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Sunk Cost Fallacies In Dynasty: Sell Dwayne Bowe Now


Dwayne Bowe signed a new contract with the Kansas City Chiefs before last season that paid him an average of $11.2 million a year. According to My Fantasy League ADP data, Bowe was drafted as WR16 last year in redraft formats. I’m going to be talking about dynasty, but I think that gives you a clear idea of what expectations for Bowe were entering the 2013 season.

Bowe finished the season with fewer than 60 receptions, fewer than 700 receiving yards, and as WR421 in fantasy scoring. There’s a lot of regret to go around.

Selling Bowe now may seem like you’re selling low, something you never want to intentionally do. But are you really? The WR Similarity Score App likes Bowe for 9.9 fantasy points per game as his high end projection in PPR. His low end projection in standard formats is only 2.8. That’s an apples and oranges comparison, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fair. Both numbers are rotten.

Bowe actually does project to be worse next year, according to the app. Here’s his similarity plot:Bowe

There’s only one comp positive enough that would bring Bowe back to fantasy relevance, and it’s 2007 Randy Moss. Do you think that one of the best WRs of all time, at his peak, is an accurate comp for Bowe at the age of 30? Probably not.

Of course, there’s always the chance that KC ends up passing a lot more than they did last year, which might increase his output. But it would have to be enough to completely counterbalance his probable age based decline as he gets a year older.

Bowe’s ceiling has been pretty consistently inflated anyway. Here are his career bests in receptions, receiving yards, and TDs:

Stat Receptions Yards TDs
Best 86 1162 15
2nd Best 81 1159 7
3rd Best 72 1022 5
4th Best 70 995 5

That’s with mixing and matching stats from different years, and he still doesn’t come out looking great aside from the one fluky season where he scored 15 TDs. The 4th best stat line is his actual rookie year. For a 1st round pick who did that as a rookie, and has been in the league for seven seasons, it’s safe to he has consistently failed to meet expectations.

I repeat, Dwayne Bowe is almost 30, so he’s nearing a cliff anyway. Let’s take a look at his contract details, per Over The Cap. He’ll be with the Chiefs this year, as they would actually take a cap hit of over $10 million by cutting him. But as soon as 2015, they can save a $3.5 million by cutting him, and in 2016 that number increases to $7 million. Chances are, Bowe will hit free agency in 2016 as an almost 32 year-old WR who has consistently underwhelmed. At least in KC we know he’ll get targets. If he leaves town, it’s likely that his career is essentially over.

There’s a more general point I’m trying to make here, and it relates to the question I posed earlier. Are you selling low? The answer is, no, you’re probably not. Bowe was worth more last year, and even more the year before, but that’s completely immaterial at this point. It’s an implication of the sunk cost fallacy at work: His past values essentially do not exist; Bowe’s current value only matters in relation to his future values. You’re only selling Bowe low2 if you think he projects to become more valuable at some point, which seems highly unlikely given his age and expected production. You’re better off getting something now than holding a handful of nothing two years from now. If you could trade Bowe for a pair of underrated backs, say a deal including someone like Bryce Brown, I’d do it. I also like trading him for an older back like Fred Jackson or DeAngelo Williams that will at least be useful in the short-term. Just get something.

  1. In PPR  (back)
  2. Not to be confused with selling Bolos, Philip Rivers’ offseason hobby.  (back)

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