Fantasy football vs. the stock market


photo via Engadget

Patrick Mahomes throws for 340 yards and two touchdowns in a shocking loss. Apple stock trades 6.35% higher on iPhone 12 news. Isaiah Rodgers returns a kickoff for a 101-yard touchdown to silence a roaring Cleveland crowd. Dillard’s stock rises 30.7% after news of Berkshire Hathaway buy-in.

Chances are, some of these bits of news are more exciting to you than others. Unless you had a position in Apple or Dillard’s, you probably weren’t concerned with their share price on Monday afternoon. 

Maybe you started Mahomes or Rodgers in your fantasy lineup, and enjoyed a good win. Regardless, these events could have affected your financial well being in one way or another. 

A lot of high schoolers are involved with fantasy sports, many of which often put money on the line. Whether this is enough for a quick meal or enough to buy a new pair of shoes, the financial risk is there. Depending on the size of your league, there is a pretty small chance of you winning. 

Since a majority of high schoolers are not yet 18, this means they aren’t legally permitted to open their own brokerage account to invest in the stock market. Some may wait until they are of legal age, while others may share an account with a parent or guardian.

You’re probably wondering what fantasy sports and stock trading have in common, so I’m here with answers. 

Last year I participated in a fantasy football league for the first time. It consisted of myself and a few friends, and wasn’t very serious. Quickly, I became consumed with fantasy football. Before, I wasn’t a huge fan of football, and watched a Browns game here and there. Once I began competing against my friends, it was over.

I was hooked.

Unfortunately, I was logged out of my account midseason and couldn’t see my team through to the end, even though I had a pitiful record. Despite some brutal losses, I had fun.

Sundays were a day to look forward to, but also a day to dread. I would constantly open and close my Yahoo Fantasy app, only to find my team was hardly worthy of attention. This didn’t stop me from spending my time dropping players, changing rosters and making trades. 

There’s just something about seeing those numbers on a screen that makes you want to continuously check your team’s progress. There’s always a chance the app will load, and one of your players has gotten a touchdown.

For my sanity and the sake of my GPA, I didn’t participate in fantasy football this year. Do I regret it? A little. Even though I’ve been fairly busy with schoolwork, I could have used another hobby to help me out in the occasional boredom. 

I turned 18 this June, meaning I was finally allowed to invest in stocks. That sounds great, as financial literacy is important, right? 


This proved to be a horrible decision, as I quickly found that owning stocks was even more consuming than fantasy football, due to actual money being involved. Soon after my first purchase, I was losing money. 

This didn’t stop me, as I knew from my fantasy football experience, even if you lose, it’s still fun.

But was it really?

At the height of my losing streak, I was down 10% on my investments. It may not sound like a lot, but in investing terms, that’s pretty terrible. Typically, a stock index like the Dow Jones or The Standard and Poor 500 grows 7% a year. 

Similar to my fantasy football addiction, I couldn’t stop checking my stocks. Often when I would open the app, nothing would have changed. I became so used to opening the app that it was no longer an attempt to see if I’d made money. It was only a weird habit, one I thankfully grew out of. 

Similar to fantasy sports, there was always a chance, however slim, that I’d open the app and see that I had turned a profit. Unfortunately, it isn’t this easy.

I’m not here to endorse stock investing, as I’m a terrible source of advice. I’m also unreliable with fantasy football advice, due to my history of tragic losses. All I’m saying is that the two hobbies have some very similar aspects, and for the wrong person, it can become intrusive to their lives.