Another fantasy season is in the books, and the NFL playoffs are about to begin. For fantasy owners, this just might be the most important time of the year in my opinion. Before you start jumping into your plans for the off-season or who you are going to draft in your rookie draft, it is extremely important to sit down and look back at the decisions you made this past season. Where were you right? More importantly, where were you wrong, and why were you wrong? If you don’t take a moment to consider these questions you are bound to repeat the same mistakes in future seasons.
For that reason, I think it is important to take this final week and turn the good, bad, and ugly truth around, aiming it at how I did this season. Where was I right? Where was I wrong? Why was I wrong? Time to take a look! Players are in the order I addressed each one. Part one of the article features weeks one-nine, while part two covers weeks ten-seventeen.
James Jones, WR GB
Original take – He would be a low volume, high touchdown receiver for this year. He’ll be inconsistent, but have some big weeks. Limited upside for the future, so he was really just a play for strong contenders.
Result – Good call! Jones finished the season as a back end WR3 in PPR leagues. He finished with 50 catches for 890 yards and eight scores. He had some big weeks when he scored, but all of the other weeks he likely left his owners disappointed.
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Nate Washington, WR TEN
Original take – Washington’s week one volume (11 targets) was much higher than he would see again. He’s better left on waivers and not worth a look long or short term.
Result – Good call! Washington struggled to finish as a top 50 receiver in PPR formats. He had one decent two game stretch in the middle of the season, but it was after him posting three catches, four catches, zero catches and then being out for two weeks due to injury. Random big games don’t do fantasy owners any good. After his good two games he didn’t top 50 yards in any game. Definitely a waiver wire player.
Dion Lewis, RB NE
Original take – Inconsistent due to New England’s constantly changing game plan, but he is talented enough to be productive when the game plan favors his skill set. Good luck guessing when that will be though!
Result – Inconclusive! Outside of 15 carries in week one, Lewis did not carry the ball more than eight times in any of the other games. However, he was always involved in the passing game with at least three receptions in every game he played. Unfortunately he only played in eight games this season, so it is tough to get a true read on how he did. He was a little more consistent than I expected due to his big play ability, but he was rather boom or bust with his last four games being split between over 20 points and under ten points, without any weeks in the middle.
Rishard Matthews, WR MIA
Original take – Valuable in the short term and will continue to produce until some of the young receivers on the roster, like DeVante Parker, start to get comfortable in the offense. Long term value is limited due to more talented players on the roster.
Result – Good call. Matthews remained productive through much of the season. He didn’t have any huge weeks outside of week three against the Bills, but he had at least four catches or a touchdown in all but one game prior to his week 11 injury. His injury cleared the path for Parker to take over, but Parker had been cutting into his role for the prior few weeks. Long term, I think Matthews’ upside is as the third target for the Dolphins, but he could easily be the fourth.
Devonta Freeman, RB ATL
Original take – Productive, but it was in part due to a high volume and having the position all to himself. I expected a committee once Tevin Coleman was healthy with Freeman settling in as a low end RB2 or flex play as a committee back.
Result – Terrible call! Freeman went on to post more than 30 fantasy points each of the three weeks after I wrote about him. This was my biggest miss of the season and it wasn’t even close. I put too much stock in what Freeman did as a rookie, and I trusted Coleman too much. Freeman was a very different rusher in 2015 than he was in 2014.
Revised prediction – Freeman had a monster four game stretch in weeks three-seven. With nine total touchdowns over that span and locked up the feature back role, proving he can play all three downs. Coleman never had a chance. Outside of that big run, Freeman’s rushing totals actually weren’t very impressive. He had under 3.3 yards per carry from week 8 on. However, his role as a receiver provided a high floor for him. I think the hype will likely inflate his value way too much, but he’ll be a solid running back for quite some time.
Leonard Hankerson, WR ATL
Original take – Hankerson had been productive as the number two option in the passing game, but I didn’t think he was talented enough to make it last. It was time to sell him for whatever you could get for him.
Result – Good call! After week four, Hankerson had a total of nine catches for 86 yards on the season. Granted, he was injured for a large part of that, but he didn’t even finish the season on the Falcons’ roster. I think it is time to forget about him.
Willie Snead, WR NO
Original take – Should be a solid WR3 for the year. Won’t get a high volume of targets, but with Brees’ trust he should always be involved as a high floor option in larger leagues or as a flex play.
Result – Okay Call! While I did like Snead, my prediction was way under what actually happened. I didn’t think he would get much more than six targets a game, but he actually didn’t have fewer than five targets in all but two of his games this season. He did finish as a WR3, but it was his low touchdown total which held him back. By yards and receptions he was a fringe WR2. I think that is what he will be next season.
Gary Barnidge, TE CLE
Original take – I thought he was the 2015 version of Larry Donnell, hot start but largely touchdown dependent. I expected him to fade down the stretch and end up as just another TE2 with limited long term value due to his age.
Result – Bad Call! Barnidge pulled off the improbable breakout as a 30 year old player in the NFL. It really came out of no where as he had shown no signs of this ability in any of his previous seven seasons in the league. His finish as a top five tight end earned him a contract extension with the Browns.
Revised prediction – I’m still not very high on his long term value. He’ll turn 31 just after the 2016 season starts, so he isn’t a long term asset. However, someone on the Browns needs to catch passes, and there really aren’t many other options. He will be a cheap option for a team looking to make a run at the championship in 2016. I don’t think he will be top five again, but he should be a solid TE1 for another season or two.
Charcandrick West and Knile Davis, RBs KC
Original take – Jamaal Charles had just blown out his knee, and there was a lot of talk about who would be taking over for him as the feature back for Andy Reid. While Davis had the edge in experience, I expected West to be the lead guy and be a RB2 while doing so, but he might lose goal line work.
Result – Good call! West went on to be a key player for fantasy teams, especially over the middle parts of the season (prior to his injury), and Davis wasn’t ever heard from again. If you put your eggs in the Davis basket, you were likely kicking yourself. Long term, I expect Charles to regain his role, but West will be his backup.
Stay tuned for part two.
- Final 2021 Pre-Draft Rookie Mock: Round Three - April 28, 2021
- Final 2021 Pre-Draft Rookie Mock: Round Two - April 26, 2021
- Final 2021 Pre-Draft Rookie Mock: Round One - April 25, 2021
Is it just me or do I only see one name in both part one and part two?
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New debit card! I completely forgot about changing it on here. Thanks!