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April 16, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Fighting Early-Season Confirmation Bias


Jeff Quinton

Advice to help you avoid being steered off course by April results.

The 2014 season is not even 20 games old, but we are already at the height of confirmation bias season. After spending the offseason (or some portion of the offseason) analyzing players for the upcoming season, and after acting on that research and analysis in offseason trades and in our drafts and auctions, we have a strong desire to see a return on the time and effort invested, to see our decisions pan out.

Obviously, it is too early in the season for there to be much, if any, information to actually confirm or disconfirm our assumptions. There really is no short-term risk in seeking this confirmation bias; rather, the danger lies in how seeking confirming information will impact our future decisions. If we continue to ignore information that disconfirms our beliefs (player A is bad because of X), while seeking out information that confirms our beliefs (player X is good because of Y), we will tend to overvalue our players. The more we overvalue our players, the less we will look for opportunities to improve our team and the greater the chances of us passing up or missing opportunities to improve our team. By knowing how we allow ourselves to fall victim to confirmation bias (traps) and with a few tips on how to fight those instincts (solutions), we can free ourselves, at least a little bit, from the downsides of confirmation bias.

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