6 teams unlikely to repeat their high fantasy production in 2016

Which teams will take a step back in fantasy production after soaring to new heights in 2015? Daniel Kelley breaks down the list.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

6 teams unlikely to repeat their high fantasy production in 2016

As football fans—heck, as humans—we tend to want our pleasant surprises to become real and sustainable. Your running back, who has a history of disappointing production, runs for 1,400 yards? Let’s just pencil him in for at least that total next year. The tight end, who typically put up mediocre marks in the past, finally breaks through? Well, geez, now he’s a perennial Pro-Bowler.

Hope springs eternal. Fans love to assume that things that went right will stay right, while things that went wrong will fix themselves. It’s how we talk ourselves into training-camp hope every season.

The problem with that line of thinking is that extremes regress. Sure, someone, or some team, can make incremental improvements from year to year, but for the big jumps, the safest bet is a return to form. That running back will go back to a poor yards-per-carry average, and that tight end won’t find the end zone as often.

I want to apply that to fantasy. And instead of looking at individual players—where regression candidates are often easy to predict and identify—let’s look at teams, starting with ones that made a big jump in fantasy production in 2015.

Later in the 2016 season, we’ll check back on these teams to see how their production fared. (We’re looking at strictly offensive fantasy production, so no kickers or defenses.)

The teams

Three teams saw their fantasy production in 2015 go up by 30 percent or more over 2014, with another three teams going up by 20–30 percent. They were: the Arizona Cardinals (39.6 percent), Jacksonville Jaguars (37.3), Oakland Raiders (31.9), New York Jets (29.8), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (20.8) and Carolina Panthers (20.7).

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| Fantasy Editor

Daniel Kelley is the fantasy editor for Pro Football Focus. He has previously appeared at SB Nation.

  • BigRod

    Cam Newtons regression seems unlikely. “nowhere to go but down” seems harsh. i am not a Newton apologist by any means and his maturity has always been questionable. Fact of the matter is ever since Newtons vehicle accident the man has played like a warrior, essentially willling his side of the ball to victory. Panthers missing Josh Norman should only result in more reliance on the offense?? Newton generally plays in one of the worst defensive divisions in football. Newton is ballyhoo’d by many as top qb off the board. CAM is still in his prime and with Benjamin along with Olsen the offense could be strong as ever.

    How can PFF write up one article stating running qbs are a force and yet in another article label CAM as regression candidate?? That doesnt add up.

    • Daniel Kelley

      Well, two things. First is that each writer has a different opinion, so each piece isn’t the voice of PFF Fantasy as a whole (case in point, we had one piece yesterday that touted Dion Lewis as a prime add, and another that said he could be a bust).
      Second, Cam had 407 fantasy points last year. That was best in the league by 53, and only the second guy to top 400 in the last four years. He could lead the league in fantasy scoring again this year and still regress. No one is saying he’s going to be BAD, just that hoping for/expecting continued growth is probably overly optimistic.

      • BigRod

        Valid stance. However, of all the “regression” candidates Panthers Offense does not seem to qualify. You make an excellent point regarding Newton scoring 400 pts and only the second guy to do so in previous 4 seasons.
        Reviewing Panthers grades and Newtons career overall I believe it is justified to expect Newton to stay status quo.
        First, panthers face a terrilble defensive division (Saints, Bucs, Falcons).
        Second, Panthers defense is weak at corner, they are one injury away from average defensively (one of the 3 stars). Result will lead to higher pace for the offense. Defense will not carry them. Cam will have to be more aggressive.
        Third, Benjamin, Olsen, Ginn, Brown, Funchess; may be the best compliment of skilled receivers Newton has had. Granted Steve Smith is a beast, but Newton has greatly matured and can better utilize talent. The offensive line for Panthers is stout.
        Fourth, I agree expecting 45 total TD’s from Newton is overly optimistic, but 40 seems very reasonable. With return of Benjamnin and several other factors mentioned above, 30 passing TD’s should become norm for Newton going forward. Remember, this guy is only in his 7th season, plenty of room for growth.

        Its nitpicking in June but I dont see Carolina offense regressing. Unless the schedule outside NFC South is absolutely brutal.? The rush TD’s will always be there for Newton. Its not inconceivable to expect Newton to potentially hit 35 pass TD’s again this season. Attempts should be up. If Benjamin can maintain rookie form Cam could have a career year.

        Thanks for the feedback!

        • Cole

          Cam being relied upon more could blow up in their face. Did you watch the Bowl? More pressure to a guy who hasnt been able to withstand the pressure isnt necessarily a cause for success. Newtons maturity is still lacking and asking him to do more than he already was doing probably isnt the best idea.

          Also, Newton runs a lot, and eventually runners get hurt. Hes been lucky so far, but another year of big hits isnt exactly what the doctor ordered.

          • BigRod

            It could blow up, then again it could be panthers vs giants deja vu. Yes, I actaully do watch the superbowl. Are you saying every D Newton will face this upcoming season is of Denver caliber? I dont see it in the nfc South.

            The guy got his team to the superbowl. Signifying maturation and ability to rise above imo. But each their own. Newton put up 35 tds with Tedd Ginn as his #1 wr. That speaks volumes.

    • brandon

      I dont think they are necessarily saying Newton will be bad, but he had a stellar year and even the best players have trouble sustaining success year to year. When you win MVP you are rarely at that same level the next year. And honestly, newton has never really been a serious throwing threat in all his time with the Panthers.

      He has done better than average, but no defense has ever truly dreaded Cam Newton throwing the ball. He’s able to do a lot with his feet and will be able to push his team over the hump with his talent, but a guy thats career completion percentage is below 60% is not the same threat throwing as someone thats closer to 65%. Its not that he will be bad, but he will probably even out more towards his career numbers next year instead of reaching the high mark that he reached last year. No one is saying he will do bad, but a repeat of an MVP performance is unlikely.