Why does setting Start Date for a Release change the predicted Completion Date?

I'm using the Version Report to forecast a predicted completion date and I'm not very confident in what I'm seeing so far.  I noticed that changing the Release Start date changes the predicted completion date even if the total amount of work remains the same. I also notice that the Completed Story Points value is unchanged when I adjust the Start date.

My reason for setting the Start date earlier is that it reflects when work actually began.  However, I don't see Completed Story Points for that work even though the items in question are showing up in the set of Completed Issues shown further down in the Version Report.  My concern is that the calculated velocity seems like it's including a large period of zero velocity and this reduces the overall velocity rate to predict a much later release date.  If I leave the Start date empty (it's optional), The predicted release date is much sooner.  Considering the high-stakes nature of reporting a predicted release date, I really need to understand how this works. :-)

early_Start_date.pnglater_Start_date.png

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I guess the linear regression then is done only from start date.

How do you change the start date?

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