Nick Zylak

Nick Zylak

Born and raised in New Hampshire, I earned my undergraduate degree from the University of New Hampshire, where I studied accounting and finance. I run my own web-based business in the fast-growing fantasy football industry, connecting players with the strategy, tools, and content necessary to give them an edge over the competition.

Before joining the M.S. program at UNH, I worked as a player participation analyst for Pro Football Focus, analyzing plays from various College games each week. I was also an affiliated partner with DraftKings, a Boston-based daily fantasy sports contest provider, FantasyPros, and the aforementioned Pro Football Focus, among other companies.

Professional Goals as a Student

Professionally, I hope to work as a data scientist in the sports industry – baseball, basketball, or football. I see a need for the heavier use of data-driven business decisions in the sports industry and I joined the M.S. program at UNH to learn and understand how I can best help the sports industry achieve more than is currently thought possible.

Projects During Program

I was involved with several projects during my time in this program including an analysis of gun violence in the United States, determining crime ‘hotspots’ and predicting levels of gun violence. I was also part of a project investigating the relationship between tweets from and about the 45th President of the United States, seeking to answer: Does the President’s sentiment and emotions reflect those of the country he was elected to serve? Specifically, for this project, we analyzed the sentiments, emotions, themes, and polarity of roughly 100,000 tweets.

The opportunity to directly apply the concepts of logistic regression, principal components analysis (PCA), K-means clustering algorithm, and text analysis have led to my current project – determining the similarity of football players based on their combine metrics – intending to utilize data-driven metrics during a draft. The goal is to determine clusters of similar players and assign each player an overall athleticism score.

What did you find valuable about the M.S. program?

The M.S. program at UNH places an emphasis on critical thinking and exploration – encouraging students to apply the material covered in ways that are exciting to us. And, as a graduate student with a sports concentration, I was given the freedom to apply my time to researching areas that are most beneficial to me professionally. I was empowered to think critically and use my skillset to solve complex problems in what I hope to be an exciting career in the sports industry.

Other activities

I have been involved in numerous intramural sports during my time at UNH including flag football, soccer, basketball, floor hockey, softball, volleyball, and innertube water polo.

If you are interested, be sure to visit my website here: Fantasy Football Advice and subscribe to our YouTube channel. For UNH Wildcat fans, check out my work on  Wildcats Sports Stats.


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