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Using Recency Bias to Identify Potential ADP Values

Fantasy sports is a very reactionary industry by nature. We tend to use the most recent information on a player more heavily than the overall body of work for a number of different reasons. As a result, recency bias can have a major impact on our draft habits. I like to look back to the draft of the season before to see players with the biggest differences in value. I’ll be comparing the ADP data from 2020 Online Championships to the same league type from 2019. For this analysis, I looked at all players taken among the top 120 picks last season (top 10 rounds) who saw a drop off of over 100 picks. This is just a snapshot of values and can help to identify upside picks in current drafts. I tried below to bucket the players into three groups based on the reason for their drops.

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ADP Decliners: 2019 to 2020

Disposed Closers

Felipe Vazquez (-271)

Blake Treinen (-250)

Wade Davis (-210)

Closers and relief pitchers in general display some of the largest changes in ADP year over year of any other group in all of baseball. This group helps to highlight this phenomenon although each for different reasons.

Vazquez does not deserve any more attention outside of telling you not to draft him at all.

Treinen went from top RP drafted to an afterthought in drafts. However, with Kenley Jansen looking a bit vulnerable, Treinen is a guy to keep an eye on as a handcuff.

Davis does not really fit this group. He was downright terrible in 2019, but still seems to have his job. He will no longer post elite ratios but anyone providing saves is draftable. His current price resembles a solid buy-in price with some significant room for profit.

Injury/Wally Pipped

Justin Upton (-109)

Miles Mikolas (-146)

Miguel Andujar (-181)

Mitch Haniger (-194)

Khris Davis (-128)

This is a bit of a cop-out as some others could fall into this grouping but these four all have similar things in common. Mikolas is coming into 2020 with a forearm injury and may miss the start of the season He was not great in 2019 from a fantasy perspective and the injury makes things worse. I’ll be avoiding him.

Andujar missed essentially all of 2019 with an injury and may have lost a starting role for the Yankees. He is a potential steal at his current ADP but he is also someone who could be a part-time player in 2020 as the roster stands.

I have been discussing Justin Upton a ton this draft season and he’s a definite target of mine. Injuries are still a concern but the power upside is unmatched at his current draft price.

Haniger had a truly disgusting and painful injury at the end of 2019 and has suffered a number of setbacks as a result. His 2020 is a major question mark and while he is talented he is not someone I am willing to use a bench spot on.

The normally reliable Davis, suffered a side injury while playing LF early in the season. His numbers severely regressed after that point despite not missing time. He is still among the game’s most feared power hitters and could be a steal at this current price.

Well That Sucked

Jesus Aguilar (-258)

Joey Votto (-219)

Daniel Murphy (-198)

Dee Gordon (-152)

Matt Carpenter (-271)

Travis Shaw (-222)

Wil Myers (-176)

AJ Pollock (-140)

Lorenzo Cain (-118)

Jose Peraza (-220)

Jean Segura (-145)

Aguilar was hyped after a fantastic 2018 with the Brewers. He flopped mightily and while he was better with Tampa he no longer shines like he did coming into 2019. The move to Miami provides him with ABs and could make him a decent CI option.

Votto is a husk of his former self. Similar to Miguel Cabrera we may be seeing a former MVP candidate playing out his days in obscurity. Votto can still take walks and a pop up top-10 1B season would not surprise me, but I’ll let someone else dream.

Murphy was supposed to contend for batting titles in Coors. However, that is not what happened in 2019. He suffered an early-season hand injury which could have been the cause but he was not productive even when healthy. His current ADP cost is low and as a result, I will probably take the plunge again in 2020.

Dee Gordon is a speed-only threat who did not provide enough speed. There are better options on the Mariners’ roster at the positions he plays so he may have lost his job. I have no interest in him this season. He can still post a high batting average and could find 30 plus steals if he can find a full-time role.

Carpenter was terrible in 2019 and was actively a drain on teams. Before that, he was an above-average fantasy producer coming off a monster season. He could bounce back to being a 20-HR threat with not awful supporting stats. I’ll buy him as a CI type or bench option.

Shaw is the kind of guy that makes this analysis worthwhile. He was coming off back-to-back 30-HR campaigns when he suddenly forgot how to hit. He mashed in AAA after getting mercifully sent down and seems to have an easy path to playing time. He is the perfect guy to take a bet on at this ADP hoping he can regain that prodigious power that made us love him.

Myers is a prime example of a fantasy player archetype I love. He is much better for fantasy than he is in real life. 20/20 type players do not grow on trees and Myers has either surpassed that or was on pace for it in each of the last four seasons. He may be traded to Boston still and if he can get to 500+ PAs he could easily be a 2019 Danny Santana type player. I will own a ton of him in 2020.

If you could promise me that Pollock was going to stay healthy he would be no different than Tommy Pham in my eyes. The Dodger OF is another 20/20 threat although 15/15 may be apter. He is in an insanely crowded Dodger OF and likely does not play every day which is a huge reason for his ADP drop. I’ll let someone else draft him.

After a few seasons of over 25 SBs and a near .300 average, LoCain put in a terrible 2020 for his owners. I still will bet on his talent and see him as a good investment at this price. He has 30 SB upside and I think the average bounces back to pre-2019 levels.

Peraza is a weird case. He was probably always a bit over-drafted but there was good reason to take the chance on him. The speed was never able to be utilized because as Billy Hamilton once learned, you can’t steal first base. His path to playing time got a little bit cloudier as Boston brought back Mitch Moreland but Peraza could even see some time in the OF if they think he’s better than Kevin Pillar. There’s upside at this price.

Lastly, we get to Jean Segura. I am not exactly sure what has caused his drop outside of regression in steals. Overall the production looked similar to the rest of his career and he could see an uptick in steals with Girardi at the helm. There may have been unnecessary optimism with the move to a better park in 2019 but the price seems fine for Segura and his potential to gain 2B eligibility is a nice perk.

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