Final Affinity Space Presentation

Embedded here is my final presentation for my project of joining a fantasy football affinity space at’s fantasy football community. Enjoy the screencast below:

Follow this link if you would like to view the google slide show from the screencast and to have access to the links form the presentation.

Final Affinity Space Presentation

Predicting the NFL Draft – A FFToday affinity Space Update

*To learn more about participation in a interest based community, also known as an affinity space, for my Games and Learning masters class, I have joined the a fantasy football discussion community and am blogging about the experience.


My affinity space at FFToday is holding a contest for members to choose the first ten draft picks in the upcoming NFL draft being held on April 27th. I have decided as part of my continuing participation in the affinity space I will enter this contest.

One of my goals, as a fantasy football player, in joining the FFToday affinity space was to develop my skills as an evaluator of the rookies entering the NFL though the draft. In my younger and less responsible days I would regularly watch NFL on Sundays and college football on Saturdays, filling my weekends with the sport. By regularly watching the college level of football I had first hand  knowledge of the players that would be newest members of the NFL. Eventually I realized that weekends were for more than watching football, and paired my viewing down to just those games on Sunday. This has left me without my first hand impressions of college players, however, and for fantasy purposes I have been forced to rely on the sports media for evaluations of the potential rookies. By joining the FFToday community I have layered my access to rookie player research to include the evaluations made by FFToday community members, some with first hand  familiarity to these players.

These rookie evaluations have helped me think about rookies to target in my fantasy draft but when predicting the first ten draft picks this is not the whole picture. In fantasy football an athlete’s talent is only half the equation in the decision making process. Just as important is the player’s team and his position on that team’s depth chart. Because the team and his depth chart position lets the fantasy football manager have a better understanding of the player’s opportunity to be successful, a player can have all the talent in the world but if the supporting players on his team don’t produce then the player will suffer, also if a player is young and is sitting on the bench behind an established veteran, the rookie’s playing time will be limited and that will negatively affect his production.  The upcoming draft will shed a lot of light on the the situations these rookies will be thrown into for training camp.

The skill needed for FFtoday’s draft contest is matching the talent of top prospects with the needs of the teams that are picking in positions 1-10. I started my planning for my entry by looking at the recaps of the 2016 seasons for the teams with a top ten pick. Knowing how a team’s season played out gives insight into areas of need that a team will likely try to address in the draft, with the bigger the need the earlier in the draft it will probably be addressed. I decided to lean on the recaps from ProFootballFocus, because I trust their analytical approach to evaluating teams and players. The teams with top ten picks are:

  1. Cleveland Browns
  2. San Francisco 49ers
  3. Chicago Bears
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars
  5. Tennessee Titans
  6. New York Jets
  7. LA Chargers
  8. Carolina Panthers
  9. Cincinnati Bengals
  10. Buffalo Bills

With knowledge of the draft order, team situations and what I learned from the collected wisdom of the FFToday affinity space I selected my entry for the first ten NFL draft pick for the contest.  My choices were as follows:

  1. Myles Garrett (DE – Texas A&M)
  2. Solomon Thomas (DL – Stanford)
  3. Cam Robinson (OT – Alabama)
  4. Marshon Lattimore (CB – Ohio State)
  5. Jamal Adams (S – LSU)
  6. Malik Hooker (S – Ohio State)
  7. Mike Williams (WR – Clemson)
  8. Leonard Fournette (RB – LSU)
  9. Reuben Foster (ILB – Alabama)
  10. O.J. Howard (TE – Alabama)

Now that I have entered my picks I just need to to wait for April 27th, to see if my rookie research and my analysis of team needs have paid off.

Predicting the NFL Draft – A FFToday affinity Space Update

Why do haters gotta hate? – Membership in an Fantasy Football Affinity Space

*To learn more about participation in a interest based community, also known as a6171514511.pngn affinity space, for my Games and Learning masters class, I have joined the FFToday discussion community and am blogging about the experience.  

On of my goals for joining the FFToday affinity space was to play around with the idea for using fantasy football as a learning activity in my small group math interventions. I don’t know where this ideas is going to go and I am changing jobs next year, so I am not certain I will even have an opportunity to employ it, but I have been thinking about fantasy football in math for a while. I might as well dive right into the affinity space and start seeing what the members thought. I started a discussion thread called: Fantasy Football used for teaching math in school. I made the assumption that the members of a fantasy football affinity space would see this a great idea and share testimonials about how they use math in game/in world, or about how motivating the game has been to look and and analyze data to be more successful. My opening post was an attempt to elicit those stories.


I also wondered if there was an inherent problem with fantasy football in a math class.  I have seen, in the readings from and interactions with classmates in my Games and Learning class, that gamification is not always the answer to motivating students. Would competition and point totals make the game an electronic whip? Would students to feel forced to “play” and see their scores as negative commentary for their performance? So I decided to request reasons not to use fantasy football from the community. I thought that reasons not to play would be thoughtful and come from a place of understanding – because these are not only players of fantasy football but such die hard fanatics they are interacting in an affinity space in the off-season. What I did not expect was what I got, a troll.

It didn’t happen right away, at first weepaws was just a poster that seem concerned about fantasy football being gambling but his post quickly became an attack on “lazy” teachers.

weepaws post 1

I was not in a mental place to handle this internet attack on either my profession or myself. I have been feeling constant pressure political related interactions on social media that have ranged from discussions to arguments to attacks. I know that I am not alone in this feeling but there was no way I was going to handle the situation with weepaws well, this was a fantasy football discussion forum that people go to for fun, that I had joined for a class. I envisioned myself striking back at weepaws and letting the poster know what is lazy teaching really is – probably starting a feud with a long time community member, or blowing a gasket and then have to walk away from this affinity space. So I did the only thing that I could think of to that did not end in banishment from the group; I ignored him. I responded to most of the other posts, I got some great feedback, and I thanked other members who stuck up of me in shooting down weepaws repeated claims of gambling or lazy teaching. But I did not interact with weepaws.

I was ready to use this blog post as a way to go after weepaws, to vent, because I was furious. Then he made a post that struck a cord.

weepaws post 2

I had asked for opinions on both sides of the fantasy in math controversy. Weapaws shared his opinions and I needed to address this, I gave a lengthy response, but the gist was that I wanted positive testimonials to share to support the project, to think about negative responses to decide if I was going to do develop the fantasy football project at all, and that repeated attacks of lazy teachers was not convincing me of that it was bad idea. I concluded that the attacks gave me more motivation me to show my students I care about their engagement, so they don’t hate teachers when they grow up. I thought that conclusion would push weepaws over the edge and that my math discussion thread would devolve into attacks and insults. And again I assumed wrong.

weepaws post 3
I think I learned that viewing weepaws as a troll stopped me from validating the poster’s opinion. Posters in a affinity space are looking for validation. I am not going to see eye to eye with weepaws, but we have shared a civil exchange. I am interested to see if and how weepaws continues to post on the thread.





Why do haters gotta hate? – Membership in an Fantasy Football Affinity Space

Are You Ready for Some Fantasy Football Affinity Space!?!

football header.pngI have been a participant in fantasy football for 12 years and throughout that time the game has meant many different things to me. I love to watch football and have been a lifelong Broncos fanatic so in some ways fantasy football was a logical extension of my passions. Fantasy football, however, is more than just an extension of loving football, it is a community experience that is shared with the other members of a league. I have played in leagues that are social and made new friends, such as a league that I joined in at a new school I taught at. I have also been involved with a league of friends that use our shared love of football and the competition of fantasy to stay close even if we are far away, which I was for two years while teaching in Ecuador.  For me playing fantasy football is a four month extension of social media in which all discussion revolves around the athletes and the game of football. My friends and league members, new and old, became my fantasy affinity space.

But there are more people in the fantasy football niche culture and joining them in an
online affinity space seems to be my next step to being a member of the participatory culture that is evolving around fantasy football. It is the off-season for fantasy football but that does not mean that the players of the game are resting. This is the time that league champions are starting to do their homework about off-season moves for the biggest names in the NFL and the newcomers, who will have high value on teams come September, because these players will be overlooked by novices but score big points for team managers who are willing to take a chance. An affinity space for  fantasy football is a great place to tap into members’ knowledge and strategies.parkscallions-champion

I looked at a few fantasy football affinity spaces before choosing to join FF Today’s Fantasy Football Community. What I liked about FF Today was that not only did membership connect the user with discussion forums and tailored news from FF Today staff, but even early in the off season there was active contributions from the community about player contract news, injuries, drafting/keeping strategies, and and most exciting individuals sharing news items from local papers that were not being picked up by national sports media.

I have started my contributions as a newcomer to the group, looking for guidance with my fantasy roster. The way my long time friend’s league works is that we can keep three players each season and so I have reached out the the FF Today community for a fresh perspective on which players form my roster are gems and which are busts. The replies have been few but thought provoking, and similar to the responses that others have received to similar posts about their teams. I hope that as the NFL off-season moves into free agency there will be more interest from community members  to discuss and analyze keeper rosters as they get ready for the season.

Are You Ready for Some Fantasy Football Affinity Space!?!

Play Journal – Champions Online

This is the opening entry into a series of blog posts for my Games and Learning course. In this journaling exercise I am going to play social games and analyze the game mechanics, design, and play experience, to identify how the game can be applied to learning in formal or informal settings.

I decided to kick off my game play experience with a game that was both comfortable and out of my comfort zone. I have never been interested in online multiplayer role playing games, also refereed to as Massively-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG). I have tried them before but have been overwhelmed by the number of tasks to be undertaken, having to explore, find materials, conduct missions, build or upgrade, etc, are too much for me to enjoy the game play. I never know if what I am doing is making me a better player and I get bored or frustrated and quit. I also generally don’t enjoy the settings or genre of role playing games – fantasy – I am more or a science fiction or superhero guy in my nerdy pursuits.  So while I wanted to try a game that is out of my comfort zone, the MMORPG, I decided to try  to find one that had content that more closely matched my interests.

The game I settled on was Champions Online, this free game lets users create and design a superhero based around a specific class of powers, for my character Fire, I chose the ability to create and manipulate, you guessed it, fire. The game starts with a lengthy tutorial that runs through the basics of game play and upgrading offensive and defensive powers. The tutorial also connects with a community forum where further questions can be asked or answer can be searched for from previous questions. I found this forum useful because I wanted to better know how to take advantage of my character’s abilities. I have a ranged attack and learned that if I let other players, who can take more damage, spearhead attacks, then the focus of the enemies will be on those players and I can provide support with my ranged attacks. This information may have been shared in the tutorial but I missed it and was getting frustrated at how fast I was dying as I rushed into battle. By leaning on the tacit knowledge shared by the others in the Champions Online affinity space I was able to overcome my frustrations and be a better contributor in battles (Gee & Hayes, p 19, 2012).

To support learning I think that this game would good to encourage students to apply a trial and error approach that lets them identify what they can solve on their own and where they need help. For me I learned that I was not effective in my original approach to how I attacked the bad guys. I ran head first in and died too quickly to be an effective contributor. This trial and error highlighted that my approach to the battle could be wrong and I was able to refine my query about how to improve my play. Students could be supported in other learning endeavors by playing this game if they transfer skills around attacking problems with a trial and error approach to determine specific challenges that they need scaffolding for to be successful.

Play Journal – Champions Online