Using Warren Buffett’s techniques to identify buying opportunities in Fantasy Football

By Tod Burros
Tod Burros Warren Buffett is one of the 3-4 richest people in the world. What makes him unique is that he is the only one of the richest people who made his fortune entirely by buying and selling stocks.

It is not breaking any new ground to compare who has value and who is overpriced in Fantasy Football to buying stocks on the stock market, but I do think we can learn a lot about finding values by using the criteria that I have discovered that Warren Buffet uses with stocks to find values in fantasy football.

Here are the 3 major criteria I have learned that Warren Buffet uses to ensure he is buying not only values but the right values
1-When emotion is high and everyone is buying often Warren Buffett is not. And on the other end of the spectrum when everyone is selling often Warren Buffet is buying
2- He looks for what he calls durable competitive advantages when he buys. An example of a Buffett buy was Coke back in the 80’s. Warren figured if his grandfather drank Coke and his Father drank coke and he drinks coke then his children and their children would drink it as well. This is what makes the advantage durable in that it is long lasting and doesn’t disappear on short term bad news.
3-He buys these companies with durable assets when there is some short term negative news that the market is overreacting too driving down the price. Again in the example of Coke he bought a tremendous amount of their shares during the debacle the company went through in the 80’s when they for a short time replaced what had worked for 70 years with “New Coke”. Prices plummeted, fear was high but Buffett knew that they still owned the rights to the original formula everyone loved. Once the company went back to the original formula prices flourished and he had a huge winner on his hands.

So how do we take advantage of these situations ourselves? To me the durable advantage NFL players have is their talent. We have just come off the NFL draft where all 3 factors in Warren’s list are at play. Teams have brought in rookies who theoretically and sometimes in more than theory will really cut into the value of veterans. So how do we separate these out and find out who the good buys are? And are there any other strong buys in the MFL10 and soon to be season long market we can take advantage of now

Well I am glad you asked because here are a few players I think meet Warren’s criteria and why I think their ADP drops due to worry or fear in the marketplace have given us buys Warren would be proud of

Rishard Matthews

His ADP has dropped a full round since the draft on the news of Corey Davis being the Titans #1 pick. However as a rookie not out of a major conference it is very likely that Davis is due for a steep learn curve. But even if he comes in and plays well Matthews who really seemed to click with Marcus Mariotta late in the season’s role is still secure. Last offseason while most prognosticators were pushing the theory of Doug Baldwin’s regression my look at his last 8 weeks of 2015 showed 47 catches not just TD’s so I was a buyer in the 4th/5th round. Look at the comparison between Baldwin’s second half of 2015 and Matthews 2nd half of 2016 by Fantasy points

players 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total points
Doug Baldwin 2015 9.1 14.9 29.9 19.1 10.4 13.5 10.6 14.5 122
Rishard Matthews 2016 13.8 24.3 15.3 21.2 15.4 3.6 12.5 12.1 118.2

What interested me about Baldwin so much besides the strong second half was how he seemed to find something with Russell Wilson similar to what I am finding with Matthews/Mariotta. I think once a QB and a WR click it rarely tends to disappear which gives us a durable advantage we are looking for. With a mid-7th rd ADP Matthews is a safe pick with nice upside I think Warren Buffet would be proud to own

Tyrell Williams

Williams’s situation is a bit more complicated with not only Mike Williams coming in but Keenan Allen returning. But again Williams showed skill (durable asset) that doesn’t just go away. But because the concern about him has more complexity than Matthews his ADP drop since the draft has been more precipitous. He has fallen from ADP of 77 to 102 since the draft more than 2 rounds and is the 46th WR off the board one behind Mike Williams even though Mike Williams has concerns about his skills translating to the NFL right away. At this ADP Williams on a strong offense I believe is a buying opportunity as he was the 21rst scoring WR last year and on an offense with room to grow I think he will finish nicely ahead of his current positional ADP of 46th and has a nice floor to cover his current ADP. Safety with upside? I think Warren would say yes.

Deandre Washington and Jalen Richard

Marshawn Lynch is coming home to Oakland and it is exciting news. So exciting that even though he is 31 years old and coming off being out of the game for a year it has sent both Deandre Washington and Jalen Richard’s ADP’s into free fall. Washington had a 5.4 ypc last year and Richard 5.9. At worst one or both of them will play on 3rd downs and get some carries to keep Lynch healthy. If Lynch falters or gets hurt both are going to be running behind a great OL with a good passing game all the more opening up holes. Both players are regularly available now in the 20th round of MFL10’s and I think they are screaming values for that late in drafts. I have already drafted both of them together on one MFL10 team and STRONGLY think it is a great value with huge upside to draft both on the same team that late in drafts.

Jonathan Stewart and Devin Funchess

Mixing a RB and a WR Tod? Well Carolina drafted one of each in Christian McCaffery and Curtis Samuel and I think what makes each one interesting is similar in that neither of the two people drafted profile as every down players as rookies. Stewart is a great safety blanket on 1st and 2nd downs and they should want to keep McCaffery fresh so he doesn’t hit the rookie wall early. Samuel is more of a Swiss Army knife than a every down WR year one i believe. With an ADP of late 12th for Stewart I think he is in the conversation of being a value for certain. And if McCaffery gets hurt Stewart will crush value as a dependable veteran RB. Funchess is even more intriguing to me. In the old days 3rd year WR were a thing. With Ted Ginn’s 89 targets gone and Kelvin Benjamin out of shape there is a chance Funchess is the #1 WR in Carolina. While not a true Buffett buy in the durable value sense he has shown enough ability especially in the red zone to be a screaming opportunity for me at an ADP of 191 and often can be found in the last 3 rounds of MFL10’s. Stewart might not fit the Warren Buffett model but he might also. Both are consideration at ADP

Larry Fitzgerald

No one has had more durable value the last 10 years than Larry Fitzgerald. While there are no new players to worry about (just the opposite Michael Floyd is gone) age is the concern here. The last two years Fitz has finished as the 7th and 8th best WR in MFL10 scoring. He is currently being drafted as the 28th WR off the board. Could this be the year age finally catches up with Fitz some? Sure but chances that he slips so much with his skill set not depending on speed is a risk I am more than happy to take. Durable value with upside? He has already proven it. I say buy with confidence

Martavis Bryant

No one doubts Bryant’s durable advantage. He is a size and speed freak. He averaged over 18 fantasy points per game in 2015. And while there are concerns he relapses all reports seem very positive and he was let back into the league on his first try something Josh Gordon just failed to accomplish. 18 points per game at WR was the 10th best total in 2015 and would have been the SECOND best points per game in 2016. Bryant is being drafted in the 6th round as the 32nd WR off the board. In MFL10’s I am very comfortable at that ADP having him on up to 20% of my rosters. I would not be shocked if he plays 16 games if he is on the most MFL10 winning teams of all WR in 2017 and I don’t plan to miss out completely.

So there are some buying opportunities to consider. I think using Warren’s criteria is a great way to find values. In my next article I will cover those who Warren wouldn’t buy. Where emotion has taken root and passed sensible value. Players being drafted at the top of their possible outcomes.

Questions? Thoughts on the article? Please feel free to comment to me on Twitter @TodfromPa. Also please consider listening to my Run to Daylight podcast where I will be covering this topic a lot over the next few weeks. You can listen on Blog Talk radio or ITunes.