Predicting touchdowns is tough, who’d have thought? I guess the only consolation I have is that no one scored more than two receiving or rushing touchdowns last week so we didn’t miss any huge games. The two running backs who did have two (Tony Pollard and Cam Akers) have been operating relatively efficiently this season. So, we didn’t miss potential regression, at least.
But before we get into it, here’s a weekly reminder that I collect weekly NFL data and post it on a sheet here for free, including our weekly calls and results.
Now let’s get to it.
We did catch some touchdowns last week. Devin Singletary, Isiah Pacheco, Justin Jefferson, and Terry McLaurin all scored and were on our list. But none had wildly high performance, or drastically affected their overall yearly potential, in week 13.
Rushing Touchdown Regression in week 13
We have a larger list of potential regression candidates in the rushing game this week.
Dameon Pierce let us down last week, though did have a much better game, but remains at the top of the list based on his seasonal volume. Only four on this list didn’t score a touchdown last week and seem worth highlighting: Travis Etienne, Kareem Hunt, James Cook, and Rhamondre Stevenson.
Rachaard White, RB TB
If asked to choose someone who could score more touchdowns than you’d expect next week in the rushing game, I’d choose White. He did score last week, but we’ve only just started to see him work into his new lead role in the rushing game in which he’s been very capable. With only a couple of red zone attempts, in two fairly low-scoring 17-point games, I think there’s more potential here.
James Cook, RB BUF
While certainly disappointing some with his late first-round rookie ADP, he did finally have a great fantasy game last week. He has slowly developed a more significant target share over the last five weeks and had four rushing attempts inside the 20-yard line (one inside the ten) last week.
Receiving Touchdown Regression in week 14
There’s a significant pattern in receiving touchdowns. Players on offenses with disappointing, or lower-level quarterbacks. This, again, is more anecdotal evidence that the level of quarterback play has a strong effect, specifically, on touchdown success even adjusted for an opportunity in the red zone a team produces.
I think we’ll just separate Diontae Johnson and Courtland Sutton onto their own separate list for now. Sutton did get injured early last week, to be fair. But they are just “due” touchdowns until further notice.
Zay Jones, as I mentioned last week as well is just a common feature on a regression list, it’s something I tend to look at with strong suspicion because of his history of having high efficiency on a smaller sample.
Still, a few of these players stand out, as well as one team that has anything but weakness at quarterback.
Pat Freiermuth, TE PIT
I don’t care. No player should have this many targets and yards, and so few touchdowns. I believe in Muth!
Deebo Samuel, WR SF
The loss of Jimmy Garoppolo can’t be a positive thing, but Samuel’s continued use in all phases of the offense should yield more results soon.
All Kansas City Receivers
The three most targeted players in the red zone in Kansas City are Travis Kelce, Mecole Hardman, and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Kelce has scored 10 of his 12 touchdowns on red zone targets, Hardman has scored all four of his four touchdowns this year in the red zone as well (I was surprised by that, to be honest). JuJu Smith Schuster… has been a disappointment. He has suffered from injury recently, the reclaimed a larger role last week, however.
But don’t think I’m saying the offense has underperformed. The team has been significantly above average at converting touchdowns inside the 10-yard line (44% conversion, the average is 32%) but significantly below average inside the 20 (10% compared to an average conversation of 12%). The reason, it might not surprise you, has been the 10 targets to Smith-Schuster.
If you are interested, Kelce is, of course, above average by himself converting 16% of his targets as opposed to a 14% average inside the 20.
Where does Marquez Valdes-Scantling fit in? He is currently third in targets inside the 20-yard line but has six targets and has caught a touchdown on them, which is a standard conversation rate.
Kadarius Toney has one target (inside the 10) and caught that touchdown.
It may sound silly, but Patrick Mahomes should have more touchdowns inside the 20. Will Smith-Schuster catch a touchdown this week? I think so, but he could also lose the work and someone else is going to catch more than expected soon.
Anyway, that’s about all I have time for this week, let me know what you think, and thanks for checking it out.
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