Observation 18

Do not let fear of the herd dictate your team,the herd can be right but it can also be wrong. 

Often in Fantasy, as in real life, we are afraid. The fear of making a mistake or being patronized by our peers stops us from taking risk. This is one reason why in Fantasy many owners value older players who are “proven” or players who have not had a major injury. Todd Henry wrote, in his book The Accidental Creative, “A Lifetime of mediocrity is a high price to pay for safety. Paranoia undoes greatness.” There are some situations we can avoid because the risk is far greater than the potential reward but we should ask ourselves if we are afraid because we are afraid to fail. When doing polls for #dynastytrades it has seemed to me the majority often choose the “safer” side.

Sometimes this is the side with less injury history or the more “proven” players. It is not always the side where value will largely stay the same over the next 6 to 12 months regardless of the performance involved in that time. The most interesting to me is when injury history is cherry picked, age outliers are suggested to be the norm or early draft picks are knocked. Any player can get hurt at any time so having a fear of injury to a player does not make sense to me. Yes, some players get hurt more than others but if their ceiling is high, they are worth the risk. Yes, some of the greatest players we have seen have elite production for multiple years post 30, but it is not the norm. Yes, Draft picks are an unknown quantity when they are simply draft picks but we know the value has a consistent pattern in valuation throughout a year.

Even if one player has a “higher ceiling”, the fear of their “floor” over rules and the illusion of safety is favored. Some are afraid to lose a trade, or fail, and will decline a trade because of what the majority says even if they like it themselves. This act of following the herd can greatly reduce our potential. I want you to do me a favor and not be one of these people. I want you to know it is OK to have an opinion and to take risk. We are playing a game about a game after all. We are in charge of our own teams, you are the manager. It is the best management position you will ever have because if you fail, guess what? You still get to keep your job and try again. Wouldn’t it be better to say you won because you chose to take a risk than to lose because the majority told you not to?

Seth Godin often talks about how we limit ourselves because of the “Lizard brain”. We run from anything with the potential to harm or be a threat. The lizard is also toward the bottom of the food chain and is eaten by much larger, smarter and greater animals. Don’t be a lizard, don’t limit yourself. 

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