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 Raiders defense in 2017 was one of the more characterless for me. What were they good at? What could no one stop them doing? I struggle to think of the answers. Khalil Mack is obviously a superstar but outside of him who had a good season? No-one really for me. Why they think Jon Gruden is going to turn that around I cannot fathom.
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Justin Ellis was pretty fantastic at times as a tackling machine. He managed 12 of his 27 solos between weeks six to eight. Given I only expected him to manage 16 solos for the season, that was great production. In the end his 27 beat benchmark by a full 11. Similarly, he managed to beat the assists prediction by 50%.
Rookie Eddie Vanderdoes was much more conservative and predictable. He was just two solos over and four assists under. I liked Vanderdoes in the draft process but he disappointed in the NFL. He may well be a classic case of the “cool name premium” where we overvalue players with distinctive monikers.
Ugh. This whole position was a bag of meh. Denico Autry led the way and finished fairly close to prediction in tackles – just five over for solos and two for assists. He did manage an impressive five sacks and seven PDs but his low tackle numbers meant he wasn’t really a viable IDP for most owners.
Jihad Ward saw just 127 snaps after being worked heavily as a rookie (637 snaps). It was always strange that he played so much given he’s never looked very good. Needless to say, he got nowhere near the benchmarks set for him which now look hilariously optimistic.
Let’s start with the big name, shall we? Khalil Mack managed 10.5 sacks compared to the 10.4 I expected of him. He was also bang on with 17 assists. Where he really over-delivered, though, was in solos where he managed to bag 61 compared to a prediction of just 40. In his previous seasons, he recorded 59, 57 and 54 so to be honest the level was set badly. It’ll be corrected for 2018.
The other huge name was NaVorro Bowman whom the Raiders acquired mid-season. He wasn’t included here obviously but his presence depressed all other inside LBs’ production. Cory James couldn’t stay healthy and only managed half of what was expected. Marquel Lee was even more limited than I expected and didn’t make much of an impact. Tyrell Adams played fewer than 100 snaps. Bruce Irvin played a lot but was enormously inefficient in his SAM role. On the whole, the entire inside LB position was beset by issues that meant none of them were particularly close.
This position also makes for ugly reading with no excuse of the ilk of NaVorro Bowman arriving. I was just quite far away on most players. David Amerson played fewer than 300 snaps and failed to put up close to the big numbers I expected. T.J. Carrie played over 1,000 snaps and smashed the predicted numbers. Gareon Conley barely played as a rookie due to legal and health issues. Sean Smith ended up fairly close but it’s no real comfort.
Karl Joseph was a big disappointment to many owners in his second season but I was pretty accurate here. He managed eight fewer solos tackles (56 against 64), five fewer assists (21 against 26) and did very poorly against coverage plays but there were no enormous surprises. He was simply very efficient as a rookie and things came back to earth in 2017.
Opposite him, Reggie Nelson shocked me by staying healthy and playing 1,027 snaps. I was sure he wouldn’t manage a full season at his age. He was fairly inefficient though and finished just three solos and eight assists over. He also managed two fewer batted passes and one fewer interception than expected. That’s a very bad sign for an aging free safety.
Obi Melifonwu deserves a spot here. I loved him on tape and drafted him way too much. In the end, he played only a few snaps which were mostly at cornerback. He also looked abysmal (remember him struggling against altitude in Mexico City?) and was yanked for his own sanity. It’s possible the new regime in Oakland gives him a shot at safety but I’m very worried about his prospects.
I was very close with Khalil Mack (the one player people really cared about here) and the safeties but pretty bad at inside linebacker and corner. We couldn’t have seen Bowman come to the team but as a team effort, this was still below the threshold of accuracy I expect I’m afraid.
Going forward it should be fun. I fully expect Mack to be switched to DE and if that doesn’t happen it’s a great example why IDP leagues should have a law to overrule positional allocation (with sufficient evidence). Honestly, the unit can’t be much worse than it was last season and so I’m hoping for a big improvement across the board. The NFL is a better place with a vicious, nasty Raiders defense in it.
Thanks for reading.