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5 teams primed for less fantasy success in 2017

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 30: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys hands the ball off to Ezekiel Elliott #21 during the first quarter of a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium on October 30, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

In 2010, the Jimmy Clausen-“led” Carolina Panthers put up 635 fantasy points for the season (the sum of all fantasy points amassed by the team's quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends). It was the second-worst team total of the PFF era, dating back to 2006 (only the 2008 Browns have fared worse).

A year later, with Cam Newton in the fold, the Panthers jumped to 1,148 fantasy points. That was a jump of 513 points from one year to the next. Newton was an obvious increase on Clausen, and the team at large improved, and it was the sign of things a new era in Carolina.

In 2012, the Panthers fell off by 103 fantasy points.

Teams can make wholesale changes from one season to another, swap out quarterbacks, coaches, whatever they want. They can take great strides to improve, and they can be successful in that. But the simple, mathematical truth is that wettest of blanket phrases, “regression to the mean” — a big jump is often followed by a slide back the other way.

We don’t want it to be true. We want the pleasant surprises or the rebuilt rosters to be indicative of the new world order, just like we see our teenager clean his room for the first time in ages and imagine that he’ll clean it every week from now on. (He won’t. It will be dirty again, forever.)

This week, I’m looking at what teams saw the biggest increase in fantasy scoring — no kickers or defense — from 2015 to 2016.

(Related: The 2007 Patriots put up 40.8 percent more fantasy points than they had in 2006. That’s the second-biggest increase of any team since 2006. That 2011 Panthers team? It increased by 80.8 percent. That’s … well, it’s not an endorsement of Jimmy Clausen, I’ll tell you that much.)

The numbers

The following chart shows teams since 2006, sorted by their first-year to second-year change in team fantasy scoring, and then their change from the second year to the third. (This requires a three-year total sample, so 2014 is the latest start date for the data.)

Change in team fantasy scoring
# of teams Third year Third year % change
Increase by 40+% 5 -46.8 -4.00%
Increase by 30-39.99% 19 -121.6 -11.18%
Increase by 20-29.99% 24 -86.2 -8.02%
Increase by 10-19.99% 34 -42.9 -4.01%
Increase by less than 10% 71 -0.9 -0.08%
Decrease by less than 10% 74 24.6 +2.52%
Decrease by 10-19.99% 41 98.5 +10.51%
Decrease by 20-29.99% 11 149.6 +17.71%
Decrease by 30+% 7 204.9 +28.00%


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