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Fantasy Weekly: Regression To The Mean

Five players likely to return to their career averages.

POSTED: Nov 24, 2014 2:45 AM ET

By Jon Hartzell, NBA.com

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Regression To The Mean

It's a basic statistical concept. If the first measurement (or, in this case, performance) is extreme, then the second measurement will tend to return to the average.

Now four weeks into the NBA season, this concept can help us identify five players who are likely to regress to their career averages:

Brandon Jennings

Brandon Jennings

2014-15 (13 games): 16.0 PTS (43.8 percent), 2.7 REB, 5.8 AST, 1.3 STL, 29.0 MIN
Career: 16.7 PTS (39.1 percent), 3.3 REB, 6.1 AST, 1.4 STL, 34.3 MIN

Jennings' season stats are currently boosted by a two-game stretch from November 12-14 when he shot 56.8 percent to average 30.5 points, 7.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals. Eliminate those two great games from Jennings' season and his averages fall to 13.4 points, 5.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds on 39.8 percent. That's much closer to what one should expect from the streaky Jennings and he appears like a solid sell-high option.

Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol

2014-15 (10 games): 18.6 PTS (48.7 percent), 10.6 REB, 1.9 AST, 2.5 BLK, 34.8 MIN
Career: 18.3 PTS (51.5 percent), 9.2 REB, 3.3 AST, 1.6 BLK, 35.6 MIN

The big outlier for Gasol has been blocks. The Spaniard has not swatted more than 2.0 shots per game since the 2006-07 season in Memphis. Currently ranked third in blocks at 2.5 per game, this is one outlier that is sure to fall. His other statistical categories should remain near their current levels as he fits into his role with Chicago.

Iman Shumpert

Iman Shumpert

2014-15 (13 games): 11.9 PTS (48.0 percent), 3.8 REB, 3.4 AST, 1.2 STL, 27.8 MIN
Career: 7.9 PTS (39.9 percent), 3.6 REB, 2.2 AST, 1.3 STL, 26.3 MIN

Shumpert is nailing 3-point shots at a clip of 48.7 percent to start the season. Do I really need to explain why this won't last? The Knicks' starting guard shot 33.3 percent from 3-point land last year and averages 35.2 percent for his career. Once this percentage returns to normal, Shumpert will be back to providing minimal fantasy value.

Rudy Gay

rudy gay

2014-15 (13 games): 21.1 PTS (44.9 percent), 6.5 REB, 3.8 AST, 1.1 STL, 36.7 MIN
Career: 18.3 PTS (45.1 percent), 5.8 REB, 2.2 AST, 1.3 STL, 35.9 MIN

There's no doubting the great fit Rudy Gay is with the Kings. He provides consistent scoring for a team in need of it and appears to have become a more well-rounded player. A big change for him so far this season is free throw shooting where he's nailing a career-best 87.5 percent on a career-best 6.8 attempts per game. When these numbers fall back down towards his career averages (78.7 percent; 4.3 attempts), expect his points to dip back below 20 per game. Additionally, like Jennings, these season stats are somewhat ballooned by a two-game stretch when he averaged nine rebounds and seven assists per game. Eliminate those performances and he's closer to his career averages at 6.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.

Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler

2014-15 (11 games): 20.4 PTS (49.7 percent), 6.2 REB, 3.5 AST, 1.5 STL, 38.7 MIN
Career: 9.5 PTS (43.3 percent), 3.9 REB, 1.7 AST, 1.1 STL, 27.3 MIN

Jimmy Butler is an exciting player with a bright future. But it's hard to imagine he can keep it up at this level for the whole season. He currently ranks 17th in the league in points per game and seventh in free throw attempts at 7.1, values sure to dip once Derrick Rose is able to string together a sustained stretch of good health. Butler produces in many statistical categories so don't try too aggressively to sell high on his value. Just don't be opposed to an offer if an intriguing one should land in your inbox.

Week 5 Schedule Breakdown

Four games: ATL, CHA, CHI, DAL, DET, GSW, HOU, IND, LAC, MIL, NYK, ORL, PHO, POR, SAC, TOR
Three games: CLE, DEN, LAL, MEM, MIN, NOR, PHI, SAS, UTA, WAS
Two games: BKN, BOS, MIA, OKC

Pick 'Em Up

Chris Kaman -- 22 percent owned

Chris Kaman

Kaman played his best game of the season on Sunday collecting 16 points (6-for-13 FG, 4-for-4 FT), eight rebounds and one steal in just 16 minutes of action. Over the Blazers' current seven-game winning streak, Kaman is averaging 13.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 18.6 minutes of action. He's the Blazers' main offensive weapon off the bench and worth a look in most 12-team leagues if you need points, rebounds and blocks.

Corey Brewer -- 30 percent owned

Corey Brewer

The veteran guard doesn't do much more than score and his shooting percentage may be a problem. But with Kevin Martin sidelined with a fractured wrist, Brewer will see plenty of playing time as the Timberwolves' starting two-guard. He's one of the few point producers on the wire that can also provide steals (2.1 per game).

Let 'Em Go

Chris Copeland -- 28 percent owned

Chris Copeland

Copeland started the season hot for Indiana, averaging 17.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.8 3-pointers through his first six games. Since then, his usage and shooting percentage (36.9) have plummeted while his turnovers have grown. If you picked him up early, be sure to drop him now. There are certainly better options on your waiver wire.

Be Wary

Louis Williams -- 21 percent owned

Lou Williams

The Raptors' guard was a hot pickup over the weekend after scoring 22 against Milwaukee on Friday and a career-high 36 against Cleveland on Saturday. Both performances came off the bench and included few stats other than points and 3-pointers. Williams is going to stay in this bench role and likely won't continue to produce at standard-league levels as he plays only 19.4 minutes per game (and especially since he won't provide much beyond points). If you had him in your lineup on Saturday, congrats. But don't expect similar totals anytime soon.

Be sure to follow @NBAFantasy and @HartzellNBA on Twitter for analysis, tips and advice throughout the 2014-15 NBA season!