3 ways to make better fantasy-hockey decisions...


When it comes to decision-making I'm frustratingly unpredictable. 


On one hand, I'm the kind of guy who can sit in front of his Apple TV for a good hour reading movie reviews and watching previews before I decide to invest the whopping $4.99 on a movie. Pretty frequently, the end result of all this movie research is to not bother renting a movie anyway. Drives my wife nuts. If I had a dollar for every time she headed exasperated up the basement stairs with a "call me when you finally choose something" I'd be a rich man. Not Scott Gomez rich, but still rich.


On the other hand, I can be ridiculously impulsive. I'll adjust a well thought out plan without thinking twice based on my whim in the moment.  I can spend large amounts of money in a baffling way. I once booked a week long vacation in Arkansas online. Not that weird, except that I had sat down at the computer four minutes earlier with the intention of checking the prices of winter tires for a 2002 Ford Taurus. 


I bring both the over-thinking and the impulsiveness to fantasy hockey and neither serves me particularly well. I'll miss opportunities because of hesitancy. I'll make stupid choices because I'm impulsive. Needless to say, if you are reading for expert advice you've come to the wrong place. My decision-making ability is poor. How poor? Brian Burke poor. Garth Snow poor.


But listen, you need a fellow traveler more than a guru; someone to walk with you as we stumble along on our way to fantasy glory. At the church of the Puck Pastor we reject the notion that spiritual leaders need to exude an aura of untouchability. We are all plagued by the same human condition and the first step is admitting it. As Jesus of Nazareth said, "It is not the people who think they are healthy who need a doctor, but those who know they are sick." If you are ready to admit you need some decision making help, here is the best I can do.


1. Use the forums on DobberHockey.

Why make a trade in isolation when you can receive immediate advice in the forums. The forums help you get over your "confirmation bias". People who are detached from your situation are able to instantly clarify decisions you think are nearly impossible to make. This is because you are the one who drafted Alex Goligoski as your first defenseman. Pretty hard for you to admit you were stupid. Others have no trouble admitting you were stupid. It might surprise you to find out the only two people who still believe in Todd Bertuzzi are you and his mom. But it will help your fantasy team.

2. Imagine what someone inheriting your fantasy team would do.

The story is legendary in leadership circles. The year is 1985 and Intel co-founders Andy Grove and Gordon Moore are facing a huge challenge. Intel is primarily a company that produces memory chips and they are losing huge market share to the Japanese. Losses are mounting - what's a memory chip company to do? 


The direction became clear when Andy posed this question:


"If we got fired and the board brought in a new CEO, what do you think he would do?"


Moores immediate answer was, "Quit making memory chips."  To which Andy replies, "Why shouldn't you and I walk out that door, come back in, and do it ourselves?"


It's what they did. They re-invented Intel as a processor company and chances are the machine you are reading this on has Intel inside. Andy Grove's estimated net worth is about $400 million.


If you got fired as fantasy manager and someone new took over, what do you think he would do? Maybe you should do what he would do. Walk out the door and come back in.


Your net worth will not increase but your fragile self worth will, and that's what I'm here for.


3. Move beyond either / or.


We all get tunnel vision. You have it in your head you need to find a guy to help in a certain category. Your waiver strategy and your proposed trades are all aimed at shoring up an obvious weakness. I would put my panicky trade offer of Marcus Johansson for Cal Clutterbuck in this category (mentioned it last article).  All I saw was my need to improve my hits. The tunnel vision eliminated other considerations because it made the choice binary - I either fix this one area or I lose my pool.


Prematurely framing a decision with an “either/or” means you leave a lot of options off the table. Since you framed the decision in this way you are stuck with one strategy. You’ve bailed on the big picture. You have over-weighted the importance of your weakness and this tunnel vision is ultimately unhelpful.


Look how adding even one more option to the "either / or" widens your vision and offers alternatives.  A third option might be to bail on your weaknesses and pursue your strengths. Got only one guy who is getting you any hits?  Deal him for someone who can take you over the top on goals. It may be easier for you to move from a "11 to a "15" in assists than from a "3" to a "5" in shots (to use the Yahoo! terminology).


Even if you do return to your original strategy, the consideration of a third way will mean you return to it as the best among several options instead of the best of two options in the "either/or" scenario


If you are interested in following up and learning more about this kind of thing check out “Decisive” by Dan and Chip Heath and “The Opposable Mind” by Roger Martin. The quote from Jesus is in the Bible.


See you next week.

Recently from Puck Pastor:


Thoughts on my fantasy hockey draft 
Capitalize on Chaos 


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