Fantasy Football: Regression Candidates Through Week 8
Week 9. Some teams haven't even played their bye, which means half of their regular season schedule is already gone. The horror.
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
Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
From an efficiency perspective, Wilson ranks fifth among the 32 quarterbacks with 100 or more drop backs in terms of Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back (0.29) -- and his Passing Success Rate of 52.79% shows he has been ballin' out.
Wilson's 17 TD tosses lead the league, but given his team pace (bottom half in both overall and situation-neutral) and their paltry 1.07 pass-to-run ratio, the scores may drop off. If so, he could fall out of the top spot soon.
Mark Ingram, RB, Baltimore Ravens
Clocking in as RB12 in half-point per reception leagues, despite already playing through his bye week, Mark Ingram of the Baltimore Ravens has been vital in leading his team to the top of the AFC North division.
While Ingram has been efficient this season with a Rushing NEP per carry mark of 0.11 -- good for 4th among running backs -- his scores seem to be an outlier. He only has 99 carries on the year (17th), and while the Ravens love to run the rock -- running it the third-most in the league -- Lamar Jackson and Gus Edwards have swiped 135 carries from the running back.
From a pass-game perspective, Ingram ranks a minute eighth in targets on the team (12), so he isn't a big part of the offense here. Touchdown-dependent and facing a fierce matchup against the New England Patriots, expect Ingram to start backsliding.
Tyrell Williams, WR, Oakland Raiders
He's only played five games this season, but you may not notice that low watermark given that Tyrell Williams is averaging 14.1 points-per-game currently in 2019.
However, that's a heavily touchdown-dependent mark. He's scored one touchdown in each game this year, and his 15.4 yards-per-catch mark shows he has big-play ability.
The problem is the volume -- oh that sweet, sweet volume, or lack thereof. Oakland ranks seventh-worst in pass-to-run ratio (1.20), they play slow (31st in pace), and their upcoming schedule is brutal. They face the Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee Titans, and New York Jets in three of the next five games, all of whom rank in the bottom half of the league in points allowed to opposing passing attacks.
He's been brilliant so far this year, but don't expect that touchdown streak to continue.
Eric Ebron, TE, Indianapolis Colts
After a monster 2018, who didn't see some regression coming for Eric Ebron?
What's scary is that currently, as a fringy TE1, Ebron may still be regressing further. Peep this -- the Indianapolis Colts have clearly become a run-focused offense with a 1.13 pass-to-run ratio, limiting Ebron's upside.
While his three touchdowns are an outstanding note at a tough-to-roster position, Ebron may not be standing up as high soon.
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 rookie -- Kyler Murray and this fast-paced offense could be rising fast, despite 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 quickly, especially given his running prowess.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Do not worry, Leonard Fournette owners, it's coming. Our messiah is nigh.
After a week 8 win that saw Fournette pile up 76 rushing yards and 60 receiving yards, he has now cracked the century mark in terms of yardage from the line of scrimmage in five consecutive contests. He also lost an apparent goal-line score last week, and that's really Fournette's only holdback.
He ranks as the RB5, despite just a single score on the year. He leads the league in rushing attempts, clocks in second in rushing yards, and plays in an offense that ranks as the ninth-heaviest rushing attack (1.25 pass-to-run ratio).
It may be frustrating to own the Jags runner, but he could be cracking into the top-3 soon.
Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
It's fun to say that things are slightly tumultuous, at best, with the Cincinnati Bengals.
What may surprise you is that the wideout ranks third in the league in targets (83), sixth in catches (51), but has only hit paydirt once this season. Cincinnati also ranks second in pass-to-run ratio (2.45), and it's fair to question whether this passing attack remains the same with a new signal-caller.
Regardless, the negative game script they are often in plays to a pass-heavy attack, and coming out of the bye is no different -- they will face the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens.
Look for Boyd's unlucky streak to end 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.