Dyer Final Project Proposal

The fantasy football industry has evolved from a hobby of avid sports fans into a $70 billion industry. Yes, billlion. Fantasy football has grown every year of its existence, and appeals to casual and die-hard players alike. Whether you play fantasy football for fun with friends, or pour over statistics and rankings, fantasy football is almost as wide reaching as the National Football League itself.

As a fantasy football player and fan myself, I was intrigued as to how I could use the skills I’ve learned in this class to create an interesting and visually appealing story around fantasy football. After working with Tabletop.js and Highcharts, and experimenting with NVD3 soon, I’ve come up with a few ideas as to how I can apply my knowledge of those programs to creating interesting fantasy football graphs and charts.

I plan to create two charts surrounding average draft position, considering the player’s projected 2015 points according to ESPN, as well as their actual points in the 2015 season. Using this information I plan to determine a player’s “Sleeper Rating” – a statistic I’m going to formulate that incorporates their average fantasy draft position and subsequent fantasy points.

Drafting players in fantasy football can be a difficult task; the number of talented quarterbacks outweigh the number of talented running backs, and quarterbacks traditionally put up far more points. However, good running backs and tight ends are hot commodities, and can make or break a team’s season. Thus, I want to create several visually appealing graphs that displays where players in various positions compare against the rest of their position, effectively determining their worth. Using this, I plan to determine how valuable players truly are, using the data regarding how they stack up against players in their respective position as well as the rest of the league.

The point of this project is take confusing information and data and turn it into graphics that make the story easier to comprehend. The graphs I plan to create would allow people to easily view how valuable players are without having to pour over various different statistical categories.

I have already begun to acquire the data necessary for this story, which requires the average draft position of every NFL player in every ESPN fantasy football league, ESPN’s 2015 projected points for every player, and the actual fantasy points every player accumulated during the season. After acquiring this data and compiling it into a comprehensive spreadsheet I will be able to sort it by position and other categories. Fortunately, all of this data is available on ESPN.

I am thinking of using Highcharts, Tabletop.js, and NVD3, but could use different tools based off of where the story and the data takes me.

Some of the unknowns that still need to be worked out is how exactly this “Sleeper Rating” I’m conceptualizing will be calculated. I have a rough idea of how it will be made, but I need to calculate some examples in order to determine it’s usefulness.

I cannot foresee too many ways this project could go wrong, but one of them is regarding the graphs I am going to use. I’m still trying to work out which types of graphs would be the most effective way of presenting the data, and I will need to take time to experiment with a few different variations.