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The Best of Week 17 - Footballguys

Matt Waldman scouts our in-season content and shares five must-knows and his takes on each.

YOU GUYS HAVE A TON OF ARTICLES.

This statement about Footballguys is a blessing but it can feel like a curse. Our staff delivers insights that change seasons for the better yet realistically, no fantasy owner has the time to read everything we publish in a week.

If this describes you, let me be your scout. Here are five insights from Footballguys articles that I find compelling for the weekend ahead. I'll share what should help you this week, touch on the long-term outlook, and sometimes offer a counterargument.

1. Week 17 Roundtable's Lessons Learned

The year's end is naturally a time for reflection. We had our panelists for Week 17's Roundtable do that about the 2018 fantasy season.

Matt Waldman: What have you learned this year about football — be it something strategic, technical, analytical, or tangential to fantasy football or the NFL — that you believe will make you a better fantasy writer in the future?

Justin Howe: That nagging and long-term injuries can drain upside, rob seasons, and turn good draft value bad. Missed games are only the tip of the iceberg, and missed practices and lost conditioning cause them to pile up.

Entering the season, I was exceptionally bullish on Dalvin Cook and Doug Baldwin, among others. I tried to factor their injuries in, reasoning that their best-case scenarios over 14-15 games were still pretty excellent. In general, that panned out — Cook and Baldwin have both produced quite well once fully over the injury hump.

But along the way, they muddled through quite a bit of negativity. Cook missed the offseason program, then spent the first half of the year battling cramps and hamstring woes as he rounded into game shape. Baldwin let out preseason hints that his knee simply wasn't right, then came out with an MCL tear just after Week 1.

Had I considered the peripheral factors to these injuries, I could've prepared better for their downsides and scooped an extra round of value from each, on the aggregate. (Over 135 DRAFTs, I wound up with about 50 combined shares of the two.)

I'm not sure how actionable this realization is. Different players have different bodies, and Dalvin Cook's timetable has no direct bearing on the next guy's. But whiffing so badly on these two values has certainly jolted me back into following the (medical) experts' expectations. Jene Bramel's Monday injury rounds are not to be taken for granted.

B.J. VanderWoude: This year I took it upon myself to learn more about the offenses for the two teams I am tasked with recapping each week: the Chiefs and the Packers. I am as spoiled as a recapper gets, as I get to watch Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes II II make ridiculously hard throws look easy, routinely, while throwing to All-Pro studs like Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce. Add the breakout season of Aaron Jones, as well as Kareem Hunt’s rise, and subsequent fall from stardom, and it was about as much fun as I’ve ever had to research something I was passionate about.

The Chiefs use misdirection, motion, and play-action better than any team I’ve covered in depth. It looks like window dressing while you are watching live and in full speed, but when you slow it down and key in on how the defense reacts, you start to see the “game within the game”. The Chiefs do an excellent job of spreading out opposing defenses and then attacking the weak points, and when you have the speed and athleticism of the Chiefs skill position players, that is a battle opposing defenses are not going to win.

The Packers were on the opposite side of the spectrum. In fact, after watching the Chiefs offense so closely, it began to dawn on me that the Packers offense was successful not because of their scheme, but rather in spite of it. They seldom used presnap motion to clear out one side of the field while the defense was in man coverage, and despite having an athletic quarterback who can throw on the run as well as Rodgers can, he was rarely used in a way that took advantage of his mobility.

We now know that there had been some acrimony with respect to how Rodgers was running the offense, often in defiance of the Packers play callers, and this was apparent in Rodgers having one of his worst statistical seasons since becoming the Packers starter.

Waldman: I spent a lot of time on the Chiefs as well, B.J. and I enjoyed not only the shifts they use but also the way they used a variety of formation types to spread or compressed the field. I also appreciated that they often used trickery to set up additional trickery.

Mark Wimer: One lesson that I had learned in previous years was from Bob Harris - "Don't draft last year's fantasy studs, look for and draft this year's fantasy studs!" This has been a guiding principle for me over the last 15 years or so (ever since I heard that gold nugget from Harris).

I have been re-learning this lesson in a new way during 2018-2019, but on a more granular level by paying close attention to Steve Buzzard's excellent analysis of the percentage owned in Daily Fantasy Sports contests. While this mostly applies to Daily Fantasy Sports contests, the time and work I've put in on that aspect of fantasy sports have helped me to "churn" up better, and cheaper, short-term free agent prospects when I suffer a short-term injury or suspension to a starter on my season-long fantasy teams.

It's allowed me to be more efficient with my free agent $ because I'm bidding for guys who aren't the crowds' "fantasy darling of the week". After all, I am going for a guy who may only be started 1-2 weeks for my season-long squad before being jettisoned (WR3 or Flex-type players), so why pay top dollar for that week's "darling" free agent?

Jason Wood: This may sound like blasphemy, and it's not (yet) tested as it's something I'm going to look at during the offseason, but my hot take from this season is that we've taken advanced metrics too far. While I'm sure they're useful for bettors or DFS enthusiasts, I believe we've now drilled so far down into the weeds in slicing and dicing player statistics, matchup data, and related metrics that it's no longer helpful in winning your leagues. The NFL has become a war of attrition, and while it's nice to say "Player X has a better matchup than Player Y" ultimately most teams are facing desperate options in a few lineup spots almost every week once the bye week gauntlet combines with injuries.

In a corollary, using weekly strength-of-schedule for defensive matchups is largely a fool's errand. It provides ample stuff to talk about, but with the league's enforcement of pass interference, roughing the passer, low hits, etc...strongly favoring offensive production, there aren't many times when betting against a superior player because of a defensive matchup pays off. To put it another way, I don't see anything in the data (yet) to say it pays off more than a coin toss would.

Will Grant: Not sure if it will make me a better writer, but I definitely have re-discovered my love of the subtle parts of the game through the eyes of my son. He's 22 now and until recently, has never really been interested in football. However, this year he's become more engaged, watching games, asking questions, genuinely interested in learning about things.

In discussing things with him, and pointing out how plays develop, I'm bringing to mind many of the things that I often took for granted — how a quarterback works through his progressions or locks onto one guy before making a throw. How a running back who is patient can follow his blockers, find the hole and then explode through it vs a guy who just runs full tilt into the pile because that's where the play was designed to go. Seeing how receivers and defensive backs use their body to shield their opponent in an attempt to make a play on the ball.

And my absolute favorite thing — how a well designed and executed set of plays can be literally unstoppable. I find my self pausing the game and commenting — how could you possibly defend against that pass? Trying to teach my son just how tactical and precise any particular play can be. It's reminded me of how awesome football can be. In a lot of ways, I'm the kid again. That's been the best part of this season for me.

Waldman: That's awesome, Will. My lesson is one that I've been learning over the course of 6-7 years in a specific dynasty league where I blew up the guts of the squad way too early — stockpile talent.

All too often, we try to address every need with our dynasty rosters during a draft or on the waiver wire. It often leads to us making investments in players we don't believe in because they are "the next-best" option on our lists.

The root lesson is what many successful organizations do when developing employees: maximize their strengths to overcome their weaknesses. Since applying that maxim to a championship dynasty squad, I am seeing the benefits.

I already have four starting receivers in a start-three league but the player I like the most on the board is another receiver? I'm taking him. I already have three quality starting quarterbacks but the quarterback I gave the best grade in at least five years is available for a first-round pick? I'm taking him.

So what if I don't have a good depth chart of running backs. There weren't any to be had where I was picking. If I hit on the depth I took at receiver and/or quarterback, I can give a known commodity for a known commodity in return at the position of need.

And if I stockpile at a position successfully that creates a scenario where I have four of the top 12 quarterbacks in the league and that remains the case for the near future, I'll have more power to dictate terms.

This worked out for me this year with a rebuild that won the points title and the championship in a dynasty IDP league with 43-man rosters. I'm beginning to think it might be fun to experiment with stockpiling a position in specific re-draft formats to see what I might be able to craft from it.

Phil Alexander: I've always believed the best players can overcome poor coaching schemes and a lack of surrounding talent, except at the margins. This season, David Johnson served as a strong reminder of exactly what defines those margins.

I didn't have Johnson ranked ahead of Todd Gurley but when the rubber met the road, and I drew the first pick in my most important league, it was Johnson's sticker I slapped on the draft board. This isn't the place to rehash why I thought it was the right decision at the time, but needless to say, the result was a lesson learned the hard way.

Maybe Johnson could have overcome what was projected to be (and went on to become) one of the worst offensive lines in the league. He also could have survived the departure of a quarterback — Carson Palmer — who can challenge defenses downfield. There was even a chance he might have been fine without the head coach who consistently put him in the best possible positions to succeed (Bruce Arians).

But assuming Johnson would shrug off all three dilemmas and replicate his 2016 numbers was more than wishful thinking. It was dumb. The conditions weren't there for an overall RB1 season from Johnson and it was obvious in retrospect no matter what I thought of the player. Moving forward, Johnson's 2018 will serve as a reminder to put personal biases aside, consider each player's outlook more objectively, and not ignore piles of logical, compelling evidence that don't fit the narrative I've crafted in my mind.

Matt's Thoughts: One of the underlying themes of this conversation is that there will always be some amount of risk you have to take if you want to build a difference-making squad. The desire is to find risks that are the most reasonable to take regardless of the result. Finding the "right risks" should generate consistency whereas finding the "right answer" can lead one to follow trends and have greater variance with results.

2. WEEK 17 Sleepers

Still playing in Week 17? Sigmund Bloom has you covered when it comes to under-the-radar plays. Here are the ones I like and with additional thoughts for each Bloom entry.

Derek Carr (at Kansas City) - The Raiders offense has come alive in December, sparked by a close loss to the Chiefs in Week 13. Carr threw for 285 yards and three scores against Kansas City, part of a five-week streak of quarterbacks throwing for at least two scores against them coming into this week. Carr has also been riffing well with a healthier Jordy Nelson lately, which should help him in the effort to keep up with Patrick Mahomes II II.

Matt's Thoughts: Carr has been one of the hottest fantasy quarterbacks in December. Although pressure can be an issue for Carr and the offensive line — especially when the Chiefs sport an excellent combo of pass rushers — Jared Cook's rebounding and Jalen Richard's explosiveness as a check-down option mitigate the fearsomeness of the Kansas City front.

Royce Freeman (vs Los Angeles Chargers) - Phillip Lindsay will be out with a broken wrist, so Freeman will get a full audition in Week 17. The Chargers have given up three touchdowns to opposing running backs in three of the last five games, including the first matchup against the Broncos in Week 11. There is also the possibility that the Chiefs jump out to a big enough lead against the Raiders to give the Chargers the green light to rest their starters and give Freeman an extended opportunity against a defense of mostly backups.

Matt's Thoughts: Freeman was one of the better yards-after-contact backs in the league this year when not viewing the stat through the lens of minimum touches. If not for Lindsay's big-play ability that earned him the lead role, Freeman could have easily been an impact rookie this year. He'll show that on Sunday.

Brian Hill (at Tampa Bay) - Hill relieved Tevin Coleman after Coleman suffered a groin injury last week and posted over 100 rushing yards on only eight carries. He is in line to get a big opportunity this week with Coleman unlikely to go and the Bucs surrendering big numbers to opposing backs for the entire second half of the season. Four backs have had 100-yard games against them in the last six games, and five different running backs have scored against them during that span.

Matt's Thoughts: Hill returns to Atlanta after the Falcons drafted and cut him in 2017 and he spent much of that year with the Bengals before Cincinnati cut him and Atlanta reclaimed him. Last week, Hill started slow — missing bounce-out opportunities early in the game. However, he found those opportunities later in the game and three of his eight carries put him over 100 yards last week. He's a good running back who hasn't really played to his capabilities in limited time during his first two seasons in the NFL. Some backs need to get into a rhythm before they play to their ability and sometimes getting into a rhythm means working through mistakes. That's not something that NFL teams are usually patient with but Hill's opportunity last week came by necessity and the Falcons were forced to be patient. We'll see if he can get off to a faster start this weekend.

Jalen Richard (at Kansas City) - Richard has been one of the most explosive backs in the league this year on a per touch basis, and he’s facing a defense that he lit up for 126 yards on nine touches back in Week 13. He could also be a bigger part of the offense this week if the Raiders fall behind at Arrowhead Stadium. Richard converted on a goal to go carry last week and could get more looks near the goal line this week.

Matt's Thoughts: I've shared this thought a few times in print and on social media — if the Raiders let Richard go and James White is no longer a Patriot, Bill Belichick better be calling because Richard is a poor man's White in name but not far behind (if at all) in game.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jake Kumerow (vs Detroit) - The Packers pass offense came alive last week against the Jets and they should have another strong day catching passes from a rejuvenated Aaron Rodgers against the Lions. Davante Adams is banged up and may see a lot of Darius Slay and Equanimeous St. Brown is in concussion protocol. The highest value targets based on matchup should go to Kumerow and Valdes-Scantling, who are both coming off of strong games (MVS 5-75, Kumerow 3-68-1)

Matt's Thoughts: I believed Valdes-Scantling was the best long-term bet of the three big receivers the Packers drafted and he's making a nice impression earlier than expected. Kumerow has been an intriguing option for years with the Bengals but it seems the Bengals never gave him the opportunity to prove his worth. Both can win deep and after the catch.

DeAndre Carter (vs Jacksonville) - With Demaryius Thomas out for the year and Keke Coutee a game-time decision at best, Carter is in line to be the #2 receiver for Deshaun Watson in a game to lock up the division title. Jalen Ramsey is likely to give DeAndre Hopkins all he can handle and Carter is coming off of a week where he caught six of seven targets for 61 yards - a week after he had a 50-yard reception at a key juncture to help the Texans overcome the Jets in Week 15.

Matt's Thoughts: Carter is a perfect replacement for what the Texans hoped to get from Keke Coutee, who hasn't been healthy since injuring his hamstring in August. I hope the Texans keep Carter because he gives the Texans continuity if Coutee or Will Fuller V V get hurt again next year.

Mark Andrews (vs Cleveland) - If his long touchdown against the Chargers wasn’t enough to get Week 17 streamers on Andrews this week, the Browns recent track record against tight ends should be. Tight ends have scored in four of the last six weeks now, and in the two weeks a tight end didn’t score, CJ Uzomah went for 6-39 and Ian Thomas went for 9-77. Ravens tight ends also caught five passes in the first matchup with Cleveland.

Matt's Thoughts: Andrews may not be the athlete that Maxx Williams and Hayden Hurst are but he's a savvier receiver and has the connection with Lamar Jackson that the other two lack. Considering how well Jackson and the Ravens scheme freezes edge defenders within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, Andrews should earn 3-4 targets where there's good separation from the defense.

3. Rent-a-Quarterback

Ryan Hester reflected on his performance this year when it came to his weekly recommendations of quarterbacks with starter performances in them despite lacking year-long fantasy starter production.

Let's see how we did this season. In the graph below, the blue line represents the average weekly finish of our top quarterback picks each week. These do not include those in the "Deep Leagues Only" section. The red bars (charted on the secondary axis at right) represent the average fantasy points scored by those selections.

The blue line is the more important measure, as raw points can be misleading. For example, in Week 5, our picks averaged 20.6 fantasy points and finished as QB18 on average. In Week 15, however, the picks scored an average of 17.0 fantasy points and finished as QB13. How we score relative to our competition in that week is more important to fantasy success than measuring fantasy points across the season.

Summary

  • Even the disaster that was Week 2 had a QB1 performance. Joe Flacco was that week's QB11, but Tyrod Taylor and Case Keenum dragged us down with QB25 and QB26 finishes.
  • The top five positional finishes of the year were:
    1. Baker Mayfield, Week 12: QB4 (28.5 fantasy points)
    2. Blake Bortles, Week 5: QB3 (30.9)
    3. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Week 3: QB3 (32.3)
    4. Nick Foles, Week 16: QB3 (38.7)
    5. Jameis Winston, Week 6: QB1 (36.9)
  • The bottom five positional finishes of the year were:
    1. Case Keenum, Week 4: QB25 (11.3 fantasy points)
    2. Case Keenum, Week 2: QB26 (17.7)
    3. Joe Flacco, Week 5: QB26 (15.2)
    4. Dak Prescott, Week 15: QB26 (9.3)
    5. Blake Bortles, Week 3: QB27 (10.5)
  • We had 15 top-10 performances, but we also had 14 performances worse than QB18.
    • Of the 14 poor performances, 10 occurred in Weeks 1-6.
    • Of the 15 top-10 weeks, 6 occurred in Weeks 1-6.

As you can see, we performed better after the first month of the season. That's a logical conclusion, given the nature of Rent-a-Quarterback. The main point behind using the waiver wire for your quarterback selections is that volume at the quarterback position is a given, so the position is predictable based on opponent. At the beginning of the season, we didn't have as much data on defenses.

Another contributing factor is the larger pool of available players as the season progresses. Injuries, benched starters, and how fantasy GMs roster quarterbacks can provide us with more choices later in the year. Players like Lamar Jackson and Nick Foles come to mind here.

But remember, part of the strategy behind drafting a quarterback late is to find one that turns into an every-week starter so you don't have to play "Rent-a-Quarterback" every week. The results shown above, however, don't account for that. Players such as Baker Mayfield and Mitchell Trubisky were picked up by enough fantasy GMs that we couldn't recommend them here all year long. Additionally, players such as Patrick Mahomes II and Andrew Luck were never available to us here.

Conclusion

While we didn't have QB1 finishes every week, we were in the top-14 in 12 of 16 weeks this season, including every week from Week 6 onward. That means that if you used Rent-a-Quarterback each week, you didn't get crushed at the quarterback position. Ideally, renting quarterbacks allowed you to stock up at the more premium "flex-eligible" positions and win your league with depth and elite scoring there.

Matt's Thoughts: See above...

4. The Gut Check: Dynasty Building

This week, I profiled a team I rebuilt into a champion in a Dynasty-IDP format. You can read the position-by-position profile of the roster and rebuild here. The concluding thoughts are valuable whether you do or not:

It shouldn't be lost on you that Patrick Mahomes II II outscored the next best quarterback by an average of 4.5 points per game in this league and that Travis Kelce outscored all but four fantasy quarterbacks as well. It's not lost on me that I acquired a fantastic advantage with a game-changing player and it elevated my team's standing.

However, it wasn't the reason my team went from losing a tiebreaker to reach the playoffs for the two years prior and winning a championship this year. It likely put me over the top but this team was headed in the right direction. The addition of David Njoku, Tremaine Edmunds, Michael Thomas, Adam Thielen, and Antoine Bethea all made a difference. So did the breakout of Chris Jones.

This is a team with excellent strength at quarterback, wide receiver, tight end, and emerging strength at defensive end, and linebacker. It's weak at running back and defensive tackle and will need to remain vigilant on the waiver wire for defensive backs.

The construction consisted of helpful trades (none of them were lopsided deals in my favor), a massive steal (Mahomes), and a few free agent successes (Thielen, Jones, and Bethea). I learned a few things from this experience that I believe applies to most teams:

  • Blockbuster deals aren't the way to go: Make small deals involving one player and 1-2 draft picks.
  • Don't give up on top players in exchange for draft picks: Even as they age, it's probably best to get established players in return. Giving up known for the unknown is always a bigger risk.
  • When in doubt, stockpile a depth chart: If you've targeted 3-4 running backs for a draft and none of them are available, I'd rather take the less risky player at a position like wide receiver, tight end, quarterback, or linebacker that I don't need than the "next best" runner I don't value. When you have an abundance of "known" commodities, it makes it easier for you to acquire known commodities in return.
  • Don't worry about having a weakness: My running backs aren't good right now. I still had the top scoring team in this league this year. They probably won't be good next year, either, but my team is in a good position to challenge again.

As you can see, there are several ways to build a winning team. The common factors are assessing talent, determining strengths and weaknesses, and focusing on areas you can address and building on those strengths to minimize your weaknesses rather than obsessing over a weakness.

Matt's Additional Thoughts: I may experiment with stockpiling talent with certain re-draft formats next year. Stay tuned.

5. Adam Harstad's Regression Alert: Final Scorecard

Harstad's Regression Alert is a weekly dive into the topic of regression to the mean. Here's how he introduces the piece:

Sometimes I'll explain what it really is, why you hear so much about it, and how you can harness its power for yourself. Sometimes I'll give some practical examples of regression at work.

In weeks where I'm giving practical examples, I will select a metric to focus on. I'll rank all players in the league according to that metric, and separate the top players into Group A and the bottom players into Group B. I will verify that the players in Group A have outscored the players in Group B to that point in the season. And then I will predict that, by the magic of regression, Group B will outscore Group A going forward.

Crucially, I don't get to pick my samples, (other than choosing which metric to focus on). If the metric I'm focusing on is yards per target, and Antonio Brown is one of the high outliers in yards per target, then Antonio Brown goes into Group A and may the fantasy gods show mercy on my predictions.

Most importantly, because predictions mean nothing without accountability, I track the results of my predictions over the course of the season and highlight when they prove correct and also when they prove incorrect. Here's a list of all my predictions from last year and how they fared.

This week is the Week of Reckoning. Let's see how Adam did.

ONE FINAL SCORECARD

If you've been reading all season, you might be sick of hearing me say that regression operates best over longer timescales. I make predictions for four weeks because it makes me accountable, but I like to look back after the year is over just to see how they did over the full season. So here's the scorecard again, except instead of just the four weeks after the prediction, here's the entire season after the prediction.

Statistic For Regression
Performance Before Prediction
Performance Since Prediction
Weeks Remaining
Yards per Carry
Group A had 24% more rushing yards per game
Group A has 12% more rushing yards per game
Failure
Yards:Touchdown Ratio
Group A had 28% more fantasy points per game
Group B has 15% more fantasy points per game
SUCCESS!
Yards per Target
Group A had 16% more receiving yards per game
Group A has 7% more receiving yards per game
Failure
Yards:Touchdown Ratio
Group A had 26% more fantasy points per game
Group B has 7% more fantasy points per game
SUCCESS!
Yards per Carry
Group A had 9% more rushing yards per game
Group B has 15% more rushing yards per game
SUCCESS!
Total Interceptions
Group A had 83% as many total interceptions
Group B has 43% as many total interceptions
SUCCESS!

As you can see, the outcome is largely the same over a full season as it was over four games, with the one big exception being our initial yard per carry prediction. This prediction actually shows the downside of longer timelines; T.J. Yeldon, Kenyan Drake, Jamaal Williams, and Carlos Hyde all saw their roles change dramatically from the first two weeks. Regression to the mean had no way of knowing that Williams was only starting in the first two weeks because Aaron Jones was suspended, or that T.J. Yeldon was only keeping the seat warm for Leonard Fournette. It didn't know Kenyan Drake would lose his starting job, (and you can't even pin that on his ypc, as he posted a higher average than Frank Gore, the back who supplanted him). It certainly didn't know Carlos Hyde would be traded at midseason.

By measuring production per game, our outcomes are only mildly impacted by injuries. But they become especially susceptible to demotions; because all four of those backs stayed healthy, they added to the "games played" total for their respective groups. Because three of those four were in Group B, that group's per-game average was especially hurt. Remove those four backs from the comparison and Group B outrushed Group A again.

Also, measuring per-game helps insulate against injuries and suspensions to some extent, but they still play a role. Three of Group B's top five rushers missed at least three games, (James Conner, Marshawn Lynch, and Kareem Hunt). Group A largely avoided injuries, but it's worth noting that the players that missed time rushed for slightly fewer yards per game than the players that stayed healthy.

Does all of this "excuse" the loss for the prediction? That's up to the reader, but I personally still count it as a loss. Trying to find justifications to explain away every loss is a slippery slope, and I never invest nearly as much effort into finding justifications to explain away the wins. I'd love a 100% success rate, but like I keep saying about larger samples, the goal is to maximize the number of predictions and hit far more of them than you miss; do that and you'll still turn a consistent (and easy!) profit in the long run.

Now for some interesting notes about the rest of the predictions.

  • When I made my initial yard:TD ratio prediction in week 4, Group A receivers scored one touchdown for every 68 yards and Group B receivers scored one touchdown for every 776 yards. Since then, Group A receivers scored a touchdown for every 137 yards and Group B receivers scored a touchdown for every 148 yards! Touchdowns follow yards.
  • (Bonus fact: Julio Jones had 812 yards in his first eight weeks without reaching the end zone a single time. Since week 9, he has tied Antonio Brown and Davante Adams for the league lead in touchdown receptions.)
  • My Yard per Target prediction was the only one that failed in the four-week window. Over the course of the full season, Group B closed the gap even more but still failed to draw ahead. I know what I said above about only searching for justifications for predictions that failed, but this failure could actually be explained entirely by Lamar Jackson. Since the prediction, Michael Crabtree and John Brown averaged 53.4 yards per game with Joe Flacco and 18.5(!!!) yards per game with Lamar Jackson. Using just their stats with Flacco, Group B would have had 1% more receiving yards per game than Group A.
  • My second yard-to-touchdown ratio prediction specifically singled out Todd Gurley and made a note of the fact that he actually dragged Group A's average down during the prediction's 4-week run. Well, Gurley immediately returned to form once that prediction closed and actually finished the year as the most valuable member of Group A, as expected. But Group B managed to increase its lead even more because Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, and Saquon Barkley were so dominant down the stretch; they wound up being the top three fantasy backs since the time of the prediction.
  • Yards per carry at the time of my second YPC prediction: 5.65 for Group A, 4.06 for Group B. Yards per carry since by second YPC prediction: 4.53 for Group A, 4.64 for Group B. Yards per carry isn't a thing!
  • Since the interception prediction just closed this week, the results over the full season are naturally identical to the results over the last four weeks. See above for full thoughts.

To everyone who stuck with me through the season, I appreciate all of your time and feedback. I hope Regression Alert proved useful and made you reconsider how you looked at fantasy production going forward, even if just a little bit.

Matt's Thoughts: Thank you for being Footballguys subscribers. We love what we do for you every season and we wish you a Happy New Year!