Neil Tambe

Husband, Father, Citizen, Professional.

I'm a Detroiter who happens to enjoy writing, national parks, orange juice, the performing arts, and fanciful socks. More than anything though, I aspire to be a good husband, father, and citizen.

Exploring Business Strategy via Fantasy Football Drafting

When deciding on a business strategy, it's important to choose the right target and frame challenges correctly. In fantasy football, for example, you can frame the objective when drafting in one of two ways (note that I'm thinking of a standard draft, not an auction draft): 1. Draft the players who will score the most points 2. Draft the team that will score the most points, against my opponent, week after week

Here's how the drafting strategy changes based on how you frame the objective -

If your objective is draft the players who score the most points, you:

  • Draft stars because they score a lot of points
  • Draft players who are anchors of their respective teams because they are perceived to score more points
  • Draft sleepers because you want to get more value for your pick (and appear to be smarter than your friends)
  • Draft kickers and defenses in late rounds because they usually score low amounts of points

My objective is to draft a team which scores the most points, against my opponent, week after week. So, this is how I draft my team:

  • Draft stars because they score a lot of points (duh)
  • Draft players on teams that are expected to win games (this reduces variability because if the team is better, they will likely score more points, even if they aren't at the top of the depth chart of their individual team). If you've ever drafted an offensive starter on the Oakland Raiders you know where I'm coming from
  • Avoid players who have had major injuries or off-the-field issues (Ray Rice, AP, anyone?)
  • Draft players in contract years (because they are more motivated to do well)
  • Spread out bye weeks (so you can prevent having two stars out of your lineup in the same week)
  • Draft defenses and kickers early (their expected value is higher) You play defenses and kickers 16 out of 17 weeks so they end up being higher contributors than a bench player you only play during bye-weeks. Also, there's less depth at those positions so drafting late gets you lemons
  • When trying to draft sleepers, determine how the team has improved in the offseason to determine whether the player is now surrounded by better teammates

I've had fairly good results once adopting this strategy, but my fantasy football strategy is beside the point. The point is, how you frame your objective dramatically affects your business strategy. So choose the right one.