Fantasy Football: Regression Candidates Through Week 11
There isn't much time left in the NFL's regular season, but fantasy football owners are always looking for opportunities to buy low and sell high on potentially unsustainable performances. We spend the entire offseason predicting what will unfold once the action starts, but with over a half-season's worth of actual data and information at our fingertips, it's a little easier to make those decisions.
By detailing both negative and positive regression candidates, the hope is that we will uncover some of the truths behind what we've seen so far this year.
Negative Regression Candidates
Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys
Dallas, we may have a problem.
With Tyrod Smith missing the last two weeks due to injury, the Cowboys have been an absolute mess. How bad? Take a look at quarterback Dak Prescott's numbers, which include passing for a combined 321 yards with no touchdowns and 3 interceptions while being sacked 12 times.
While losing Ezekiel Elliott certainly hurts, it's the offensive line woes that are really to blame. If Smith can't return this week, expect Dak to continue struggling. If there is a silver lining, however, he may be aiming to play on Turkey Day.
Philadelphia Eagles Running Backs (Jay Ajayi, LeGarrette Blount, Kenyon Barner, Corey Clement)
This team is on an absolute roll, but if you can figure out the rushing situation in Philadelphia, good luck.
The Eagles ran the ball a bunch in a blowout win over Dallas, they just didn't provide us with any clarity on who to own. Three different running backs each saw six carries or more, and the touchdowns were scored by Corey Clement and Kenjon Barner. Woof.
Due to this lack of clarity and difficulty predicting the touches here, it's difficult to roster any of them right now, which is unusual to say for a 9-1 team.
Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers
With Hundley starting the last four games, Nelson has almost become irrelevant: 21 targets, 10 receptions, 92 receiving yards, and no touchdowns. Last season's overall WR2 in half-point PPR leagues, Nelson now sits as WR32 in 2017. Expect that to keep falling as the season progresses unless his situation changes.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Among the 53 wide receivers with 50 targets or more, Stefon Diggs has been an absolute beast. Using our Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) per target metric, Diggs ranks second among that group with a 0.97 mark.
There's been a changing of the guard for the Minnesota Vikings over the past two weeks, though, and teammate Adam Thielen has taken over WR1 duties. Check out their respective production during that time.
Positive Regression Candidates
Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans
Week 11 signaled breakout potential in the Houston Texans backfield, as D'Onta Foreman looked fantastic in ripping off two scores. Sadly, as he found the end zone for the second time, he injured his Achilles and likely will miss the remainder of this year.
Lamar Miller still received 26 touches and scored a touchdown last week, and he's currently the RB12 in half-point PPR leagues. But now that Foreman is forced to the sideline, his touches in the backfield are now up for grabs. Miller and the Texans are set to face the Baltimore Ravens, who have been ferocious against the pass, but rank only 17th against the run, per our metrics.
Corey Coleman, WR, Cleveland Browns
Last week was certainly no easy matchup for Corey Coleman to return to -- our metrics tab the Jacksonville Jaguars as the NFL's best pass defense. Despite that, Coleman still posted a strong 6-catch, 80-yard receiving day on 11 targets.
He and the Cleveland Browns will be heavy underdogs in Week 12 -- meaning that a pile of work could come Coleman's way in a negative game script. Couple that with the Cincinnati Bengals' suspect pass defense -- which ranks 21st in our passing metrics -- and the young wideout could continue to be on the rise.
Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
It had been a struggle for Keenan Allen heading into Week 11. He hadn't scored since Week 1, but he was still seeing plenty of volume, as he ranked eighth in both targets and reception across the league.
But then he broke out last Sunday, scoring twice and topping 100 receiving yards for the third time this year. A quick look at the Los Angeles Chargers' schedule shows us that Allen's production could skyrocket even further. Following a Week 12 matchup against the Cowboys and their 20th-ranked pass defense, he'll close the year out against teams all ranked in the bottom half of our passing metrics (the Browns, Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets, and Oakland Raiders).
Vernon Davis, TE, Washington Redskins
If you are on the carousel ride that is being a Jordan Reed owner, grab a puke bucket -- he is fantastic when he suits up, but also misses a ton of time. Not only did he not play in Week 11, but he also did not practice yesterday. He's only played in six games this year, and with a short week on tap due to their Thanksgiving Day matchup, he could be sitting on the sideline once again.
Enter Vernon Davis, who is the TE13 in half-point PPR leagues. Thanks to injuries to Reed and Terrelle Pryor, the veteran tight end has picked up the slack -- Davis has caught 10 passes for 143 yards over his past two games. There's plenty of volume to go around in Washington, too, as Kirk Cousins ranks third in the NFL in passing yards and seventh in passing touchdowns.
Let's also not forget that the Giants have been a sieve to opposing tight ends, giving up the most points to the position this season.