How fantasy football may make you better at investing

The strategies you use to put together your dream team may help you put together your dream portfolio.

Whether you’ve demonstrated a sky-high fantasy football IQ season after season, or you’re sure that, finally, this is going to be the year you assemble the dream team that wins your league, your fantasy drafting skills can come in handy off the virtual field.

While your fantasy football team is for only one season, generally, your investment portfolio should be developed with a long-term approach. Those differences aside, how you develop a solid fantasy football strategy might translate to handling your investment portfolio.

 

1. Know your game plan

When you draft your team, you have a clear sense of what you’re trying to accomplish. For example, your strategy may be to draft your running backs first to make sure you have the top players in that position. Or your strategy may be to pick the best remaining athlete regardless of the position.  

The bottom line is that you don’t go into the draft without a plan. Neither should you go in to creating your investment portfolio without knowing what you would like to achieve.

 

2. Do your research

You wouldn’t go into your fantasy draft without doing your homework, and assembling a winning portfolio is no different. If you want to know who the breakout stars will be this season, you’ve got to study their stats and examine how they’ve performed in past years.

Although the past performance of an investment doesn’t guarantee future results when choosing investments, find out all you can about the assets you’re considering before you commit to them.

 

3. Listen to the experts

With the explosive popularity of fantasy football came an entire industry devoted to analyzing every player’s value to help gain an edge over opponents. It doesn’t matter if you’re an expert or a novice: You should take into consideration what the experts are saying.

Likewise, when approaching your portfolio, it can be helpful to learn from people with decades of experience studying market fluctuations. You wouldn’t draft a tight end without seeing where he’s ranked, so why wouldn’t you do the same when allocating your assets?

 

You shouldn’t necessarily add an asset to your portfolio based on familiarity or brand loyalty alone.

 

4. Don’t always follow the herd

While you want to know where the experts stand on a given player — or a particular financial asset — you shouldn’t sheepishly follow the crowd. You made a plan before the draft, and you should stick to it. Everyone in your league will be fighting for the franchise quarterback or star wide receiver. But one technique you might use to potentially win your league is identifying undervalued players, aka “sleepers,” whom your opponents are overlooking.1

When selecting investments, it can be tempting to gravitate solely to well-known stocks and current market leaders, but seeking out a few potential “sleepers” could pay off.

 

5. Find the right balance

It’s awfully hard to win your league with just one high-performing player. Just like it seldom pays to go all-in on a single position, you want to make sure your portfolio is balanced and diversified. A team combined of reliable workhorses and flashy, but riskier, players may offer a more balanced approach to bring home a victory.  

Similarly, creating your portfolio with generally more reliable and less risky assets – such as fixed income – and diversified with higher-risk assets – such as stocks – structured to your long-term objectives and risk tolerance could possibly earn you a nice return. 2

 

6. Draft with your head, not with your heart

You’re a diehard fan of your home team. But should you draft one of your favorite players for your fantasy team just because you want them to succeed? You want the best collection of players, regardless of what team they play for in real life. 3

In a similar fashion, you shouldn’t necessarily add an asset to your portfolio based on familiarity or brand loyalty alone. Take a long, hard look at the numbers and make an informed, rational decision.

 

7. Remember, it’s a long season. Try not to overreact

It’s three weeks into the season, and your roster isn’t performing as well as you hoped it would. Think twice before holding a fire sale on players who could turn things around and make big contributions later on in the season.

When it comes to your finances, it can also be beneficial to focus on the long term rather than letting short-term performance dictate your every move. Some financial experts argue that sticking to your strategy can be your best bet. 4

 

Learn more about how Wealth Management from U.S. Bank and U.S. Bancorp Investments can help you manage your investments strategically.

 

1 “Fantasy Football Glossary,” NFL Fantasy Football.
2Investing 101: Portfolios and Diversification,” Investopedia.
3 Fabiano, Michael, “The beginner’s guide to fantasy football draft success.” NFL Fantasy Football.
4 Smith, Gary, “Selling your stocks now will only result in losses,” MarketWatch, February 9, 2018.