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Fantasy Forecast(R): The Risks of Drafting

Mitigate the Risks

When I was writing predictive analysis programs for foreign exchange markets back in the early 1990s, I was a good coder but not familiar with the actual nuances of trading currency. So my models tended to be a bit conservative, eschewing the more exotic currencies. One of my supervisors noticed the way my models behaved and realized what was going on; he then gave me a piece of advice for which I have always been grateful:
Risk is your friend, and can be very beneficial. Just make sure you understand the risk and take steps to mitigate it.

People tend to fear risk and avoid it. But without risk, the potential return on investment is limited. Thus, the key to maximizing value is to
accept risk and use it to your advantage. Embrace risk, but understand it and take steps to minimize your potential downward exposure. Use one type of risk (say, an injury risk) to counteract a different risk (e.g., an age risk).

In the case of our subscriber, he failed to identify several of the risks listed above: 

  • Suppose you draft
    Stevan Ridley in the first round; then in the second round you grab another running back — say 

    Chris Johnson
    , because he was the highest-rated running back available and my

    Best Damn Draft Method 2013
    (BDDM) told him he needed a runner in that draft slot. But what you did not do was identify the risk in these picks (both runners may be entering into heavier time-shares in 2013) and take steps to mitigate that risk. In this case, you would have been better off taking a runner like

    Steven Jackson
    , someone rated a few spots below Johnson — but someone who mitigated the RBBC risk associated with having taken Ridley in the first round.
  • Say you draft three wide receivers, all of whom were in our top 30; pretty good, right? Well, those three receivers —

    Hakeem Nicks
    , Danny Amendola

    Sidney Rice
    — all carry injury risks. A solid, slightly lower-rated receiver like

    Brian Hartline
    would have been a better pick than Rice.
  • If you had dutifully read and studied our

    Best Damn Draft Method 2013
    you know that drafting a QB1 prior to the seventh round is a less than optimized plan. But what happens if during the course of a draft every one of your 11 opponents took a QB1 prior to the sixth round and were already drafting backups by the time you get around to drafting your QB1? You need to identify the bizarre quarterback run and realize that the guidance of the BDDM — to wait on the quarterback — no longer applies; you should adjust and grab your QB1 a round or two earlier.

Let me conclude this treatise by saying that of all the risks I’ve identified, by far the most difficult to mitigate (especially for less experienced fantasy players) is the
Tunnel Vision risk. It is very difficult to be in a draft, spot a quirk, then devise a risk mitigation strategy — all in the space of the 2-16 minutes between picks.

Like most situations in life, there are no absolutes in fantasy drafts. As much as I am a believer in the use of metrics and analytics to guide my drafting principles, I have to acknowledge that there is a component that goes beyond the numbers … and you should as well.

John T. Georgopoulos is an 18-year veteran of fantasy sports journalism. His
Fantasy Forecast series has won the prestigious Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) award for Best Series, and he’s been nominated as an FSWA Award finalist on eight occasions. You can also listen to his weekly non-sports opinions



About Fantasy Sharks launched in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is (or has been) home to some of the most talented and respected writers and content creators in fantasy football.

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