Saturday, February 2, 2008

Yogi Berra's 8 Secrets to Fantasy Greatness

The simple truths in life are the most profound. Take Warren Buffett, for example. He summarized all the investing advice anybody would ever need in a single sentence: "We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful." The same notion can be applied to fantasy football & baseball. While you try to build a team on solid players, you have to take risks.

Buffett isn't the only smart guy around. It turns out that famed Yankee catcher Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra was pretty smart, too. Let's see what eight secrets he can teach us about fantasy sports.

1) "I knew I was going to take the wrong train, so I left early." You will make mistakes when you're managing your team. I've certainly made mistakes, including a trade which included Marvin Harrison and Rudi Johnson, one of which never played in the fantasy season and the other did nothing for several weeks before I finally dropped him. And yes, I actually dropped Rudi Johnson and then he turned around that week with his best performance of the season. Ouch! But just like Yogi, get on the managing train early, do your research, keep up on who’s hot and who is not, and you can still reach your destination on time.

2) "This is like déjà vu all over again." Players go up and down, over and over again. When a great player seems to be doing nothing right, don’t panic—just remind yourself that it's déjà vu all over again. Otherwise, you may find yourself tempted to make a costly mistake.

3) "If you don't know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else." Fantasy goals are a must. Fantasy goals enable you to set sound priorities, measure your progress, and make mid-course corrections. Measuring your progress against goals can help motivate you in times when you feel like giving up, and those times will come.

4) "You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six." You can try to beat your league by winning in every position with every category by cutting them up into different slices. Certainly some have succeeded with this stratagem; of course, they were also incredibly lucky. For most of us, the best way to beat the other owners in the league is by trying to cut the pizza into fewer slices: We still end up with the same pizza. This is why, for most, focusing on the three key positions (RB, WR, & QB) is the smartest way to buy the whole pizza.

5) "A nickel isn't worth a dime today." The best team is built on solid performers. Before the season, you have to search out the guys that rack up constant numbers year after year. Sure they might get hurt or have a bad year, but more than likely they will do what they have always done. These are the guys you want to take in the early rounds of the draft. They will be the back bone of your team. Once you have a solid base, then begin to look toward the next flash in the pan (and you should have one or two of these).

6) "Ninety percent of the putts that are short don't go in." And 90% of managers don’t actively manage their teams. They check in once a week to set their roosters, and pay little attention to what is actually going on. Don't leave your managing putts short. Check in on your team a couple times a week (esp. on Wed. and Fri., when the most important news seems to come out). If you don’t, you'll never make it.

7) "Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded." Many league managers act like lemmings, following each other over the cliff. It's easy to say don't follow the crowd, and it's another thing to actually heed that advice. Once you solid base is set, you constantly have to seek out the next big player. Injuries are going to happen, players will go into slumps, so you always have to have a replacement handy when Mr. Reliable stubbles. Besides, even if you never use a hot pick up, it keeps him off someone else’s roster. Nobody said this was easy, but to repeat Buffett's sage advice: "We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful." Amen.

8) "It ain't over till it's over." In fantasy sports, anything can happen. You have to keep with your team until the very end, even if it looks like you are out of it two weeks into the season. My Championship winning football team lost four out of five games at one point in the season due to injuries, poor play, and bad judgment on my part. I barely made it into the Championship group. Despite barely squeaking in, I never lost confidence in my team. I knew I had solid players, mixed with hot pick ups from teams trying to make the playoffs. The other managers in the league, especially the top 3 guys, had started phoning in their management thinking the winner was already decided. I guess I proved them wrong.

No comments: