This article is one in a series looking at Jack Schwager’s classic investment books. The goal is to study interviews with famous traders and apply their wisdom to daily fantasy sports.
David Ryan made a name for himself in the trading world as one of the very first disciples of William O’Neil (studied in an earlier piece). He showed up at O’Neil’s office and told the secretary he would do any job for free just to get his foot in the door. Then he worked tirelessly to learn everything he could about trading.
Ryan’s relentless hustle paid off when he won the U.S. Investing Championship in 1985 with an astounding 161 percent return. He then proved that he was no fluke by repeating that impressive performance again in 1986. He won the contest for the third time in 1987.
With an impressive track record and decades of studying under one of the greatest trading icons of all time, Ryan has a wealth of wisdom at his disposal. Let’s see if we can’t pick through that knowledge and apply some of his brilliance to DFS.
Follow Your Role Models
I studied historical models of great winning stocks to ingrain in my mind what a stock looked like before it made a major move. I tried to get to the point where I was looking at the exact same things O’Neil did. He was my role model.
We have already discussed how O’Neil broke down the best stock trades of all time and identified characteristics that they all had in common. We also talked about how you can use our Trends tool to research the best DFS plays.
In his interview, Ryan revisits this idea with the additional insight that he was looking at every stock trade attempting to understand how O’Neil would see it. He explains that using O’Neil as a model helps guide him toward the right decisions.
Having role models is equally important in DFS. At FantasyLabs, Pro subscribers have the ability to use Co-Founders Jonathan Bales and Peter Jennings (CSURAM88) as virtual role models by using their personal Player Models and also studying their lineups and model previews (available via our Premium Content Portal).
Write Down Your Reasons
All those books are good, but you learn the most from the market itself. Every time I buy a stock, I write down the reasons why I bought it [he pulls out a binder containing annotated charts]. Doing this helps cement in my mind the characteristics of a winning stock. Maybe even more important, it helps me learn from my mistakes.
Ryan spends a significant portion of his interview talking about all of the trading books he has found useful over the years, but also specifies that there is no substitute for experience. Similarly, you can gain a ton of knowledge from the 19 books that Bales has published — his latest book is excellent! — but you also need to learn by making lineups (via our Lineup Builder), entering contests, and then reviewing your performance and notes.
Yes, like Ryan, you should keep track of your reasons for making a particular transaction. This recordkeeping will enable you later to study your process and correlate your decisions to the Plus/Minus production of your rosters.
One of the many features built into our Player Models is the ability to save as many lineups as you want and then review them after a slate. This allows you to create multiple versions of your lineups, record your opinions on each of them, and review your process after the slate.
Do Your Own Homework
The more disciplined you can get, the better you are going to do in the market. The more you listen to tips and rumors, the more money you’re likely to lose.
One of the common themes that runs through the entire Market Wizards series is the idea that you must have the discipline to do your own homework and avoid listening to tips from outside sources.
Doing your own DFS research can be intimidating at first, but one of the easiest ways to get started is to spend some solid chunks of time learning about the Labs Tools by watching our collection of tutorial videos in which Bales shows how he uses each tool in researching players and building lineups. After only a few days, you will have greatly increased your capacity to do your own research with our tools.
Ryan and DFS
Ryan made a name for himself around the world as O’Neil’s protege, and in his Market Wizards interview he talks at length about many of the core O’Neil principles.
By finding your own DFS role models, studying their plays relentlessly, and having the discipline to do your own homework, you’ll give yourself a chance to replicate Ryan’s success as the virtual protégé of someone like Bales or CSURAM88. At that point, you might even be a DFS market wizard.