Tackling bye weeks and injuries with our BI Office storyboards

Bye weeks and injuries are perhaps the most difficult challenges a fantasy football owner faces during the regular season.

When one of your star players is slated to spend the weekend on the couch, deciding who to insert in his place can be a nerve-wracking affair. And if an owner has a glut of players from one NFL team on your fantasy squad, as I do with my beloved Denver Broncos, juggling your lineup during that team's bye week can be an outright nightmare.

Similarly, when a first- or second-round pick sustains a multi-week injury, finding a replacement can be a difficult affair.

With that in mind, I created a storyboard in Pyramid Analytics BI Office with the express purpose of helping me navigate bye weeks and injuries. My goal was to create a tool that would a) enable me to rapidly identify players who are injured or about to go on bye and b) efficiently identify the best free agents available to replace those players.

One could imagine how such a tool could be applied outside of the realm of fantasy football and coaches deciding who should replace their injured star quarterbacks. In the business world, this type of analysis could be applied to myriad of scenarios. A manufacturer might need to rapidly shift production when demand fluctuates or facilities go offline. A sales manager may need to replace members of his or her sales team for any number of reasons. A store may need to identify its best and worst performing products in order to determine what should replace a product that is currently out of stock. Regardless of the scenario, a storyboard like the one I created to manage my fantasy football team's injuries and bye-weeks would allow a business manager to make optimal decisions based on real-time information.

For my Bye Week and Injury Analysis Story Board, I created two global slicers which can filter the information across all my storyboard reports. One slicer allows me to specify a particular week, while the other allows me to examine any of the 12 teams in my league.

Video 1. Week & Team Global Slicer in Fantasy Football Bye Week & Injury Analysis Storyboard

As an example, let's consider the circumstance I faced in week 10, when the Indianapolis Colts and my first-round pick quarterback Andrew Luck had their bye week. The "Team Details" report presents a matrix view of my team's potential roster, excluding any players scheduled for a bye during the week specified in the global slicer. This table allows me to swiftly assess my potential lineup for any given week.

Figure 1. Week & Team Global Slicer in Fantasy Football Bye Week & Injury Analysis Storyboard

Overall Team Breakdown

On the right side of the storyboard, I added reports for those players from my team who are on bye for the specified week. I also listed any players who are currently injured and the status of their injury (probable, questionable, doubtful, out). Just below those reports is a view of the "Players Not on Bye Week or Injured," which automatically compiles a list of all players who are not injured and do not have a bye for the specified week. This report is filtered automatically to include only positions corresponding to the players from my team who are currently on a bye. For instance, the "Players Not on Bye Week or Injured" view for week 10 lists only quarterbacks because Andrew Luck is my only player with a bye week. However, I can also choose to filter players based on a specific position if I wanted to find the best replacements for an injured player or to replace an underperforming player from my roster (I'll take a deeper dive on performance evaluation in my next post).

Figure 2. Player Availability Breakdown Charts in Fantasy Football Bye Week & Injury Analysis Storyboard

Player Availability Charts

Finally, I created a heat-map visualization called "Available Players by Position - Actual Points (size) vs. Project Next Week (color)." This view combines two key metrics to help me make intuitive choices about which free agent players in my league would make the best addition to my team for the upcoming week. Each rectangle represents a player, grouped by position. The area of each rectangle is determined by the number of actual fantasy points a player has scored so far this season, while the fill color of each rectangle depicts the relative number of fantasy points a player is projected to score next week, based on data provided to us by

Figure 3. Heat Maps Visualization in Fantasy Football Bye Week & Injury Analysis Storyboard

BI Heat Maps

As you can see, Joe Flacco has the darkest shade of green for projected points in week 10, despite having a smaller rectangle than Ryan Tannehill, who had outscored Flacco by 14 points at that point in the season. One particularly interesting insight I can glean from this information is which players might have productive fantasy weeks despite having performed poorly thus far. In the quarterbacks’ section, just to the bottom right from Alex Smith's rectangle, you can see a box that is very dark green despite being relatively small. If you hover over the box, a caption pops up showing that this rectangle represents Jay Cutler, who projected to score 14.7 points in week 10 despite his having only scored 43.1 points through week 9. In leagues where you have a waiver budget based on past performance, this would be an invaluable tool.

In addition to viewing the players in this report by position, I can also view the same graphic without filtering by position by simply right-clicking on the Data Discovery and choosing Drill Up. To return to the previous filtered view, I just left-click cell header. This functionality can be applied to all sorts of visualizations, making it easy for consumers of your storyboards to customize the boards to suit their business needs.

Video 2. Heat Maps Visualization in Fantasy Football Bye Week & Injury Analysis Storyboard

Using this Story Board, I was able to quickly identify Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco as my best option to replace Andrew Luck for week 10. However, I opted to stick with Trevor Siemian who was projected for just 1.4 fewer points and plays for my favorite team -- the Denver Broncos. Though Flacco outscored Siemian, both players actually beat their projections, and I was able to experience the pleasure of seeing my starting fantasy quarterback lead my favorite NFL team to victory.

By leveraging my custom-built storyboard in BI Office for bye week and injury analysis, I was able to unlock opportunities previously hidden within the Fantasy Football data. I could make data-driven lineup decisions rather than relying on my gut or intuition. The same benefits can be seen when this type of in depth analysis is applied to everyday business scenarios. Where the best answers for manufacturing or sales questions are often hidden within mountains of data, and would be impossible to uncover without the help of a data analysis solution like BI Office.

Disclaimer: The Fantasy Football-related content on this website is for general information purposes only. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.