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  • Writer's pictureMelody Alexander

STATSdraft Beta test: What we've learned so far

Updated: Dec 20, 2023


Melody and Topher are pictured after discussing their STATSdraft beta test

The STATSdraft team is in its early phases of app development, which means we're testing what's possible and trying to figure out what would be compelling enough to get users to play. Early iterations of a STATSdraft beta test included pulling data from games from 2022, and even a version of rock, paper, scissors.


Starting in September of 2023, we decided to begin playing single games to see what we could learn. After the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Detroit Lions, our CEO, ChrisTopher Niles Enneking, and our CMO, Melody Alexander, sat down to process the outcome through the lens of STATSdraft and what the key take-aways were.


Melody

I chose my data based on who I thought was already going to win. And I chose my data based upon the way the Chiefs play. That's because I thought the Chiefs were going to win. So the Lions getting those last few points was not something I expected. One of my top choices for my drafted data points was "most passing yards" because Patrick Mahomes is a phenomenal ball passer. So I realized that like had I been more objective and not rooting for my team, maybe I would have had a different choice, or a different pick. What I've realized is I've got to take myself out of that headspace.


ChrisTopher

Well to be fair, in that game — and this is another thing about what happened in that game — I believe that game should have been a clash of styles. I believed that the Chiefs were going to throw the ball more because they have Patrick Mahomes. And the Detroit Lions showed last year that you can be an explosive offense, leaning on the run. I expected them to run more. I was disappointed by their first half performance just in that they did not try to run the ball more.


I picked "most running rushing attempts" that has always been like my Offensive Lineman pick. It's interesting that you were going from the "I know these kinds of players and teams and what they do so that's what I'll pick" mindset, which is very similar to when we talked about fantasy football and picking players that you get to watch. Aside from passing yards, can you think of any other of your statistics that made you more perceptive about the game because you were playing STATSdraft?


Melody

Yes. But I haven't wrapped my head around it quite yet. I've realized that I have to be more aware of what some of the situations are. That was eye opening for me. I really had to think about — and again, knowing that I was going to be rooting for the Chiefs — I had to think about how do I know them to play. As an example. were you watching when the Chiefs dropped the ball and — well, I don't know if it was an interception or what happened — then Detroit grabbed it for an easy touchdown.


I guess what I've been thinking was like, man, that was a horrible mistake. And I wouldn't have thought that this type of scenario would have happened as easily as it did. To me, one of the low hanging fruit within STATSdraft is "team with the fewest turnovers" — or the fewest mistakes — is the team that wins. And maybe there were fewer mistakes from the Chiefs, but that was a major mistake to make to give up. I mean, there was nobody back there!


ChrisTopher

Yeah. To a degree, unforced errors


Melody

Let me let me also clarify, because the Chiefs did that exact play — I think it was during the Playoffs if I remember correctly... One of our defensive players scored a touchdown because they picked up a ball at the right time. In fact it might have happened twice in that same game — and how often does that happen? It's a fluke play, typically. But still. What a mistake to make! What a thing to let slide that, had I known that something like that could have been a reality, I would have picked that team — the team that makes that happens wins. But again, it might be a moot point at some point because it happens once every how often?


ChrisTopher

The interesting thing is that plays like that very often can be swing plays. They can lead to the perception that things are falling apart. So for example, the Chiefs get that, or there is that pick six against them, and then the same guy drops a ball and all of a sudden it's like "We're doing it right, it's still not working." This is where I think that the culture stats are really cool. I think that the Detroit Lions culture is running the ball and I was shocked at how little they did it. They might have been trying to figure the Chiefs would think they were gonna do it and they were trying to figure out what was happening in game plan. But that that ability to "will things to happen" can come from play calling like that.


Melody

Speaking on culture, I had this very like positive outlook on the game last night because I was thinking, "Well Travis Kelsey's down, yet we're still doing well." And the first touchdown came from a rookie — his first game of the season of his career. When you've got that "we can do it" attitude, it says a lot that somebody like Travis Kelsey can be out on injury and it was that close of a game says a lot. Obviously it was not the not the outcome I wanted, but it was a pretty good game. So when we're talking about culture, it's that type of thing too. When one of your leading players is out — and how many times was Mahones out last year and they were still winning because they had confidence in "anything is possible?" That speaks a lot to culture, too, in my opinion. And I know what you're talking about as far as culture, regarding the style of play.


ChrisTopher

Well a lot of times the style of play can also facilitate that thing. You see how in a precision skill-driven offense like the Chiefs, even taking other exceptional professional athletes and replacing somebody with that person, it still doesn't even come close. Whereas, when you have a grind-it-out kind of culture, you can replace bodies. You can fit people in. You can move people around because it's functioning in a different way together than it would in a more skill driven team. They always talk about skill positions and alignment, but alignment heavy, play calling schemes is kind of what the Detroit Lions should hope to have, because they have this really good offensive line. The Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes. I think then you start getting into short and long term goals. So there can be a degree to which early in the season — and one of the reasons why the Lions maybe didn't run the ball as much is because running the ball wears you down just like it wears the other team. They want to make sure that they're taking care of their guys by not overloading them and also trying to get live reps and finding other ways to win so that they are preparing for other situations. You know I'm thinking about that one game and not the bigger picture, so I was frustrated they weren't running the ball more. But it's very easy to see why you could make a real argument that we're decreasing the load on your running backs before the playoffs. It's like kind of humane.


Melody

This makes me think of a good point, too. Any team worth their salt is doing their research before a game, right? Maybe the Lions' strategy is running the ball, but maybe they realize they can't just do that against the Chiefs for whatever reason. It's just an example, but if you're watching footage and you know the other team and how they perform, regardless of your team culture, you've got to change it up to make sure that you're going to be competitive against that team, right? And this is one of the things I love about the Chiefs. Of course, we rely on Patrick Mahomes because he's Patrick Mahomes, and similarly that's how people treated Tom Brady, right? It's Tom Brady, and you go up against someone of that caliber and it's going to be tough. You can't rely on running the ball as the sole strategy to beat Patrick Mahomes or beat Tom Brady. You have to know how to take on the entire team. Any team should have that kind of strategy at some point, too. It's not just about "we're going to do our thing and it's going to work." You have to be able to adapt, think about different situations and scenarios, and know how to really fight those things if you want to be a competitive team.


ChrisTopher

Yeah. Figuring out how to shape it around what you are, but also what's best. It can be a tough algorithm to sort. But that starts from game one. With that said, I'm Topher.


Melody

I'm Melody.


ChrisTopher and Melody

And we are STATSdraft.



 

Download and start playing STATSdraft today.






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