Have you noticed the similarities between football and stock picking. Jim Cramer sure has. In fact, he thinks the parallels are so strong, by reflecting on your fantasy picks you could make better stock picks.
Keep reading, "I think you'll find that managing a football franchise and managing a stock portfolio have a heck of a lot in common," Cramer said.
Playing defense in football, Cramer said, is a lot like playing defense in the stock market. It's bruising and punishing business that's totally essential to protect the team or your gains.
"So who's defense would I draft? For my fantasy team, I like the Rams defense because the Rams represent value, and I think they're somewhat underestimated," Cramer said. And for the portfolio Cramer thinks HCA offers a similar proposition.
"This darned stock still sells at a discount to the . That's preposterous, same as the Rams who nobody is thinking can be as disruptive as the Seahawks, maybe even more so. Sure, they've been roaring, but I think this group has much more room to run, and crucially because this is your portfolio's defense, they'll keep running regardless of how the economy's doing."
"Who makes a good kicker?" If you're picking players, Cramer suggests going with Stephen Gostowski from the Patriots. However if you're looking at equities, he says the stock equivalent is WhiteWave Foods. "This stock goes up like clockwork, same as Gostowski's field goal kicks," Cramer said.
Want another idea? Cramer says look no further than Steven Hauschka of the Seahawks. "He made two field goals in Thursday's monster victory over the Packers. For me, Hasuchka's like Hain Celestial," Cramer said. "The thing about Hain, like Hauschka, is that it's been a consistently terrific performing for years, often delivering monster numbers that are enough to put your portfolio over the top."
Or, Cramer suggests looking at Phil Dawson of the 49ers and his stock equivalent, Chipotle. "He's an incredibly consistent player who made 27 consecutive field goals last season. What other company can match that level of consistent excellence but Chipotle."
"My No. 1 sleeper pick? Brandin Cooks, the rookie receiver for the Saints. His stock equivalent? Alibaba, the gigantic Chinese Internet company," Cramer said. Although Cooks had a big career at Oregon State and Alibaba has already become China's top internet company, Cramer says they both are now getting a chance to shine on a wider stage.
"At just 20 years old, Brandin Cooks is one of the youngest players in the NFL and he'll have over a decade to develop into a marquee player, making him a low-risk sleeper with huge upside. Similarly, Alibaba has years and years of growth ahead of it, especially if they can successfully tap into adjacent markets like India."
Looking for a new player? Cramer says give Bishop Sankey, the rookie running back for the Titans a look.
"Sankey was a relative unknown coming into the fantasy season, but following an injury by his teammate, Shonn Greene, in the preseason, his draft stock skyrocketed and I think he could be a breakout star. To me, this is reminiscent of VipShop, another Chinese internet company that came public back in 2012 but has seen its stock soar 380 percent year-to-date as VipShop's terrific numbers caught the market's attention."
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"This is the most flexible position on the field, a player who can run, block and also catch passes," he said. "In short, you want a stock that plays like Jimmy Graham of the New Orleans Saints. In my view, that's 3M."
Cramer says 3M can make gains in all kinds of environments. "Although it's an industrial, it serves diverse end markets that aren't particularly cyclical."
And like Graham, 3M can play defense, too. "Just as Graham can block, 3M can defend your portfolio from an economic blitz with its 2.4 percent yield and a history of dividend increase that stems 56 consecutive years."
"Wide receivers are the guys you throw the ball to when you need to make a big play," Cramer explained. "So in stock market terms, wide receivers are your go-to momentum names, stocks of well-run companies that potentially have lots of upside."
If you're picking players Cramer likes Green Bay's Jordy Nelson and if you're picking stocks he likes Tesla, as the wide receiver equivalent.
"Last year Tesla rallied from $32 to $250, however, in 2014 it's been on a bit of a roller coaster ride. I think Jordy Nelson could relate. His value took a major hit last year. But ultimately, Nelson came back, setting new career bests."
Cramer thinks 2014 could be another record year, for Nelson and Tesla, too. "There are still plenty of potential pitfalls, but if Tesla can dominate its game, I see it going still higher."
Or, if you don't like that pick, "I also like Demaryius Thomas, the unassailable wide receiver for the Broncos who's one of the most consistent players out there. You know what else looks unassailable? Netflix."
Last but not least, Cramer said if you want a blockbuster player that still has a ton of unrealized potential take a look at A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals; and while you're at it take a look at Regeneron.
"Regeneron has a lot in common with A.J. Green. In the last two years, Regeneron's stock has more than doubled, while Green has recorded back-to-back seasons of double digit touchdown catches. And despite the performances, I think both Regeneron and Green still have a ton of unrealized potential."
Cramer says Eagles running back LeSean McCoy has a lot in common with Apple.
"This stock, like McCoy, has been the ultimate stalwart, catching passes in the traffic of tablets and jumping over defenders like Samsung and Blackberry with new phones, all the while cementing its way beyond the consumer via an amazing tie-up with IBM to take the enterprise by storm," Cramer said.
And just as Cramer believes McCoy will make gains week after week, he also believes Apple will make gains, if not week after week, at least year after year.
What, you're not an Eagles fan?
In that case Cramer says Bears running back Matt Forte could also get the job done; as could Microsoft.
"This Forte of a stock has so much going for it, including the ability to break open, with a utility business, an entertainment business and a cloud business. Like Forte, I see Microsoft possibly paying big dividends. And I think that, like Forte, who got an astounding 77 percent of the Bears touches in the red zone, Microsoft's touching all sorts of PCs, which are back in ascendance after being written off and left for dead. I think its cloud business, often chided as faux cloud, is real. Plus, it has a strong server refresh cycle and its Office Products are accelerating."
And there's also Kansas City Chief's running back Jamaal Charles, who Cramer compares to Dow Chemical.
"Both Dow and Charles are consistent bruisers," Cramer said. "Now, I don't know if Dow can get you five touchdowns in a day, like Charles did against the hapless Oakland Raiders last year. But I do know that under CEO Andrew Liveris this company has become one of the most resourceful competitors in its league."
A quarterback is all about consistency, and Cramer says few are more consistent than Patriots QB Tom Brady or his stock equivalent, Home Depot.
Home Depot's most recent results were truly stellar, with same store sales rising by 5.8 percent and management raising their full year earnings guidance. Even better, big ticket purchases accelerated dramatically during the quarter, up 8.4 percent, driven by strength across a wide variety of categories."
And, despite reports that Home Depot may have been the object of a hacker attack, Cramer remains a buyer. "I think this is a temporary hit that's giving you a chance to get in the stock at a terrific entry point, because champion stocks don't stay down for long."
If Tom Brady and Home Depot fail to win your applause, Cramer can also see going with someone like Drew Brees, a player that puts up excellent numbers for the New Oreleans Saints. "And like Brees, Under Armour also keeps putting up excellent numbers," Cramer added.
Cramer believes the proof is in the pudding, or in this case, on the field.
"Under Armour's latest quarter, reported at the end of July, was downright magnificent; it was the third consecutive quarter where sales increased by 30 percent or more, and it was their 17th consecutive quarter where sales were up more than 20 percent. Who else do you know that's more consistent? Only Drew Brees!"
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