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0 Subject: RIFC 2009: Hosting site Alternatives

Posted by: Guru
- [330592710] Tue, Jul 14, 2009, 12:39

I'm in the process of working out the invitation list and qualifying priorities for the 2009 RIFC leagues. But while working on that, I want to begin to survey the possibilities of moving to a different hosting site.

Since its inception, the RIFC has been hosted at Fanball.com, and while it has some idiosyncrasies that some managers find confounding, it has adequately handled most of our rules and scheduling needs - particularly doubleheader scheduling. From my perspective, the most maddening element has been that they have occasionally restated position eligibilities after the draft, but before the season starts, which has created some difficulties (typically when a DL is reclassed as a LB). Offering and executing uneven trades (i.e., with a different number of players on each side) was also a problem, but they have supposedly fixed that.

Fanball site: http://www.fanball.com/leaguecommissioner/?ArenaID=1

Fanball's cost is also very reasonable: $60 for a league if it is renewed by July 31, or $70 after that.

I did a quick search of other hosting sites that appear to offer doubleheader scheduling. (ESPN does not, as far as I can tell.)

CBS Sports: The annual cost is $150, which rules it out of contention.

Net-Commish.com:
http://www.net-commish.com/football.php $75 ($58 if paid by August 15)

Real Time Fantasy Sports:
http://www.rtsports.com/fantasy-football-commissioner ($90)

Does anyone have any experience with either of these latter two sites? Are there others to consider?
1youngroman
      Donor
      ID: 02934823
      Tue, Jul 14, 2009, 13:51
Fanball 2009 announcement. so they might be better this year, but the users are the beta-testers. I wonder if they simulated the live scoring load of week 1, to see if their hardware/software is capable of handling that now.

a quick Google Search brought up MyFantasyLeague.com. price is $79.95 until July 31.

they can even migrate existing Leagues from Fanball for only $44.95:
Migrate from Fanball.

has anyone used this site before?
2Bonka
      Sustainer
      ID: 019742310
      Tue, Jul 14, 2009, 14:14
We use MyFantasyLeague for a keeper league. I'm not sure of anything as far as administering it goes, but I have no problems with it as a manager. The site is quick to load, is customizable for each manager as far as which and what order the features are listed, and has pretty much anything you would need (including a league chat which is good to chat with during games). I'm not sure if Culdeus will comment, but he helps admin our league, so he may have more information on it.

Now that I think of it, I'm not sure if you can have multiple lineups for the double headers. We have a few weeks of double headers and it uses the same lineup for both games. There may be an option to allow it, but I really have no idea. I'm not sure how Guru and the others feel, but I know I rarely make use of 2 lineups wouldn't miss it in the least if the option wasn't there.
3Guru
      ID: 330592710
      Tue, Jul 14, 2009, 14:16
I did a quick search of the Football Forum, and found a couple of references to myfantasyleague.com, one favorable, one just a link. Looks to be worth pursuing, and I have sent them an email inquiring about the migration offer.
4Valkyrie
      Dude
      ID: 47042413
      Tue, Jul 14, 2009, 14:37
I use the split line-ups 3-4 times a year and would miss it if the opportunity were no longer available but I could live with it.
5wolfer
      ID: 25521311
      Tue, Jul 14, 2009, 14:57
How about here?

Most of all the leagues are free and they can support doubleheaders.
6Guru
      ID: 330592710
      Tue, Jul 14, 2009, 15:27
Any experience with Fantrax or any of the other sites?

I tried to sign up for a trial league at Fantrax, but they have not yet launched the football products.


7wolfer
      ID: 25521311
      Tue, Jul 14, 2009, 15:42
I have had no problems with Fantrax. I am in a baseball league and had teams is hockey and basketball. The football products, at least the commisioner leagues, have been launched.
8Guru
      ID: 330592710
      Tue, Jul 14, 2009, 16:34
You are correct. I was able to begin to set up a team at Fantrax. Unfortunately, it does not appear that they have punt return yardage and kick return yardage as scoring categories. That would be a deal-breaker.
9Guru
      ID: 330592710
      Tue, Jul 14, 2009, 17:35
Impressive customer service. I sent Fantrax an email saying that I couldn't find scoring options for punt return and kick return yardage. They already responded and said they would be added tonight!
10wolfer
      ID: 25521311
      Tue, Jul 14, 2009, 17:37
They have been pretty much like that from what I can see.
11judy
      Leader
      ID: 7771722
      Tue, Jul 14, 2009, 18:58
I know it is not important in the general scheme of things, but does it have the
ability to set up extra playoffs? We did 3/4, plate (first round losers) and the
regular consolation last year and had some fun with that.
12I_AM_CANADIAN
      ID: 136421418
      Tue, Jul 14, 2009, 19:54
I overall have been happy with fanball... I think the main issue is that some people find it "different" than yahoo. I vote to keep it (less learning curves for most).
13holt
      ID: 2463620
      Tue, Jul 14, 2009, 21:00
I don't mind sticking with fanball, but their waiver/claim procedure has always been a pain in the butt. It's pretty time consuming if you want to set up several claims properly. It's also slow when you're looking at FA's and sorting by stats. Looking through FA's and setting up claims each week is something to dread. There are copies of fanball out there that you can use for free. I can understand a free game running slow, but not one you pay $80 for. All that being said, Fanball is tolerable, has been proven to work properly, and offers everything that the RIFC needs.
14culdeus
      ID: 316181423
      Wed, Jul 15, 2009, 00:18
MFL is the single best thing going out there. I don't do pay leagues that aren't MFL.

No, you can't split lineups, but that's hardly a major issue. Plus you can slow draft on it and the slow drafting on mfl is vastly superior to the way it's administered here.
15judy
      Leader
      ID: 7771722
      Wed, Jul 15, 2009, 09:22
I do like the split lineups -- using them about half the time and I
love Kafenatid for drafting.

I like fanball; it works.
16Guru
      ID: 330592710
      Wed, Jul 15, 2009, 10:55
I have continued to look at the Fantrax platform, and there are still many questions - some which I have submitted to the site. In particular, I can't tell whether our waiver/claiming processes will work without revision, I can't tell whether independent lineups are possible for doubleheaders, and I can't tell what flexibilities are available for playoffs - seeding, consolation brackets, etc.

Meanwhile, culdeus has emailed me as a vigorous supporter (maniacal is probably more apt) of MFL (myFantasyLeague). Again, I'm unsure about what concessions we might have to make there (aside from independent DH lineups).

It is possible we'll simply allow each league to make its own decision (either via league vote or commissioner fiat). But before we get to that point, I want to better understand the relative tradeoffs.

17The Beezer
      ID: 386381512
      Wed, Jul 15, 2009, 13:38
I too will vote for MFL. I've been a member of a pay league there for many years and have never had any issues with responsiveness and scoring. Staying with Fanball is ok by me as well, but if we're moving I'd prefer we go here.
18culdeus
      ID: 316181423
      Wed, Jul 15, 2009, 21:01
I'm going to make a demo league in MFL tonight. The cost will be 44.95 for this year with the promos that are available.

Being able to avoid using kafe to draft is worth a good bit to me. No, a whole lot to me. I'll pony up at least half the cash for this.

19culdeus
      ID: 316181423
      Wed, Jul 15, 2009, 21:41
I created a super basic framework for a MFL site. The fanball site doesn't allow you to view the special teams stats we use. Can someone remind me what they are?

There are some other minor things to get set up there, but no showstoppers as of yet that I can find.

[url]http://football22.myfantasyleague.com/2009/home/53904[/url]

21holt
      ID: 206331521
      Wed, Jul 15, 2009, 22:35
It's hard for me to imagine what problem someone could have with Kafenatid.
22culdeus
      ID: 566221522
      Wed, Jul 15, 2009, 23:23
The fact that kafe requires someone to enter a draft pick from a queue that someone has left to a select number of people slows the draft down by weeks.

MFL has no such thing. You leave a queue and it goes and each round can have a specific queue so the last 3-4 rounds when you just want to fill out roster spots it is easy to accommodate.

The draft will go at least twice as fast if not moreso.
23Ref
      Donor
      ID: 539581218
      Thu, Jul 16, 2009, 11:13
I do not like fanball. It's clunky and the waivers take a lot of time to deal with.

On a side note, CBS has raised their prices, and I want to persue these other sites as a possibility for G24. Are either of these keeper sites? I like the customization from CBS but the cost is becoming ridiculous.
24judy
      Leader
      ID: 7771722
      Thu, Jul 16, 2009, 14:22
Kafenatid with responsible team managers is a piece of cake (dark chocolate).

In AA it can take more time, due to the rookies not knowing or trusting the Q system.

I have had no trouble as a commish with Kafenatid in either RIFC or RIBC, but then I did
have a great group of managers and that is what makes it go. We kept each other in the
loop with emails and posts and it went just fine.

I also like the draft peek feature so I can see who else is drafting whom -- although if
our league is ahead, it does not help that much.
25judy
      Leader
      ID: 7771722
      Thu, Jul 16, 2009, 14:32
culdeuys
re 19

Did you put in any sample scoring rules?

Also, does the schedule created account for the NFL bye weeks so that they are
evened out? ie. when you meet a team/franchise you get them once during a bye
week and once with full lineups? I think that is important. Note though that one (or
two?) franchise(s) will get two either bye or full weeks due to the math (I forget
which it is.)
26judy
      Leader
      ID: 7771722
      Thu, Jul 16, 2009, 18:04
I made a dummy league for fantrax.

I do not see doubleheader scheduling as an option. Also, I entered
14 teams and it keeps telling me I have a odd number of teams???

For some of the other stuff, the ? function statement is confusing??
27wolfer
      ID: 556501619
      Thu, Jul 16, 2009, 20:51
Re 26.

Doubleheaders in fantrax are configured in the Matchups tab in League Setup - Teams & Schedules. For each scoring period you may add as many rows (matchups) as you like.
28holt
      ID: 206331521
      Fri, Jul 17, 2009, 15:11
Good point on Kafenatid's draft peek Judy. Being able to watch the drafts of other RIFC leagues is awesome.

Another thing, Kafenatid has got to be much easier to access from school and work computers than an official fantasy sports site. That's a major difference in my book.

KKB might be able to modify his software so that queues can be round specific (if it's really that big a deal). if you ask me, who cares? The drafts start pretty early and always finish on time. Just don't use the queue if it drives you nuts.
29KrazyKoalaBears
      ID: 721308
      Fri, Jul 17, 2009, 16:25
I really don't want to take this thread off-topic, but I'll quickly chime in about queues and such.

The current system is set up so that someone has to actually press a button to draft a player. In this way, there is somebody responsible for making the pick; not the "system." The purpose of this is to help drafts be as smooth as possible. Though that may seem counter-intuitive, allowing the "system" to draft a player can easily cause someone to scream, "The 'system' drafted someone I didn't want!!!" and then accommodations have to be made and the draft will slow down even more than what you may currently experience.

But even then, the forcing of someone to make a pick doesn't in and of itself slow down a draft at all. It's always the clock that determines how fast/slow a draft goes. If the clock is set for 1 hour, then it doesn't matter what kind of queue someone does or does not have, the draft is going to move quickly. I know people who use the software as more of a live draft and use 5 minute clocks and they finish in one night... even with using queues.

So, if you want a faster draft, set a shorter clock. It's really that simple.
30Nerfherders
      ID: 347242717
      Fri, Jul 17, 2009, 18:53
Fanball is okay for what it does. At least I know my way around it and I am used to it.

I seem to remember AOL running a fantasy football that was very similar to fanball. maybe it was fanball with AOL's name slapped on it. We used it for AA and AAA a few years back. Does that still exist?
31youngroman
      Donor
      ID: 02934823
      Fri, Jul 17, 2009, 18:58
AOL used the Fanball system 2 years ago.

last year AOL bought Fleaflicker and is now using it for their fantasy football game. it is free but does not support double headers, so it is not an option for RIFC.
32holt
      ID: 206331521
      Fri, Jul 17, 2009, 21:33
what site did the AAA and AA leagues use last season? fanball?
33youngroman
      Donor
      ID: 02934823
      Sat, Jul 18, 2009, 03:54
In 2008 AAA1 used Fanball. I guess the other leagues used Fanball too.
In 2007 some leagues used AOL because it was a Fanball clone and free.
34mjd
      Leader
      ID: 501381415
      Sun, Jul 19, 2009, 09:03
OTC rocks and Fred is always always quick to respond if there
are any problems, which are rare and usually self induced.

I like being able to see the other drafts and the upgrades that
he's made over the years has only made it better.

Why fix something that's not broken?

I really don't care what game site we use. None of them are
perfect, but switching from OTC after all these years just dumb.

35culdeus
      ID: 316181423
      Mon, Jul 20, 2009, 22:48
I just consider kafe to be obsolete. It was epic when it was started, and I think it was setup by someone here a long time ago (my memory is poor and I don't post here anymore), but the MFL "if it shows it goes" drafting is far superior. If I leave a q I want it to go, period. I don't want to worry about people sitting around and picking for me, and I don't want to show my pick sheet on a contingent basis either.

MFL solves every issue that kafe had and has and makes the process at least 2x as fast if not moreso.
36judy
      Leader
      ID: 7771722
      Tue, Jul 21, 2009, 11:09
Using Kafenatid, we finished with over a week to spare before the season ended, so the issue
about a speedy draft is in effect a NON ISSUE.

I agree with KKB (#29) about somebody having to push a button to draft a player. In the Q, it can
be set to see only the top pick. There can be problems at the 3-4 places around turns as you
most likely need to know who you got before you make your second pick. A Q does not work well
in that situation. From a position 6 draft slots away and leaving, for example, a 6 person Q of
just QB's and then getting one and then having your turn come up again with the QB's still in your
Q is NOT a good thing. Kafenatid keeps the draft under the control of the managers.

The key to the draft speed is the cooperation of the managers. Good managers means a good
draft. The thread also guides our draft -- ie., "Q good for round 14 ONLY." "Don't pick if
position in round 14 is same as Q for round 15." "Out for dinner, back at 9 to make my pick."

I agree with mjd. Why fix something that is not broken?
37judy
      Leader
      ID: 7771722
      Tue, Jul 21, 2009, 18:44
#36

oops -- first line should be "season began"
38judy
      Leader
      ID: 7771722
      Tue, Jul 21, 2009, 22:53
Also as an AAA commish, I will chime in for using Fanball. It works just fine and because
we all used it last year, we all know how it works.

Why change something that is not really broken? It does what we need it to do.
39loki
      SuperDude
      ID: 4211201420
      Tue, Jul 21, 2009, 23:18
Kafenatid has worked well in all the drafts in which I have participated, and I have always been happy with it. I prefer not to have "the system" make picks, and KKB is absolutely correct: if the draft is not progressing quickly, change the clock. Finally I believe in brand loyalty and for this additional reason would like to stay with Kafenatid.
41mjd
      Leader
      ID: 501381415
      Wed, Jul 22, 2009, 21:02
I second loki's comment on brand loyalty.

I've commished various RotoGuru Invitational leagues and KKB has
always been around to correct anything I've screwed up.

With OTC, I know that Fred will be there to personally take care of
any issue promptly.

Who knows what joe the ragpicker I might get at MLF.
42Smith32
      ID: 25751421
      Wed, Jul 22, 2009, 21:08
I vote for Fanball and OTC.
43Guru
      ID: 330592710
      Fri, Jul 24, 2009, 12:00
Here are my thoughts on hosting site:

I understand that many have developed a "comfort level" with Fanball. Still, many users find it to be non-intuitive and cumbersome. I do not view it as the perfect solution, by any stretch.

The two most likely competing options are mfl.com and fantrax.com. Thus far, I haven't seen any dealbreakers with either platform, and both sites have responded quickly and favorably to any question I have submitted - which has not always been the case with Fanball over the years (on either count). There are some aspects of these two systems that I'm not sure we can fully test before making a decision, particularly with regard to the waiver/claiming process. But from the feedback I have heard from those who have used either system in the past, I don't envision unresolvable issues.

I'm currently leaning toward moving the RIFC league to MFL.com. However, I also encourage each QL to make its own decision. It would be nice if at least one QL would select Fantrax, so that we can put that site through the acid test this season. And I have no objection to any QL staying at Fanball as well.

Fantrax has the benefit of being free, which may be a significant attraction for Qualifying Leagues. Last year, we asked each QL participant to make a voluntary donation toward the cost of using the Fanball site. Many managers did that, but a significant number did not. Fortunately, some participants contributed extra amounts, and we were able to fund Fanball for all leagues. But with RotoGuru donations running at a low level this year, I'm reluctant to fund a pay site for all of the QLs - especially when a free alternative is available. So if a QL wants to use a pay site, I'll leave it to that league to figure out how to fund it.

I will, as before, pay the cost for all QLs to use kafenatid's OTC draft software. That cost is modest, and there are benefits to having all leagues use a common draft platform.
44judy
      ID: 597401015
      Fri, Jul 24, 2009, 13:44
If MFL is MyFantasyLeague, according to YR (#1), it costs $79 or $49
(to move over from fanball).

I just checked the link from YR, and I am game to try MFL if RIFC does
as well so that my formatting questions, etc., can be answered by
someone also using it. I think we would need to decide by July 31 to
move from Fan Ball. I don't have time now, but it looks like you can set
up a trial league, so I will try to do that hopefully over the weekend to
see what the site "feels" like in terms on convenience and intuition! I
am certain it will not look as spiffy as the one culdeus made up (see
#19) -- I don't think I have those computer skills.

In the end though, it really does not matter to me as long as I can
figure it out...
45judy
      Leader
      ID: 7771722
      Sat, Jul 25, 2009, 00:14
Actually I did set up a tentative AAA#1 on MFL and it went pretty smoothly. There is a lot
of extra stuff, for giving information and stats and it looks like managers can customize
their own home pages as well?? Some of the set up/stuff I cannot see until it is paid for...

I'll have a few managers log in to see what it looks like. I keep getting the commish's view
instead of a managers view...
46culdeus
      ID: 24615279
      Mon, Jul 27, 2009, 10:15
how hard would it be to implement an "it shows it goes" option for kafe queues? A check box or something that says just go with it.

My AAA league was horrific about punching in people's picks and I felt bad leaving queues only to have them sit unpicked for hours on end.

There are other issues with the kafe queue system but 80% of it could be solved with an auto-pick option.
47KrazyKoalaBears
      ID: 721308
      Mon, Jul 27, 2009, 11:30
RE: #46. Not hard at all. In fact, it would be quite easy.

But, I never said that was the reason the option doesn't exist. The reason for not implementing it is given in post #29. If your queue was left unpicked for hours on end, then I would suggest using other Designated Pickers who are willing to make your selections and/or informing your commish that they, too, can make the picks from your queue.

You mentioned that you have other issues with the queue system. If you wish to share them, you can either post them here or email me through the Kafenatid.net contact page. I'm always willing to listen to feedback.
48culdeus
      ID: 06532114
      Mon, Jul 27, 2009, 13:39
Well the other issue is not being able to pick from q based on posistion. This is useful if you want to put your last 3-4 rounds on autopilot and fill useless bench scrubs in dl/db/pk/whatever. As is you must reshuffle every time your q passes by. This is handled effortlessly in mfl also.
49KrazyKoalaBears
      ID: 721308
      Mon, Jul 27, 2009, 14:37
Re: #48. That's something I have been working on, but will be implemented at a later time. That is a bit more difficult because of the position flexibility offered within my software (I call it a 3B, you call it a CI, etc.)
50judy
      Leader
      ID: 7771722
      Mon, Jul 27, 2009, 16:26
I do not like the autopick feature -- as an individual manager, I would never choose
that option for my picks, especially in the first 18 or so rounds. I want a DP with instructions
(vie email or thread) when necessary to make the pick. You might go away and be 8 picks
away and decide that you want a certain position, say WR. Then all of a sudden, there is a QB
run and you miss it, getting your WR, and having to wait another round for a QB and possibly
getting a crappy one. The autopick can make "mistakes" for you because you were not
looking.

It is tough enough to pick wisely, but to not see what is happening and just pick blindly based
on a Q based on a round # is not for me!

Working the draft is a major job for the commish and I welcome the challenge to keep it
moving and feel that our leagues have been very successful and that the Kafenatid draft has
moved at a good speed for everyone involved -- not too fast and not too slow!
51Bonka
      Sustainer
      ID: 019742310
      Mon, Jul 27, 2009, 16:57
To be honest, a DP in that situation is not any better than having the system pick for you. Generally picking by best player available is the best route to go. If there was a big run on QBs, the quality of players remaining for that position was effectively just decimated, so why in the world would you want to pick up a low tier QB instead of a higher ranked WR? That would leave your DP in the situation of choosing between a higher value WR vs a lower value QB if you left instructions to follow runs.

I understand your point, but there's not much difference between a well set queue for the system to use than a list left for a DP to choose from (basically no difference if the queue system is robust enough). If more queue options were able to be added to Kafenatid, that would be wonderful. Although I'd imagine we'd have to wait until next year for any major changes.
52 Letter_J
      ID: 5572628
      Sun, Aug 02, 2009, 09:27
I'm all for the status quo...things have gotten crazy for me business wise, so I would prefer to stay with OTC (in addition, it supports KKB) and Fanball. Any learning curve at all with "new" sites could provide some difficulties for this manager.
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