This article is part of our The Stats Room series.
This week, I will look for the point that last year's production still takes precedence and the point that the current season stats take over.
I almost cringe at times when I hear an announcer say a player's previous season's production just needs to be ignored. Nothing is more wrong. The player aged (and likely declined), but they don't completely change. Sure some players have change teams, coaches, offensive schemes, etc. Others have been hurt or are competing with a rookie. But last year still matters.
Time for some numbers.
Looking only at running backs and wide receivers, I considered the 1,000 players in each position group who had the most handoffs plus targets from 2000 to 2014 and found their average standard-scoring points per game for each season, their weekly average points at a season's start and their average points to end the season. With the three values, I found the following data:
• The r-squared (how well the data correlates) from the previous season compared to the rest of the remaining games.
• The r-squared from the season's first games compared to the rest of the remaining games.
• The r-squared of a linear