Blurrt

Brains Against The Machine

August 14, 2017 — by

At Blurrt, we pride ourselves on making our tech do things that catch the eye. Our latest idea involves entering a team into our Fantasy Football League to compete against us and see which method is better: human choice or computer “choice”.

The Blurrt team all picked their fantasy squads using a variety of traditional methods: blind guessing based on some rough knowledge of football; thoughtful analysis, followed by educated decision making; or, in one case, picking interesting names. Considering the thought processes involved, there were some interesting decisions made: Conor’s fascination with Bournemouth striker Joshua King could turn out to be a master stroke, whilst Gary Cahill stung a lot of us thanks to his red card against Burnley.

We all like to think we know best, but what if crowd-sourcing our team is the real answer? The Salt Lake Screaming Eagles, an Indoor Football League team (the American kind of football), have recently started opening up their play-book to registered users, who can vote on which play to run next (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/17/sports/football/indoor-football-league-screaming-eagles.html) and have therefore taken their decision making to the people. We decided to try something similar and enter a fantasy football team (back to the English game now!) based entirely on conversation levels and the Blurrt score, which would compete against us. Let’s see who will do better: the experts, the “experts”, or Twitter.

“Blurrton Albion” played their first game this weekend and already look solid, lying in 5th in the office league with 45 points. So how did we pick the team and how will it be managed going forward?

For those of you who don’t know the rules of fantasy football, you’re given £100 million to build a squad of 15 Premier League players, with a maximum of 3 players from each club. Blurrton Albion had to follow these rules too, meaning we would have a nice mixed team based on conversation levels across the entire Premier League! With that in mind, we picked our team on Friday afternoon (sceptics will say this was just a way of giving ourselves an easy life on a Friday) using data from Thursday 10th August. We then set ourselves some rules: any player who was ruled out was rejected, meaning “injured” players (like Coutinho or Van Dijk) liable to be transferred were ruled out (as were players like Liverpool’s Adam Lallana, who is out with an actual injury until October).

With our ground rules set and our £100 million kitty locked and loaded we then used Blurrt’s incredible new Sports Hub to get the data we required. The hub has all sorts of useful content, from a Team Of The Week through to the players with the highest Blurrt Score. We even have “Who’s Hot/ Who’s Not”, where we can show the percentage change in week on week conversation. This hub helps us provide outstanding social media data to our sports clients, but on Friday we commandeered it for our own purposes, and we only needed one section: Most Talked About!

Hours of painstaking analysis were not necessary using this tool (take note Chris, it might save you time and stress!), simply an ability to keep track of a budget. With the clever filters on the side of the hub we could even select players by position, meaning that we had a “crowd-sourced fantasy team” in no time at all! (Ok, so we did want an easy life on a Friday. But not in the way you thought!)

With our squad selected it was time to pick the starting 11, which was based on the leaderboard again. Our captain and vice-captain were our number one and two overall leaders, meaning Tim Fosu-Mensah (!!!) captained the side for week 1 and Marouane Fellaini (!!!!!!!!!!!) was his back-up. Anyone who says we twisted the selection process to make the team more successful will surely now have to admit defeat. You can find the full team below, including the points accrued from week 1!

Our weekly fantasy blog will keep you updated on our progress as Blurrton Albion look to use social media intelligence to storm the league. Every week our lowest scoring player will be replaced by the most-talked about player of equal value from the previous weekend, which should hopefully see the team grow and develop with the social sentiment!

With the season now underway, keep an eye on the Blurrt site (www.blurrt.co.uk), our Twitter account (@BlurrtUK) or our Facebook page (Blurrt) to find out what our data can tell you about your favourite clubs, players and managers.

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