TDs play a huge part in fantasy scoring. A 20-yard catch down to the 1-yard line is worth 3 PPR points. A 20-yard catch that finds the end zone is worth 3 times that.
But TD production is also extremely volatile from season to season. Take Chargers WR Mike Williams as an example. Ten of his 43 catches went for TDs in 2018. Then he caught 49 balls last year -- but just 2 went for scores.
We can use TD volatility to our advantage, though, by targeting players who underachieved in that department last year and fading those who overachieved.
Of course, we first need to determine who underachieved and overachieved. To do that, let's find which stats most closely correlate to TD production at each position. We can then use that information to see which guys scored more or fewer TDs than expected.
The charts below show the r-squared values for TD production vs. other stats for QBs, RBs, WRs and TEs from 2016 to 2018. R-squared values basically measure how closely 2 things are correlated. The higher the number, the closer the correlation.
Turns out yardage correlates most closely to TD production at all 4 positions. It's also worth noting that the correlation between passing yards and TDs is easily the highest. That means we should put more stock into the under and overachievers at QB than the other positions.
Now that we know yardage and TDs are most closely correlated, we can use linear regressions to find how many TDs players should have scored last year based on their yardage output. Let's do that for each position, starting with QBs ...
* Let's start with last year's biggest breakout, Lamar Jackson, who smashed his expected passing TDs by 16.1. Give Jackson 20 passing scores last year and he drops from 1st in fantasy points all the way to ... 2nd. Expect TD regression in 2020, but Jackson is still an easy top 2 QB in fantasy drafts.
* Drew Brees has been an efficient TD producer throughout his 14 seasons in New Orleans, but last year was his most efficient. Brees tossed 1 TD for every 110.3 passing yards in 2020. His average over the previous 13 years: 1 TD for every 141.1 yards. That rate would have given him about 21 TDs last season.
* Jared Goff turned in his 3rd straight top-12 fantasy finish last year. And he did it despite throwing nearly 8 fewer TDs than expected. Give him those 8 scores and he jumps to 6th among QBs in fantasy points. Goff is a nice value at his current QB17 ADP.
* Derek Carr tossed 5 fewer TDs than expected last year and still finished QB16 -- 12 spots ahead of current ADP. With better TD luck, he could return a big profit in 2020. The addition of rookie WRs Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards should help.