Regression Candidates Through Week 4: Betting on Teddy
The crazy narratives that accompany the NFL UK games every year have gotten sillier and sillier over the eight years that the program has existed. This year, along with the usual calls that the average UK citizen is obsessed with American football and the NFL wants their own franchise in London, we're now hearing that the NFL has spoken to City of London authorities about building a permanent NFL stadium in the heart of the nation’s capitol.
I love Queen Liz’s corgis and Earl Grey tea as much as any American can, but this is just craziness.
From tax questions to living situations for players, to travel costs, to the fact that the NFL can’t even get clearance from Los Angeles authorities to build a stadium, will they really get international red tape cleared that fast? There are still so many questions that to insinuate we’ll soon have a regular NFL team in the “Wembley neighbourhood” seems just ridiculous right now.
Let’s all breathe, put down the Union Jacks and fish n’ chips, and let the real enjoyment of an international game be the story for these games. Let the excitement regress back to average on our “God Save the Queen” patriotism and, in the meantime, let’s figure out which NFL players are also due for a regression in the wake of Week 4.
The Eliza Doolittles: Fantasy Underachievers
Teddy Bridgewater doesn’t need a Henry Higgins to shape him into “My Fair Lady” either, as the Vikings’ rookie signal-caller has come out of the gates looking every bit a professional already. With only 52 drop backs thus far, Bridgewater has already accumulated more Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) than Russell Wilson, Nick Foles, and Jay Cutler in 2014. Even more compelling, Bridgewater’s average fantasy point week so far is around 15.0 points, a QB14 in fantasy scoring; a good floor to have.
However, his Passing NEP on a per drop back basis (0.32) puts him third behind only Philip Rivers and Andrew Luck among quarterbacks this year. Teddy is something special - grab him quickly if you can.
Where we tend to find value among the running backs is in a talented player putting up good value who just is not getting a great volume of touches. This remains the same this week, as our back of choice is Jacquizz Rodgers, our 12th-ranked back by Rushing NEP per attempt. Quizz is currently 56th among all backs in fantasy in points per game, as his talent continues to be buried in a muddy committee in Atlanta. To be fair, his Reception NEP is well below his usual mark (-0.22), but I don’t expect that to remain that poor for long, as he is a natural receiver.
Putting another Vikings rookie in here, Jerick McKinnon is somehow available in one of my leagues. He’s currently a top-25 back by Rushing NEP per attempt, just dropped 14 points in standard scoring, and now gets to face the leaky Green Bay Packers’ defense. With only Matt Asiata in front of him, McKinnon’s workload figures to increase fairly soon.
Go figure, another Viking comes in here. Jarius Wright was the primary receiver for the Vikings this week, with 13 fantasy points on 10 targets. While he doesn’t have the kind of upside Cordarrelle Patterson brings to the table, Wright does have a similar small possession receiver skill set like Greg Jennings, and Jennings hasn’t been as effective as he could be lately. There are touches available in this offense, especially if Teddy is the real deal. Wright is currently 21st in Reception NEP per target, but just 69th in average fantasy points.
Jace Amaro, the rookie tight end for the Jets, comes in at 34th in average fantasy scoring among tight ends, but we have him as a solid backup tight end option, inside the top-20 at the position according to NEP. Geno Smith has been a much better passer this season, and the quality of targets he’s providing to his weapons is showing in their production. Amaro should continue to rise at least a bit for your fantasy teams.
Also take a peek at Dwayne Allen. We’ve liked him a lot here at numberFire, but the guy is still being criminally underused right now, posting the sixth-highest tight end Reception NEP on a per target basis (five receptions or more), while only ranking as the 11th tight end in fantasy scoring on a weekly basis.
The Austin Powers’: Fantasy Overachievers
Nick Foles has not been good. At all. You may see his 14th-place rank in average fantasy scoring right now and think he’s a viable candidate for your starting lineup, but you shouldn’t. Sure, before Week 4’s three-point showing against San Francisco, Foles had put up scores of 14, 17, and 26. Those were against Jacksonville, Indianapolis, and Washington; not exactly defensive stalwarts. Add in shaky offensive line play and a per drop back Passing NEP rank of 24th, and I’m looking to trade Foles right now if I can.
Here’s a fun game: which top three running back in average weekly points, who also scored two touchdowns last week, still doesn't deserve to be at the top of our boards? The answer: Giovani Bernard. I’ve never been a huge fan of his, but the gap between his RB3 average fantasy production and his 40th-place rank in Rushing NEP per attempt is pretty shocking. One could argue his receiving value makes him a better bet, but his Reception NEP per target also only ranks 18th among all running backs. By no means is he worthless, and by no means do you drop him. But I do wouldn’t consider him a surefire yearlong top option.
Another Eagle… I’m beginning to see patterns. Jeremy Maclin has put up a monstrous fantasy point total, and is currently sixth among wide receivers in fantasy points scored on a weekly average. He currently ranks 39th among wide receivers with 10 or more receptions in the Reception NEP metric on a per target basis. Part of this is due to the fact that he’s seen the second-most targets of any wide receiver this season (46), but he hasn’t converted these looks into much production, and has caught less than half of his targets (20). There is some inflated value here with Maclin and most of the Eagles’ passing game that I would try to sell on immediately if I could.
Last, and maybe least - not that you were super-invested in him anyway (unless, like me, you have him in two dynasty leagues; so, no big deal) - we have Jared Cook just isn’t that good. This is just your usual friendly reminder that, well, he’s pretty darn mediocre. Cook is currently a borderline startable tight end in fantasy, ranking 14th in weekly average scoring at the position. He falls at 28th in the Reception NEP metric on a per target basis. I’m sure you already knew that, though, as you all are proper ace.
Cheerio, good luck in Week 5, and pip pip!