I’d like to say we saved the best for last, but unfortunately that’s not really the case. At least we’re not doing kicker regression candidates!
Why such disdain you might ask? The answer is because Fantasy TE value is pretty much TD-dependent. Therefore, every year most of the TEs are candidates to likely regress (up or down) towards the mean. Take a look at the Top 10 TEs each of the last five years. If you discount those named Rob Gronkowski or Greg Olsen, they are more likely to fall out of the Top 10 than remain in it. And even Gronkowski has seen his production resemble a heart monitor due to injury.
Nonetheless, it is still worth reviewing whom some of the TE regression candidates are because I’ve seen the ADP for some of the individuals below all over the place.
So you don’t make any mistakes, here are my Top 5 regression candidates, including one you probably didn’t expect.
Top 5 TE Regression Candidates
Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns
Yes, Barnidge is a regression candidate. Shocker!
A player that makes “the leap” at age 30 is going to be an obvious choice to regress closer to his career averages. I knew I was including him here. What I didn’t know, however, was actually how bad he was before this past year. I won’t belabor the point; I’ll let the stats speak for themselves. Here are his last four years:
And from one obvious candidate, we move to another:
Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals
If a player has caught two TDs his entire career and then jumps to over a dozen in one year, it is fair to expect some regression. And that’s assuming he’s 100% healthy. And he’s not, as he has already been placed on the PUP list.
So that’s WR Simonise now official, RB Mobley and DE Johnson let go, Eifert, Thompson, Wright to PUP, Maualuga out for non-football injury.
— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) July 26, 2016
The Jewish New Year will probably start before Eifert’s is worth inscribing in your lineup. It would not surprise me if he still gets drafted though, unlike….
Richard Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
My guess is that everyone knows how likely it is that Rodgers regresses and he goes undrafted in the majority of leagues. However, that doesn’t eliminate him as a regression candidate. Rodgers had eight TDs last year and was the definition of feast or famine, scoring 25% of his Fantasy points in two weeks. He might not even be his team’s starting TE this year and I’d expect a lot more famine.
Speaking of not being his team’s primary TE….
Benjamin Watson, Baltimore Ravens
After his career best year last year with the Saints, Watson signed a deal this offseason with Baltimore. Let’s ignore the potential argument of going from Drew Brees to Joe Flacco. The bigger issue of Watson wearing a Ravens uniform is that TE is one position the Ravens have covered pretty well.
First off, the Ravens have Dennis Pitta, who saw more than half a dozen touchdowns last time he was healthy, something Watson has never done. The Ravens also have Crocket Gillmore, who has had a better yard per catch each of his first two years than Watson has ever had. Throw in second year player Maxx Williams and things get very crowded.
I would love Watson to prove me wrong. He is also still a great bet to finish as a TE1, i.e. in the top dozen. But will he best the seventh best TE again? The regression probability is just too high.
That brings us to another TE I predicted to regress…
Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars
Julius Thomas is also an obvious candidate to regress this year. Positively that is.
Thomas finished as the 19th best TE last year while missing four games. Last year was his regression year. He might not ever see the years he had with Peyton Manning. But he should bounce back closer to his career averages. As Blake Bortles continues to mature, Thomas becomes more comfortable in Jacksonville’s system, and the “two Alans” continue to draw deep coverage, expect Thomas to capitalize.
Teal Julius might be my favorite TE regression candidate.
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