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With WRs seeing possibly more attention this preseason from the Fantasy community than they ever have before, you had better know who some of the top WR regression candidates are.

In the RB regression piece last week, regression was discussed in both directions. However, with the overwhelming amount of receivers having early-round worthy years last year, we will focus on those who will see negative regression.

The expected negative regression, however, does not necessarily imply that they will be busts. Many of these players should still have very solid seasons. But you can have a very solid season and still be a WR regression victim.

I honestly am not worried about any of these players. I’ll even add that three of the players below are on my number one keeper league team. And I am excited to keep them.

Piqued your interest? Here are some of my favorite WR regression candidates.

Top 5 WR Regression Candidates

Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks

I still think Baldwin catches 70-plus passes this year, has over 1,000 receiving yards, and catches 10 TDs. That’s still 230 Fantasy points, which is a pretty good season. But there is no player I would bet my life on to regress this year more than Baldwin. The 260 Fantasy points he scored last year is not happening.

Given that he failed to score 165 points in the previous two years, a jump like that screams regression. But recall that a regression is movement toward the mean and it might not be dramatic, but that is the direction Baldwin will move. He is still a worthy target at his current ADP around 50.

Speaking of target…

Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins

 

Landry had even more targets than Odell Beckham last year. Landry saw a whopping 167 targets last year. Not only was that the sixth most targets, but more importantly, that’s a jump of nearly 50-percent over the previous year. The year before he caught 112 targets and had only 758 yards.

He’s still a good bet for a 1,000 yards and lock for 75 or more receptions. Like Baldwin, those are pretty good numbers and he’s not touchdown dependent like Baldwin was last year. The floor is still pretty high, but last year is more indicative of the ceiling.

Unfortunately, the same is true for our next candidate.

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals

Fitzgerald also saw a pretty high level of targets, seeing the 10th most targets of any WR last year. Expect Michael Floyd to see 100 targets this year and John Brown to duplicate his 100 targets again. David Johnson should also see additional targets this year.

All that means is Fitzgerald’s target count is likely to drop over 15-percent. Projecting his stats to drop by 15-percent is to undermine Fitzgerald’s talent which way too many DBs have done over the years. But suppose his stat’s regress by 10-percent? He goes from a mid-range WR1 to a WR2. Not a dramatic drop, but one worthy of keeping in mind.

Which brings us to a WR1 who should remain a WR1, but should also see some regression…

DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans

 

I have already gone on record saying that I like Hopkins, but his price is way too high. As I said in that piece: “Hopkins saw a gazillion targets when the Texans started off on a horrible losing streak, but his target output dropped as the Texans defense began to keep them in games.”

See for yourself:

Target Totals Receptions Total Yards
Weeks 1-8 112 66 970
Week 9 Bye Bye Bye
Weeks 10-17 80 45 651
Split Index 71.4% 68.2% 74.8%

 

Yes, Hopkins saw a significant 127 targets the previous year. But that’s a huge jump in targets to that gaudy 192. And remember, that was with Jonathan Grimes and Alfred Blue “leading” the Texas ground game.

With Lamar Miller now filling that role now, expect a lot more running and therefore a lot less targets going Hopkins way. He’ll still get his and should be a dependable WR1, but there are at least four WRs after him I like more and they cost a lot less.

But there’s even more reason for expected regression.

31-percent of Hopkins yardage totals came in three games against Indy, Atlanta, and Jax; the 24th, 18th, and 29th best pass defenses last year. Two of those are division rivals and should see improvement this year. Don’t get me wrong, Hopkins will fly high, but when you are that high in the atmosphere, there’s a lot more space to come down than come up.

Travis Benjamin, San Diego Chargers

Benjamin did more last year than he did in his first three years combined. That’s a situation ripe for regression. Now, Benjamin has taken his talents from Cleveland to San Diego.

I think we can all agree that he certainly will be upgrading at quarterback. But we know Philips Rivers loves Antonio Gates. Want to guess what RB saw the most targets last year? That’s right, Benjamin’s new teammate, Danny Woodhead. Am I the only one struggling to see Benjamin reach 125 targets again?

 

Other WR Regression Candidates

A couple of other potential WR regression candidates for your consideration:

Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos

 

Receiving passes from future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning but now set to receive them from one of the non-Hall-of-Fame-QBs now competing for the job in Denver can’t help. Finishing as the 11th best WR again seems doubtful.

Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles

Doug Pederson will be running a lot less offensive plays than Chip Kelly did. Matthews should still be a WR2, but he is absolutely a candidate for WR regression.

 

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