I want to touch on something that you might not even notice yourself doing: playing a player because of recency bias. What I mean is, if a player has a huge game the week before you’re more likely to play that player this week because you think that player is going to have another huge game. A lot of people do this, and you can see players that are coming off a big week tend to be higher owned the next week. What you need to do is determine if that player really does have a good chance to return value this week as well, or if you’re falling victim to recency bias.
A good example of this was when Eli Manning had his six-touchdown game against New Orleans in Week 8. He was 4% owned in the DraftKings Millionaire Maker in Week 8, and then 8% owned in Week 9 even though his matchup in Tampa Bay wasn’t as good. Those 8% of people that rostered him were disappointed with his 14.4 DraftKings points in Week 9. What you need to do is think about if that player had a very favorable matchup last week. Also, think about if that player has been having multiple good weeks in a row, or if last week was just a fluke? Did the player have one big play that resulted in a lot of points? Was that player expected to have a big week because of who they were playing or increased workload due to another player’s injury? We don’t want to be thinking “well, Player X had a big week last week so I’m going to play him this week” and not think about WHY he had a big week last week.
Recency bias also works in the opposite direction. If a player was expected to have a big week and didn’t, you’ll see their ownership drop. You can expect a big drop in ownership if that player was highly owned the previous week. Sometimes that player will be projected for a big week this week, but their ownership percentage is low because they burned people last week. A good example of this is the Oakland passing offense in Weeks 11 and 12. In Week 11, Oakland was playing Detroit. It seemed like a good matchup, but Derek Carr ended up with just 7.6 DraftKings points. That meant Amari Cooper had a bad week as well. Both players were over 25% owned in Week 11. As you can imagine their ownership dropped to 5% or less for both of them in Week 12 despite having a decent matchup with the Titans. Carr went on to have 330 passing yards and three touchdowns while Amari Cooper caught seven passes for 115 yards.
Ownership percentage plays a much bigger role in guaranteed prize pools (GPPs) than in cash games, but you should be aware of your recency bias if it’s turning you away from players with good matchups, or causing you to roster players with bad matchups. You need to determine if that player really does have a good chance to return value for you this week or if you’re falling victim to your own recency bias.
Jameis Winston ($5500) is the guy we’re going to use to pick on the New Orleans defense this week. This has been a theme over the past few weeks and it’s been paying off. Since Week 7, only one quarterback facing New Orleans (Brian Hoyer) has scored less than 29 DraftKings points, had less than three passing touchdowns, and less than 324 passing yards. If that’s the floor for a quarterback playing New Orleans, you can bet I’m going to roster them every time. Winston has been able to have value in just about every game this year due to his low salary. While most of his games he’s scored 20 DK points or less, he has shown that he can have a big day if the matchup is right. This is the right matchup and rostering him would be a good move this week.
Tyrod Taylor ($5400) isn’t a guy who’s going to throw for over 300 yards. He hasn’t done it yet this year and probably won’t this week. What he doesn’t gain in high passing yards he makes up for in rushing yards where he’s been averaging 32 yards per game. He can find the end zone through the air where he has four games with at least three passing touchdowns, which is good since the Eagles have been giving up an average of 3.6 passing touchdowns over their last five games. The Eagles pass defense is the third easiest for a quarterback to face, so putting Taylor in your cash game lineup has a ton of potential this week.
Blake Bortles ($6000) has the weapons to put up a good amount of points for you most weeks, and this year he’s been doing just that. This week he’ll have all of his weapons healthy. Allen Hurns sat out last week, and Julius Thomas wasn’t at full health until a few weeks ago. This week, both should be good to go. Since coming out of the bye in Week 9, Bortles has been averaging 2.4 touchdowns per game, and has three games crossing the 300 yard passing mark to get the three bonus points on DraftKings. He’s been almost as steady as Carson Palmer but at a much cheaper price.
Shaun Draughn ($4800) has been a very steady performer over the last four weeks, and it’s because he’s a three-down running back. He has been getting around fourteen carries a game, but his real value is in the passing game where he’s been getting almost seven targets a game. Running backs who can catch the ball going against Cleveland this year have done well. Five backs have had five-or-more targets this year against the Browns and they’re averaging 22.7 DK points in those games. Draughn’s price has gone up $1000 over the past three weeks, but I still think he’s undervalued and he’s a good bet to return value in this game.
Thomas Rawls ($5800) doesn’t have a great matchup this week, but I’m betting his volume of touches will make up for that. Rawls has been averaging around twenty-three rushes per game since he became the starter three weeks ago. He also has a touchdown in each of those three weeks as well. Rawls has shown he can run hard with his 5.57 yards-per-attempt average on the year despite matchups with the Vikings and Steelers over the past two weeks. This week the Ravens are much weaker against the pass than the run, but my guess is that the Seahawks will get out to a lead and run Rawls to get the win. Don’t be surprised if a majority of Rawls’ points come in the second half of the game.
LeSean McCoy ($6100) will be seeking his revenge when he travels to Philadelphia this weekend. Expect Rex Ryan to give McCoy a ton of carries this weekend, especially with Karlos Williams not expected to play. McCoy has been averaging around 75% of the snaps this year, but with Williams out, I’m expecting that number to be closer to 90% this week. The Eagles have been susceptible to pass-catching running backs, giving up a receiving touchdown to a running back in four straight games. McCoy is one of my favorite backs this week with a lot of the top running back options in bad matchups.