Don’t worry, you’ve got another shot. And yes, I mean you have another chance to win a millions dollars, this weekend. But more generally speaking, isn’t that the beautiful thing about daily fantasy sports? You’ve always got another shot. So whether you cashed out well this weekend, or spent all day Sunday regretting the choices you made (I was gonna start Demaryius, I swear), you can redeem yourself starting now.

But what lessons can we take away from Week 5?

1. The sum total of everything we’ve seen is still a small sample size.

Through four weeks, it’s possible that we’ve seen trends that will be reliable – and important – as the season progresses. But this is another way of saying that you should trust what you know about a player’s talent. For example, we’ve been seeing DeAndre Hopkins emerge as the best receiving option in Houston. This is new, and it is a small sample size, but the difference is we have always known about his talent, with the narrative being that he was just being underutilized as the number two receiver on a run-heavy team. So maybe you start to trust him sooner – seeing a talented player turn the corner under a new coach is different than deciding Demaryius Thomas is a risky play after three mediocre weeks that followed back-to-back 1,400+, double-digit-touchdown seasons.

I understand that it was hard to trust a player like Thomas when there were so many other appealing options. This is not an article telling you to for sure start LeSean McCoy next week. What I am saying is that you KNOW Shady is nasty, and you are limiting your upside if you eliminate him without any consideration at all. Demaryius cost $7,400 last week. When you see a price tag on a stud player and think to yourself “that’s the cheapest I am getting him all season”, it’s time to act. McCoy costs $6,000 next week. Right between Justin Forsett and Lamar Miller. Just saying.

NFL: St. Louis Rams at Philadelphia Eagles


2. Sometimes you need to trust no sample size at all.

Fantasy football success has two components: talent and opportunity. We all know this. It’s great to know and trust all the talent that makes it’s onto your team, but we’re not all professional scouts. I will admit, I did not know exactly how good Branden Oliver could be, but what I did know was how good of an opportunity had fallen into his lap. In these cases, sometimes the lack of a sample size can help you – you have no reason, yet, to doubt the player. All you see is a bargain and an opportunity. This week it could be Benny Cunningham ($3,000), or Andre Williams ($5,400), or Ronnie Hillman. ($3,000) who gives you that kind of boost. Choose wisely, and let’s just hope none of these guys wait until the second week of their big break to bust out, because they could have already lost your trust.

In short, daily fantasy football is a balancing act. If you ever want to see this with as clear of an example as possible, check out one of these Monday-Thursday contests. There is a term often used in economics called “opportunity cost”, which basically means that the cost of any choice must include the potential value you could have had from making a different choice. But only being able to choose from four teams worth of players really puts your choices in stark contrast. When the player pool seems basically limitless, your choices don’t seem to be direct trade-offs in such an obvious way. You think of identifying a few value picks and then making the remaining salaries fit, which works out great… when you’re right. It’s only when those value plays don’t pan out that you realize how many logical choices you left on the table without ever really considering.