Touchdown Regression – Week 13

Rich takes a look at some players that may be due for some touchdown regression.

Welcome back to my weekly touchdown regression article. I hope Turkey Day treated you well and you enjoyed the longest week of NFL football ever! This week I changed things up a little bit. After we talk about our process, we’ll take a look back at my picks for last week. We’ll then dive into some of the biggest movers over the last week.

My new best friend and No Huddle Podcast! co-host Kenny Hyttenhove did the leg work for us in the off-season. He determined that passing yards had the best correlation to passing touchdowns. On the position player front, Kenny determined that the numbers were stickier if we looked at attempts and targets based on the area on the field. Those targets and attempts were broken down from the 1-5-yard line, 6-10, 11-20, and everywhere else on the field to get historical touchdown rates from 2015 through Week 10 of the 2020 season. I plugged this year’s player data into my handy, dandy 18-tab Excel Spreadsheet, and BINGO!, it spits out our expected touchdown numbers.

First off, let’s take a look at how the bets I was looking at based on TD regression went. The first pick that I was looking at was Daniel Jones to throw over 1.5 touchdown passes against the Bengals. I really thought the stars had finally aligned for Jones, but the Giants’ QB left the game on the first drive of the 2nd Half with a hamstring injury. In his partial game, Jones passed for 213 yards, but zero touchdowns result in a loss for that bet. Pick number two was Ryan Tannehill to throw under 1.5 touchdowns against the Colts. I really sweat this one out as Tannehill tossed a 1st quarter touchdown and the Titans piled up 45(!) points, but thankfully for my wallet, that 1st quarter touchdown was all Tannehill would toss. So, 1-1 – not terrible. Unfortunately, I had a brain fart last week and forgot to pick a position player to score.

Let’s take a look at the quarterback position and we’ll talk about some of the movers from last week.

 

QUARTERBACK EXPECTED VERSUS ACTUAL TOUCHDOWNS

 

For the most part, this table is the usual suspects. RIP Daniel Jones in my heart. He’s let me down for the last time.

When I look at this week’s games, only one stands out to me for quarterback TD props in terms of our regression model and that’s Justin Herbert to go under 1.5 TDs. Herbert gets a matchup against the Patriots who like to slow the game down and have been beaten primarily on the ground this year. The line hasn’t come out for that prop yet, but I think we’ll see it come at a +135-ish number.

Let’s take a look at the biggest movers from this week’s games.

 

DIFF IN EXPECTED TOUCHDOWNS FROM WEEK 11 TO WEEK 12

 

The top 5 on this movers list, Daniel Jones, Jared Goff, Derek Carr, Sam Darnold, and Kyler Murray all had rough games this week. That’s 5 quarterbacks with zero touchdowns among them. In the case of Derek Carr and Sam Darnold, those regression numbers feel false. Both had awful games this week.

Jacoby Brissett played on 10 snaps and scored on two 1-yard touchdown runs (Colts’ RB backers revolt!!). Like Brissett, Taysom Hill is going to break the TD Regression model due to the way the Saints use him.

Dalvin Cook left for a portion of the Vikings’ game on Sunday and Kirk Cousins responded by tossing three touchdowns within the 20-yard line. Cousin’s touchdown efficiency is much like that of Ryan Tannehill’s in that their offense runs primarily through the running back. That leads to defenses getting beat on play-action fakes more often.

Aaron Rodgers continued his insane TD rate as he tossed 4 touchdowns while accumulating just 211 passing yards. No real analysis here for now, but I’ll be interested in seeing if we over-value him in drafts coming into next year.

 

Let’s take a look at our positional player leaderboard and then we’ll look at the week’s movement.

 

POSITION PLAYERS EXPECTED VERSUS ACTUAL TOUCHDOWNS

 

A couple of newcomers here. David Moore made a big jump following his 3 catch, -6 yards, 1 TD performance against the Eagles.

With Austin Ekeler returning, he took over as the newest Chargers’ running back to not score touchdowns despite big workloads. I took Joshua Kelley and Kalan Ballage off our leaderboard because their situation has changed with Ekeler’s return, but their 4.91 combined regression number added to Ekeler’s 2.12 kind of explains Justin Herbert’s -5.38.

I might hate myself for this later, but I really like David Montgomery to score a touchdown this week. The Bears face the Lions who have been gouged by running backs all year and Montgomery’s TD prop comes in at +105.

Another potential prop I’m looking at is Jonathan Taylor to score against the Houston Texans. Like the Lions, the Texans have been torched on the ground this year. When you combine Indy’s stout offensive line with Houston’s mediocre run defense, I think we get a Taylor touchdown. This is another line that isn’t out yet, but I’d be interested in a small play at +125 and above.

Here’s a look at the biggest movers this week.

 

DIFF IN EXPECTED TOUCHDOWNS FROM WEEK 11 TO WEEK 12

 

Logan Thomas and Eric Ebron saw 4 and 3 targets, respectively, in the red zone last week. Thomas caught one for a score and still saw his regression number increase. On the year, they are both top 7 in red-zone targets making them two of my favorite mid-tier options for fantasy purposes.

Jarvis Landry had himself an incredible “birthday week” game. Landry caught 8 or his 11 targets (38% target share) for 143 yards and a touchdown. In total, he saw three targets within the 10-yard line.

Antonio Gibson scored three times on Thanksgiving Day despite having just 4 opportunities in Dallas’s red zone. Teammate J.D. McKissic also had 2 opportunities in the red zone.

For a deeper look at Week 12’s red zone info, check out Kenny Hyttenhove’s Opportunity Report that drops later on in the week! It’s a great article that breaks down all the players getting the high-leverage touches for their team.

 

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire)

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