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August 13, 2014

Fantasy Freestyle

Setting Expectations on Superstars

by J.P. Breen


“He’s just a name-brand at this point. He’s not as good as people think. At this point, people are blinded by previous performance, rather than current or future performance.”

My buddy, Drew, leaned forward and smiled as he crossed off Tom Brady’s name from our pre-draft ranking sheet. Drew and I have co-owned a fantasy football team for years. He’s the brains of the operation. I’m along for the ride because it makes me more interested in the NFL than I otherwise would be, but Drew spent the better part of two months preaching to me that Tom Brady was no longer the quarterback everyone had grown accustomed to over the past decade. We had him as the no. 8 QB in our pre-draft rankings and it’s not difficult to imagine the smug look on our faces as we watched Brady go as the third-overall QB in the second round.

Sure enough, Brady finished the season as the 13th-best fantasy quarterback in ESPN leagues. Drew shot text messages my way every weekend, gloating about the accuracy of his prediction. Ultimately, his take was nails. People were paying for the name brand. Expectations weren’t in line with reality; thus, many fantasy football owners paid the price throughout the season.

Properly leveling expectations once something changes in the fantasy profile is important across the board, but when it comes to superstar players and guys who will be drafted in the first two or three rounds of the draft, it becomes paramount. You can’t miss atop the draft. It’s a chore to recover that lost production. Either the remainder of the draft must be spectacular or you have to be a waiver-wire magician.

It’s something that resonated with me heading into the 2014 fantasy baseball season. In re-draft leagues, I shied away from players who had significant changes in overall profile, whether it be difficult ballparks, injuries, uncharacteristic breakout seasons, etc. I prioritized “sure things” in the first few rounds.

Such a hands-off approach helped me avoid guys like Joey Votto, Chris Davis, Dustin Pedroia, Alex Rios, and Carlos Gonzalez. However, it also meant that I carelessly discarded players such as Ian Kinsler and Robinson Cano. Over four months into the season, though, we can perhaps start to recalibrate and properly level expectations for some of the players we may have been nervous to draft prior to the season. I want to focus on two in this space.

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Related Content:  Robinson Cano,  Ryan Braun,  Fantasy

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (08/13)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Oth... (08/11)
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Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Sta... (08/15)
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