Large numbers of independent predictions make for a powerful prediction tool. That’s why I created the DLF forum prediction contest in 2013. The format is simple. Well, the 2013 and 2015 formats are simple; we don’t talk about the 2014 version. Each entrant must answer a series of 50/50 questions related to 2015 production (who will average more points per game in 2015?) and 2016 DLF average draft position (who will have the earlier ADP based on DLF’s June 2016 mocks?) as well as a few miscellaneous questions.
The 2013 version showed the power of group predictions. The questions were hard, as the average entry got only 21.7 out of 43 correct (50%). But the consensus prediction fared better, reaching the correct result 24 times (56%) – that was with 30 entries. This year, there were 81 timely entries and I expect the consensus result will be more accurate as a result.
So, what did the wise crowd have to say? Here are ten takeaways from the 2015 entries:
- Rob Gronkowski is due for a letdown. Despite Gronkowski’s lofty ADP this offeason (3.17 in the June 2015 DLF mocks), people don’t believe in him. More than half of entries (52%) predict Gronkowski will be drafted after 1.08 next June. In contrast, almost everyone (93%) thinks that Dez Bryant will be drafted earlier than 1.06. And injury risk apparently isn’t the main concern, as more than three-fourths of entries (77%) predicted that Gronkowski would play at least 14 games in 2015.
My take: If Gronk can stay healthy for 14 games in 2015, I see no reason why he should be considered a riskier asset than Bryant.
- Adrian Peterson will be back in full force. A robust 72% of entries predict Peterson will outscore Arian Foster in 2015, even though Foster is slightly younger and has been the more productive fantasy back over the players’ careers. This is consistent with the players’ redraft and dynasty ADP. Apparently everyone is on board with the narrative Peterson will come back angry and rested in 2015.
My take: Foster and Peterson are a coin flip for me. At their respective prices, I’ll take Foster every time.
- Sammy Watkins’ dynasty ADP is a mirage. He was drafted earlier than Amari Cooper in DLF’s May and June mocks, but redrafters value the two almost equally, and 70% of contest entries predicted Cooper would be the more valuable dynasty commodity next June.
My take: If you can get full value for Watkins, now’s the time to sell. I don’t expect him to be a valuable contributor in 2015 and you should be able to buy at a relative discount next off-season.
- Phillip Dorsett is the youngster to own in Indianapolis. DLF’s June ADP has Donte Moncrief at WR35 and Dorsett at WR48, but almost two-thirds (63%) of contest entrants predict Dorsett will be drafted earlier in June 2016.
My take: Moncrief’s ADP is a remnant of his pre-draft Hype. In reality, most owners value Dorsett higher. If you can acquire Dorsett or sell Moncrief at his respective ADP, do it.
- Dynasty owners don’t trust Jonathan Stewart. Re-drafters are treating Stewart almost exactly as the equal to Alfred Morris. But more than two-thirds (67%) of contest entrants predicted Morris would outscore Stewart on a per-game basis in 2015. Apparently we’ve been burned by Stewart too many times.
My take: I never owned Stewart when his value was at its peak, so I don’t have the bad taste in my mouth that many apparently do. I prefer Stewart over Morris in 2015, especially on a per-game basis.
- Tevin Coleman is a clear underdog in the debate with Ameer Abdullah. They may be neck-and-neck in DLF ADP, but more than two-thirds (68%) of contest entries predict Abdullah will outscore Coleman in 2015.
[inlinead]My take: I’m torn between Abdullah and Coleman, but if Coleman has an obvious advantage, it’s current opportunity. If Abdullah indeed outperforms him in 2015, that’s a bad sign for Coleman.
- Our love for Calvin Johnson is hidden, but real. Demaryius Thomas may have the earlier dynasty and redraft ADP, but 61% of contest entrants predict Megatron will outscore Demaryius on a per-game basis in 2015.
My take: Calvin is still the number one receiver in the game when healthy. My only hesitation comes from his willingness to play through injury (and thus hurt his per-game numbers). In the end, I’ll stick with Megatron.
- Peyton Manning hasn’t reached the end quite yet. Redrafters prefer the younger Russell Wilson by more than a full round, but a slim majority (52%) of contest entrants predict Manning will have the better 2015.
My take: I predict one final Manning-like season for Peyton and a downtick in rushing for Wilson, so you can count me in the 52%.
- The curse of 370 is a myth. Even though DeMarco Murray has missed at least three games in two of his four professional seasons, and even though he logged more carries in 2014 than he did in 2012 and 2013 combined, most contest entrants (59%) predicted Murray would play in at least 14 games in 2015. (In contrast, most entrants predicted Percy Harvin and Jordan Cameron would not hit the 14-game mark.)
My take: I hate predicting injuries, but Murray missed time in each of his first three NFL seasons. 2014 showed that he could stay healthy despite a crushing workload, but I don’t trust him to repeat that performance. I’ll reluctantly take the under.
- “Sophomore Fever” will be weaker in 2015 than it was in 2013 and 2014. Recent history shows rising sophomores usually see a significant uptick in ADP. Nevertheless, contest entrants predicted this year’s crop of rookies would not get quite the same bump as in years past. 61% think Jay Ajayi will make it past 6.12 next June, and 54% think Devin Funchess will last to at least 6.06. 49% think Breshad Perriman will be available after 4.06, while 68% think Dorial Green-Beckham will last at least that long. Of all the rookies, Jaelen Strong induced the most pessimism – only 21% think he will be drafted before pick 5.12 next June.
My take: I’ve been predicting for a while that 2015 may be the end of the recent “rookies always gain value after year one” phenomenon. Maybe that prediction will come true, or maybe we’re just not good at predicting our own Sophomore Fever.