November 24, 2020

Recency Bias Don’t Fail Me Now

0-7.

That’s how I’ll start this post, admitting utter failure last week in not only suggesting players but in my overall daily fantasy play, survivor pools and sports betting. If there were two horses available that weekend…I picked the wrong one every time.

One question I end up asking myself after every week is – what worked and what didn’t. Did I consider data that was faulty, was my analysis of game circumstances off, etc. The short answer this week was not really.  But I do think one thing I tend to let influence my decisions probably more than I should in certain situations is recency bias.

Recency bias, commonly referred to in investing, is the tendency to think that trends and patterns we observe in the recent past will continue in the future. This isn’t a bad thing, in fact winning at gambling in general requires the ability to see trends in the moment and based on the past events. But sometimes that exact theory can also bite you in the @$$.

Last week the recency bias on how bad the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were cost many of us our entries in survivor pools and because I leaned so heavily on Drew Brees in DFS thinking he would rip the Bucs apart, it cost me nearly every games I was in.

Now to be fair – it may not be that our prediction was that off as we learned later on Monday that Brees hurt his shoulder during the game (bad enough to keep him out of this week’s game) which greatly affected the outcome.  So the decision to value the Saints so highly in this game based on how bad Tampa Bay played the week before wasn’t wrong and I don’t think I would have changed my decisions/predictions at all.

The lesson for me here was understanding the effect recency bias has on my decisions – as in the case of Ameer Abdullah where I had far less data to support my position. Recency bias is something you need as part of your game analysis…but you certainly can’t rely on it completely in any situation.

This weeks picks.

Top Lock
Jimmy Graham (TE SEA)
– Graham is a stud tight end…period. Why the Seahawks haven’t seen to use him that way yet is due in part to”new to the team”, to game script and in part to the fact that the Seahawks are a run first team.  But seriously – how do you only target him two times in last week’s game??  Graham isn’t happy with his current role – voicing it publicly this week.  Thankfully this week is setup for a “Welcome to Seattle Jimmy Graham” game.  The Bad News Chicago Bears come to Seattle for the Seahawks first home game this season.  Take this as a “squeaky wheel gets the grease” game for Jimmy and look for him to explode – 90 yards and 2 touchdowns is within reach.

Almost Certain
Lance Dunbar (RB-DAL) – Atlanta’s defense through 2 weeks is giving up chunks of yardage to receiving running backs (Shane Vereen-(8/76) and Darren Sproles(7-76)). Throw in the loss of Tony Romo & Dez Bryant, an ailing Jason Witten and a Falcons defense only giving up 77 yards rushing a game and Dunbar could be setup to excel here.  I’ll follow the trend – 7 receptions for 66 yards.

High Flyer
Gary Barnidge (TE-CLE)
 – I’m going to guess that most people don’t even know who this is.  I didn’t either until I decided to look up who the tight ends where playing against Oakland.  The raiders have given up monster games to both Tyler Eifert (9/104/2) and Crockett Gilmore (5/88/2) the last two weeks.  Barnidge is 6-foot-5 and has played on 86% of the team’s snaps this year so far – 16% points more then Hartline & Hawkins.  Would not surprise me to see Barnidge go off as well this week – 6/75/2 – let recency bias prevail!

Daily Fantasy Sports….Have Ya’ Heard Of It?

DFS

(Editor’s note: We’re trying something new here at SU…we hope you enjoy it and welcome any and all feedback)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, are blind and deaf or don’t own a TV, computer or smartphone – I’d find it hard to believe that you are not at least aware of the newest fantasy phenomenon…Daily Fantasy Sports (aka DFS).  DraftKings and FanDuel have flooded the airwaves and the internet with massive amounts of advertising – where if you are into sports – it’s been impossible not to see them.

If you love fantasy sports – this is fantasy sports on crack! Each and every week you have the opportunity to build new lineups not based on season long value but on situational value.  Things like week to week matchups, bye weeks, the weather and injuries can wreak havoc on your season long lineups.  In DFS every week  it starts anew…there is a whole new crop of juicy matchups and available players to draft not mention the fact that every player is always available.  You no longer have to worry about someone taking your best pick in the draft.  The hardest part with DFS is finding players who will produce at a value you can afford that is not highly owned.

I am relatively new to DFS and as I learn how to effectively play in this space  I am going to share 3 players I am considering each week specifically with the  DFS NFL games.  I will have a Top Lock – an obvious pick for most players – an Almost Certain – a player that is probably on your radar but we don’t have enough information to be certain they are a legit DFS producer but the matchup is too good to pass up – and a High Flyer – if you play in large tournaments in DFS more often than not the teams that win or place high in the final results include a player most avoid, here I’ll identify a player I see as being owned by few people but if they hit could be the difference maker in your team.

In coming weeks I’ll not only present these type of picks but will venture into other topics such as playing Head2Head games versus Large Tournaments, player stacking, contrarian play and many other DFS topics.  Thanks for reading and good luck to ya’ this weekend!

Top Lock
Drew Brees – Like I said this is not going to be me going out on the limb.  Brees has to be the safest play this week going up against the dismal Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that just gave up 4 passing touchdowns to Titans rookie QB Marcus Mariota.  He didn’t light them up for a ton of yards (209) but scored 4 TDs on just 16 attempts.  And now the Bucs get to face Drew Brees – one of the most prolific passers in today’s game, on his home turf and coming off a loss.  This not only sets up as a must play in DFS but if you are willing to stack him with Cooks or Coleman – you could end up with a high scoring combo.  Don’t let the absence of Jimmy Graham worry you either.  Brees has enough long range weapons in Cooks and Coleman plus a stable of running backs who can catch out of the backfield and turn them into long gains.  Brees will finish as a top 3 fantasy scorer in DFS this week – get him in your lineups – especially in cash games.

Almost Certain
Ameer Abdullah – We have seen one game from this kid.  Is he the real deal or was this game just a fluke?  I don’t think we’ll  have complete answers this week but Detroit is going up against the Minnesota Vikings who just gave up 168 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns to Carlos Hyde of the 49er’s – a team no one expected to be as good as they showed this past Monday.  For me that means Abdullah is positioned to potentially run all over the Vikings on Sunday.  The hesitation comes from the running back by committee situation in Detroit right now.  Joique Bell is still the lead back and will take valuable reps away from Abdullah.  Some may see that as the other way around – but it will not be much longer before Abdullah takes the starting job away from Bell – Abdullah is the more dynamic runner and Bell is aging and prone to injury.  This is a juicy matchup for the Lions running backs this week and it’s my take that Abdullah will get 70 rushing yds/1 TD/3 receptions for 30 yds/50 return yards.  Caldwell has said several times…they will use Abdullah often and everywhere.   I have Abdullah in almost all my lineups this week.

High Flyer
Tyler Lockett – Seattle’s rookie is simply Electric!!!  So far every time he has touched the ball in preseason and in game 1 of 2015 – magic has happened.  Now, while you can’t expect Lockett to return a punt for a TD every week it is a real possibility.  So much so teams will have to start game planning for him by trying to kick it away from him.  In addition to his return value – the Seahawks don’t really have a long ball threat – not the Wilson is that type of QB anyway – but with Lockett on the field defenses will have to respect the youngsters speed and ability to outrun coverages.  It’s possible that Lockett puts up a low score in DFS this week going up against a Packers team looking for revenge – but his ceiling is so high if he’s on the field – that in some large tournaments Lockett could make the difference between middle of the pack and a top 10 finish.