The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

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Introducing PlayTheDraft.com

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Jonathan Bales

I was recently asked to become an Analyst at a really unique new site called PlayTheDraft.com.  The site offers an innovative draft experience that meshes the excitement of fantasy football with the analytics of the stock market.  Hosted by ESPN’s Mel Kiper, you can see a list of all of the site’s analysts here.

So how do you play?

The Play the Draft® game (FRX-Football) is simple to play. (Don’t let the “stock market” lingo make you think the game is more difficult than it actually is.)

YOUR GOAL IS TO FIND “DRAFT STOCKS” THAT YOU BELIEVE ARE UNDERVALUED

Add the most undervalued stocks to your team/fund, using the $12 million “rookie salary cap” with which all teams/funds begin play. Check your team/fund often, as stock prices are adjusted daily as NFL Draft analysts update their mock drafts based on new information. You can change the draft stocks in your team/fund at any time until 2 hours before the start of the NFL Draft at 7pm EST on April 26, 2012. Then, while watching the NFL Draft, see where the athletes in your team/fund are selected and compare your team/fund value to those of your friends.

DRAFT STOCKS

Every athlete competing for selection in the first 3 rounds of the NFL Draft has a “stock” that you can buy for your team/fund. You either own the stock or you don’t…no owning fractional shares or multiple shares of the same stock, and no “short sales” that allow your team/fund to profit if the athlete’s stock falls in value.

CAP VALUES

There is a pre-determined “value” for each pick in the NFL Draft, which represents the estimated NFL rookie salary for the athlete chosen with that pick. For 2012, the estimated rookie salary for the #1 pick is $3.8 million (in the game, all values are in 000s, so the stock value is shown as $3,800). The 5th pick is $3.0 million, the 10th pick, $2.25 million, and so on until the projected last pick of the 3rd round, which is in the ballpark of $550,000. (View the official cap values for the 2012 Draft Season.)

PRICE FLOOR

FRX-Football is played through the first three rounds of the Draft (April 26-27, 2012). The minimum price for any athlete stock is $425 (representing a rookie salary of $425,000, or the estimated average of the rookie salaries of 4th to 7th round draft picks and rookie free agents). If an athlete in your portfolio is not selected in rounds 1-3 (including any supplemental picks added at the end of round 3), the liquidation value for those stocks will be $425.

BUY LOW, SELL HIGH, REPEAT

Find the draft stocks of the athletes you know and check out their current price. The “FRX Index” value will help you quickly translate the current price to the corresponding draft selection. For example, a 12.5 FRX Index means that the current price, $2,025, is halfway between the cap values for the 12th pick, $2,050, and the 13th pick, $2,000. If you believe the draft stock for the athlete is undervalued because you expect him to be drafted by the team holding the 5th pick, then pick up the stock for your team/fund. You can see how your favorite athletes are currently valued relative to where you think they will ultimately be drafted by using the FRX value finder.

I’ve already started a fund and I am doing pretty well.  I think the key is to jump on players who are actually “down” and whose values have sunk to a low point.  You can combine statistics with your own film study to locate value and take advantage.  All my talk of regression to the mean can finally pay off now!

If you come to The DC Times often, you know I don’t plug stuff much (or at all, really).  I participate in a variety of contests and promotions and don’t discuss them because that’s not what the site is about.  I think Play the Draft has the potential to take off into something big, though.  In my opinion, the typical DC Times reader will enjoy participating in Play the Draft.

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