By Matt PÃ©pin
Colleague Zuri Berry recently underlined how lousy the NFL ’12 app is, and I couldn’t agree more. By week two of the season, I ditched him as a second screen on Sunday, which left the door wide open for something else.
Enter ESPN’s Fantasy Football app, a much more fun and convenient experience than just logging into ESPN.com to follow your fantasy football team.
Pretty much all the features of the dotcom version feel better in the app. The dashboard page has pop-up notes that overlap the dashboard, rather than forcing you to click on a new page. So you see other matches and scores in the background while comparing your lineup to that of your weekly opponent.
Navigation is easier, with a drop-down menu to take you quickly to the league page, your team page, available player pages, scoreboard, and team pages. Managing your roster is made easier with a larger screen, touch-sensitive buttons, and a layout option to access weekly stats pages, season stats pages, and many other metrics for your team. A button in the upper right corner gives you a feed of the latest NFL news from ESPN.
The best feature is Fantasycast (pictured), which makes the app a great choice as a second screen on Sundays. Fantasycast displays the full lineup of real NFL games as well as the players in action in each game for the two players in a fantasy game. It also shows a side-by-side gang story for the two fantastic teams going head-to-head in their fantastic game.
So, at a glance, you get a pretty good overview of how things are going for your fantasy team, with the details you’re looking for – when are my players in action, who are they up against? and who did my opponent participate in in a given game? – at hand.
Fantasycast is available on the dotcom version of ESPN’s fantasy platform, but the smooth viewing of the app on an iPad lets you have a laptop in your lap, and the iPhone version is great for Sundays. where real life encroaches on your football.
Plus, the updates are close to real time, unlike the NFL’s own app, which I’ve seen lag times of over five minutes.
Like most apps, it takes a bit of getting used to. For example, you can’t really dive into the features of the app until you click on your team or league on the home page. But once you’re there, it’s a lot more satisfying than the insanely bad NFL app.