Revisiting the Primacy Effect
Via M&C Saatchi Sports
Via M&C Saatchi Sports


Remember when it was week 1? Everyone was so happy and excited about football. Everyone thought they had drafted the perfect team, we were all sure to win our leagues. At around that time, I reminded everyone about something called the Primacy Effect, the finding that things that happen first in a sequence of events are preferentially remembered and hold a more prominent place in our memory than subsequent events, with the exception of the most recent event (Recency Bias).


I explained how the combination of emotion, attention, and love for the game contributed to the Primacy Bias, ensuring that at least some week 1 performances would be sticking with us for weeks to come. So I thought it would be fun to revisit some of those week 1 reflections now that we are this scary far into the season. A few guys stuck in my mind based on their week 1 games and my investment in them, so let’s see how they’ve shaped up here in week 10. Who’s singing the same tune and who’s got a whole new sound?
Jesse’s Girl by Rick Springfield

I wish that I had Jesse’s girl…oh wait, I am Jesse. You know who his girl is? Eddie Lacy. That’s right, Lacy followed up a decent week 1 performance with a concussion and a bye week, but since then he has been among the most productive backs out there, depending on your scoring. In the 75% of leagues where I own him, there is nothing and no one that could pry him out of my hot little hands. Runners up for the coveted role of Jesse’s girl include Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, LeSean McCoy, AJ Green, and Reggie Bush, who have all nearly maintained their week 1 excellence to this point, particularly in PPR leagues.

Ridin’ Solo by Jason Derulo

On the other side of the coin, some of those week 1 studs have turned out to be the weekly dud in our lineups. Jared Cook and Anquan Boldin: I’m sorry, it didn’t work out, I’m movin’ on, I’m ridin’ solo…But I still feel like it could have been great, ya know? What happened??? There’s always some excuse, but inevitably, some performances are flukey. When they happen the first week of the season, it’s much harder for us to see it that way than when, for example in later weeks when a Jerome Simpson or Jericho Cotchery has a great game.

Centerfold by the J. Geils band

You’ve spent weeks of holding out hope, sure that the matchup was so juicy that there was no way he couldn’t produce, until finally, you give up. You just couldn’t start Tom Brady again. His mediocre week 1 performance wasn’t just a fluke, it went way downhill from there. Memories just aren’t enough to go on at this point in the season, you need some real action in your starting lineup. It’s a tough decision, but who can blame you? Single digit fantasy points in 3 of the last 4 games leading into week 9? Who wouldn’t give Terrell Pryor a look? Then BAM, there he is, the hottest guy out there last week aside from Nick Foles, throwing for over 400 yards and 4 TDs. Just when you’d gotten over poor terrible Tom, he’s right there smiling back at you from the centerfold. Has your love for Brady run cold? I think I have to buy it.

She Fucking Hates Me by Puddle of Mudd

We had some alarming performances in week 1 from our first round running backs this year. Guys we thought about never ever getting back together with after that. Among those who disappointed in week 1, Ridley has come around a little bit now that he’s healthy, and Lynch of course bounced right back. However, due to injury or poor play or some mix of BOTH, Ray Rice, CJ Spiller, Doug Martin, and Trent Richardson are all first rounders who really let you down. I don’t know why, but it’s a vengeful kind of hate, isn’t it?

Are you gonna be my girl? by Jet

Percy Harvin, Andre Brown, Michael Crabtree, are you gonna be my man? I’ve held Brown in an IR slot all year, and am trying to acquire Harvin from an owner impatient with the “he may play this week (even though he has no chance of playing said week)” chatter so I hope so. To be honest, the long game is not my strong point. I don’t play in any dynasty/keeper leagues, except for my NBA fantasy league. I’m admittedly impatient and will need to see it to believe it when it comes to these guys. But there comes a point in the season where you have to plan to win in the playoffs, not just make the playoffs, and any of these guys could be the fresh hands and legs to help you do it.

Read Part II here.


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