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Yahoo apologizes after fantasy site goes down

Yahoo apologizes after fantasy site goes down

Yahoo Sports is apologizing for a site outage that left thousands of fantasy football players complaining of last-minute lineup problems and possible lost money on an NFL Sunday.

Ken Fuchs, head of entertainment, sports and games at Yahoo Inc., emailed players early Monday to apologize for problems with the site and its mobile apps.

``I'm disappointed that we failed all of our fans today,'' Fuchs wrote in the email. ``Our first priority is having the best experience for our users, and today we fell short.''

Fuchs said the outage started about one hour before the first games kicked off, which he called ``awful timing.''

Yahoo, along with sites run by ESPN and CBS Sports, is one of the biggest players in the $800 million-per-year fantasy sports industry, hosting leagues where users pick a team of real-life players and compete based on their individual statistics. A study last year found that 32 million people in the United States and Canada were playing fantasy sports, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. Football is by far the most popular fantasy sport.

Many players play casual leagues just for fun, but others gamble money - sometimes big money.

Yahoo said Monday afternoon on its fantasy football Twitter account that the website was back up, but users were still unable to make lineup changes on mobile apps.

Players enraged about the outage took to Twitter, Facebook and Reddit on Sunday and Monday to express their displeasure, some saying they planned to switch platforms as a result.

``I feel like I lost out a lot,'' said Bryan Smothers, a 27-year-old small business owner from Eureka, Calif., who said the site let him down during a week crucial toward determining whether his path will lead toward the playoffs or a lost $500 buy-in.

Smothers said he waited until Sunday morning to set his lineup because he wanted to be current on the latest injuries, but the outage meant his lineup became locked in with Patriots running back Stevan Ridley, receiver Brandon Lloyd and Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick all on the bench with lesser options in his lineup - including one player on a bye.

Smothers said he appreciated the apology but thinks it may not be enough for players who invest a lot of time and money into leagues.

``You're talking about millions of people,'' he said.

Hal Spivack, director of product development at fantasy site Fleaflicker, said players began emailing him and sending him tweets asking to migrate their league to the smaller platform, which currently has hundreds of thousands of players.

Spivack said he sympathizes with Yahoo's problems, as New York-based Fleaflicker had a brief midweek outage during Superstorm Sandy. But he said companies running fantasy sports have to prepare themselves for busy traffic and make sure their servers and sites can withstand high demand.

``Even the smallest of issues do get noticed a lot. There is backlash because ... people have bigger things riding on (their leagues),'' Spivack said. ``People tend to get very upset.''

Paul Charchian, president of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, said almost every fantasy site has had some kind of failure and the Yahoo outage highlights the complexity and scale of how the games are operated.

He said players should have failsafe options in their leagues, like calling commissioners and opponents to let them know what they want to do if a site goes down.

``I would encourage players to remember that this game wasn't always played online,'' Charchian said. ``It's not the end of the world. They'll fix it.''

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Oskar Garcia can be reached athttp://twitter.com/oskargarcia .

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Ravens hold on to another close preseason win in Week 2

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Ravens hold on to another close preseason win in Week 2

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Baltimore Ravens spoiled Andrew Luck's Indianapolis homecoming.

They picked him off before allowing a completion, and Terrell Suggs nearly chopped the ball out of Luck's hands on a sack. The Ravens then secured a 20-19 preseason win over the Colts by stopping a late 2-point conversion run.

Luck was just OK in his first home start since Jan. 1, 2017. But he did receive a roaring ovation from the crowd when he took the field, led the Colts to one score and apparently emerged unscathed after going down twice on sacks.

"Not too sharp, certainly red-zone turnovers are a negative, missed a couple of throws I'd like to hit," he said. "And I didn't feel like we, as an offense, got into any semblance of a sustained rhythm."

Expectations were high following a solid start in Seattle.

This time, the Colts (1-1) looked sloppy.

Luck missed his first three throws, the third winding up in the hands of Ravens safety Anthony Levine Jr. Luck rebounded to finish 6 of 13 for 50 yards and set up 45-year-old Adam Vinatieri for a 57-yard field before leaving in the second quarter.

If Luck had his way, he might have played longer. But first-year coach Frank Reich wasn't taking any chances with Luck's surgically repaired arm.

"We just never found a rhythm for him and some of his balls were not his best balls," he said. "But I still have a lot of confidence we're headed in the right direction."

Joe Flacco, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens looked better.

Flacco went 7 of 9 for 72 yards and one touchdown. Jackson then showed flashes of what helped him win the 2016 Heisman Trophy.

Jackson was 7 of 15 for 49 yards and a TD and carried four times for 26 yards before giving way to another Heisman winner, Robert Griffin III, in the fourth quarter.

Indy still had a chance at the end after Tarell Basham recovered a fumble at the Ravens 9. Five plays later, Phillip Walker threw a 9-yard TD pass to Zach Pascal with 2:24 left. But the Ravens (3-0) stopped Walker on the 2-point try, recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.

"Happy to get the win," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We did a lot of things that weren't winning football, especially in the second half."

The Ravens made it tough on Indy all night.

They stopped Indy twice in the red zone and nearly had a third when Jordan Wilkins fumbled the ball into the end zone, where it bounced right into the hands of receiver Chester Rogers.

Flacco gave the Ravens a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter when he hooked up with John Brown on a 7-yard score, and Jackson's masterful hurry-up drive at the end of the first half ended with Justin Tucker's 38-yard field goal with 2 seconds left.

When Colts rookie Nyheim Hines fumbled away the opening kickoff of the second half, Jackson hooked up with Chris Moore on a 7-yard TD pass to make it 17-10.

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Is Adrian Peterson a good fit with the Redskins?

Is Adrian Peterson a good fit with the Redskins?

Adrian Peterson is one of the best running backs in NFL history.

But is he the best running back for the Redskins right now?

The Redskins signed Peterson, 33 years old and a 12-year NFL veteran, to a one-year contract. They have been hit with injuries at the running back position, most notably the loss of second-round pick Derrius Guice for the season with a torn ACL. They didn’t make any moves when that diagnosis was announced a week and a half ago. But they lost two more backs to short-term injuries last Thursday and they decided that now is the time to go out and get somebody.

Is the need for a running back really there? Rob Kelley was the starter for the last half of the 2016 season and for seven games last year before a variety of ailments sent him to injured reserve. Samaje Perine became the starter after that and while he struggled at time he also showed growth potential.

Kelley is 25 and Perine is 22. In the absence of Guice, they could develop and when Guice returns next year the team would have a good stable of young running backs.

But now, Peterson is in the picture. We don’t yet know what his role will be, but they did not sign him to be the back who is inactive on game days. He will get some carries and that will take work away from Perine and Kelley.

Now, if Peterson is more productive than either of the two younger backs then that is a worthwhile swap. But what does he have left in the tank at age 33?

Last year, playing for the Saints and Cardinals he gained 529 yards on 156 carries, a very pedestrian average of 3.4 years per carry. That is very similar to the production of Perine, who had 175 carries for 603 yards, a 3.4 average. In his two years in the NFL, Kelley has averaged 3.9 yards per carry.

By signing Peterson, however, the Redskins are hoping that Peterson has one more big year, or at least a medium year by his standards, left in him. After all, it was just in 2015 that he led the NFL in rushing for the third time in his career as he ran for 1,485 yards and averaged 4.5 yards per carry. The Redskins would be delighted if he could get half of that total.

Any free agent signing can only be evaluated when the contract details are available. We only know that it’s a one-year deal and according to some reports he did not get any money guaranteed at signing. That seems to be a team friendly deal, but we will have to see what might kick in if he is on the Week 1 roster.

As with everything else, time will tell if this move works out. If the money is right, it’s a low risk transaction with some possible upside for Washington.

Back during minicamp while talking about how quickly Alex Smith would have to get up to speed with the offense, Jay Gruden said that the Redskins are not in a rebuilding mode and that they need to win now. After the trade for Smith, the Peterson signing is another indication that patience may be wearing thin.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler