If Josh Gordon played the last 8 games this season, what would you invest to have him on your team?According to FantasyFootballCalculator.com his current draft cost is in the 7th round. I for one can tell you that I have blown much higher draft picks on worse situations. I couldn’t blame anyone for taking that chance at that price this year if that scenario presented itself. No guts, No Glory!
At what point does trouble outweigh talent? That’s a question many General Managers and coaches in the NFL are forced to answer during the draft process. It’s up to GMs in both the NFL and fantasy football to put a value on a player based upon the inherent risk associated with past history and performance.
Recently when talking about Jordan Matthews, the Fantasy Douche made it a point to talk about the work ethic of Matthews being an important component in the evaluation of his future success. It is hard to see Matthews not succeeding in the NFL based upon the assumption that he will do the necessary work to develop his game. That reputation followed him to the Senior Bowl where Matthews requested game film of the DBs he would be facing that week. Not every prospect is Jordan Matthews.
The best advice I have ever received in life was to “See people for who they are and not who you want them to be.” That same advice holds true in football as it does in life. The following is a list of 8 rules to follow when pricing and assessing talent.
1. “Buy Low, Sell High” – This piece of advice may seem obvious, but sometimes it can be more difficult to achieve than you realize. Even the best of owners have difficulty reading the market or finding trading partners. Sometimes it is necessary to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing…this is called being “contrarian.” An owner who jumps on a player when the public perception is pessimistic will be able to accomplish this goal more often than those who follow the general consensus. Need a list of possible players…well Shawn Siegele has you covered here. Our goal is to get a share of an undervalued asset at a discounted price and get more back than what we originally invested. It’s not harder than that. That is the game. If you do this you win. NEVER FORGET RULE 1!
2. Understand what you are buying – Many stock investors rely on the advice of investment professionals…here at RotoViz there is plenty of advice to be had from a myriad of “professionals” (I use that term loosely). While the vast majority of our readers are smart enough to make their own decisions, it’s always good to get information from all angles. The RotoViz Apps Suite allows you to create your own projections as well as view historical comps. In the case of Josh Gordon, while we were warning you about him breaking out here and here last year…this year while everyone was riding high, Jake Rickrode was also warning you of some red flags.
3. Upside vs. Value – Two major strategies when drafting are Upside and Value. Identifying the players that meet the RotoViz Reach profile will allow you to target players with historical traits that correlate to NFL success. It’s important to identify value or the “arbitrage play” to keep from paying a premium for replaceable production. As Rich Hribar pointed out here it is important to know what type of owner you are and what you expect out of your lineup when deciding between the two. Davante Adams and Allen Robinson are great examples of high upside plays in dynasty leagues while Stevan Ridley is a player I will be targeting as a value play this year in re-draft.
4. Fair Value – It is far better to pay a fair price for an elite player than it is to get a fair player for a bargain price. There are reasons a Bugatti Veyron is expensive…scarcity and performance. In short don’t be a cheapskate. There is no need to pay a premium for a luxury, but be prepared to pay a reasonable price for elite talent when the opportunity arises. Jimmy Graham is worth a first round pick because he has scored 24% more points than the 10 year #1 overall TE average and 35% more points than his closest competition last year. Advantages like that are worth paying for.
5. Practice Patience – Sometimes it’s possible for an owner to be right about a player at the wrong time. Trent Richardson owners shouldn’t be jumping ship just yet. Last year he was in the running to be the top ranked RB. That same talent is going around the top of the 6th round this year. Practicing patience and discipline is also important when making deals and forming draft strategies. Don’t act hastily and dump players before giving them the proper opportunity to adjust to the pro game. Also don’t get desperate and jump at the first deal an owner throws your way. Evaluate the long-term potential of the player, his talent and the system or opportunity he is in.
6. Competitive Advantages – Invest in players that will give you a competitive advantage. Sure Josh Gordon comes with the risks of being suspended for a year. That possibility in itself is a big deal…but also ask yourself does he give you a competitive advantage when on the field. Anyone who watched him play last year would answer yes. Warren Buffet once said “Uncertainty is actually the friend of the buyer of long-term values.” The WR Sim Score App is a great tool for comparing players and possible outcomes. Weighing the risks versus reward scenario is very important when analyzing troubled players. Proven on field performance is just as crucial.
7. Invest in management – This goes for coaches as well as QBs. C.D. Carter penned a great piece on the Peyton Manning Effect. Running Backs on Manning led teams have averaged over 1,500 yds and 10 tds a year. Knowing a coach’s play calling tendencies is also an important tool when investing in players. You may not always be able to nab the elite QB, but investing in players that surround an elite QB or coach can pay huge dividends in value and performance.
8. Adapt to changing circumstances – Always be ready to adapt to change. Acknowledging your own recency bias and keeping your emotions in check are traits you must have. You must continually reassess your team based on new information. Good owners force themselves to listen to news they don’t want to hear and evaluate it accordingly. Thanks to this article last year, I was able to get quite a few shares of Zac Stacy which put me in the money in several leagues. The Rams drafting Tre Mason is cause to re-evaluate Stacy’s situation. Factor in Benny Cunningham and the return of Bradford and Stacy’s outlook isn’t quite the same. Remember, don’t forget rule 1.
I tend to view players as investment assets. Following simple investment principles can set you up for success in the fake football world.