10 Regression Candidates and Backfield Changes

Hayden Winks
Rotoworld

10 Regression Candidates

A pass-catcher’s usage (targets and/or air yards) this week is a decent predictor of next week’s fantasy performance. The following pass-catchers were either used more or used less than what their box score indicates, making them positive or negative regression candidates:

1. Calvin Ridley was good this week. He had a 6-85-1 receiving line. But it could’ve been a much bigger game. Ridley just missed a long touchdown and ended with a career-high 14 targets along with 189 air yards. That’s elite WR1-level usage, and Ridley gets the Saints next week, who he has shredded in his young career. If Devonta Freeman and Austin Hooper continue to miss games, Ridley belongs in the WR1/2 discussion with awesome upside. 

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2. DeVante Parker finished with a respectable 13.0 PPR points, but it could’ve been a much bigger day. The Dolphins’ clear-cut No. 1 receiver had 10 targets and 109 air yards while, once again, playing in catch-up mode. Parker has been an upside WR2/3 without Preston Williams stealing downfield targets. He has underrated upside against the Eagles in Week 13. 

3. Terry McLaurin left the most air yards on the table this week by only managing 72 receiving yards on 210 air yards. The air yards smashed his previous high (143), as did his targets (12 to 10). McLaurin, of course, won’t convert his opportunities at the same rate as other receivers because he’s on the Redskins, but McLaurin remains an upside flex play. He gets the Panthers next. 

4. DK Metcalf nearly came down with a couple of deep plays but was left with a 3-35-0 receiving line on Sunday. Metcalf’s WR3-level usage (six targets and 107 air yards in Week 12) along with Russell Wilson’s eliteness make the rookie receiver a bounce back candidate next week against the Vikings at home. 

5. Chris Conley is seeing the most underrated usage in fantasy football right now. Conley now has at least seven targets and 76 air yards in five-straight games after seeing nine targets and 176 air yards this week. Like McLaurin, Conley won’t convert the opportunity like other receivers, but he does have an underrated ceiling. The Jaguars will host the Bucs next week. 

6. Marvin Jones’ floor is a lot lower with Jeff Driskel at quarterback, but he can still hit a ceiling. In Week 12, Jones had the opportunities (11 targets and 162 air yards) for a big day and just fell short (5-46-0). The Lions’ No. 2 receiver should have bigger days ahead given his WR1/2-level usage, but he does face the Bears next week. 

7. Courtland Sutton was outplayed by CB Tre’Davious White in Buffalo on Sunday (1-27-0), but the Broncos kept giving him shots at making a play (8 targets and 120 air yards). It’s a good sign that Sutton is being forced targets even when things aren’t working. Sutton has between 6-9 targets in every game this season. He’ll go to work against CB Casey Hayward and the Chargers at home in Week 13. 

8. Jakobi Meyers paid off as a plug-and-play flex option on Sunday with a 4-73-0 receiving line, but he also left a lot of production on the rain-soaked field. Meyers ended with nine targets and 107 air yards, which were both the second-highest totals on the Patriots. It appears Tom Brady has more chemistry with Meyers than fellow rookie WR N’Keal Harry. If Mohamed Sanu (ankle) and Phillip Dorsett (concussion) are out, then Meyers would be a nice flex play in Houston next week. 

9. Tyrell Williams busted for two catches and 18 receiving yards against a below-average Jets’ secondary, but he at least saw six targets and 87 air yards in the blowout loss. Williams was a negative touchdown regression candidate heading into this game, but this was an overcorrection. Continue viewing Williams as a boom-or-bust flex play. The Raiders head to Kansas City next week. 

10. Ted Ginn was only targeted five times -- that’s not good -- but they were deep targets (32-yard average depth of target for a total of 160 air yards). Drew Brees hadn’t been taking many deep shots prior to today, so this was a potential good sign for both Ginn and Tre’Quan Smith moving forward as WR5 dart throws on a good offense. Ginn will be a cheap DFS tournament stacking option in Brees lineups against the Falcons next week.

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Potential Backfield Changes

SEAHAWKS - Chris Carson continued to have issues holding onto the rock. On Sunday, Carson had a fumble as a ball carrier and lost a fumble on an odd handoff exchange with Russell Wilson. Those goofs allowed Rashaad Penny to set a new season-high in carries (14). Penny paired the opportunity with his best performance of the year, rushing for 129 yards and one touchdown. The Seahawks had Carson’s back the last time he fumbled, but this is getting very serious. Carson’s floor is now a lot lower than it was entering the week. Pay attention to practice reports this week. There’s a non-zero chance Penny is a factor down the stretch. 

STEELERS - Jaylen Samuels was benched on Sunday. He only had two carries and three targets against the Bengals, while losing snaps to Benny Snell (21 carries), Kerrith Whyte (6 carries), and Trey Edmunds (2 carries). In terms of talent, I’m not sold on any of them, but it looks like Snell will be the runner and goal-line back moving forward whenever James Conner (shoulder) is out.

FALCONS -  Brian Hill was the starter, but he was awful once again, rushing for 14 yards on nine carries. Atlanta had no choice but to get rookie Qadree Ollison more involved. In fact, Ollison had a season-high eight carries, including another goal-line opportunity that he converted for a touchdown. With Ollison stealing looks, Hill can’t be in season-long lineups next week. It’s unclear if Devonta Freeman will return for Week 13 against the Saints.

LIONS - Bo Scarbrough handled 18 carries, further extending his grasp as the primary back. Ty Johnson only had four carries and two targets, while J.D. McKissic was limited to one carry and two targets. Scarbrough is a touchdown-dependent flex.

REDSKINS - Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice each had 10 carries and one reception on Sunday. It’s going to be an even timeshare moving forward, which keeps both backs out of starting season-long lineups. Chris Thompson (toe) is likely nearing a return, too. 

DOLPHINS - Kalen Ballage is awful, so Miami gave four carries to Myles Gaskin and three to fan favorite Patrick Laird. All three backs are off the table in season-long leagues, but we can all continue rooting for Laird.

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