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 don’t align with their expected number.
So far in this four-part touchdown regression article series, we discussed the 1. WRS primed to score more touchdowns in 2019, which includes a WR whose ADP has climbed nearly 20 spots since that article was published three weeks ago, 2. Fool’s Gold WRS due for positive TD regression who won’t actually score more, and 3. WRS that will experience negative TD regression, one of whom is a generational talent whose production may take a nose dive.
On 4th down, we’ll take a look at the WRS who are due for negative touchdown regression in 2019, but will actually continue to score a lot of touchdowns. These are WRS that may look like fades at the surface due to regression, but whose situations come together in a way that will allow them to sustain the production.
Wide Receivers Who Scored More Touchdowns Compared to Expectation in 2018
The following are WRs who saw 50-plus targets in 2018 and over-performed their predicted touchdown total by at least 1.0 touchdowns
WRS Who Will Continue to Beat Expectations
5. Chris Godwin
With DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries leaving town, the Buccaneers are missing the fourth most targets and the fourth most air yards, parting the seas for Chris Godwin to emerge as a full-time WR. With no running game to speak of, a porous defense leading to shootouts, condensed target share with only Mike Evans and O.J. Howard as real competition for targets, and a Bruce Arians’ vertical, pass-first offense, I’m buying the hype on the 96th percentile SPARQ-x athlete to fully break-out in 2019.
4. Curtis Samuel
While Samuel was previously a gadget player, he’s developed into a legitimate WR2 for the Panthers. Importantly for his 2019 outlook, RotoViz’s Projection Machine conservatively projects Samuel to see a 25-target bump in opportunity.
Even though some may think Samuel has a shot to lead the Panthers in receiving, RotoViz subscribers know that DJ Moore has that role secured. But it can be true that Moore is the true WR1-potential breakout candidate, and Samuel is a good buy in both dynasty and redraft.
3. Stefon Diggs
It’s only fitting that RotoViz’s favorite WR is a positive touchdown regression candidate, and RotoViz’s second favorite WR is one who will continue to sustain his touchdown scoring. The primary concern for Diggs is the run-first offense the Vikings want to implement. Following the firing of ex-OC John DeFilippo, the Vikings ran a slower pace and became more run-heavy (per the RotoViz Team Splits App).
While this is only a three game sample against slow-paced teams in the Dolphins, Lions, and Bears, team reports continue to express a desire to ground-and-pound. However, the Vikings have such a narrow target distribution that Diggs will still get his share even if the passing volume is limited. RotoViz projects Diggs to be just one-of-seven WRS to score 9-plus touchdowns.
Like Samuel, Diggs is undervalued in dynasty and the RotoViz Staff Rankers are much higher on Diggs compared to consensus, which speaks volumes when his ADP is already in the top-15 at the position.
2. Davante Adams & DeAndre Hopkins
Both were negative touchdown regression candidates last year as well, but Adams and Hopkins should not be compared to average WR metrics. Each have double-digit scores in back-to-back seasons, are tied to elite quarterbacks, have transcended back-up QB play, and will be league-leaders in target volume. In the above image, you can see RotoViz projects both Adams and Hopkins for double-digit touchdowns.
1. Calvin Ridley
Ridley is the most controversial name to make this list, as everyone in the fantasy football community will identify him as a WR that will experience significant negative touchdown regression. However, RotoViz readers will disagree with the herd here.
Ridley was a first-round pick and broke out as a rookie, which Blair Andrews has shown is a valuable cohort. Zero-RB guru Shawn Siegele makes the compelling case for why Ridley may be the next JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Pessimists use Ridley’s efficiency as an argument against him, stating that it has to regress. However, Blair Andrews showed that we can expect WRs who have positive efficiency in their rookie season to maintain that positive efficiency for at least the next two years.
That concludes this four part series of WR Touchdown Regression. Be sure to check out the ones you may have missed:
- 5 Wide Receivers Primed to Score More in 2019: Positive Touchdown Regression
- Fool’s Gold WRS: Positive Touchdown Regression Candidates Who Won’t Score More
- WRS That Will Score Less: Negative Touchdown Regression Candidates
Adjust your WR rankings, and dominate your drafts in the DRAFT Best Ball Championship:
- When Should You Enter Your DRAFT Best Ball Championship Teams? The Optimal Draft Month for Maximizing Points
- Zero RB Will Win Someone $1,000,000: NFL DRAFT Best Ball Championship Strategies
- The Roster Construction You Can Use In Every DRAFT Best Ball Championship Entry
- Best Ball Round Table, Part 1: Our 19 Favorite Players And The Surprising Position That Could Ruin Your Drafts
- Best Ball Round Table, Part 2: Our Favorite Hacks from the Roster Construction Explorer
- Best Ball Round Table, Part 3: How to Manage a Poor Draft Slot and Why 2019 Could Usher in a Fantasy Points Explosion