This article is part of our Exploiting the Matchups series.
Has anyone else noticed that these weekly upgrade/downgrade recommendations have an excellent record of accuracy with quarterbacks and running backs, while the wide receivers and tight ends have been closer to a coin toss? Maybe it's a matter of recency bias or sample size, or perhaps I'm just seeing what I expect to see (funny how we as humans so consistently do that).
Whatever the case, I figured it was worth sharing the observation even if I'm not quite sure what else to do with it. Quarterbacks and running backs do inherently tend to be more consistent, and it's therefore easier to predict their outcomes when dealing with players on the margins of tough fantasy decisions.
The workload sample is usually around 35 passes for a QB or 15 touches for a RB, whereas the typical pass catcher discussed below draws 4-to-8 targets per game. A favorable matchup doesn't really matter if our guy gets stuck with one of his low-volume games because his team jumps out to a huge lead or other players are having more luck drawing the quarterback's attention.
There's also some impact from tough matchups potentially creating more volume for pass catchers, as teams with good defenses are more likely to establish leads that encourage opponents to abandon the run. One recent example that comes to mind is the 2018 Bears defense, which, in terms of fantasy points, was first against RBs and fifth against QBs, but only 10th against WRs and TEs.
The funny thing