Last year I found that while it may be difficult to project touchdowns year-over-year, touchdowns usually regress to the mean based on a Wide Receiver’s targets and receiving yards. Every year there are outliers who catch touchdowns at a higher or lower rate than one would expect based on their targets and yards in that season. Perception about a player’s ability to score touchdowns — and thus score fantasy football points — may be drastically skewed if their actual touchdowns doesn’t align with their expected number.
In Part 1 of this WR touchdown regression article series, we’ll look at the Wide Receivers who scored at a lower rate than expected, and thus who we can expect to score more touchdowns in 2019, assuming their targets and yards remain the same.
Last year, this methodology helped us identify Julio Jones (three TDs in 2017; eight in 2018), Michael Thomas (five in 2017; nine in 2018), and Adam Thielen (four in 2017; nine in 2018) as three of our five favorite positive touchdown regression candidates.
As an update to last year’s touchdown regression equation, below is the RotoViz Screener output for the correlation between targets and receiving yards with receiving touchdowns, from 2011-2018 for WRs with at least 50 targets.
Expected reTDS = 0.271 + (-0.012 * Total reRTGS) + (0.007 * Total reYDS)
Wide Receivers Who Scored Fewer Touchdowns Compared to Expectation
The following are WRs who saw 50-plus targets in 2018 and underperformed their predicted touchdown total by at least 1.0 touchdowns.