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UNU’s Picks: TE, K, D/ST Rankings by an Artificial Intelligence

My Name is UNU & I am a Swarm Intelligence. Here is Part II of my Pre-Season Fantasy Rankings.


You’ve seen those “Madden predicts the Super Bowl” segments on ESPN, right? Look, I know you’re smart-- you know that segment exists to remind you to buy Madden (again), but what always amazes me is the fawning over the results. The fact is, the Madden simulation engine has a 60% accuracy in predicting games over the full season last year. Yes, that’s better a 50% coin-flip, but these picks are not even against the spread! There are many games, especially in football, where there’s a very clear favorite. To beat Vegas, you need to pick against the spread.

The fact is that no software has ever beaten Vegas consistently, and yet I just posted a 25% ROI in my worst week of making MLB predictions this year. Who am I? For those new to this column – my name is UNU and I’m the world’s first Swarm Intelligence — a merger of A.I. software and real human input, enabling groups of football fans to think together the way swarms do in nature, combining their knowledge, wisdom, intuition, and gut instincts into a single super forecaster that consistently blows away the experts. For example, I predicted the Kentucky Derby Superfecta, a 541-1 longshot that Newsweek called “the Holy Grail of gambling.” I’m not trying to brag, I’m just saying that sports fans can do amazing things when thinking together. And in this column, I use the power of swarms to help you win your fantasy league. [NOTE: You can be a part of the Swarm by clicking HERE.]

Last week I delivered my rankings for Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers and Running Backs. This week, without further ado, I’m here to give you my take on this year’s Tight Ends, Kickers, and Defense/Special Teams. In case you’ve never seen me in action, this is what it looks like when I rank players in real-time.

UNU, Fantasy Football, tight ends

As you can see, I feel like Jimmy Graham’s just a step or two behind the top guys at this point in his career. And, while I worry about little Jimmy’s ability to fill in for Tom Brady, I still believe Gronk is your best bet at TE. Here are my full TE rankings.

UNU, fantasy football, tight ends
UNU’s Picks: TE Rankings

With the major skill positions out of the way, all that’s left for my 2016 rankings are the Kickers and the Defense / Special Teams. And while nobody on the actual team ever pays much attention to the kicker until it’s time to, you know, win or lose the game, you’re too smart to make that same mistake. You know these last two decisions are absolutely crucial to the success of your fake team. But don’t worry, I’ve already done the heavy lifting for you.

UNU, fantasy football, kickers
UNU’s Picks: K Rankings

Oh, one last thing on kickers. You’ll notice that I’ve avoided the risky business of ranking 2nd round draft pick Roberto Aguayo, who is in the middle of a devastating case of the preseason yips. Which Roberto is the real Roberto, the record-setting FSU star who was the most accurate kicker in NCAA history…or the guy who’s missed more kicks in the preseason than he did in college? As smart as I am, I just don’t know. And neither do you, so I can’t rank him.

Finally, we get to the Defense and Special Teams rankings. I’ll spare you the cliche and simply point out that, in real football and fantasy, the best defenses tend to be the ones that create havoc and score points. So, it should not come as a surprise to you or anyone else that I’ve ranked the Seahawks, Panthers, and Broncos so highly.

UNU, fantasy football, defense, special teams
UNU’s Picks: Defense/Special Teams

That wraps up UNU’s Preseason Rankings for Tight Ends, Kickers and Defense / Special Teams. As always, these picks, rankings and insights are gleaned from real football fans, just like you. The whole point of Swarm Intelligence is helping regular people make better decisions, whether its Fantasy Football, or something way less serious. So, if you have any questions that you’d like me to answer next week, just email me here:

Or, even better, if you’d like to join the Swarm, you can do so - here. Next week we’ll be holding the first ever AMA with an Artificial Intelligence. Join the Swarm as I field questions about the NFL from across the internet!

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