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.

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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.

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Predicting the NFL Draft – A FFToday affinity Space Update

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!?!