Fantasy Football: Regression Candidates Through Week 5
Want to feel all of the sads? Try realizing that we are starting Week 6 in the NFL, and some teams are nearly 1/3 of the way through the season.
Taking that heavy heart in stride, after five weeks of the 2019 NFL regular season, savvy fantasy football owners are 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 we can now finally react to actual data and information.
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
Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Just when you think that Jameis Winston is turning a corner, he drops another stink bomb on you as he showcased in Week 5.
So far this season among signal-callers with 75 or more drop backs, Winston ranks only 16th in Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back (0.16).
While Winston showed some prowess as a runner in the past, he's been non-existent in the run game this far.
This team is also one of the worst pass protectors in the league, allowing 18 sacks and ranking sixth-worst in adjusted sack rate.
It could be another bad day for Winston in Week 6.
Mark Ingram, RB, Baltimore Ravens
Here is the good -- Mark Ingram is still a boss, and he's been performing that way for the Baltimore Ravens so far in 2019. Already finding the end zone six times this year, Ingram has definitely been a solid fantasy asset.
But there are some warning signs, y'all. Among the top-20 running backs in terms of rushing, he has the fifth-lowest amount of targets. And despite being as strong as he has been, he has yet to top 20 carries, ranking 14th in the NFL.
While he faces a Cincinnati Bengals defense in Week 6 that's allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, Ingram could be backsliding soon, especially if he can't keep up this scoring pace.
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
As much as I'd love to tell you it's Julio Jones season, it may not be, fam.
Ranking as WR7, recent performance is just a bit scary. It's been back-to-back poor weeks, but what's particularly scary is the workload. Jones has always been a monster, but his 19.8% target market share in 2019 is rock bottom for Jones.
The Atlanta Falcons are still throwing the ball a ton,
Darren Fells, TE, Houston Texans
After a two scoring touchdown burst a week ago, is it time to buy in on Darren Fells?
For the season, Fells has a whopping nine catches for 90 yards and three scores. And despite that 15 point outburst a week ago, he owns a total of 13 targets this year. In fact, outside of one single contest this year, Fells has three or fewer targets in all of them. That's good for a crisp 5.6% target market share.
Fells hasn't broken 50 receiving yards yet this season either, so expect Week 5 be a blip on the radar screen.
Positive Regression Candidates
Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals
Murray checks in with only four touchdown passes this year, but he is buoyed by a solid 206 rushing yards, good for second-best among quarterbacks this year.
And that pace -- that sweet, sweet pace. The 'Birds rank second in overall pace (24.01 seconds per play), first in situation-neutral pace, and first in pace when leading by seven-plus points.
Expect some big weeks for Murray soon.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
The regression monster is coming, and for Leonard Fournette, that could be a very good thing.
Here's a list of players who should have 1 or more touchdown than they currently have so far this year based on their yardage total. Just a simple calculation of looking at the yards per touchdown ratio at each position over the last five years. Last week's list was lit. pic.twitter.com/e4U7BMS2o5
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) October 9, 2019
Fournette ranks as only RB10 so far this year, largely due to his single scoring touchdown.
But let's run down the positives -- he's been a beast with 512 rushing yards, and that's on the strength of high volume in the form of 95 carries (third-best in the NFL).
He's not the biggest factor in the passing game, but he's clearly the man in the rushing attack -- and a pretty efficient one, too.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
It seems odd not to have DeAndre Hopkins at the top of the wide receiver leaderboard, but here we are.
Not having found the end zone since Week 1, it could be easy to say this season is going off the rails. But that's categorically untrue. Hopkins owns a 27.5% target market share this season, and his floor has been other-worldly with seven-plus targets in every game.
He has also gone nuclear in his career on the Kansas City Chiefs, Houston's opponent this week. In four contests, he's posted 26 catches for 332 receiving yards and six scores.
If you're trying to find a week for Nuk to bounce back, this could be it.
Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
The demise of Zach Ertz has been greatly overstated, and you need to be ready to snap up as many shares as possible.
Currently, TE7 -- not a bad ranking in its own right -- Ertz finds himself in a bit of unfamiliar territory, given his finish as TE2 and TE3 the last two seasons.
Part of his low rank is due to his paltry one receiving touchdown this year, but that's not because of a lack of work -- he has a 25.1% target market share so far in 2019.
Expect Ertz to make his way back to his usual stature soon.
Matt Kupferle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matt Kupferle also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username MKupferle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.