scale my fantasy football game play without a significant increase in effort/time. The solution? The Fantasy Football Command Center.

Building a simple Fantasy Football Command Center:

1) Kimono Labs – create an API without needing programming experience.

Kimono Labs is an amazing tool that allows you to pull data in real time from almost any website and it’s incredibly easy to set up. Before Kimono Labs, you would have to find someone to write a script to crawl the data, or hope to find a site that has a feed you can tap into. Kimono Labs gives everyone the tools to build an API. A really simple use case could be to pull your current roster from each of your teams on various sites into one place. If an injury occurs, let’s say to Jamaal Charles, you would be able to see which rosters he’s on, or which teams you’re weak at RB, and could make a bid for Knile Davis on the waiver wire. Another way I use it is to see which players are available on the waiver in each league.

Creating an API is as easy as highlighting text on a webpage. Here’s what it looks like.

Using Kimono

Kimono can update the data you want on demand, so you’re getting hyper-relevant info whenever you need it. This season I’ve used Kimono for all my leagues to pull roster, waiver, scoring, and matchup info.

Kimono has two killer features that I want to draw attention to. The first is authentication. For private leagues, you can show Kimono how to log in to your account once and then never have to do it again. It’s magic. The second is the Google Sheets Add-on which let’s you easily pull the data into a spreadsheet. From there I love to manipulate the data to see how my teams are performing over time or use a Vlookup to pull two sets of data together in one view. Here’s a link to a public Google Sheet where you can see this in action. We’ll revisit how to visualize your team performance in a Fantasy Football Command Center shortly.

2) RotoViz Apps – advanced metrics to help you make better decisions.

My favorite part of RotoViz is the apps. I love being able to ask certain questions and find answers via the various tools at my disposal. Leading up to draft season I used The Projection Machine to project every team’s 2014 regular season performance. It’s an exceptional tool and well worth the hours I poured into using it. When it comes to in-season apps, Fantasy Efficiency is a staple. I have never used more valuable tool for making roster, trade, and start/sit decisions in fantasy football. What’s even cooler, is RotoViz has even made the app output available for download. Hopefully you can see where I’m going with this. In addition to the other factors you consider when making start/sit decisions, you can easily view player efficiency data for your specific roster when you combine the RotoViz Efficiency App output and your Kimono Labs output. Just use a simple Vlookup to tie your roster info (that we used Kimono Labs to pull into Google Sheets) to your efficiency data and voila.

Before we get to the last piece needed to make your Fantasy Football Command Center, I want to mention that I think decisions during your season are about cutting out noise and being disciplined. Cognitive Biases make Fantasy Football extremely challenging and reacting to things like breaking news can be helpful and detrimental to your success at the same time. I try and balance player news with sources of info from a number of different sites, including player efficiency from RotoViz to help me make decisions about who to roster/drop. And most importantly, I write each of these decisions down immediately after I make them for post-season evaluation. I find that it’s tremendously important to evaluate your annual performance by understanding what information was available at the time. A catalog of that information makes this very easy and these tools can also help to automate some of that.

3) Ducksboard – Visualize your Data

The last element to managing my teams in-season is visualization. How healthy are your teams? What matters most and how can you see that all in one place? I like spreadsheets as much as the next person, but they just do a bad job of giving you information in an easily consumable way. So I set out to find a tool to help me visualize my team info without writing a line of code. Ducksboard allows you to pull data sources from various tools, one if which is Google Sheets. How convenient. You simply set up how you want to visualize the data from Google Sheets (graph, leaderboard, dial etc.) and you’re good to go.

Widget Ducksboard

Setting up your Fantasy Football Command Center is now super simple with these tools.

The first thing I see when I log into Ducksboard is a snapshot of my standings in a few leagues.

Main Dashboard

For some teams I need to work the waiver wire a lot over the first few weeks, as they’re designed to be antifragile. This is a single league page I made to monitor waivers.

Ducksboard Team Dashboard

Here’s what my RotoViz Dynasty League page looks like.

 RDL Dashboard

So there you have it, you’re own personal Fantasy Football Command Center. If you’re really hardcore, Ducksboard can be resized for TVs, so you can throw it up on a screen and always know where you stand against your friends.

If you have any questions or ideas on how to make this better shoot me an email at lessardryanw@gmail.com.