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Friday, December 7, 2012

What happened to Brandon Myers?

Brandon Myers was almost universally ranked in the Top 5 of tight ends for week 14.  I personally have him in at least 4 leagues and started him every time.  Needless to say, I'm in some playoff trouble in those leagues.

But could this have been prevented?  Maybe.  Let's discuss.

In this space I wrote an article about recency bias not that long ago.  Recency bias says that we place too much focus on what has just happened and not enough importance on overall track records.

With Brandon Myers we had several weeks of about 50 receiving yards or so followed by an amazing output (14 receptions!) in week 13.  We take this information and say that he is a guy that has been getting his quarterback's attention this year and is finally breaking through.  Why would they go away from him in week 14?  Right?

The problem is that Myers has been in the NFL for four years now and we aren't factoring in his first three years but rather just this year.  There have to be reasons why he was basically unknown coming into 2012.  Perhaps he is a big target with good hands, but he lacks lateral quickness or the ability to create separation from linebackers.  I don't know that that is the case, but I would assume that there is some reason why he was invisible for his first three years in the league.

Let's say for a moment that the description I just wrote two sentences ago is accurate.  If true, he is a guy that can catch a team (like the Browns in week 13) off-guard and amass great stats with a large number of targets.  If the opponent does fail to game-plan for him he can find some space and do some damage.  However, what if a team (like the Broncos in week 14) does game-plan for him?  And, what if that team happens to have very quick linebackers?  Well, in that case, if the description above is accurate Myers will have trouble finding space in which he can operate and the quarterback won't look for him.

If all of this is true, we should have identified Myers as clear-cut game-planning target by a pretty strong defense with good linebackers.  His explosion in week 13 left him vulnerable in week 14 and therefore a poor start.

Look, if he was Tony Gonzalez you'd have a better understanding of how he would react to the game-planning.  But with Myers there is insufficient data.  The best prediction should have been that he would be taken out of the game by Denver.  I should have seen it coming, but I didn't and now I've got to play catch-up in a few of my playoffs.

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