IBM, in collaboration with ESPN, is introducing updates and new features to the ESPN Fantasy Football app, bringing the capabilities of artificial intelligence technology built on IBM’s WatsonX to over 11 million fantasy football users. Among the new features is “Waiver Grades,” which offers personalized assessments of available players in your fantasy league’s waiver wire. This feature compares a player’s potential value to your team against the average grade of players in the same position on your roster. Additionally, “Trade Grades” evaluates the potential benefits of trades in a personalized manner.

These features, Waiver Grades and Trade Grades, rely on advanced Large Language Models within WatsonX, IBM’s enterprise-focused data and AI platform. They provide valuable insights on football players, including sentiment analysis. The AI-generated classification, combined with machine learning algorithms analyzing player performance data, helps reduce bias and uncovers valuable insights from vast amounts of structured and unstructured data.

Moreover, “Player Insights,” powered by AI built with WatsonX, returns this year to assist ESPN Fantasy Football players in making sense of matchups, analyzing players’ potential for success or failure, and assessing the impact of injuries on their rosters.

“With watsonx, we continue to push the boundaries of what AI can bring to user experiences such as fantasy sports,” said¬†Jonathan Adashek, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at IBM. “The watsonx technology that IBM leverages to help fantasy managers make more informed and data driven decisions through tools like Waiver Grades and Trade Grades is the same AI technology that business leaders across all industries can use to reap the wide-ranging benefits of AI.”

IBM and ESPN have been collaborating for seven consecutive years, leveraging IBM’s technology, including IBM Watson Discovery. Now, they are introducing AI built with WatsonX to empower users with more informed decisions. These robust AI models, developed with the assistance of, a platform enabling AI builders to train, validate, and fine-tune AI and foundation models, transform football data into actionable insights, aiding fantasy team owners in setting their lineups. IBM Consulting partners with ESPN to ensure the reliable deployment of WatsonX models, scaling these unique insights and tools as part of the digital experiences within the ESPN Fantasy Football app.


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