Hi everyone and welcome to the fantasy off-season. It was a wild ride in 2017 and I’m still recovering, but there’s no real off-season in the dynasty world. In the summer I made projections for every IDP in the league I thought would be relevant. You can go back and read all of the 2017 IDP Projections here.
I was right in some places. I was wrong in some places. But either way, it’s important to be accountable and honest so I can figure out why and make adjustments in the future. I’ll be going through every team and noting where I was right and where I was wrong. To do that I’ll show what my projections were, how players actually performed, and how big the discrepancies were.
I had some contentious views about the Rams in the off-season. So much so that Wade Phillips has blocked me on Twitter. I’m actually pretty proud of that. Being contentious is fine but it’s wasted effort and hot air if you’re totally wrong. So let’s go into how I did.
This isn’t a great start, is it? Michael Brockers ended up playing an impressive 730 snaps and being very productive. He was a top ten inside player in the NFL for tackle volume. I had him down for much more conservative numbers which he easily beat.
Tanzel Smart was a bit better, but given he was not a significant IDP factor, it doesn’t really matter.
Omarius Bryant was number three in my work, which looks laughable now given he didn’t play a down.
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Aaron Donald was obviously the hot question here. And remains one. I’ll be covering his positional use at some point in the off-season. In terms of numbers, I was quite optimistic with tackle numbers where he produced 41 (compared to the 60 I was hoping for) but he simply smashed my sack number as he piled up 11. He’s just a fantastic player. On any given down, he’ll be the first player off the line and is usually more than one lineman can handle on his own. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t go on piling up double-digit sacks every season.
Ethan Westbrooks was another player who did not manage to reach the solo tackle numbers expected. In fact, he managed fewer than half of the target. Aside from that, I was close to all stats.
This is the key section, isn’t it? The contention I wrote about earlier was all based on one player: Alec Ogletree. My point was that his old coordinator (Gregg Williams) runs a very LB-friendly scheme whilst his new one (Wade “Blocker” Phillips) does not. In fact, LBs tend to be below average playing for Wade in IDP terms. In the 2016 season, Ogletree and Barron led the league in LB playing time. That was unlikely to happen again.
I also believed that Ogletree is simply not a very good NFL player and that he’s been overproducing for years. I still believe this. My opponents believed Ogletree was so athletic and good that he simply could not fail to hit the sort of peaks he has in the past.
In the end Ogletree played more than I thought with 926 snaps. He was healthy all season long. But he still only managed 63 solo tackles. In his previous three healthy seasons, he’d never managed fewer than 85. He actually failed to hit my total by nine but I’m happy with the accuracy here – and the point proven. I was also just one assist, one sack and one interception out. Although he did have an excellent ten PDs. Credit where it’s due!
Mark Barron, on the other hand, was much better than expected. The 72 solos he managed was excellent even it was balanced out by a paltry 13 assists. He was one of the LBs this season.
Robert Quinn has been pretty roundly criticised for his recent work and he’s certainly just a shadow of the elite player he was back in 2012. But he did manage nine sacks this season, which is rather impressive. I take some solace from the fact I was bang on with that number (as well as his 11 assists) but it’s balanced by his unimpressive 21 solos. Much more was expected by almost everyone.
Connor Barwin was the much better player over the season even if many of his numbers were lower. I was happier too as he finished very close to all his projected numbers. Five solos, six assists and two sacks under is pretty good.
Trumaine Johnson is a fairly average player these days in NFL terms. He’s certainly not worth what the Rams have been paying him. But their loss is our gain, as he managed a huge 57 solo tackles in 2017. Only eight corners had more than that. It was bittersweet for me as I predicted just 38. However I was one assist out, one PD out and bang on for interceptions.
Kayvon Webster was better across the board as he was uncannily close to predictions.
In the slot, Nickell Robey-Coleman (it’s still funny a slot player is called Nickell) underdelivered on solos but was close to all other stats.
Can anyone tell me why Maurice Alexander was released in October? It seemed bizarre back then and it still does now. Needless to say, he failed to get anywhere near to the projections. John Johnson (who failed to make it into my projections) managed to put up 53 solos and 17 assists which would have been almost perfect.
Lamarcus Joyner was much better. The football world seemed to be surprised at how good he was all season. Not me. He actually produced 12 solos fewer than the benchmark but was only a couple out against my assists, PDs, and interceptions.
There was some inconsistency here but ultimately it all rests on the one onion-hanging prediction I made about Alec Ogletree. I was proved correct on that one. He’ll likely be an LB3 or LB4 in my 2018 version too. Apologies to owners, but I did recommend you sell him whilst you could.
Aaron Donald will remain a tough player to predict. Personally, I think he should be reclassified as a DT where he has true elite value rather than a good but not great DE. My recommendation has nothing to do with IDP value though – he simply lined up more as a tackle than as an end.
I enjoyed the Rams surprise success this season as much as anyone, so here’s hoping they can do it again next season.
Thanks for reading.