Fantasy Football: Regression Candidates Through Week 12
We've hit the final five weeks of the NFL season. Final five!
After 12 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
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
Alright Aaron Rodgers, maybe you could have told me to relax after last week, but your poor run of play is starting to get a bit disconcerting. After monster Week 8 and Week 9 performances, Rodgers has thrown up some stinkers, clocking 13 or fewer fantasy points in three consecutive weeks.
The clunker against the San Francisco 49ers is absolvable -- thats a ferocious defensive unit -- but the others aren't as defensible.
Presumed to be a premier signal-caller, Rodgers ranks only 14th among passers with 150 or more drop backs in terms of Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) with a mark of 0.17.
And the schedule? It ain't doing him any favors, fam. In the upcoming weeks, which are critical to consider in your fantasy football playoffs, Rodgers will take aim at the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings, which all rank 12th or better against the pass via our per-play metrics.
Expect Rodgers to be tough to roster down the stretch in 2019.
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
Is Tom Brady simply just a name at this point?
If you're rostering him as a QB1 in a standard scoring format, beware -- he's probably not that guy any more. While he checks in as QB11 in overall points scored, recent memory has been kind of ugly. He hasn't broken 20 fantasy point since Week 6 this season, and he's only broken 13 fantasy points once in the last five starts.
The advanced metrics? Like Rodgers, they aren't good. Among that same group of quarterbacks, he ranks only 18th in Passing NEP per drop back (0.10).
Presumably, the volume is there for a Brady rebound -- he's hit 35 or more pass attempts in each of his last contests. But he just may be riding off into the sunset as he doesn't seem all that efficient in the twilight of his career.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
A repeat offender on the list, things aren't getting any better, or easier, for Ezekiel Elliott any time soon.
Now with three rough games in a row, Elliott has only logged 178 rushing yards over his last three games. His Rushing NEP per carry mark of 0.02 continues to slide, and it may not get easier -- in your fantasy playoffs, both the Los Angeles Rams (eighth against the run) and Chicago Bears (sixth) are looming.
The Buffalo Bills, this week's opponent, could allow him to bounce back, but it may be a short-term aberration. Don't expect banner performances from the league's RB8 any time soon.
DJ Chark, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Raise your hand if during the preseason, you had D.J. Chark as fantasy's WR4 as we head into Week 13? Oh, you too?
Okay, so maybe not. Chark has himself an impressive 2019 campaign so far thanks to eight touchdown grabs. But let's pump the brakes on him finishing with top-five status as some major red flags abound.
The offense isn't efficient -- from a passing perspective, we rank it as the 22nd-best attack through the air. Nick Foles sports only a 0.08 Passing NEP per drop back so far this season, so it's no surprise this isn't a major passing offense.
It's also a team that wants to run the football -- their 1.57 pass-to-run ratio places them in the middle of the pack. Chark's 22.2% target market share is a solid mark, but all signs point to a fade occurring quickly.
Positive Regression Candidates
Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Look, if you're all out once I typed the name Jameis Winston, I totally get it.
Here's the ugly -- 20 interceptions so far this season. It's not a matter of if he'll toss an interception but a matter of when. He's turning the ball over at an alarming rate.
But if you are looking at him for DFS purposes, or you aren't severely punished by those picks, Winston makes sense. He's chucking it a ton, ranking second in the league in passing yards (3,391). He's third in the league in passing touchdowns (22), and the team sports a healthy 1.68 pass-to-run ratio.
Dating back to Week 6, Winston has recorded 40 or more pass attempts in every game except last week's win, so if you need help at the QB slot, don't sleep on a guy currently ranked only as QB10.
Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
It's easy to say that Josh Allen is a top quarterback due to his rushing floor -- and quite frankly, we can't ignore it. Allen's 387 rushing yards and 7 rushing scores are nothing to scoff at.
But, that also ignores that Allen is pretty sufficient as a passer, too. While he's tossed only 15 touchdown passes, he's averaged 33 pass attempts over the last three contests.
He also gets the benefit of squaring up with a Dallas Cowboys defense that ranks 18th against the pass. Ignore Allen at your own risk.
Mark Ingram, RB, Baltimore Ravens
If only there was a little more rushing volume, Mark Ingram may not rank down at RB9. If his efficiency is anything to track, it may not be that low soon.
While Ingram only has 151 carries on the season -- thanks to a guy named Lamar Jackson stealing part of the show -- he's been hyper efficient when he totes the rock. Among all runners with 75 or more carries, Ingram ranks fourth in terms of Rushing NEP per rush at 0.11.
And this is obviously a good rushing offense. Not only are they committed to it, rocking a 0.83 pass-to-run ratio, but they check in as the league's best overall offense and rushing offense.
Don't fret about the low number of carries, and if the volume can rise, he may be a top-five back by season's end.
DJ Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers
Dude has been absolutely ballin', even if he ranks only as WR15 on the season. But that ranking could be dust soon if he keeps up his current run of form.
Moore's 905 receiving yards ranks fifth in all of football, but his three touchdown grabs leave a little bit more to be desired. Don't worry, his 25.1% target market share showcases he's clearly a favorite, even in an offense that includes a stud like Christian McCaffrey.
And they like to sling the rock -- their 1.62 pass-to-run ratio means they want to throw the football, and Moore is a big part of it. Expect him to be fantasy gold down the stretch.