Fantasy Football: Regression Candidates Through Week 7
Want to feel all of the sads? Try realizing that we are starting Week 8 in the NFL. It's nearly halfway through!
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
Jacoby Brissett, QB, Indianapolis Colts
Did Andrew Luck really leave a potential Super Bowl-winning team?
He may have, and Jacoby Brissett has stepped in and performed like a beast. His 14 touchdown passes ranks fourth in the NFL, and it's a big reason he's been fantasy relevant.
Let's pump the breaks a bit here, though. In terms of overall passing volume, this ain't Jacoby's cup of tea. He ranks only 19th in the NFL in overall drop backs, and the Colts rank as the fourth-slowest team in the NFL in situation-neutral pace.
From an efficiency perspective, Brissett ranks 16th in Passing Success Rate among the 32 quarterbacks with 100 or more drop backs, and he ranks 9th in terms of Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back (0.22).
The touchdowns have been great, but seem unlikely to continue.
Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers
Clocking in as RB4 in half-point per reception leagues, Aaron Jones has been a big reason the Green Bay Packers have gotten off to a white-hot start this season, and he is tied for the league lead in touchdowns so far.
While has been efficient this season with a Rushing NEP per carry mark of 0.06 -- good for 13th among running backs -- though the workload is a bit concerning. Jones ranks only 12th in rushing attempts and 10th in targets, and it's not a particularly pass or run-heavy offense -- they sit smack in the middle with a 1.46 pass-to-run ratio.
It's an offense that's humming along overall (ranked fourth in the league), but unless Jones secures a larger workload or the team works more quickly with a heavier run game emphasis, he is not likely to stay as a top-5 back.
Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots
This New England Patriots juggernaut surely is a fun one to watch -- and Sony Michel was a big part of that Week 7 blowout, racking up three scores on the ground. Is this a harbinger of things to come?
It ain't looking great. Michel has topped 20 carries only twice this season, and he has yet to hit the century mark as a runner this season. There's definitely quite a few mouths to feed in this Pats backfield.
While the Week 8 opponent for the Patriots, the Cleveland Browns, allow 132 rushing yards per game, Michel owns the third-worst success rate among runners with 75 or more carries. Touchdown dependent so far, Michel isn't likely to repeat these types of Week 7 efforts.
Phillip Dorsett, WR, New England Patriots
With a whopping 4 scores already on only 18 catches, Phillip Dorsett has been performing well as a member of the Patriots.
But clearly, this pace is unlikely to continue. Even with a strong 11.9 PPG average (Dorsett has missed two contests), the top-10 wide receivers in terms of catches are averaging a score once every 13.9 grabs. Dorsett, at one score per every 4.5 catches, is blowing that mark out of the water.
And this situation just got a whole lot murkier -- as the Patriots acquired Mohamed Sanu this week, firing him in to the mix with Dorsett, Josh Gordon, and Julian Edelman, it's hard to envision things perk up for Dorsett.
Expect his scoring prowess to slow down quite a bit.
Positive Regression Candidates
Philip Rivers, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
Currently ranking as QB18, or a streamer at the very best, Philip Rivers is playing like a shell of his former self. Is this what we should expect for the rest of the campaign?
Cheer up, if you own him at least -- things should be percolating soon. Despite a pass-happy offense that ranks third in pass-to-run ratio (2.00), Rivers has tossed a mediocre 12 touchdown passes this year.
Rivers clocks in fourth in overall drop backs (319), and his 0.19 Passing NEP per drop back mark has also been pretty efficient. If you are looking for someone to rebound, peep Rivers.
Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals
A second quarterback that could be shooting up our lists is a rook -- Kyler Murray and this fast-paced offense could be rising fast, depsite a mash unit at the running back position.
We were promised an Air Raid offense with Kliff Kingsbury taking over, and so far, the @arizona cardinals have not disappointed. They rank first in overall pace and second in situation-neutral pace, and Murray has dropped back to pass fifth-most in the NFL.
With only seven touchdown passes to his name, given the volume and pace of this offense, those numbers are bound to pick up -- look for Murray to be in the top-5 QB conversation, especially given his running prowess, quickly.
Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Quietly sitting as RB11 so far this season, would it surprise you to know that Chris Carson has been one of the league's best runners as of late?
Carson's -0.10 Rushing NEP per carry is certainly ugly, but in his last four games, he's been far better. He's topped 20 carries for four straight games, and he's posted a 51.1% Rushing Success Rate over that time frame -- which would be the best mark in the league among runners with 75 or more rushes.
With only two scores, Carson doesn't stand out so far, but he could be movin' on up fast.
Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams
With an expectation that signal-caller Jared Goff's play is likely going to improve, his wide receiving corps should be the beneficiary -- and no one seems more primed to explode than Robert Woods.
Owning not a single touchdown catch this season, Woods has been part of an offense that loves to pass -- and his 58 targets (ninth) reflect just that. He also ranks second on the team in target market share (19.9%).
While he is flirting with WR2 territory, ranking as the WR23 currently, that's bound to be on the rise. With the Bengals clearly struggling to defend the pass, look for Goff and Woods to get on track in Week 8.
We project the Rams to be the highest-scoring team on Week 8's main slate, so get yourself some exposure to Woods and Goff.
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.