September 20, 2021

Recency Bias Don’t Fail Me Now


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!

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