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8 Players Who Will Regress (Fantasy Football)

Aug 11, 2020

It is unlikely that Aaron Jones scores 19 touchdowns again in 2020

Being too reliant upon last year’s stats is one of the most common mistakes fantasy managers make during drafts. Doing so doesn’t allow you to properly account for which players will be hard-pressed to repeat their production from the previous season. If drafting was that simple, then Aaron Jones (last year’s RB2 in half-PPR leagues) would be an easy early first round pick and you could even make the case that Cooper Kupp (2019’s half-PPR WR4) should slide in as a top-12 overall pick, too. Heck, even the Patriots’ defense would be a no-brainer, early-round selection since they scored more fantasy points than every wideout not named Michael Thomas.

The point is that there are plenty of outliers every season, some of which are incredibly drastic. When evaluating these athletes, we must be realistic in determining what someone’s fantasy value truly is. With that being said, our featured analysts have named several players they expect to fall back towards the mean. Here are their top regression candidates at running back and wide receiver.

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Q1. Which RB do you expect to regress significantly in 2020 and why?

Aaron Jones (GB)
“Jones is the clear choice for me. His 19 touchdowns last season were tied for most in the league along with Christian McCaffrey’s 19. Jones finished as the RB2 last year in both PPR and half PPR with significant aid from his touchdown count, while his other statistics like rushing attempts, yards, yards per carry, and yards per game were all between 12th and 15th among running backs. With Davante Adams and potentially even A.J. Dillon getting more goal-line/red zone work, Jones’ touchdown count and overall fantasy value are sure to regress.”
– Justin Dodds (Locked In Football)

Aaron Jones is who I see regressing significantly in 2020. Last year, he saw a staggering 19 touchdowns rushing and receiving. Not only is touchdown regression coming, but he will have more competition in the backfield this year with rookie running back A.J. Dillon. No, Dillon is not going to take over, but there is now another body in the backfield that will take touches away from Jones.”
– Joe Bond (Fantasy Six Pack)

Derrick Henry (TEN) 
“There are three statements in fantasy this year for me: I’ll be in at least 12 leagues, Blake Jarwin will be on my roster in 80% of those leagues, and Derrick Henry won’t be in any of them. It really scares me to select him in the first round, especially in PPR. His value comes from having a monstrous workload (409 touches, including playoffs) and this screams ‘regression’ all over. In the last nine years, nine running backs have eclipsed the 1,500-rushing yard mark; none of them was able to finish with 1,350 yards the next season and they all averaged 1,080 yards. To think of Derrick Henry as a top-five option is to bet that the Titans are going to be in 2020 what they were in the second half last year. Are we really sure they are going to be that team? Henry has no upside in the passing game. He will not be able to compensate through the air for the imminent regression his numbers on the ground will face.”
– Mauricio Gutierrez (Estadio Fantasy)

Raheem Mostert (SF) 
“It pains me to say this as a Niners fan, but Mostert will have a tough time repeating his efficiency from 2019. He scored eight rushing touchdowns on 137 attempts, which means he scored on approximately every 17th carry. That was the second-highest rate among running backs who rushed at least 70 times last season (behind only Aaron Jones). As electric as Mostert is, that level of touchdown frequency just isn’t sustainable year to year.”
– Greg Smith (TwoQBs)

Mark Ingram (BAL) 
“Ingram should be the easy answer here. While he is a great running back and a perfect fit for this Ravens’ scheme, his numbers last year greatly exceeded expectations. For example, Ingram scored five receiving touchdowns on only 26 receptions in 2019. Those are unsustainable numbers and he now has significant competition in this backfield with J.K. Dobbins entering the mix. Ingram’s production is going to come crashing down this season.”
– Kyle Yates (FantasyPros)

Q2. Which WR do you expect to regress significantly in 2020 and why?

DeVante Parker (MIA) 
“Another player that I am avoiding at his actual cost is Parker. We waited patiently, well … some more than others, for the breakout season. Finally, he made it happen in his fifth year. In his first four years in the league, he had nine touchdowns, which was the same amount he scored last year. Are you smelling touchdown regression also? Yeah, and it stinks, actually. Preston Williams should be ready for Week 1. When Williams was on the field last season (Weeks 1 to 9), Parker averaged 11.5 points per game, while averaging 19.3 points per contest without Williams. Do not trust in Parker as a top-24 wide receiver option, even with Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns opting out.”
– Mauricio Gutierrez (Estadio Fantasy)

DeVante Parker is a wide receiver who I think will regress significantly. After finally having an amazing 2019, I’m not sure I completely buy it. A few things make me think this. One, he has been downright awful the first few seasons of his career. Two, at some point rookie Tua Tagovailoa will take over for Ryan Fitzpatrick. As much as I like Tagovailoa, he is still a rookie and that will impact Parker. The last thing is the return of Preston Williams, who actually had more targets than Parker in the first nine weeks before he got injured.”
– Joe Bond (Fantasy Six Pack)

Julian Edelman (NE) 
“Edelman finished as the PPR WR7 and half-PPR WR10 last season. Yes, you read that correctly. Edelman racked up 100 receptions on 153 targets last season, both of which are on par with his career record numbers. He will be without Brady’s 613 pass attempts and will have to develop chemistry in a shortened offseason with Cam Newton, who had a career-high pass attempt total of 517 set back in his rookie season nine years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I like Edelman; I think he can bring a solid floor to your flex/WR3 spot, but he’s most definitely not getting 100 receptions this season and there’s virtually no touchdown or big-play upside anymore. I like him where he’s being drafted currently (WR34), but don’t expect production anywhere close to last season’s.”
– Justin Dodds (Locked In Football)

Darius Slayton (NYG) 
“Slayton won’t live up to the hype this season. He’s going to face more competition for targets with Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, Evan Engram, and Saquon Barkley all healthier than they were last year. Plus, the quarterback play of Daniel Jones isn’t exactly inspiring in the first place, as Jones ranked outside the top 25 in yards per attempt, adjusted yards per attempt, and adjusted net yards per attempt among passers to start at least eight games in 2019. Even if we project growth for Jones in year two, from a touchdown efficiency perspective, Slayton isn’t likely to score once for every 10.5 targets like he did last year (eight touchdowns on 84 targets), so let someone else in your leagues overpay for his hyper-efficient 2019 stats.”
– Greg Smith (TwoQBs)

A.J. Brown (TEN) 
“Brown should regress significantly, but he’s still going to be a viable fantasy asset in 2020. This is simply looking at his production from last season and recognizing that averaging 20.2 yards per reception is unsustainable. While Brown can certainly take a step forward in the volume department, there’s no way he comes close to touching that ridiculous YPR number again in 2020.”
– Kyle Yates (FantasyPros)

Thank you to the experts for giving us their regression candidates. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter and subscribe to our podcast below for advice all year round.

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