During my time at CBSSports.com, I became friends with several of the product managers there, and I’d often suggest cool Fantasy Football tools or interesting tweaks the company could implement to the league service to make life better for owners. Invariably, I’d get shot down, with the explanation that it would take too much time/resources for such a tool, or it just wasn’t practical.
One product manager in particular, we’ll call him, “Ned,” would say “No” before I even got to the verb in my sentence. I’m not sure if it was because he didn’t think the Fantasy Football tools would be practical or just that he over-toasted his Pop-Tart that morning.
I imagine the people that came up with the Top 13 FREE Fantasy Football Draft Tools You Must Use never had a burnt Pop-Tart.
I get that the tools below are all insignificant in the grand scheme of a Fantasy Football tools, but most of them are just fun. But realize that it takes forever for a product to get a green-light for a new tool.
Let me put it this way – it took me complaining for THREE YEARS until we finally got a rankings tool. They had no rankings until 2006! The only rankings they did have was done by a writer inside an article, manually. NOT FUN! It took another couple years before they finally added “Targets” into the players’ stats!
OK, I’m done ranting. Here are some Fantasy Football tools that I think would be fun and/or helpful, and would give the product guys headaches for months! (Some of these tools might already be implemented on sites that I’m just unaware of.)
Fantasy Football Tools Wish List!
1. Site Rankings Adjuster
Something that tells you which players are overvalued and undervalued in the rankings of the draft service you are using, compared to your own rankings or user mock drafts. This tells you who your opponents are more likely to draft.
In other words, if you’re drafting on ESPN, it could tell you which players are being drafted here higher than where they are being drafted in user mock drafts. This is usually because some owners automatically give a little higher value to players near the top of the draft room, which of course, are ranked in order of the experts’ choosing. When an owner panics because the timer is about to go off, they usually lean toward drafting the highest-ranking players.
2. Bye-Week Shading
After you choose a player at a position, the rest of the players in that position that have the same bye week are shaded just a tad. This is a no-brainer that should be very easy to integrate. Make it happen. (Stay tuned for its arrival in the summer of 2018!)
3. Competitive Analysis
- “Father Knows Breast drafts a RB in the first round every time.”
- “Stevo’s Shockers drafts three running backs in its first five rounds most of the time.”
- “Dolphin Killas drafts their starting DST, on an average, near Pick No. 9.02.”
There is a website called, Draftologist.com, that allows you to upload your league’s draft results over the past three seasons and it can give you some of this highly valuable information … FOR FREE! It’s outdated now, though, but you can still use it I believe.
4. Injury Percentages
Mainstream Fantasy Football league services all get NFL injury reports every week. It would be nice to see the injury percentages of each player over the course of their career. For instance:
- “In 80 career NFL games, this player has been questionable entering a game 43-percent of the time; doubtful 9-percent of the time, and he has missed 7-percent of his games.”
- “Philip Rivers plays in 87-percent of games in which he has been listed as questionable. He averages 14.7 Fantasy points in the games that he plays.”
Then an overall injury risk number can be associated to each player, using a formula that brings in all of those numbers.
5. Scouting For DSTs
Some teams pick up Fantasy Defense/Special Teams each week in hopes to capitalize on a weak opposing offenses. It would be cool if there was a scout tool that looked ahead to a week of your choosing to see the highest scoring Fantasy DSTs that are facing the worst scoring offenses. This could also work the other way, showing you the highest scoring free agent players that are coming up against the weakest defenses in a specific upcoming week.
6. Waiver Wire Alerts
On Tuesdays, nearly every Fantasy Football site posts their “Waiver Wire Pickups” suggestions on which players are good pickups and which ones are fool’s gold. There should be a symbol next to the player’s names in the add/drop menu that the Fantasy expert does/doesn’t suggest grabbing him.
7. Video Game Hijinx
I think we should add some fun to the Fantasy Football draft. It’s such a high-intensity event, with our futures determined by hours and hours of research. Let’s add a little more evil by impementing these things:
- A red-alert button that each owner can push ONCE during another owner’s selection, that sends off a fire-alarm sound on their computer, and their draft board starts flashing red, white and black until they choose.
- A timeout button, allowing each owner the opportunity to take just an extra two minutes on one pick of their choosing.
- A thumbs-up or thumbs-down button that all of the owners can push when someone makes a pick.
- Draft delay penalty – When an owner takes too long, rather than automatically give them the best player available, it bumps them to the back of that round.
8. Auto-Filled Weekly Newsletter
One idea I had a few years ago was to have a set number of phrases and stat marks that could be combined to create an awesome newsletter each week for the league. The league’s commissioner would have the ability to set the tone of the newsletter, ranging from, “Happy Fun-Time, to Just News, to Trash-Talk Central.”
- Happy Fun-Time! – This would be a mild newsletter that does more congratulating than it does mocking. With phrases like, “The North Lauderdale Wildcats scored the highest points in the league for the second time this season! Good job, Timmy!” And “So close! The Tebros were just five points away from beating the Milwaukee Milkmen for the first time in league history! Keep trying, Josh! You can do it!”
- Just the News – Basically, this is just a stats read, sort of like the stats/news that comes out in the matchups articles before every NFL game. “The Denver Elways are 4-1 the week after being blown out by more than 50 points.” And “Show Me Your TDs has faced the highest-scoring team in 3 of 9 weeks this season.”
- Trash-Talk Central – Finally, this would be the most fun and cause the most banter after its delivery. This would be a much more evil-spirited newsletter, as if TMZ wrote your weekly newsletter. “Taste the Dwayne Bowe officially destroyed Nostradumbass this week, beating them for the fifth time in a row over the past three seasons.” And “Somebody needs to explain to Lamey how to fill out a lineup. This is the third time this season their team has scored the fewest points. Do they think this is like golf?”
9. More League History
Many sites, including CBSSports.com, now have league histories available to show stuff like past year’s draft results, previous year’s standings, and league records like Most Points Scored in a Season, and Longest Winning Streak.
But what I’d like to see is everyone’s Average Draft Position, along with their records at each draft spot. Or number of transactions per year for each team. Which owner makes the most trades every season, and which ones never trade? Stuff like that.
10. Mel Kiper-Type Draft Analysis
Along the same lines of the “League History” stuff I want added, I’d like some draft history analysis. Whether it’s an owner’s tendencies, like I’ve mentioned before, or analysis on a player chosen at a certain spot in the draft.
- This is the lowest draft spot Aaron Rodgers has ever been selected in this league.
- The K-Mafia have never made it to the playoffs in a year they’ve drafted a wide receiver in the first round, like they did just now.
- LeSean McCoy has an ADP of 1.07 in this league over the past seven years – easily the highest number of any active player, but it’s still a couple spots lower than LaDainian Tomlinson’s 1.05 ADP from 2002-11.
- Zed’s Dead, Baby has drafted Larry Fitzgerald in seven out of the past 10 NFL seasons.
11. Draft Pick Notes and Alerts
Sometimes it would be nice to make a quick note and tag it to a player you drafted (or a player someone else drafted), like:
- “Frank was mad I took T.Y. Hilton just before his pick. Remember him for possible future trades.”
- “Make sure to grab RB handcuff to Carlos Hyde during Round 9 or so.”
- “Everyone made fun of this pick – I must destroy them. And then remind them later in the year that they’re all dumb. The end.”
12. Instant Rankings
After each round, it would be cool to see an “Instant Rankings” pop-up that showed what the league service projects for the final rankings. While this is more of a conversation piece, it would be nice to rattle some of the inexperienced owners by chiding them for being in 11th place after five rounds, tricking them into drafting a second QB in Round 6.
Do some of these Fantasy Football tools exist somewhere? If so, post a link in the comments below and tell us where they are!
I hope you enjoyed this Wish List for Fantasy Football Tools and hopefully it inspired you to think of some yourself! Feel free to post them here – and hopefully, we can get the Neds of the world to say “Yes” once in a while!
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.