Unlike other professional sports, which may have as many as 10 times the number of regular-season games, the NFL simply doesn't provide us with a large enough sample size to feel confident that one year's worth of data provides an accurate representation of what we should expect from a player. When dealing with a sample size as small as 17 games, outliers are an inevitability. And if outliers are an inevitability, then you can bet on regression as an inevitability as well. Generally, with time, outliers at both the top and bottom-end regress to whatever their "mean" is.
The small sample size certainly factors in heavily, but another important difference between Fantasy football and other Fantasy sports is the weight given to one particularly unpredictable stat: touchdowns. Touchdowns are worth more Fantasy points than any accruable stat in any other major Fantasy sport, and they are among the hardest to predict.
As such, a stat I created that I will reference quite a bit when discussing regression is a player's touchdown dependency rating (TDR). It simply represents the percentage of a player's Fantasy points that came from touchdowns. The league average among non-QBs was 22.3 percent, among running backs was 22.8 percent, and among wide receivers was 18.8 percent.
The 2021 version of this article accurately predicted an increase in TDR for 13 of the 14 highlighted players. The only exception was Julio Jones, who scored just one touchdown in an injury-riddled 2021.
Several of the highlighted players nearly doubled their TDR from 2020 to 2021, the most notable of which included:
Cooper Kupp -- up from 8.6 percent in 2020 to 21.8 percent in 2021.
Austin Ekeler -- up from 10.9 percent in 2020 to 34.9 percent in 2021.
DeAndre Hopkins -- up from 12.5 percent in 2020 to 32.6 percent in 2021.
So which players are primed for BIG-TIME comeback seasons? Join SportsLine now to see Jacob Gibbs' 2022 positive regression candidates, all from one of the nation's most accurate experts as graded by FantasyPros!