Regression to the Mean

Regression to the Mean is a term often used in seasonal fantasy football rather than in daily fantasy football games, but the logic behind the idea can also be used by players to inform decisions about their daily fantasy football teams.

What regression to the mean is all about is predicting whether a player’s outstanding performance is set to become the norm for him or whether he is likely to revert back to his previous point hauls.

Perhaps a good example of a player who has regressed to the mean is Yaya Touré. The Ivory Coast international midfielder was in fantastic form for Manchester City in the 2013-14 Premier League season, scoring 20 goals and providing nine assists for his side from 35 appearances.

But, the following season, Touré’s statistics dropped off and he scored only 10 goals from his 29 league matches, while the reduction in the number of assists he made was remarkable, falling from nine to just one.

Examining Touré’s data from previous years indicates that 2013-14 appears to have been a one-off for the influential midfielder and since that year he has regressed to the mean.

In his first three years at City, Touré scored eight goals, six goals and six goals again, while his assist figures were four, six and five respectively. But since the 2014 World Cup it seems as though Touré has been declining as a footballer, although perhaps it is merely his advanced age.

Awareness of players who may be about to regress to the mean is vital in daily fantasy football as this can ensure you fade footballers at the right time, while others are still putting them in their squads on a regular basis. Timing the fade of an in-form player is one of the biggest challenges in daily fantasy football, but knowing about regression to the mean can help players make that call.