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.
The season as a whole was pretty abysmal for the Giants. For our purposes, it’s a good object lesson in defensive volatility. At the end of the 2016 season, the Giants were a playoff team with one of the very best defenses in the league led by Snacks Harrison, two fierce pass rushers, a dominant Landon Collins and three good corners. In 2017 the unit was a shadow of itself even though most of the players remained in place and excellent. All believers in the Jaguars 2017 defense should think long and hard about this.
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Damon “Big Snacks” Harrison is simply a transcendent player. He’s a run-stopper in an era when that skill isn’t very important but he’s so good at it he simply makes his own value. He finished the year with 76 total tackles. Only three others managed to finish within 20 of that total. His 51 solos were more than Jaylon Smith, Vontaze Burfict or Derrick Johnson. Needless to say, he smashed the prediction here by 14 solos. Although he was just one away from assists and sacks. It’s also worth noting he beat predictions on batted passes and interceptions. Only by a couple but it simply reflects his excellence.
At the other spot, Dalvin Tomlinson was a very positive surprise. He managed to beat the predicted solos and assists by eight each. Although he only managed one sack I think the future is very bright for Tomlinson (assuming the new scheme in 2018 is friendly).
The Giants are so unique at edge rusher. Where more and more other teams rotate even their star players the Giants like to leave Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon out for every snap if possible. As a result, JPP led all DEs in snaps for 2017. Only two other ends finished within 100 of his huge total.
The prediction for playing time was far lower simply because playing that much invites injury. That’s what happened to him in 2016 and to his partner Vernon in 2017. Somehow JPP stayed fit and thus recorded very high numbers. He beat my solos prediction by 15 and assists by six. He did, however, come in exactly on target for sacks and just one under for batted passes.
Olivier Vernon was also close on sacks with seven against a benchmark of eight. He was also just three assists under. The error though was in solo numbers. He finished below the target by 15 – the same number JPP finished over by.
Ugh. If I could add an emoji in here it’d be the green-faced sick one. I was way out with every player here. On the positive side, the pure unpredictability and uselessness of the unit was my real prediction here. For years the Giants have treated the position with disdain. In my preseason prediction article, I called the unit “a glaring swamp of disappointment”.
I did not expect any one or two players to rise above the mess and secure a role with IDP value. Lo and behold that came to pass with six players managing more than 280 snaps but none with more than 550. Volume and production changed from week to week throughout the entire season and there was no point in trying to foresee it. I did not own a single Giants LB at any point during the season in any league. I hope you didn’t either.
One of the lynchpins of that excellent 2016 season for the Giants was Janoris Jenkins. He came in from the Rams on a big money contract and confounded skeptics (like me) who thought he was too much of a gambler. Jenkins fell back to earth this season though and underdelivered across the board. He finished only just above half of the benchmark totals in solos, assists and passes defended.
Eli Apple was another black mark on the season. He burned his bridges and is unlikely to be around much longer. But did at least manage to finish close to his predicted totals. He was seven solos under, bang on with assists and just one PD short. His zero interceptions was awful but I only ever expected him to have one.
Landon Collins was absurdly good in 2016 and my IDP player of the season. In 2017 he didn’t quite manage to recreate that season (regression from elite seasons is obviously a strong possibility) but he was still excellent in the end. 28 total tackles across weeks ten and eleven meant he was a huge factor during those games in particular. The IDP world seems to be treating him as a disappointment but I think he holds value.
In terms of predictions, his solos total of 74 was 12 short of what I expected. Only three other safeties beat his total. He managed 25 assists (which was spot on), failed to record a sack (against a prediction of two), managed six PDs (under by four) and two interceptions (under by one). Aside from the big drop in solos (coming from an unsustainable base), it’s a picture of only slight disappointment.
The question should be then “where did the tackles go?” With the linebacking corps being so ineffective it only exacerbates the question. One of the answers was Darian Thompson who managed a huge 589 snaps more than I expected. That led to a stunning 61 solos (29 more than expected) which were more than Matthias Farley, Ron Parker, Vonn Bell, Tony Jefferson, Karl Joseph or Barry Church. Thompson finished extremely close on all other stats but that solos number is enormous.
This season was more of a deflation than a disappointment. Too many players were simply a bit underwhelming both in NFL quality and IDP production. There’s a lot to watch though as James Bettcher takes over as defensive coordinator underneath new head coach Pat Shurmur. Bettcher comes from a 3-4 coaching tree so it’ll be fascinating to see him adapt personnel and scheme.
The question I always get asked about the Giants is “who is the LB to own?” and my answer remains the same – none of them. I’m avoiding all Giants LBs until they prove to me they are willing to use any of them in high volumes. It’s entirely possible I miss out on a player by doing this, but the benefit of my time and mental health in not having to try unraveling the situation is more than worth it.
Thanks for reading.
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