Hall of Fame
We probably agree about 90% here, but I'm not ready to go that extra 10%, if you will.Hmmmm this is a bit of an interesting conundrum here. I do of course see what you are saying and in general I find the defending thing an error most of the time because of the factors you point out. It all evens out and it is essentially a year long race each year.
However, in this case, I still think the oddity of the timing in the season helps him. I might be wrong, but let's talk it out logically. Your bold is a good point in a general sense. But, because of the timing of Novak's rise, he will have several months before he will have points start coming off next year if he doesn't match the lofty results this year from Wimbledon on. By that point, it really is "more about the race" anyway in most years as the year goes on, obviously that years results become more and more important in your ranking until the end of the year where the ranking is exactly the same as the race.
I think because he did so poorly in 2018 first half and rose so quickly in the 2nd half of the year, that gives him extra time at number 1 in 2019 first half than other combinations. Only if he would have been 1 in early 2018 and wasn't, does it balance out. If he would have done better in 2018 1st half but not been 1, say if he was 2nd or 3rd, then I do really think in terms of his chances for time at 1 in the futuer (early 2019) doing so poorly in early 2018 oddly helped.
I do agree that his poor first half of 2016 could allow him an easier path to stay at the top in 2019, (which will be offset by his hard-to-duplicate second half).
Now, in terms of Djokovic possibly catching Fed for most weeks at #1: If he were within 25 or so, then it would help. Being 80-plus behind, it really doesn't. (In truth, I hope he makes it...and I also respect Fed enough to think it's still possible that he has a huge fall and captures #1 for 2018....not likely, but...)