Investing lessons from fantasy football

By Andrew Steinman

fantasy-football

Each summer my friends and I get together for our annual fantasy football draft. We each put on our general manager hats and try to implement our draft strategies.

Certainly there is a lot of luck involved in fantasy football but it's amazing to me how the good managers consistently land near the top and the poor managers sink to bottom.

To draw on the parallels of fantasy football and investing, let's first think of fantasy football in the context of an auction draft. We have a certain amount of money (usually $200) to construct the best team possible. The objective is to score the most points by buying players with the best value (points/price).

Below I have compiled a list of the 10 running backs with the highest auction values going into the 2013-2014 season. I then added a Points Scored Per $ Ranking to show which players were the best bargains.

running-backs

As most football fans know, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is a phenomenal running back. Injuries aside, he been consistently great and that's why he is so sought after by fantasy football owners. With all that being said, he turned out to be a mediocre value last season.

Investing Lesson: There is a difference between being great and being a great value. I often find that the best companies are not a great value because everyone knows they are great. I could not think more highly of Google (GOOG), but I've never purchased their stock because it doesn't have the value I'm looking for.

On the other hand, Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles was the best bargain among backs last season and I was one fortunate beneficiary.

In hindsight, Charles had all the signs of an undervalued player. In 2012, Charles averaged a terrific 5.3 yds/carry but only found the end zone 6 times. In 2013, a better coach, better quarterback, and a soft schedule following a 2-14 season helped Charles score 19 touchdowns. A running back can control how far he runs on each carry, but he has less control over his number of scoring opportunities.