Archive for the ‘Site Changes’ Category

New Leaderboard and How We Rank Our Players

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Two weeks ago we announced changes to our Leaderboard, including splitting the season with a First Half Leaderboard covering NFL Weeks 1-9, and a reset for a Second Half Leaderboard starting NFL Week 10.

Week 10 came and went with no players ranked while we tweaked our Leaderboard ranking methodology slightly, and more importantly added some more useful stats and details to the Leaderboard. Lets tackle the visual stuff first.

We used to have average points for and points against for your Throwdown games, plus number of different opponents played, shown on the Leaderboard. These are all gone. I felt PF and PA were fairly useless, especially with the wide range of starting lineup options our members are using for their challenges.

Now we have the actual Throwdown Leaderboard Ranking points earned per our ranking methodology right on the Leaderboard. Makes too much sense, right? Now you can see not just your ranking, but how close you are to the next player on the list, and how much cushion you have on the player behind you.

leaderboard

New Leaderboard format shows actual Throwdown Leaderboard Ranking points earned, plus icons and details for special event achievements.

I bet you are wondering how those points are calculated? We’ve always kept that somewhat under wraps in the past, but I’ve decided to spill the beans and give you some insight to tailor your game and strategy to climb the Leaderboard. We’ll get to our methodology in the minute.

The next thing you’ll notice next to the points number are some icons for certain players. These represent achievements earned playing Fantasy Throwdown this season. If you mouse over each icon, you’ll see the detailed points and achievement earned by that individual represented by the icon. Currently there are three different icons.

Sword icon represents winning a #ThrowdownShowdown, typically worth 2.5 points.

Medal is for winning or placing in a tournament. These vary in points depending on the tournament.

Trophy is earned for winning or placing in a league. These also vary in points.

Although the Leaderboard was reset for challenges starting Week 10, the achievements carried over from the first half of this season, so those people who earned these special achievements still get credit for them in the second half. They earned them, and I really wanted to show off this new feature. The points earned for achievements are included in the point total to the left of the icons.

And that brings us back to the current Leaderboard ranking methodology. It is mostly the same as the method used for the first half, and all of last season. I made one small tweak to points earned for wins, so as to prevent people from ranking high based on sheer volume of play. This change probably hurt my own ranking the most! Here we go:

  • 0.25 points per game played to a maximum of 2.5 points per week. This is based on average games played, so if you played zero in Week 10 but ten in Week 11, then you earned the full 5 points available over the two weeks. There is some catch-up ability in that respect.
  • 2 points per win for the first 5 games played per week (on average, as above with the catch-up), plus 1 point per win for games played beyond 5 per week.
  • -1 point per loss, no limit
  • achievement points as mentioned above
  • additional points earned for wins against players who ranked above the 90th, 75th and 50th percentile from the prior week Leaderboard, although this does not start until after four weeks are played (and may change upon further review)

Oh, and to get on the Leaderboard you need to have a minimum 10 games played and positive ranking points, or for players who earned any achievement points, the games played minimum is waived (but they don’t earn any points from games played).

There you go, that is how we rank players at Fantasy Throwdown. We hope you enjoy the new Leaderboard. Do your best to climb that board, as we’ll have a number of spots available in our invite only Best of Throwdown Event planned for the final few weeks of the season for players who are holding high ranking spots on the Leaderboard prior to that competition. Good luck!

* Play Throwdown For Cash Prizes *

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

We teased it and pretty much let the cat out of the bag, but lets make it official as this is the biggest news since the launch of Fantasy Throwdown many moons ago. Effective yesterday you can…

Play Fantasy Throwdown
For Cash Prizes!

That’s right, after hearing this feedback again and again we’ve finally made it a reality that our players can choose to pay an entry fee for their individual challenges, plus upcoming leagues and tournaments, and win cash prizes for those games and contests.

 
Deposit Funds to Your Account

To do this, simply go to My Throwdown and under your username you should see an option to Deposit funds to your Throwdown account. Your payment is processed via a third-party, PayPal, which keeps your personal and payment information private and secure. We never have access to your payment information. You do not need a PayPal account to do this, as PayPal processes straight credit card payments.

Your Throwdown account is updated automatically after the payment is approved, which you should see upon returning to My Throwdown, and you can click your account balance to see your transactions. We don’t take any portion of your deposit off the top for Fantasy Throwdown. We just ask that you pay the exact fees that PayPal charges us for receiving the funds.

 
Entry Fee and Prizes

Now you have money in your account, click Issue a Challenge and you’ll notice options to select an entry fee of $1, $2, $5, $10 or $20. This is the entry fee per player in the challenge, and clicking each one shows the cash prize awarded to the winner. Note anyone can still play for free like always. We haven’t taken that option away.

The cash prizes are awarded for individual challenges as follows:

Entry Fee Prize
$1 $2
$2 $4
$5 $9.50
$10 $19
$20 $38

We hope you find that prize structure more than fair. We aren’t looking to make a big score here. Our long-term goal is to grow our Fantasy Throwdown community by having as many people play and enjoy this great game as possible.

 
Guaranteed Payouts

All monies held on deposit from our players is kept in a separate account and never combined with our operating funds. This is our pledge to you, that your money is safe and will be always available and paid out as quickly as possible when you make a withdrawal request.

We’re never going to go down the road of the calamity of a handful of high stakes fantasy football websites from a few years ago that tried to grow faster than they could or should, and used the players’ entry fees to do it. Those sites ultimately went bankrupt, leaving their players short prizes won in those contests.

Fantasy Throwdown was created by fantasy football players who care about and make decisions to do what is best for all of our players.

 
Is This Legal?

Yes.

If you are wondering about the legal aspects of this, daily/weekly fantasy sports contests have been operating with entry fees and cash prizes for a few years now, and we feel Fantasy Throwdown falls under the same umbrella as these other websites. The differences are we didn’t offer the pay-to-play option previously, and of course our game format is the best, but in terms of pegging us in an industry with our closest competitors, we are a daily/weekly fantasy sports website.

In a nutshell, fantasy sports are considered games of skill, and are specifically excluded from the Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) as a result. Unfortunately, there is separate state legislation that also factors into the legality of fantasy sports, to which we’ve stated in our terms of service that residents of specific states cannot play Fantasy Throwdown for cash prizes. Please review our terms of service to confirm you are eligible.

 
Stat Changes, Forfeit Games

Also make sure to read the terms of service for details about how we deal with official stat changes, scoring or statistic errors, and when games are not accepted or the draft is incomplete and the game expires. All of the choices made were based on a lot of thought and consideration to make the most reasonable and fair decision for all parties involved.

 
Okay, there is our big news. We are excited about this change, and we hope you are too! Let us know what you think in the comments, or on Twitter or Facebook. Good luck this week and the rest of the season improving your win-loss record, and now to win a little money, too!

Big News Teaser For Fantasy Throwdown

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

If I could produce a teaser trailer I would, but in the absence of that I’ll simply leave you with some images to check out and link to our terms of service to help you figure out the BIG NEWS impacting Fantasy Throwdown as of, today! Yes, this is in effect right now!

 

Upper-right portion of My Throwdown page.

 

Left side of Issue a Challenge box.

 

Left side of Accept a Challenge box.

 

This is a big change to Fantasy Throwdown. A huge change really. Although it isn’t, not if you don’t want it to be. Anyone is still more than welcome to play Fantasy Throwdown for free, as much as you like. We are hopeful adding this feature to the game will help Throwdown grow and allow all of us to keep playing Fantasy Throwdown for a long time. Thanks to our excellent community of players for the continued support.

Note players from Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana or Quebec may not notice the above changes when viewing the website per our terms of service.

What’s New? Facebook Posts / Twitter Tweets

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

The lineup changes we made to Fantasy Throwdown for the 2013 season, adding 2 QB, Flex, Super Flex and expanded IDP options, are all about making the game more fun. This time I’m going to talk about a big change that is more user-friendly, and I hope a win-win for all of us.

Before we launched this version of Fantasy Throwdown two years ago, we asked the developer to add an easy way to spread the word about Fantasy Throwdown. Obviously, automated Facebook Wall posts and Twitter tweets were the way to go. As our members played Throwdown, if they connected their accounts using Facebook Connect or Twitter oAuth (the Facebook and Twitter buttons at the top of the website, if you haven’t connected), then Throwdown would send posts or tweets to your social network account for your friends and followers to see.

Facebook Connect     Twitter oAuth

When we discussed this feature, we clearly said, “we DO NOT want to be like Farmville or Mob Wars” … or whatever other Facebook game we were all trying to ignore at the time because of the overload of posts from our “friends’” accounts. Maybe we underestimated how much you guys would play Throwdown, because it was too much.

We scaled it back to accepting a challenge and when the final results rolled in on Sunday and Monday nights, wins only. It was still too much. Last year, we cut it off completely until we could get a better handle on this. I think we’ve accomplished that now.

First, let me say we LOVE the promotion via your social network. It helps us a ton to get the word out about Fantasy Throwdown. If you have a Facebook account or Twitter account and haven’t connected it to Throwdown yet, we would be extremely grateful because we can use all the help building our community of fantasy football players we can get.

Concerned about the auto-posts though? No worries. We’ve really scaled back the number of posts that are sent out, and given each user control over which ones are sent and which are not. Go to My Throwdown and click on Edit Settings. There you will see a note about Email, Facebook and Twitter that says:

Email Updates / Facebook Wall Posts / Twitter Tweets:

Email game notifications can be turned on or off on a per game basis. Posts to your Facebook and Twitter accounts help us promote Fantasy Throwdown. Thank you! We limit those to one post per type per day.

One post per type per day for Facebook and Twitter. So, if you issue a half dozen challenges one morning, only one gets posted to Facebook/Twitter. If you have three or four challenges all accepted one day, only one gets posted to Facebook/Twitter. Game results? Same thing. I kept it as wins only, and only the first win recorded when we tabulate the results will get posted to your social network.

And, if you want to shut one of them off, like Issue a Challenge (since the Accept a Challenge will also result in a notification), switch the option to “Off”. There are no Facebook or Twitter notifications for game notifications (i.e. draft picks), as that really seems like too much, so that isn’t even an available option.

You can see email updates can also be turned on or off in this section. Email notifications for every draft pick can be a bit much if you are typically online and checking your game status the whole time. If you want to shut those off on a global basis, the option is also here. Then, as the note above mentions, you can turn them on or off per game. If you turn them off, just don’t forget to finish your challenges!

That’s it. We hope this change gives you incentive to connect your account to one or both social networks, and help spread the word about Fantasy Throwdown. Thanks for the continued support!

What’s New? Lineup Options: Flex, 2-QB, IDP

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

At this risk of repeating myself over and over, welcome back to Fantasy Throwdown! The way a bunch of you jumped right in and started ringing the dinner bell on Twitter about Throwdown after we set the table, it was great to see. Thank you for the support.

Over the next week we’ll try to highlight some of the new features at Fantasy Throwdown this season that we think you’ll really like. The first and most obvious new feature, which we’ve already received some great positive feedback on, is the new lineup options for our challenges. If you weren’t here last year, lineup options were limited to:

  • 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 DEF, 1 Block
  • 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 K, 3 D (any defensive position DL, LB or DB), 1 Block

That’s it. Just two, otherwise known as the Team Defense lineup or the Individual Defensive Player lineup. On the plus side at least it was easy to show which lineup was being used on the Game Manager and in the Lobby.

However, it was clear in some challenges involving expected high scoring NFL games that it would be nice to be able to add a third WR. Heck, usually three WR on the Green Bay Packers alone were draftable between Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones.

Once we got working on it this past offseason, we added a third WR. Ta-da. From there we took it a step further, and further, and eventually it was like Throwdown got hooked on PEDs, resulting in the following lineup options that you’ll see when you Issue a Challenge:

and

Those options are mostly drop-down boxes. On the top row, QB can be 1 or 2. RB: 1, 2 or 3. WR: 1 to 4. TE: 1 or 2. O-Flex: 0, 1 or 2. The last option in the top row is “QB in Flex?”, which I hope is obvious, but means do you want QB included as an option in the O-Flex position? Check for Yes, leave unchecked for No.

O-Flex is short for offensive flex position. If QB is not included, then your flex options are a pretty standard RB/WR/TE. If you include QB, then you’ve got QB/RB/WR/TE. As you can see, this opens up a ton of possibilities for starting lineups!

Moving on to the second row, K can be 0, 1 or 2. Who in their life playing fantasy football didn’t at some point want to kill the kicker? Now you can. Choose to keep him out of the challenge all together.

Team defense (DEF) can be 0 or 1. Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about our IDP guys. Set DEF to 0 and it opens up the DL, LB, DB and D-Flex options. Each of these positions can be set to 0, 1, 2 or 3. Can you imagine drafting from a player pool of just three NFL games but needing a full defensive player lineup? Set 3 DL, 2 LB, 3 DB, 3 D-Flex and you can decide if you want to draft a 4-3, 3-4 or Nickel defensive formation. Put on your Big Boy pants!

One offshoot of this change is that it is tougher (okay, impossible) to show the lineup for each challenge directly on the Game Manager or in the Lobby, but simply mouse over the word “Lineup” and you should see a pop-up appear and show the lineup details. In the lineup and need to draft sections of your game screen, “O” represents O-Flex without QB included, “O+” represents O-Flex with QB included, and “D” is D-Flex.

We are pretty excited about these changes to Fantasy Throwdown for the 2013 season, and we hope you are too. Enjoy!

Reason to Watch the Pro Bowl?

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

The number one guy on our Leaderboard, patwat, said to me last night at our soccer game, “Mike, you should add the Pro Bowl into Throwdown.” Well… I don’t know… would it give some reason to watch the Pro Bowl? Or even if not watch it, half check the scores and stats later?

We don’t really seem to know what to do with ourselves with this extra week off before the Super Bowl, and for the sake of an hour or so of my time getting it set up, I figured, okay, what the heck. The rosters are in and I added it to the schedule in the database. You can now play Fantasy Throwdown for the Pro Bowl.

It works just like the Super Bowl matches. There is only one game on the schedule, so after a challenge is accepted you skip right to the draft. Since it is possible to draft and block both kickers or both defenses, a third “nil points” kicker and defense is included that must be picked to avoid the draft getting stuck if those positions get blocked against you.

I only put in the offensive skill players, leaving out the individual defensive players. From what I’ve seen, no one tackles anyway, right? Do not create an IDP Pro Bowl challenge, or you will get stuck.

To play Throwdown for the Pro Bowl, issue a challenge like you always would, but in the NFL Week drop down, change “Super Bowl” to “Pro Bowl”. Challenges will appear as week 25 in your Game Manager (Super Bowl is week 24). The game is on Sunday at 7:00pm Eastern, so challenges can be completed right up until that time.

Play Fantasy Throwdown for the Pro Bowl. At least for this year. The NFL could very well scrap this thing as soon as next year. For now, it is here, so why not add some fantasy fun to it? Fantasy football doesn’t get much more lottery ticket-esque than this.

November Newsletter

Friday, November 16th, 2012

To our regulars out there, thanks for playing Fantasy Throwdown, including providing feedback and helping build a great community of fantasy football players.

To our mailing list members who haven’t checked in for a while, or since last season, come on over. The regular season is past the halfway mark, but we’re going to continue playing Throwdown all the way through the Super Bowl, one week at a time.

Here is a snapshot of things going on this month:

Turkey Day Competition

It is back. Or will be next week, that is. Our favourite (note the “u”) holiday that isn’t even a holiday where Mike lives – U.S. Thanksgiving. Three games on the NFL schedule, which is perfect for a little game we like to call Fantasy Throwdown. It will be similar to last year’s hootenanny. Look for details posted early next week.

“For The Heck Of It” Tournament

We ran three concurrent, 12-team tournaments that featured ten fantasy football celebrities, played 135 Throwdown matches, spanned four weeks, weathered one super storm, and concluded this past weekend. Congrats to our A Champs, Shasta, WHUDEY, Mike and our B Champs, EyeoftheGator, JeneBramel / jrnall2 and cwill0303. If you missed participating, you missed a good one, but maybe you’re up for the next one…

IDP Tournament

The reason we don’t spell out acronyms like IDP very often is because we know we attract top fantasy football players who can break down expected tackle distribution numbers when stars Ray Lewis and Sean Lee are sidelined. If you qualify – or maybe it is time to learn – sign up for our next tournament which includes more Vontaze Burfict and less Trindon Holliday.

Player vs. Player Stats

Wondering how your head-to-head record stacks up against Players X, Y and Z? Sure, you could just count the wins and losses in your Game Manager history, but we’ve made it a lot easier. Go to our new stats tool, start typing your username, select and hit submit. Don’t get mad if you find one or two players are bringing your overall win % down. Get even.

Challenge Friends and Get Social

To help grow Fantasy Throwdown, we need more people to play, and that is where you guys and gals come in. Marketing geniuses we ain’t. Deep pockets we ain’t got.

Help spread the word by introducing football fans to our game and challenging new people to play. We’ll do our best to improve features of the game and keep the website chugging along.

Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and even Google+ for each of Mike and Matt. You follow or like us, maybe share a link or thought to your timeline, and that helps our exposure. Win-win for all. Think how you can boost your Leaderboard ranking with a wave of potential opponents who don’t know their Block from their backside.

Leaderboard

User patwat is on his third consecutive week holding down the top spot on our Leaderboard, and he’s built himself a little cushion. MtgProHammer and laoch currently sit in second and third, respectively, but there is a lot of jockeying for position in the two through six spots. The more you play, the better you play, and the better ranked players that you beat, the higher points you earn and better ranking. Go!

Thanks again for your time! Don’t forget the Turkey Day Challenge next week.

New Leaderboard Rankings In Effect

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

For those of you who are linked up with us on our Facebook page or Twitter account, you heard the big news yesterday that the Leaderboard rankings are now up. If you missed it, go check and see if you made our top players list. We have 21 players ranked so far based on their results through four weeks.

Last year the Leaderboard rankings were too simplistic, and eventually not suitable to appropriately rank our Throwdown players. As a result we scrapped the old methodology and are on to a completely different method for our rankings. We’ll see how this holds up through the season. Although we aren’t going to publish the exact formula, players are rewarded for the more they play, wins-loss record of course, and also the level of their competition, based on the prior week rankings. There is also a minimum games qualifier to get ranked, so if you think your results are very good and you’re wondering why you didn’t make the Leaderboard, it could be you didn’t meet the minimum games played yet.

Big props to our initial top players, and really, these names come as no surprise given their track record last season. Sitting in the #1 spot is jrnall2. After him, #2 is RyanMc23 and #3 MtgProHammer. All of these guys played last year – a lot – and are active on Twitter, so there must be something to that social network that brings out the best fantasy players. Throwdown claims to fame for this trio include strong showings in each of our Turkey Day Challenge and NFL Playoffs Tourney last year.

Rounding out our top 5, j0eo1s is in #4. Joe is writing articles about Throwdown at Pro Football Focus, so while a newcomer, he’s definitely taking a hard look at winning strategies for playing this game. Terminalkennedy is in #5, having earned a good chunk of his impressive 13-5 record in the inaugural Throwdown league mentioned last week.

So there you have it, the Leaderboard is up, which gives all of us something to work for, whether it be maintaining a top ranking or improving your current record and ranking. The Leaderboard will continue to be updated each week from here on out, likely on Monday for Sunday results, and on Tuesday for Monday night results.