Draft Strategy

Fantasy Asch Experiment: What Is Jonathan Stewart?

Jonathan Stewart is in the exact same situation as last year, and is getting drafted far too low in fantasy leagues.  The Asch Conformity Experiment (or Asch Paradigm) is a psychology experiment conducted by gestalt psychologist Solomon Asch in 1951. Merriam Webster defines gestalt psychology as:
The study of perception and behavior from the standpoint of an individual’s response to configurational wholes with stress on the uniformity of psychological and physiological events and rejection of analysis into discrete events of stimulus, percept, and response.
The simple explanation of his experiment is he put eight people in a group, where seven of them repeatedly gave an obviously wrong answer, in order to see if the eighth person will then also give that obviously wrong answer. Asch found, unsurprisingly, that humans often conform:
Asch measured the number of times each participant conformed to the majority view. On average, about one third (32%) of the participants who were placed in this situation went along and conformed with the clearly incorrect majority.  Over the 12 critical trials about 75% of participants conformed at least once, and 25% of participant never conformed. In the control group, with no pressure to conform, less than 1% of participants gave the wrong answer.
In fantasy football, we want to believe we are never that 32 percent. That we aren’t repeatedly, broadly conforming to something obviously wrong, just because everyone else is. We may be willing to admit sometimes we are susceptible to being in the 75 percent who unwittingly conform on one thing here or there, but a whole lot more than 25 percent of people believe they are the ones who never conform. The Oracle wrote about how the Asch Experiment pertains to fantasy football for FantasyLabs this winter:
Especially in the echo chamber of Twitter, it’s easy for us to conform and to develop an informational bias by believing that which others have essentially told us to believe. For instance, my very use of the phrase “echo chamber” is a function of my existing within an echo chamber that likes to overuse that particular colloquialism.  In the fantasy industry, it’s really easy for us to be swayed by the opinions of others, especially when they have numbers and rhetoric on their side.
And on that note, here are my numbers and rhetoric on why people are failing an Asch Experiment when looking at Jonathan Stewart.

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By 14Team Mocker | @14TeamMocker | Archive

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  1. David says:

    Great article, and to dive deeper off the psychoanalysis cliff the injury points you mentioned show the true power of confirmation bias. Even though the injuries have been sporadic and unrelated, he got injured in 2012, had issues in 2013, and now every time a bump in the road happens it confirms "oh he's injury prone" despite the fact that it has not since affected his game time in an enormous manner. Love me some J-Stew, even if he is a hapless Duck.

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