USA TODAY - There are a plethora of locations that you can turn to for your fantasy sports information - magazines, newspapers, Twitter, websites, SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). There are abundant sources to get your fantasy fix no doubt. You can study for weeks, you can crunch the numbers, do the mock drafts, spend hours squirreled away in your basement ignoring your significant other while you plot your dastardly draft strategy. The only problem is that no matter how much prep work you do you always enter the draft alone. That's about to change as we might have found The Holy Grail in fantasy sports analysis... Artificial Intelligence.
In 1996 IBM created a supercomputer called Deep Blue, and the makers challenged Garry Kasparov, the World Chess Champion, to a duel. Man vs. Machine. We're about to have Round II of the battle between muscle and microchips.
The Oracle, yours truly, has been playing fantasy sports for nearly three decades (that explains the gray hair). I've also been working full-time in fantasy sports for 13 years. I'm an expert, just ask around.
I write about fantasy sports all day, and each night I take to the airwaves to espouse my views on fantasy sports. I'd put my fantasy sports acumen up against any human being out there. Do you therefore think I'm going to be quaking in my boots because of some fancy new computer program? Hardly.
Advanced Sports Logic has created something they believe will revolutionize the fantasy sports industry - The Machine. What is this AI device? The Machine is a tool that will help you in-season by providing trade advice. It provides suggestions on how to handle the waiver-wire. It will provide you a list of weekly starters (how great is that?). It will help you if you're in an IDP league. It will even help guide you in a keeper setup. But here's the kicker... The Machine helps you at the draft table.
The Machine analyzes every pick that is made during a draft, real time, and it tells you who to pick next. Should you go quarterback? Are tight ends dwindling to the point that you need to get your starter right now? Should you add that handcuff in the backfield? The Machine tells you the best choice to make, given the available players and how your team is constructed, each time your selection comes up. This is an exceedingly valuable tool for anyone doing a draft as The Machine holds your hand and comforts you letting you know which direction makes the most sense for your squad.
I'd suggest that The Machine could probably help 95% of the folks out there on draft day. I'm not one of that 95%.
How in the world does The Machine think it can beat one of the greatest minds in fantasy sports? It can't. The Oracle has spoken. Is that false bravado you're hearing? I doubt it, but I'm arrogant. So to settle this The Oracle is ready to put his reputation on the line. The gauntlet has been thrown down.
The Oracle challenges The Machine to a three-part duel. I'll prove through three drafts that the human mind is still superior to to silicon and circuits.
Draft 1:Monday August 26 at 10:00 p.m. ET
Draft 2: Thursday August 29 at 10:00 p.m. ET
Draft 3: Tuesday September 3 at 1:00 p.m. ET
It's man vs. machine. Brains versus electronics. Beauty versus plastic. You'll get to see the results and read my analysis of what happened and why.
Who will emerge the victor? You know what I think, but you will be able to decide.
Ray Flowers is the host of The Fantasy Drive show on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. He's also the founder of BaseballGuys.com. Follow him on Twitter @BaseballGuys.
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