Week 3 Observations
I don’t even know where to begin.
That was maybe the worst week against the spread I’ve had since 1977 (when I was six years old), and I lost 75 cents to my grandfather when all the favorites lost, and come to think of it, I didn’t even have to give him points.
It’s not the 2-8 mark that jumps out — I’ve done that before — it’s the margin of wrongness. It’s one thing to lose on a two-point conversion or pick six, quite another to think the Bills were laying too much (6!) on the road in a game they won 37-3, or liking a desperate Denver team to cover the six points on the road, and they lose by 50! I also had the Bears getting 12.5 against the Chiefs (41-10) who pulled their starters up 41-0 in the fourth quarter. And the Jaguars -8.5 who lost *lost* by 20.
If you were this out of sync in the real world, you’d still be masking outdoors and lining up for your fifth booster.
. . .
Aside from the ATS disaster, the week was bizarre in other ways. Like everyone I had De’Von Achane on my bench, but unlike everyone I had a preseason premotion about him and didn’t act on it. Lest you dismiss my preseason premonitions, I had one about “The Hound” (Chris Bassitt) in baseball that panned out pretty well.
This year, my pick was up in the RotoWire Dynasty Draft, and my instinct was to take Achane who I had already drafted in the first two BCLs. Because I’m not at all a college football guy, I put a poll out on Twitter:
This was the ensuing conversation from the poll:
So Seslowsky told me to take Zay Flowers, but Stopa used a word that got my attention: He said Achane would have to be a historic “outlier.” As I posted on Twitter, I was just that day drafting a piece entitled Outliers (which I didn’t publish until a couple weeks later.)
Its argument was we should always be looking for outliers, rather than dismissing them as anomalous as we’ve been trained to do. Because while outliers are rare, finding them makes all the difference — and this is true in any endeavor, not just fantasy sports.
So I ask who to take, and people give answers, but Stopa gives the answer for which I was really looking with the words (conditional though they might have been) “historic outlier.”
Of course, I was a total nutless monkey and took Flowers, and Seslowsky even patted himself on the back for it in our last video, saying something like, “Aren’t you glad you took Flowers,” and like a donkey I agreed I was glad.
Now, Flowers has been fine for a rookie over his first three games and looks the part of a future star. And Achane has had only one good game in a bizarre blowout. But it’s not only the size, but the magnitude of the sample that counts, and this magnitude was 10-plus on the Richter scale. How many running backs have gone 18-203-2, 4-4-30-2? I don’t have a subscription to pro-football-reference.com, but I’m going to guess it’s less than five, and he might be the only one.
So the lessons in this episode are the following: (1) Look for outliers; (2) trust your instincts; (3) heed your premonitions; (4) If you fail at 1-3, make sure you have someone else to blame; and (5) Reverse jinx the entire process by declaring the magnitude of the one-game sample sufficient enough to conclude your premonition was correct.
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