Fantasy Football: Regression Candidates Through Week 6
The savviest fantasy owners know when players are due for regression – either positive or negative – and act upon that.
If an underperforming player is due for some highly productive weeks, smart owners will buy low and reap the benefits. On the same token -- if someone is overperforming and is primed to regress, shrewd owners will realize this and sell high.
Correctly anticipating regression is a massive key in dominating season-long leagues or even DFS lineups.
With that in mind, let’s look at some players that are primed for regression.
Positive Regression Candidates
Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback, Green Bay Packers
Four of the six teams the Packers have faced are inside the top-12 in terms of fewest fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. One of the other two teams – the Lions – currently have our fifth-ranked pass defense.
Fantasy owners are about to reap the benefits of drafting Aaron Rodgers, as four of Green Bay’s next seven opponents are bottom-12 in points allowed to the position.
Josh Allen, Quarterback, Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen hasn’t shown much of a ceiling this season … yet.
Before the bye, Allen faced two teams that are ranked inside the top-seven in defending the pass. A breakout could be in line as the Bills will go up against bottom-nine pass defenses in four of their next five games.
Josh Jacobs, Running Back, Oakland Raiders
This is a bit of a cheat, as the positive regression started for Josh Jacobs in the game prior to Oakland’s Week 5 bye. That said, there might still be a window for you to buy low on Jacobs, in which case, do it…now!
For the remainder of the fantasy season, Jacobs will go up against just one defense that is above average in terms of points allowed to the running back position. Included in that are five matchups with bottom-eight rush defenses.
Jacobs is seeing more of the workload, and given the upcoming schedule, Jacobs is a must-own.
DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receiver, Houston Texans
You’re probably tired of hearing that a breakout game is coming for DeAndre Hopkins … but it is coming.
Hopkins is on pace for 149 and 1,072 yards this season. Since 1992, 203 players have garnered 149 or more targets in a season, and only 26 of them had fewer yardage than what Hopkins is currently on pace for.
As of right now, Hopkins is on pace to produce a similar output as he posted with Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage at quarterback. The reality is, he and Deshaun Watson are too good of a combo for this to continue.
Hopkins could be in line to right the ship this week against a Colts team that he posted lines of 4/36/1, 10/169/1, and 6/86/1 in his last three games against.
After playing the Colts this week, Hopkins will see three consecutive below-average wide receiver defenses in terms of points allowed to the position.
T.Y. Hilton, Wide Receiver, Indianapolis Colts
Speaking of the Colts, after posting a line of just 4/37/0 in his last game against Kansas City, Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton is due for some positive regression. Hilton’s last five games against Houston include lines of 9/115/1, 5/175/2, 4/115/0, and 9/199/0. In fact, Hilton is averaging over 100 yards per game against the Texans over a huge 14-game sample size.
Starting with Houston this week, Hilton will square off against 7 below average wide receiver defenses over the next 10 games -- in terms of points allowed to the position. Positive regression is a good bet here.
Negative Regression Candidates
Patrick Mahomes, Quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs
Three of Patrick Mahomes’ six lowest career fantasy performances have come over the last three games. There are going to be some blowup opportunities in the near future, but there will also be a handful of letdowns on the way.
All but one of Kansas City’s remaining matchups are against teams that are top-12 in terms of points allowed to the quarterback position. Mahomes is as matchup-proof as it gets, but even matchup-proof has a limit.
If you can sell Mahomes for solid value, it wouldn’t be the worst idea.
Odell Beckham Jr, Wide Receiver, Cleveland Browns
People drafted Odell Beckham high based on the assumption that the upgrade at quarterback would take him to the next level. Instead, what they got was just two games with 75 or more yards and one touchdown all season to date.
Before things get better for OBJ, they could get a lot worse. Over their next three games, the Cleveland Browns face three of the four stingiest defenses to opposing receivers. With the bye this week and those games following it, that’s an absolutely brutal stretch for fantasy owners.
OBJ has the abilities to overcome any matchup, but he hasn’t shown that he’s capable of doing it this season. He’s a prime sell candidate right now.
Devonta Freeman, Running Back, Atlanta Falcons
Devonta Freeman is riding high right now, which makes it the perfect time to sell high.
The window to sell high likely isn’t closing just yet, as looming matchups with the Rams and Seahawks could prove to be fruitful for him. That said, after his Week 9 bye, Freeman will go up against six consecutive top-eight rush defenses in terms of points allowed to the position.
If you have Freeman on your roster once his bye hits, you could end up stuck with a player primed for regression.
Mark Andrews, Tight End, Baltimore Ravens
Mark Andrews started off the season blazing hot but has since cooled off a bit.
Due to the scarcity at the tight end position, Andrews could still be quite a valuable piece in fantasy trade talks – take advantage of that now.
In reality, Andrews hasn’t been in the top tier at the position since Week 2, and it’s about to get tougher for him.
Six of the seven games following Baltimore's Week 8 bye are against opponents who are inside the top-10 in defending tight ends – at least for fantasy purposes.
See if you can sell Andrews to a tight end-needy team – there are surely many of those in your league.