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2017 Regression Candidates

Now that the NFL offseason is coming to a close, training camp and the preseason represent a small window of opportunity to sell high on popular assets in the dynasty landscape. Based on their current situation or level of prior output, the players included in this article are possible regression candidates for 2017. In short, each of the individuals mentioned could be set for a statistical decrease in the near future based on a variety of factors. Those that own shares of the skill position players listed below need to consider the opportunity cost of either keeping or trading them before the 2017 regular season commences.

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Melvin Gordon

After an RB7 finish overall last season in PPR formats, Melvin Gordon has witnessed his value catapult in dynasty circles. As a rookie in 2015, the Wisconsin product failed to record a single touchdown on offense. The running back corrected that trend as a sophomore in 2016, as he recorded twelve total trips to the end zone. Even more, Gordon surfaced as one of the most reliable volume threats in fantasy by ranking 10th in NFL with 254 rushing attempts. In turn, he ran for 997 yards and added 41 receptions for 419 yards as a receiver out of the backfield. Surprisingly, Gordon even managed to earn 7 or more targets in five regular season contests last year.

Based on all of his positive contributions from a season ago, it’s fair to wonder how he is included in this regression article. To begin, consider that Gordon has posted poor efficiency metrics across his first two NFL campaigns with yard per carry averages of 3.5 (2015) and 3.9 (2016). As a sophomore, he also registered 70 yards rushing or less in eight of the thirteen games that he participated in. This indicates that his value thrived off of volume, which is merely one component of a player’s overall value. It is important to remember that Keenan Allen will also be back in the picture this upcoming season, which was not a concern for Gordon owners in 2016. Couple that with the fact that the 24-year-old tailback has already missed five regular season games over the course of his career to this point, and a case can be made that he is due for regression in some capacity moving forward.

Tevin Coleman

Despite his success a season ago as a complementary piece in Atlanta’s backfield, Tevin Coleman is an obvious regression candidate as he enters his third professional campaign in the NFL. For starters, the Indiana product manufactured 149 offensive touches into 11 total touchdowns as a sophomore. Such a rate is difficult to sustain on low volume for any skill position player, let alone a running back. Last season also indicated that Coleman is a boom-or-bust asset, as he only surpassed 50 yards rushing on three occasions despite earning eight or more attempts in eleven different contests.

Sure, the 24-year-old did finish as the RB20 in PPR formats. However, he also scored three of his total touchdowns in one game (Week 3). This level of output could be an outlier, as it is rather difficult to find the end zone that often at the NFL level. Coleman also averaged 13.6 yards per catch last year on 31 receptions, which is destined to decrease in 2017. Another factor to consider while assessing the running back’s value is the departure of Kyle Shanahan, who often deploys a committee approach out of the backfield. The same cannot be assumed with new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, especially with long-term contract discussions surrounding Devonta Freeman. Sell high on Coleman while the opportunity presents itself, as it will be near impossible for him to replicate his efficiency totals from 2016 on an annual basis.

Terrelle Pryor

Against all odds, Terrelle Pryor managed to make a sound transition from the quarterback to wide receiver position in 2016 as a member of the Cleveland Browns. In fact, he delivered 77 receptions for 1,007 yards receiving and four touchdowns en route to a WR19 placement in PPR formats. While these totals are impressive from a quick glance, it is also crucial to note that the 28-year-old registered less than 50 yards receiving in nine of the sixteen games that he was active for. He also had 3 or fewer receptions in five different contests. A conclusion can then be made that Pryor was a volatile fantasy asset last season, despite operating as a primary weapon in Cleveland’s aerial attack.

The issue for his immediate fantasy outlook is that he is now on the Washington Redskins, which is a team with an ample amount of depth on offense. A season ago, Pryor’s value was carried by volume. He earned 140 targets, which placed him 12th in the NFL for the category rank. Even more impressive, Pryor received double-digit targets in seven regular season contests. The same amount of volume should not be expected in Washington due to the presence of Jordan Reed, Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson. As a result, Pryor is a recommended sell high candidate this offseason due to the possibility of his receiving totals regressing to the mean from a perceived decline in target share for 2017.

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About Cory Evans

24 years old. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Fantasy football consumes my life, especially where dynasty is concerned. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@CoryEvansNFL)