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Insider

How to not overreact as a fantasy baseball owner

New York Yankees star Aaron Judge has struggled since the All-Star break, but it doesn't mean you should move on. Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

For fantasy owners, that All-Star break certainly makes it seem like it's been forever between actual baseball games that count. That's especially true for team in weekly head-to-head leagues, since we're still sitting in the middle of Matchup No. 14 for the season.

However, the truth is that since last week's column, not much has happened to change the forecast of any players, since two days' worth of stats after a lengthy layoff has very little predictive value.

Oh, sure, situations like Jose Quintana getting traded to the Cubs or the revelation of the probable season-ending surgery headed Michael Pineda's way requires some juggling of the numbers. But if your opinion has changed on Aaron Judge because he's started the second half of the season 0-for-9 (3 K's), then please feel free to trade him to me for Jose Reyes (5-for-9 with a home run).

Of course it's ridiculous.

The truth is that fantasy players are far from immune to the very human tendency to fall prey to recency bias, which can trick our brains into thinking a hot player is bound to stay hot or that a cold player will stay cold. Simultaneously, our confirmation bias is working hard to convince us that our high-round draft picks who have had a down year are bound to come around, while those former no-names who are somehow sticking atop the statistical leaderboards are bound to come crashing down to earth.

This is why, even for teams mired in their league's cellar, with very little on the waiver wire to which they can turn for help, I implore you not to give up. There's still plenty of time left in the season to make a comeback, and I'm going to try and prove it to you with a look at an extreme case.