Taking Advantage of Your Opponents…Comparatively Speaking

Dobber Sports




Whew.  With the NHL now on its Olympic break, you can afford to take a fantasy hockey breather over the next couple of weeks.  No one should be denied the Olympic opportunity of sitting on the couch getting fat while watching athletic perfection play out on your big-screen, but don’t forget about your fantasy squad altogether.


With 20 games to go in the season the end is near, and this is the perfect time to plot some final maneuvers, desperate or otherwise, before the March 4th trade deadline.


Comparative Advantage


Economics can be a dry subject, but it might help you win your pool.


Consider the concept of  "opportunity cost".  Simply put, this is the cost of choosing one thing over another.  For instance, the opportunity cost of using your cab fare for another pint at the pub might be walking home in the snow.  You can thank John Stuart Mill for this little gem of economic wisdom.


Beyond allowing for a thin rationalization of buying more beer, the idea of opportunity cost really comes into its own when you realize that very often the same thing will cost different amounts in different situations.


An artificial, but simple example: you have a set amount of money and you must purchase either two hockey sticks or one helmet.  The opportunity cost of buying the helmet is the two sticks, and vice versa.


The economic magic happens when you find someone to trade with who has access to different prices for the same sticks and helmets.  Consider that, for exactly the same amount of money that you spent, someone else has the choice of either buying one stick, or two helmets.


That person's opportunity cost for helmets is low, while your opportunity cost for sticks is low.  You each have a different economic comparative advantage, and even the dimmest money-minded folks out there should see that the two of you should get together on a deal.


Comparative Advantage and Your League's Trade Deadline


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Most fantasy leagues impose a limit of games played per position over a season.  The fine folks at Yahoo even provide a handy widget that tells you whether you are ahead or behind that established limit.


Some people are fanatical about not over-playing their positions so as to avert a late season fadeout, but sometimes bench players get hot, and when an embarrassment of riches befalls you in a certain position, it is easy to get ahead of yourself.  Conversely, maybe you've been unlucky in a position due to injuries or other reasons, and now the opposite is true.


Lurking within these games-