August is here! That means that for the next few weeks, after I have taken care of all of my domestic duties and professional responsibilities, I will have one thing, and one thing only, on which to focus my attention. I will not be cleaning up oil in the Gulf of Mexico. I won’t be volunteering my time for any purpose. I will not be exercising as much as I should and I won’t be paying attention to the first two weeks of algebra homework that my son brings home. I will be preparing for my Fantasy Football Draft.
I suspect that at the mere mention of Fantasy Football, I have lost most of readers. For those of you who are still reading, but who may not understand Fantasy Football, picture a group of fourteen middle aged men (at least in the case of my league) who will sit at their computers for several hours and essentially pretend to draft a roster of about twenty professional football players. These players’ statistics will be aggregated over the course of a year so that eventually, one of the fourteen middle aged men can brag about being the best general manager of a football team in the pretend world that they have created. Before the draft we will all be focused on assessing the talent available in the draft and after the draft we will be looking for ways to improve our team in the hope that we will make it all the way to the Sharky Bowl and the coveted Sharpy Bowl trophy. (This year will be particularly intense since somehow the English guy in our league managed to win it last year, and that just seems so wrong.)
In the spirit of being focused on Fantasy Football, here are the ways that I have learned that Fantasy Football has taught me about money and values and productivity.
Research, Research, Research! It is not possible to have a good fantasy draft unless you have prepared for it. Going into my draft, I will need to know depth charts, injury histories, strength of schedule and a whole bunch of other factors relating to each NFL player.
Spending money presents the same challenges. Know what you want. Know your buying options. Know all of your savings options and know when you are willing to pay top dollar in order to ensure that you get what you want.
Trust in Your Top Shelf Decisions: When my son was still in middle school, he told me that he will never drop a top five pick from his team unless the player is injured beyond all hope of recovery. He told me that if a player is worth a premium draft pick, the player is going to have long term value even if he cannot see the immediate value.
The same is true with stock picks and other major investments. Stocks will almost certainly appreciate over time, just as houses will. When the market is down, it is not time to sell, because there is almost certainly someone waiting to take advantage of your quick decision to sell low. Be patient and the value will return.
Know Your Buyers and Sellers: I know that when I try to trade a player to my friend Ron, I have almost certainly blundered. Ron will almost always win when he transacts Fantasy Football business.
The same is true with a lot of businesses that I have known in the past. Don’t hire contractors or other service providers until you have researched the reputation of the service provider. Talk to your neighbors and friends so that you can make sure you are not going blunder into a bad deal.
Don’t Stock Up on Products that are Cheap Anyway: In my first year of Fantasy Football, about a decade ago, I drafted a premier kicker – in the fifth of twenty rounds. I did not realize that a premier kicker and a mediocre kicker are pretty fungible in the fantasy world. My fellow managers still remind me of my foolishness even now.
Kickers have no real value so there was no reason to draft one early. The same is true of sales on products that are routinely inexpensive. Buy the product when it is on sale but don’t fill the house up!
Understand the Technology on Which You Rely: A few years ago I missed a draft pick because I could not figure out how to do something with my computer. As a result, I drafted Brian Urlacher a few rounds too early.
Don’t make the same mistake that I did. Learn how to use the technology in your home, whether that is a computer, a hi-def TV, a satellite radio or anything else. If you do not take the time to learn, you will find yourself calling for outside contractors to come in and solve problems for you. Learn now so that you will not have to pay later.
Now, while I get back to my preparation for my draft, do you think that I should be looking at wide receivers in the first round? Unless I can get AP or Chris Johnson, I am just not sure of the value of the available running backs? And if you are still reading to this point, I thank you!