“Start your studs,” they say. “Go with what got you here,” you often hear. “Don’t overthink it” is thoughtful advice.
By “they” we mean “we,” since these are tropes/rules/habits to which the Madman often conforms and routinely recommends. And it makes sense, because they normally are the smart thing to do.
Studs normally are better players, and better players normally play better than other players. Past performance is the best prognosticator of future performance, so those who got you here give you the best chance to keep going. Overthinking these principles often requires guesswork or gut feelings, and those tend to work out less often than merely following the data.
So why is the Madman considering benching Nick Chubb in fantasy championship week? Over the entire season, Chubb ranks as the seventh-best running back. That’s a stud. He is delivering 16.5 in PPR each week, so he is one of the ones who helped get you here. So why are we overthinking it?
We’re just looking at the data. When a season begins, we’re forecasting for the rest of the season, and the data we’re using is pulled from past years. As the season progresses, the data incrementally becomes predominatingly derived from the current year, while our forecasts get progressively more narrow as the number of games remaining shrinks. As the remaining games shrink, we become more focused on data from the most recent games, with less emphasis on the entire season.
In short, at this point in the year, recent performance is more important than season-long performance. So, entering the fantasy title week for most teams, the fact Chubb is RB7 in PPR leagues holds less sway than the fact he is RB23 over the past six weeks.
That’s right. Since Week 11, he is averaging just 11.2 per week in PPR. That isn’t great. But it gets worse. That ranking and average include a 20.2 breakout game against the Buccaneers in Week 12. Remove that one anomaly, and Chubb has averaged just 9.4 in the other five games in that span.
But it gets worse. He has scored in double-digits just twice — the Bucs breakout and 11.2 this past week against the Saints. He couldn’t even top 10 points in four of his past six games.
But it gets worse. In this span, his fantasy company in this range is along the lines of Tyler Allgeier, Brian Robinson, Chuba Hubbard, Zonovan Knight, James Cooks. Now these are not all bad players. As we’ve seen, they all can post decent fantasy weeks. But they don’t do it reliably. And that is the realm Chubb has been in recently.
He is facing the Commanders in Week 17. Washington gives up just 87.3 percent of the league average to opposing RBs. So if Chubb only delivers 87.3 percent of his recent production, that is 9.8 in PPR.
That isn’t overthinking, it is just based on the numbers. And those numbers are not what you want in a championship lineup.
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