What Fantasy Football Can Teach You About Money

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!

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5 Responses to What Fantasy Football Can Teach You About Money

  1. Tony says:

    That is too funny David! I had played fantasy football for years up to this past year. I would get so excited not just for the fact that the horrendous summer is at it’s end, but my love for football and sitting in my recliner all Sunday afternoon with my wife by my side was all any man could want. Since I have spent most of my time lately with Facebook games, I have not even attempted to do the Fantansy Football or Basketball games which also took up a lot of my free time. I do miss it, but now would rather watch them and relax. However, I agree with your point on researching the information on products you are interested in buying. Doesn’t take much time and with the internet, becomes a must nowadays to save money. I enjoyed your article, thanks for writing!

  2. RonW says:

    Now how can I argue about the wisdom and wit in this article given the paragraph about buyers and sellers! There are certainly lessons to be learn about finances and business within Fantasy Football. My one take-away is the best of plans of mice and men often go awry. That fantasy team that looks so awesome in September, well who knows what will be the case in January.

    Lesson: Minimize your downside risk and learn to adjust accordingly because life WILL happen…

  3. jIM says:

    well said

    most of my drafts are winding down

    Play in a salary cap/bid/auction league and make another post LOL

  4. Ernie says:

    Thanks for the article. Been playing fantasy for about 10 years and investing for a little less than that. Probably put an equal amount of time into both and there are definitely similarities. Ability to negotiate. Using your instincts. Knowing which sources of information are good vs. mediocre so get an edge, etc. Just don’t forget to have fun! :-)

  5. Bryan says:

    You forgot to mention where you do your research? What sites are the most helpful? What research are you able to do for free? What do you pay for and where?

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