With less than a week before opening kickoff, now is the time for fantasy football league drafts. Earlier in the year I wrote a column about how it was too early to start thinking about fantasy football. Well, now the time has come to finalize your draft board. The teams are all ready -- almost. Everyone has the same record: 0-0.
This is the time when fans all over the country try to slice and dice the data to see if they can find any hidden gems. Sure, the first round is predictable -- running backs will go like crazy. Maybe even a quarterback (Peyton Manning) or, depending on the league, a slew of wide receivers may also go.
But for the most part, the names will be the same in leagues across the country. The picks are made in a matter of seconds in most leagues, and there are maybe a few surprises, but when someone passes on a big player, the next team typically scoops up that passed-over player in a matter of seconds. There really is no thrill, no fun in the top rounds.
The area to grab real finds is in the middle and late rounds. That's where you find rookies who have not proven themselves in the NFL but may play a bigger role if they perform. You will also find comeback players who many have written off. And, you will get backups who are thrust into the limelight because of an injury or underperformance by the starter. Lastly, there are the players who inexplicably slip through to the later rounds.
The point I'm trying to make is that the prospecting in the later rounds -- once the obvious choices are off the board -- is just like picking a winning stock. You need to not only look at the environment and the current talent, you also need to look at the intangibles and the opportunity to turn it around.
Today I'm picking the
New York Times
. It's a diversified media company that operates in two areas: news media and about group. The news media include
The New York Times
International Herald Tribune
The Boston Globe
and Boston.com, as well as several other newspapers and related digital businesses.
When I look at the stats, there isn't a ton to cheer about. Its forward price-to-earnings is at 18%, which means many view it as being close to accurately valued. Its return on equity isn't at 10%. I look at its operating income and cash at $222 million and $41.7 million, respectively. Hmm...
However, it does have hefty institutional support at almost 87% and the price and brand are hard to argue with. The New York Times brand is one of the most recognizable newspaper and publishing names in the world. The Gray Lady is an institution. That alone is worth a tremendous amount.
And the stock price has lost more than 40% of its value in the last year alone. It closed on Friday at $13.24. To put that in perspective, it hit its low in mid-July at about $12, but the levels we are seeing today are the lowest in more than a decade. Now is the time to buy a company like this that is really beaten down, but is a good value at this time.
Draft the company to your roster and as always...
Keep moving the chains!
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At the time of publication, Brown had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.
Tim Brown played 16 seasons in the NFL, where he made nine Pro Bowls. After a brief stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004, Brown retired as an Oakland Raider. He was a Heisman Trophy winner in college for Notre Dame.