Fantasy Football for the Amazon Echo

Tuesday, Oct 4, 2016 at 12:00 pm ET

I am happy to announce the availability of Fantasy Football Nerd on the Amazon Echo platform! If you have an Echo, you can now ask Alexa for fantasy football information and advice!

Amazon Echo Fantasy FootballIf you're not familiar with the Amazon Echo, it is a hands-free speaker that you control with your voice. It's always listening for the "wake word", which you can set to be the name "Alexa". Alexa can play music, keep track of your shopping & to-do lists, help the kids with homework, control your lights & TV, get movie times, hail an Uber, order a pizza, and now - get fantasy football news and advice!

Here's how it works. Let's say that you have been offered Andrew Luck for Ben Roethlisberger in a trade. You can jump onto the FFN website and plug those players into our Trade Analyzer, or you can simply say the words, "Alexa, ask Fantasy Football Nerd if I should trade Andrew Luck for Ben Roethlisberger." She'll figure out who is getting the better end of the deal and tell you. She'll even look at both standard and PPR scoring formats and tell you if there's a difference. It really is that simple.

Here's another example. It's Sunday morning and you have to decide between starting DeAndre Hopkins and Mike Evans, you can simply say "Alexa, ask Fantasy Football Nerd if I should start DeAndre Hopkins or Mike Evans." Alexa can communicate through the cloud to FFN and get your answer for both scoring formats.

Need to know what's up with Jamaal Charles' injury? Why not just ask Alexa? Say "Alexa, ask Fantasy Football Nerd about Jamaal Charles." Alexa will get the latest player news for him and read it back to you.

It has been my morning routine for quite some time now to say, "Alexa, ask Fantasy Football Nerd for news" and have her read me the latest news in the NFL. I checked with Alexa at lunch today and she let me know that the Ravens parted ways with Justin Forsett. For everyone other than Justin Forsett, this is very cool.

We've been working with Amazon on this for quite some time. I had a conference call with some of the Amazon data scientists in 2015, and collectively we decided to initially roll out our Echo app with just NFL news and player news. One thing we noticed was that an application like ours needed more space for sample utterances than what Amazon had initially allocated. They have since scaled that portion up with custom slot types meaning that we can make more players available as well as the number of invocations used to find them. We also noticed that an application like ours is unique in this environment because of the player names. There are very few "John Smith's" in the NFL so phonetically determining the correct name is still somewhat of a challenge. We have done (and continue to enhance) some incredible work to try and determine the correct player name. I can't tell you how many hours have been spent trying to get LeSean McCoy to come over correctly...

All of our efforts are being made available for free if you own an Echo. To enable FFN on your echo, simply say "Alexa, enable Fantasy Football skill". For more details on how to use the Fantasy Football Nerd skill on your echo, visit our Amazon Echo Fantasy Football page.

I absolutely love my Amazon Echo and I applaud Amazon's efforts to bring this type of product into our homes. If you don't have an Echo, I encourage you to ask Santa for one this year. When you do, be sure to ask Alexa if Santa is real. Who says you can't have some fun with technology?

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