Draft Strategy

Chasing Dragons: T.Y. Hilton’s ADP Is Terrifying

T.Y. Hilton looks overpriced right now, especially with questions surrounding Andrew Luck‘s shoulder. There are three psychological concepts that a lot of the fantasy football strategy I write about and use falls under:
  1. Exploiting Recency Bias
  2. Chasing The Dragon
  3. The Asch Experiment
At their core, all three of these concepts are about the tendency for individual humans to subconsciously conform to what larger groups of humans are doing. In fantasy football, this is a terrible problem that points to the lack of understanding the game, and explains why so many people who play it every year are not only unsuccessful, but can’t seem to remember or figure out why they’re unsuccessful. This article will focus on the concept of chasing the dragon, and how it relates to T.Y. Hilton. These pieces the last two years, about avoiding Rob GronkowskiAndrew Luck, and Keenan Allen in 2015, and Cam Newton and DeAndre Hopkins (but not so much Devonta Freeman) in 2016, proved very shrewd. If we dwell on our mistakes, we’ll make illogical choices in the future. Accept that you cannot predict the future, and be comfortable playing for the most likely outcome every time, regardless of whether or not that outcome actually happens. If you let hindsight tell you that you made the wrong decision, even though you played for the most likely outcome, you will start to do illogical, overly exuberant things. In psychology, these phenomena are called hindsight bias and outcome bias. Remember those stupid commercials a few years ago about Fear of Missing Out?1 FOMO is very real in fantasy football and leads people to badly overpay for last season, abandoning any rational approach to value in hopes that they’re catching lighting in a bottle that either has already struck or never will. These articles aren’t so much about the specific players, but more of a general way to think about recency bias, identify it when you see it, and weigh whether or not you are playing for the most likely outcome. You may disagree on the individual names, but what is more important is weighing the concepts and applying them broadly to team construction. This season, people are chasing that dragon again, for fear of missing out on the player they didn’t own last season, when he was an underpriced, fantasy juggernaut.


Hilton was the main Exploiting Recency Bias claim stake last season, after Brandon Marshall was the season before. Hilton made me look very smart, in the same way Marshall did; now, he looks to avoid the same fate Marshall suffered following his 2015 season being the golden boy of anti-conformity. An easy way to gauge Hilton’s cost rise from last year is using the arguments in that article but for an ADP of WR8 instead of WR15.
  1. Yes, they weren’t that stupid if we still remember them so well, that’s not the point, Madison Avenue.  (back)

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