Fantasy Football: Regression Candidates Through Week 10
We've hit the double-digit mark on the NFL schedule. It's hard to believe. The horror.
After nine 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 trying to predict what will unfold once the action starts, but now we can 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
Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants
Over the last four weeks, would you believe me if I told you that Daniel Jones was QB8?
Certainly buoyed by an impressive four-touchdown passing performance, his second of the year, Jones has been on fire as of late.
But that hot play may not be something he can sustain. If we look at Jones in terms of Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, it's not pretty. Among passers with 100 or more drop backs, he ranks second-worst among at a mark of -0.08, and his Passing Success Rate of 42.55% shows he hasn't been all that much better, either.
After his Week 11 bye, he has the unfortunate task of facing a Chicago Bears defense on the road, so don't bet on continued big weeks from Jones.
Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
Unfortunately, like Jones, the advanced data doesn't support Allen maintaining this play. His Passing NEP per drop back of 0.04 is 11th-worst in the league, and his 43.79% Passing Success Rate mark is 10th-worst.
While the Miami Dolphins are a tasty matchup this week, Buffalo will face three top-11 -- per our metrics -- pass defenses in the Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, and Denver Broncos in the upcoming weeks.
While Allen's rushing ability certainly provides a nice floor, he's unlikely to stick as an elite option at the position
Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
Keeping up with the theme of what have you done for me lately, Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans has been outstanding recently, racking up nearly 80 fantasy points over the last four weeks to claim his status as the standard-league RB4 for the season.
Henry's numbers are heavily influenced by a monster Week 10 effort against the Kansas City Chiefs -- 23 carries, 188 rushing yards, and 2 scores.
Unfortunately, that's where the high praise stops. Among the 25 running backs with 100 or more carries, he ranks only 14th so far this in Rushing NEP per carry (-0.02), and he is only 15th in Rushing Success Rate (39.6%).
With only 13 catches this year, he is virtually a non-factor in the passing game, and Henry will need a lot more monster efforts on the ground game to keep producing as a top-five back.
Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions
In recent weeks, Kenny Golladay has been absolutely beasting out, roasting secondaries for four touchdowns, including scoring grabs in each of the last three weeks.
There's some major red flags here, though. First off, Matthew Stafford is day-to-day with broken bones in his back, which means Jeff Driskel could be the man under center for the Detroit Lions for a few games. That ain't great.
There's also some issues before we even address who is the Lions' signal caller. While the scoring prowess is outstanding, Golladay has only 14 catches over the last four weeks, so there isn't huge volume there. He's been propped up by some flukey touchdown numbers.
Expect Golladay to start sliding soon, especially if Stafford stays on the shelf.
Positive Regression Candidates
Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders
But here they are, and Derek Carr is a huge reason for that. Want proof? Despite posting only average fantasy stats, from an efficiency perspective, Carr has been outstanding. He ranks sixth in both Passing NEP per drop back and Passing Success Rate, and his schedule down the stretch is a dream.
In back-to-back weeks starting in Week 11, he faces the Cincinnati Bengals, who rank 31st against the pass, and the New York Jets, who we have pegged 26th. Expect an uptick in raw numbers for Carr, and he's a great streaming play these next two weeks.
Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers
Despite ranking as fantasy's RB3 this season in half-point-per-reception formats, there is actually room for growth for Jones. Say what?
Look at Jones' rushing volume -- over the last four weeks, despite ranking as the RB2 in that span, Jones is only 21st in carries. And efficient? Heck yeah, he is. Among ball carriers with 100 or more carries, Jones (barely) trails only Dalvin Cook with a clip of 0.12 Rushing NEP per rush.
Of course, if the Packers keep splitting work between Jones and Jamaal Williams, which they seem stuck on doing, Jones will need to keep scoring touchdowns at a high rate to remain an RB1. But if Green Bay gave Jones more carries, he could raise his production to even another level.
Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts
One guy who hasn't been afraid of a heavy workload is Marlon Mack, and if he can find the end zone more consistently, he will be a monster down the fantasy stretch.
With Jacoby Brissett missing some time, the Indianapolis Colts' offensive attack has leaned heavily on their running back as he's racked up 77 carries over the last four weeks. But he's been able to find the end zone only one time.
In Week 11, he also gets the benefit of a Jacksonville Jaguars team that ranks 21st against the run. After that, he'll take on a J.J. Watt-less Houston Texans D that has been pretty mediocre, ranking 14th versus the ground game.
The Colts, overall, sport a run-heavy offense with a 1.14 pass-to-run ratio, so look for Mack, fifth in Rushing Success Rate (45.51%), to see better fantasy days ahead once he gets some positive regression in the scoring department.
Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears
Things have to get better soon for Allen Robinson, right?
Despite being tied to one of the worst quarterbacks in the league in Mitchell Trubisky, who has posted a -0.01 Passing NEP per drop back and 42.53% Passing Success Rate, Robinson has seen plenty of work.
Since Week 7, Robinson ranks second in the NFL in targets (37), and he's blessed with some gorgeous matchups on the horizon. The Los Angeles Rams (19th versus the pass), New York Giants (25th), Detroit Lions (16th), and Dallas Cowboys (22nd) are all on the docket for the next four games.
If Trubisky can even moderately improve his play against these week pass defenses, Robinson could be a real difference maker down the stretch.