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Starting 11 | Free Fantasy Football [Case Study]

Client and Problem

The client is a London based football enthusiast in his early twenties. He wanted to start his own fantasy site. Prior to Starting11 he use to run a very successful forum called MyTeamTalk. Majority of the forum members were playing Fantasy Football at a popular search engine portal at that time, lets call it YFF and be politically correct. YFF is huge and has large user base but with size there were some fundamental issues like…

  • The new YFF interface was heavily based on Ajax and lots of users were finding difficulties in managing their teams
  • Users reported that a lot of times the stats/points come in wrong and it took quite some time to rectify them
  • Support/Feedback system was really slow. A lot of users complained that their complaints were never addressed.

Requirements

  • Simple, fast and personal fantasy football game
  • Easy to understand so that a newbie can also play
  • Should support different team formations
  • Game should be locked automatically on each game week deadline
  • Lineups should be saved on each deadline and game should be unlocked
  • An easy backend for the admin to process the stats csv and those stats should be converted to points
  • Develop a player pricing algorithm

Solution

The proposed solution was a custom made fantasy game based primarily on English Premier League. The client came to us in May and the EPL was scheduled to start in August. We were supposed to put the application live by the end of July and before that do a beta release. So we really had only 5 to 6 weeks of development time.

We chose CakePHP framework as a base for this project. CakePHP speeds up the development and minimizes the repetitive tasks. Also client was doing the designing himself and the framework made it very easy for both of us to work in sync.

One of the major issues was determining the player price each week. For this we developed a pricing alogrithm based on number of factors like

  • Player’s recent performance
  • Performance of other players in his position
  • Position of the player (FWD, MID, DEF or GK)

Screenshots

Home page

  • Latest news
  • Current team stats and next deadline
  • Leaderboard

My Team

  • This page displays user’s current week team
  • User can add, drop or swap players from this screen

Add/Swap Player

  • User can add a player from this page
  • User can sort player by name, points, price
  • The price change from previous week for each player is shown

Performance

  • User can view his performance over the past weeks
  • Graphs for points and rank of each week are shown

Player Profile

  • Player’s profile along with his current price and points are shown
  • Graphs for player’s points and ranks over the past weeks are shown

About the Author

Dr. Tarique Sani is a pediatrician and forensic expert by education. He is a PHP programmer of 'wrote the book' caliber and has to his credit several very popular open source as well as commercial PHP projects. He leads a team of dynamic programmers at SANIsoft who have in-depth understanding of Web scalability, development tools and usability practices with strong developmental skills in PHP, MySQL/PostgreSQL, HTML, Javascript, and Linux/Apache

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