6 Pitfalls of the Salary Cap Football Trader

I’ve been reading Card Player Magazine for as long as I’ve legally been able to play poker in the State of Florida.  Over the years I’ve saved hundreds of articles in a big white, three-ring binder I’ve labeled “Poker Zen”.  I love flipping through the old binder, reflecting on adjustments I’ve made to my game, and making notes on areas I still need to work on.

I recently came across an article by David Apostolico titled “Poker and Trading” (from Vol. 22 / No. 22 dated November 10, 2009).  In the article Apostolico adapts an email he received from Working Class Trader that highlights some of the common pitfalls that many stock traders fall victim to.  After reading the article for a second time I couldn’t help but apply these lessons to fantasy football’s version of the stock market: salary cap football.

6 Pitfalls of the Salary Cap Football Trader:

1. You don’t put in the proper amount of effort.  You don’t put in the full-time commitment it requires to be profitable in trading because you treat it like a hobby.  Trading is not a part-time job.  It’s serious business.

Whether you play salary cap football for your share of a prize pool or simply for fun, you should always strive to play your best.  Essentially that requires a 17 week commitment to learning as much as you can about the game and paying attention to everything going on in the NFL.  Not matter how much skin you have in the game, playing fantasy football is more fun when you’re winning.

2. Failure to be disciplined and consistent with your process.  There’s no excuse for this.  It’s all up to you.

We all have bad weeks and lose key players.  Don’t stray from solid play.  You must have complete control over your emotions and your actions, regardless of short-term results.  Maintain a long-term commitment to withstanding variance and ending up a winner.

3. Trading like a gambler instead of a trader.  You’re taking irresponsible risks rather than thinking in terms of probabilities and trading when you have an edge.

To some extent fantasy football players must rely on gut instinct when setting their rosters.  However this doesn’t mean you should make transactions without examining all of the potential outcomes. The key to victory is being selectively aggressive.  This requires that you routinely study statistics, scan the market for value, and pull the trigger on acquisitions that improve your odds of scoring more points.

4. Actually putting on trades without a solid game plan.  What are you thinking?  You must know your game plan and execute it.

Every transaction you make in salary cap football impacts your overall score at the end of the season.  You must begin with the end in mind.

Begin with the End in Mind means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing your proactive muscles to make things happen.

You create your own destiny and secure the future you envision.

William Covey
Author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

If you hit a road block along the way refer back to #2.

5. You over-think things.  Trading is a simple game – up, down, sideways.  Keep it simple and make money.

Salary cap football truly is a simple game.  There’s no draft, so you have the ability to assemble your team on your own terms.  Like a stock market portfolio, your goal is to keep your losses as small as possible.  Your team gains value when you invest in underrated players that exceed the market’s expectations.  If you leverage your solid performers and use available salary cap space to eliminate volatility, you will be well on your way to dominating the leader-boards.

6. Not trusting yourself to do what you need to do.  You spend too much time listening to other people.  Trust yourself and execute what you know.

Ask 10 fantasy sports experts about a given trade, and you will likely get 10 different answers.  That’s a function of the endless permutations of fantasy sports.  I highly recommend you read as much as you can about the game and discuss your strategy with other fantasy football players.  Just do it critically and be brutally realistic.

At the end of the day you have to be confident in your play, and only you can make correct decisions for you.  If you consistently implement the first five items on the list, this last one will become second nature.

Thanks for reading!

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