The NFL’s brief off-season is over (the way we see it, football never really stops; it just slows down in May and June)! We’ve had a great year so far here at PowerHouseGM.com, and it’s only getting better with the action starting on the field.
Long-time PowerHouse members should notice that, over the past year or so, our site’s performance and reliability has improved by leaps and bounds. That’s due to several changes we made here behind the scenes.
First, we brought in a new developer, Marianne, in July of 2017. She’s been a godsend, to put it mildly. One of our biggest problems historically was that our prior developer, talented as he is, had increasingly found it difficult to devote the time that our project needed to really keep things running smoothly.
That’s no longer the case. Now, when a technical issue comes up, it not only gets fixed more quickly, but we also take the time to hunt down the root cause and take steps to prevent it from recurring in the future.
We’ve also made a number of improvements to the site that I think make a big difference. Most notable is the new Draft Prospects page, which rolled out last spring. We left the old page up, too, if for some reason you prefer that one.
You can now also look at your team’s historical seasons with a year drop-down selector on the Standings page. This is the kind of high-impact, but relatively simple to build, enhancement that we’re trying to do more of. If you have any ideas that you’d like to see us implement, please let us know in the Forum, via the Feedback tab on the game pages, or post a reply to this article.
Another big improvement this year relates to player contracts. We have always gotten our contracts data from OvertheCap.com, where Jason Fitzgerald and his team do an amazing job of tracking the more than 2,000 NFL player contracts - no easy job, to say the least. While we’ve always used OTC to source contracts, we’ve updated our processes to require less human intervention to do updates, so our data is much more current.
Marianne also offers a big benefit in that she is local and we spend a fair amount of time face-to-face. I had met our previous developer in person only once over several years - he’s in Oregon, and we’re in surburban New York.
It’s much easier for us to communicate, and Marianne has also shown me how to do a lot of things on the back end myself that I used to have to wait days or sometimes weeks for. As an example, sometimes our data provider sends us duplicate or old trades. I now know how to go into our database and delete them so they don’t cause the timeline to stop.
For those of you who are new to PowerHouse in 2018, your regular season is about to start, assuming you're current in your timeline. Because NFL teams have bye weeks at varying times, we give all virtual teams their bye in week one. This lets us build up a week of scores for your players so they will definitely have a score for the week that their real team is on their bye week, but your team is playing a simulated game. You can see your schedule and results on the Standings page.
Games are played on Wednesdays in real time. I’m sure you’ve seen that we keep your team three days behind real life. The reason for this is that sometimes our data provider makes a change to transactions or statistics. We need to allow for this so we can be sure when you reach a particular date that the data we have is as accurate as possible.
Also for those of you who have not been through a season of competition in PowerHouse, you do not need to worry about setting lineups like in fantasy football. You are an NFL General Manager, not a coach. Presumably, you’ve hired a good coach who will put the best players on the field.
We calculate scores for every single player in the NFL based on their actual performance, and optimize your team’s score using a pretty complex algorithm. Other than acquiring the best talent you can, the only way you can directly influence your team’s scoring is by the base defensive system you select - 34 or 43. In the former, one DT/NT (they are interchangeable) and four LBs “start” (their contributions are more heavily weighted.) In the latter, you’ll start two DTs/NTs and three LBs.
Every player on your roster contributes something. But, the weighting falls off after the starters. For example, should you be lucky enough to have both Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers (I know, unrealistic,) the starter (whoever had a higher score for the week) would count a lot, and the backup only a little, even if he has a big score for the week. In the real NFL, only one QB can play, and it’s the same here, though you do get a little reward for having a good backup.
I wish you all the best of luck this season. It’s not easy building a good NFL team in real life, and it’s not easy here. It took me years running two teams before one of them finally made the playoffs!