We’re just a few guys trying to tackle the World

Who we are, where we’re going and why you should join us.

Listen to our discussion of the Origins of Fantasy Outliers on our Fantasy Outliers Podcast here: https://fantasyoutliers.fireside.fm/3

The Story of Fantasy Outliers

Fantasy Outliers started in December of 2015 when I won the regular season of one of my leagues. By a lot. Since I’m a humble person, I wanted to find a clever way to brag.

So, I built this chart and emailed it to my whole league:

I also made a few other graphs…

Needless to say, everyone I beat loved them (really!). Two guys in the league in particular—my brother, Dave Seal, and his Co-Commissioner, Dave Harbarger — convinced me that these could be the start of something bigger.

Being a data scientist and all, the more I thought about it, the more I felt like there really was space for something new like this. It didn’t feel like data was being used to help people understand fantasy football — I certainly couldn’t find anything that helped me in that way. I saw a big ‘A gap’ in the market (sorry). Fantasy Outliers grew from there.

I really think that fantasy football advice, in general, is made up of equal parts hype and mediocre projections. To try to solve this, I wanted to:

  1. Figure out what was actually happening in competitive leagues. We built fantasyoutliers.com, which takes an exploratory approach to answering this question. We’re also sharing articles (here on Medium) and a podcast to curate our findings and share them with our audience (hopefully you).
  2. Predict what is going to happen from a data-driven perspective. We’re using some of the best of what data science and machine learning has to offer to create a holistic perspective on each individual player and their respective situation, and predict and diagnose future outcomes. We think that these predictions combined with human expertise will produce a better outcome than the status quo. (Our predictions for the 2017 season are coming soon, so stay in touch.)
  3. Start a trend — or at least, push an existing trend to new horizons. We believe that we’re on the cusp of a new era of data analytics in football. Sure there’s stats galore, but I personally find the “a stat here, a stat there” approach to be, at best, not very informative and at worst annoying. The responsible application of cutting edge data science techniques to fantasy football is limited.

We’re not saying our predictions are foolproof — it’s a hard problem to solve, and decision making is an imperfect science — but we are saying that we believe we’re applying Data Science to Fantasy Football in a way that has never been done before. In 2016—our first year—we road tested a beta version of our models. Our testers made the playoffs in 8 out of 9 leagues. Not bad considering how much better we think the models will be this year. Just sayin’.

So what’s in it for you? If you decide to tag along for the ride, you’ll be at the forefront of discovering what data science can bring to fantasy football — so you get to talk all fancy like to your friends. And if we have anything to say about it, you’ll gain a competitive advantage in your leagues, as well. If that sounds good to you, please, join us. At this early stage in our company, we need your support more than anything.

Our Team

We already mentioned Dave Seal (Lead Industrial Designer at Minimal, the first company to break Kickstarter’s $1M mark) and Dave Harbarger (a Creative Director and Brand Designer who’s been playing fantasy sports since they did it on paper in the ‘90’s).

We met our Marketing Director, Tyler Hollstegge, through our membership at Cintifuse, a startup accelerator based in Cincinnati, OH. Tyler’s an ex-pitcher in the Oakland A’s minor league farm system. (And yes, he’s met Billy Bean.) He starts researching for the fantasy football draft in the spring. I mean, who does that?

Thanks to a connection at the Data Science Immersive program at Galvanize, we ran across Mark Coup — a percussionist/data scientist who won $20K in a DFS tournament a couple years back. He and I are working long hours together on our yearly and weekly predictive models.

Me? Oh, I dunno, here’s a link to my LinkedIn profile. Let’s connect?

One last thing—if you’re interested in joining us, let’s talk. We’re looking for a versatile web developer, and more good data scientists…or maybe you have something else to offer. Send an email to info@fantasyoutliers and say hi.

Listen to our discussion of the Origins of Fantasy Outliers on our Fantasy Outliers Podcast here: https://fantasyoutliers.fireside.fm/3

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