5 Tips for Your Fantasy Sports Pool (and Your Investments)

I'm actually hoping my fantasy sports league buddies aren't reading this article because I'm going to share with you some secrets. The following are some success tips that I personally believe and practice and I've got the trophy to prove it (for now)!

1) DON'T over-value a big name player. 

We all know Tom Brady is a pretty good football player, but drafting him in the first round might be wasting your top pick. Like trying to buy stocks, just because you recognize a company or that a company has been good in the past, does not necessarily mean that it will out-perform in the future. There's more to choosing stocks (such as P/E ratio, projected earnings, market outlook, current valuation) than knowing that TD is a good bank or that Apple makes good products. 

2) DON'T have home-team (country) bias. 

You really have no advantage when you choose 5 players from the Toronto Maple Leafs just because you're from the GTA. Sure, you've got some players to watch on Saturday, but let's face it, if (when) their season tanks, so will your fantasy team. Investors face the same issue when they choose too many assets from their home country. For example, according to some numbers from Morningstar Research, Canadians filled roughly 75% of their equity portfolio with assets in the Canadian market (i.e. stocks, mutual funds, ETFs). That's not even including any Canadian real estate you might own (maybe your house?). A heavily biased portfolio is not diversified enough to produce a healthy and sustainable investment plan.  

3) DON'T drop your players too soon. 

Okay, so Mike Trout is in a 4 for 30 slump in the last week, so drop him, right? Wrong! Give him some time to collect himself. It's a long season and he'll start putting up big numbers again. Many investors freak out during market fluctuations and sell their assets too soon rather than stay in the market for the long term. If they're not in the market when the asset rallies back, they've lost out on the greatest gains and returns. See the chart below from my "Timing the Market: Put me in Coach" article.

 This chart shows the difference in performance if you missed out on the top bounce back days in a market rally. 

This chart shows the difference in performance if you missed out on the top bounce back days in a market rally. 

 

4) DO manage your bid money wisely. 

I know some fantasy GMs like to use their Free-Agent Auction Bid money aggressively to try and acquire some gems on the waiver wire. But you're only given a set amount to last you the whole season. It's probably wise to save some for moves later on in the season when you're gunning for the championship. Canadian investors pay some of the highest mutual fund fees in the world. All those fees are paying "active fund managers" who think they can out-perform the market. My strategy is to keep the fees low by using robo-advisors and Index ETFs. We're in for the long haul, so don't blow your money on fees!

 Assuming $6,000 per year investment at 5% growth

Assuming $6,000 per year investment at 5% growth

 

5) DO know who's available, and assess their upside. 

Nobody goes into draft-day without at least flipping through a stats magazine for 20 minutes at Shoppers' Drug Mart. Likewise, you wouldn't invest your life savings into a company stock that you haven't researched the heck out of (i.e., what's the P/E ratio, projected earnings, earnings per share, etc.?) In fact, very few of us would be able to study companies enough to adequately gauge their worth on the market. So why try? There are other investments options, like Index ETFs or robo-advisors, that offer a greater chance of overall success, and it's definitely worth your time exploring how they can fit in your plan.

 Thirteen years and counting with this Fantasy Football League. (Hui - 2016 Champion) 

Thirteen years and counting with this Fantasy Football League. (Hui - 2016 Champion) 

Sports are emotionally exciting. To be a winning team, players need to build on their loyalty, determination, heart, and physical skill. Fantasy sports are also exciting. But to win, most of the emotions that surround drafting and trading players need to be taken out. Create for yourself a systematic number-based strategy for both your fantasy team and your investment portfolio. Don't get caught up in the drama, and you'll be on your way to winning soon enough.