Or what you can learn from fantasy football
Mike Evans is a wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Through his first five seasons in the NFL, he’s been one of the best at his position. So, naturally, he’s been one of the top receivers taken by fantasy football players around the world. In those five seasons, he’s averaged more than 5 catches per game and about 80 yards.
Through two weeks of this season, he had 6 catches and 89 yards.
Then in week 3, this past Sunday, he had 8 catches for 190 yards and three touchdowns.
Week 3 is an atypical stat line just as the first two weeks were but this past Sunday was more in line with what fantasy football players, Buccaneer fans and players and Mike Evans himself have come to expect. And you can probably expect that he’s going to return to his career averages, barring injury, the rest of the season. The point is to not react to atypical results early in a season.
You have data, either from us or some other source. Right now, your most valuable data is from last season because it represents the largest sample set you can acquire at this point in time. From that data set, you can set some expectations for your returning players, just like fantasy football players did for Mike Evans and everyone else in the NFL.
As you start this season, you need to give yourself at least 10 games before you can start to really trust lineup combinations or player production that you’re seeing. Outside of the numbers, you know about things like foul trouble or injuries that could skew things.
I challenge you this season to schedule some time from now during your Christmas break, to take a hard look at your data and see what patterns have emerged at that point and try to derive some actions for the rest of your season. Then schedule another session at the end of January for the stretch run. Not only will you have a good data set to work off of but also you’ll be using your most valuable data to win your most important games.