Fantasy Football Auction Strategies: Budgeting for Success

Fantasy Football Auction Strategies Sports Illustrated

Participating in building the ultimate fantasy football team is a common interest and hobby for avid football fans. The idea of building a football team through placing bets on players has become so popular, one can only assure a solid fantasy team through careful use of auction strategies. Michael Beller describes a situation where placing bets close to true personal value is only part of building a successful strategy.

“The benefits of budgeting for an auction are clear. Let’s say you know that no matter what, you’re getting two top-15 backs, at least one of whom would go in the first round of a traditional draft. If that’s an immutable part of your strategy, then you know you need to set aside $75 to $85 for your starting running backs. If you know you’re going to spend somewhere in that range on backs, you can avoid the nerves that will undoubtedly affect some of your leaguemates when the best backs start coming off the board. Even if you don’t get Adrian Peterson or Arian Foster, you can rest comfortably knowing that there are still a handful of backs that fit your strategy and your budget.”

In order to further plan out a successful strategy, one must first allocate an over dollar amount for stars. This is done by budgeting how much is spent on every starting position, wide receivers, running backs, and so forth. There should be another sum set aside for the players who give the flexibility to transfer money in between positions as well. This will help move around the position-by-position budget without ruining the original strategy.

Secondly, a wise bet on the quarterback is very important. Of course all players have their stats on how well they play, thus a larger sum of money is placed; however, choosing a player that isn’t praised as well as the others would be a wise pick since that player can easily perform at the level of a top-five quarterback and the bet will be lower.

Lastly, budgeting more on starting positions than the bench warmers is key. The bench should include players who are not too costly, but certainly not worth only $1. This saves money and give better allocation of bets placed.

Something that was left out was the importance of personal value for each player. Placing bets close to one’s personal value of the player will help depict how much money is worth betting on a single player, thus providing a better map of how much to spend and who to pick.
Read More:


Fighting to Undo the Good Work We’ve Done

In an article named “Darwin for Investors”, there is an argument that there is no evolutionary stable strategy. The article shows how irrational and overconfident investors can misprice assets and do a lot of damage to economy. And here’s the kicker: they will do so for a long time before being driven out by rational investors. This is because, as the article explains, in good economic times, the evolutionarily stable strategy is to invest in risky assets. We assume that there will always be a decision between lower returns and lower risk versus higher returns with increased risk. Each investor must make a decision of where to invest. There are three kinds of investors: rational insider investors, rational outside investors, and irrational/overconfident investors. While inside rational investors will buy/sell at price points they know are correct, outsider investors have to rely on price data in the market. When irrational investors continue to invest into an asset rational investors don’t know whether it is a good bet or based on the perceptions of the irrational buyers. Natural selection then favors stupid money and works against rational, informed investors.

So when the economy does well, the payoffs change in the game, and subsequently the ESS changes to riskier investments. This isn’t only the case with obvious big bubbles, as the late Hyman Minsky said. Good times and economic stability are inherently self-destroying.

Natural will keep investing in risky assets as the evolutionarily stable strategy, until the house of cards falls. The mutant strategy of investing in safe assets will not be able to invade the strategy investing in risky assets in the time series where there are good times. 

Conversely, when the economy is not doing well the ESS will be to invest safely and limit speculation. The effect over time of this will be to grow the economy again. When the economy gains momentum, a similar problem arises where the ESS loops back to favoring risky investments. Thus, an ESS strategy in investing might be cyclical, not a static point.

-SC Resolves Contention On New gTLD .One In Single Sealed Bid Auction

The article “ Resolves Contention on New gTLD .One In Single Sealed Bid Auction” explained how the company Right On Dot has used a single sealed bid second price auction to auction off their new registries. They are beginning to auction off domain names that end in .one. These are highly sought after domain names because companies can use websites like,,, etc.  

                Right of the Dot is an industry leader in selling domain names and they are the first one to ever use a single sealed bid second price auction. The most common auction is the ascending clock auction but this type of auction can lead to bid rigging and also gives people “auction fever” meaning the buyer gets emotional and over bids. This over bidding can result in companies using money that they need for their startup and can lead them to fail quickly. The company decided to go with the single sealed bid second price auction is because as we learned in class it causes people to bet their real true value for the item. This is due to the fact that if they underbid they could lose when it was really possible for them to win with there true value, and they can’t overbid to win because the second price is the price the winner pays and the only way for them to save money were to be if the price was under their true perceived value anyway so in that case they should just bid their true value. This leads a truthful bid to be a weakly dominate strategy.

After the auction both buyers and Right of the Dot said that they were very happy with the way the auction went. Buyers applauded the company for not sticking to the norm and trying to satisfy both parties better. I think this is really cool that we learned this in class and the next week a company used this to make a more fair and efficient auction. Resolves Contention On New gTLD .One In Single Sealed Bid Auction

Marriage and the Art of Game Theory

When applied correctly, game theory can actually save you marriage –
Or at least that’s what Daily Beast editor Paula Szuchman claims in her book It’s Not You, It’s the Dishes. In her book, Szuchman rationalizes how marriage is a game involving two players whom could make use of some basic economic theories to achieve a balanced relationship. “To cooperate or not to cooperate? To budge or stand your ground? To say ‘OK, fine’ or ‘not a chance’? These are questions married people find themselves asking with surprising frequency,” Szuchman explains. “The great thing about game theory is that it tackles situations in which you can’t have it all, but you’d like to at least achieve the best results possible.” In this context, Economics could be a useful tool in forging equilibrium between two spouses.


In a relationship, compromise is often the glue that holds everything together. According to popular game theory, the best choices for all parties are often a compromise on all parts, even when its not the maximum reward possible. Theoretically, game theory is an applicable tool towards building a successful relationship, but is there something unique to relationships that make them unpredictable and unable to be replicated? In most usages of game theory, the value of expected rewards are more quantitative when what determines a “good relationship” is quite subjective and abstract. Even more so, people probably act less rational in their relationships because of the passion and emotional ties that often control people. Game theory can indeed be applied to solve challenges like chores and scheduling to ensure an efficient system within the relationship, but otherwise preferences between people are often not as formulaic as most other economic scenarios.


But in theory, married couples seeking efficiency could look to game theory to help them achieve successful compromises where both spouses feel better off. This is of course given that each person values the same things equally. Whether or not this helps maintain a marriage or just make it streamlined is up for the individual to find out.


Humans Have Stopped Evolving

“Human beings have stopped evolving after becoming the only species to “put halt to natural selection of its own free will”, Sir David Attenborough has said, as he predicts the “cultural evolution” of the future.” – From The article is a great and thought provoking piece. According to Sir David Attenborough, a prominent English bio-anthropologist, humans are no longer evolving, in biological terms. Attenborough argues that humans are no longer bounded by the laws and constraints of evolution due to historically low infant mortality. Humans are now raising over 99% of the children born. We simply don’t need natural selection anymore. However, Attenborough also argues our evolution is now a cultural evolution. We, as a species, become more of a technologically advanced civilization by the day and we are becoming more aware of our actions and how they affect ourselves, others, and the natural world.

That being said, how does game theory and evolutionary stable strategies play into this? It seems the stable strategy was also the Nash equilibrium. Cooperating with our fellow man is what drives our prosperity and this strategy seems protected from outside, alternative strategies. However, if Attenborough is correct, then applying the concepts of Evolutionary Stable Strategies needs a bit of adjustment before applying it to humans. There is no reason to assume stable strategies can’t applied to humans anymore too; Attenborough argues humans are still evolving, just culturally and not in the biological or Darwinian sense.

We know there are human cultures (and many subcultures) that is bounded and set by commonly accepted rules, notions, tastes, beliefs, etc (although this is a very brutish definition). Then, we can now think of these boundaries and rules are now the driving force of human evolution. The Evolutionary Stable Strategy for humans is our culture. People who identify with the prevailing culture reproduce and those whom do not identify simply do not reproduce. More so, we can also label an alternative strategy as a new and emerging idea or belief or a belief or ideal held by an outside or splinter group not held or adopted by the people of the prevailing culture.


Can mixed strategies lead teams to behave in the opposite manner of what the game predicts?

After going over the mixed strategy game in class that involved the decision on whether to pass or run in football, I started thinking about what this could potentially imply.  To recap, after solving for the probabilities using the game, we found that the defense will prepare for pass about 66 percent of the time, while the offence will choose to pass about 33 percent of the time.  I found this interesting because, if both parties are aware of the thought processes going for each side, wouldn’t they react to this information?

I realize that the probability is a result of the associated payoffs; if the defense allows the offence to complete a pass, it is more likely to have a greater impact than allowing a run.  However, with this information, the defense will realize that the offence is expecting them to run a pass defense.  This realization is what will lead the defense to want to prepare for a run, because they know the offence is most likely to do so.  The knowledge of the game seems to hinder the decisions of each player in the game.

What if a player was to realize that this mixed strategy is what is determine the other player’s decisions?  Taking the side of the defense, even though it seems more beneficial to defend the pass most of the time, it would actually be in their favor to defend for a run.  Since the offence knows the defense is most likely to defend for a pass, they will be ready to run the football.

By now I am sure you can see the problem I am presenting.  With the mutual knowledge that the other player is going to react to the circumstances, it would be more likely for these players to go against the mixed strategy to achieve a better outcome.  It would seem counter intuitive to follow the strategy, knowing that the opponent has the same knowledge as you about the game.  It would almost seem more likely for the probabilities to represent their opposite.  For example, a strategy with a probability 1/3 would represent 2/3 because the player would have an incentive to the opposite, given the opponent has equal knowledge of his decision.

For purpose of this argument, I will pretend the game presented in class has the same possible payouts as in the NFL.  If this is the case, it would be likely that NFL teams would run more often than pass.  However, when taking the stats for 2013, every team, except for 2 teams, chose to pass more than 50 percent of the time.  I realize that in a real game of football there is more to making decisions than how we analyzed the game, but it is interesting to see that the real statistics yielded opposite results, just as my hypothesis suggested.

Cross-Border Partnerships in Higher Education: Strategic Advantage and Complementary Purpose

Cross-Border Partnerships in Higher Education:
Strategic Purpose and Complementary Advantage

One particularly relevant application of game theory is modeling the mutual assessments that two institutions work through when exploring the potential for collaboration and partnership. The benefits each party perceives the other pursuing and the effect of these intended outcomes on negotiating behavior set the terms for strategic action by both actors.

One instance of this general class of organizational behavior is the strategic partnering of universities and colleges in the developing world with established education institutions in the advanced West. This practice is becoming more evident as China’s rapid economic rise has prompted its leadership to explore how best to rapidly augment its capacity for providing professional education. In his article, “International Partnerships: A Game Theory Perspective” (New Directions in Higher Education, No. 150, Summer 2010), Yiyuan Jie examines how “…shared and divergent partner motivations and outcome expectations in a Chinese cross-border higher education program have created synergy and challenged the implementation of some of these partnerships” (Jie, p. 43)

The value-added the Chinese government is looking for in this scenario is the transfer of established and successful programs of education at European, Australian, and North American tertiary schools to fledgling Chinese colleges and universities. The developmental timelines required to generate such educational capacity domestically are clearly prohibitive, given the large number of college graduates China will need to staff its more advanced manufacturing and service sectors over the next decade as its economy rapidly evolves. The challenge facing the Chinese government is how to assess the quality of the educational services on offer from potential foreign partners and then to establish modi vivendi through which the instructional techniques, supports and methods of these off-shore schools can be inculcated into the allied Chinese colleges. The transfer of quality instructional practices and the accumulation of expertise for domestic educational capacity-building are goals which leave the Chinese vulnerable to fraudulent or inconsistent servicing.

Western universities, in their turn, are looking for new sources of revenue as the charges they levy on the families that provide the core of their traditional student populations become more onerous. With their long experience in curriculum development and refinement, and an abundance of highly qualified but unemployed doctoral degree holders in their institutional networks, Western universities are as interested in exporting their instructional services as they are in importing students. As globalization accelerates, however, the established Western academic powers also seek to enhance their institutional brands as cosmopolitan centers of excellence with world-wide reach and influence.

The game-theoretic elements of the process by which Chinese educational entities and Western post-secondary schools attempt to work out functional relationships emerge from the lack of trust, communication, and shared experience between these two categories of academic enterprise. Because they have such differences in fundamental perspective and understanding, the Chinese and the Western educators may bring different expectations to the common endeavors which their agreements describe. “The stability of such an equilibrium outcome (the collaborative program), …depends on whether it continues to generate the most mutually preferred outcomes for both players and whether there are other self-interests that are worth the player’s unilateral defective actions.” (Jie, p.46)

To test the relevance of game theory for the study of international educational partnerships, the author employed a case study focusing on the “Garden Executive Master of Business Administration” (GEMBA)”, a joint venture between the pseudonymous “Yu-Cai College” in southeast China and its U.S. partner, the so-called “Prancellion Business School”. While he masks the true identities of the two institutions, Jie claims that both are elite schools with well-established reputations. The GEMBA program consists of shared faculty in all courses, a virtual team project involving students from both institutions, and a culminating two-week residency at the American campus. The author’s methodology included site visits, semi-structured interviews, and the content analysis of key documents including mission statements, strategic plans, the partnership agreement, institutional publicity, course lists, and grading profiles.
Jie found that, after rough consonance on goals prevailed in the initial stages of the collaborative project, the two institutions moved toward difference emphases on brand enhancement and enrollment increase. Yu-Cai College was primarily interested in using the partnership to increase the number of qualified executives available for the increasingly complex business environment Chinese firms must face as they more fully engage international competition without government subsidies and tariff protection. Coincident with this focus was a concern for expanding the program to other areas of China and using the GEMBA program to enhance its regional reputation and thus draw more students to all its curricular options. The Prancellion School, by contrast, sought to enhance its international reputation for elite credentialing as the pool of best executive training candidates shifted to include a broader range of other-than-North American senior enterprise managers. But since the American institution was clearly the more experienced and highly regarded of the partners, it was also looking for more of a financial return on the collaboration than was Yu-Cai.

With regard to faculty development, Jie also found differing perspectives between the two academic players. While the Yu-Cai administration sought to improve the reputation and recognition of its professors through “junior faculty” relationships with better established American academics, the Prancellion School was looking to develop “real world” experience with successful Chinese firms which could be incorporated into its portfolio of case studies of firms operating in high-growth economies. These divergent intentions caused the expectations of each partner to deflect from a pattern of viable congruence.

Jie summarizes the dilemma defined by the game theoretic aspects of this cross-border educational partnership in the following question: “…can (the) partners negotiate to achieve the shared outcome given the current (more evolved) situation?” (Jie, p.51) The author offers two options to achieve a positive response to this challenge. First, he suggests there be more frequent face-to-face meetings between the respective teams of key stakeholders (tributary networks) at each organization so that elementary trust can be built. He sees this measure as also providing the opportunities for clarification and substantiation necessary to preempt major misunderstandings. Second, Jie proposes that the program be formally incorporated into the organizational structure of one of the partnered institutions so that a permanent directorate can have independent authority for the collaboration’s management. As noted in all network theory, the best way to remove the prospect of sub-optimal outcomes for both parties to a game theoretic scenario is to expand the networks of each player into a superordinate hierarchy.