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 Lions were a weird team in 2017. They were competitive all season but somehow never convincing. In fact, I’d argue that they were flat out lucky across the board. I’m sure Lions fans won’t feel this way but give the playing and coaching resources available, the season went about as well as it possibly could have done.
One of my biggest man-crushes in the league came out of this group. As anyone who follows my work knows I have a big man crush on A’Shawn Robinson. He’s a monster of a man and hugely productive given his role on the team. He managed to more than double my predictions on a number of metrics. Boom!
Robinson’s emergence as a dominant force coincided with Haloti Ngata’s slide from the top. He had injury issues, but age was clearly a factor. Ngata could only play 145 snaps and didn’t manage to get anywhere near my totals.
[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]
I don’t really like Ezekiel Ansah at all. I think he’s a good-but-not-elite player who does not play anywhere near the volume I like to see from DEs. And yet he was the closest DE for me on this team. I was pretty near to his totals on all stats here (arguably not PDs, where he didn’t have any) even if nine of his 12 sacks came in just three games. He’s a free agent this year and the Lions have never really shown that they value him as an every-down dominant defender, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens to him.
The real top dog on the unit in my eyes was Anthony Zettel. He led the position in snaps in Detroit by a large margin and was the most consistent option too. Obviously, a new coach leaves question marks, but I think he’s a good buy.
As a third option, I was fairly close on Cornelius Washington. But he only played 439 snaps. He wasn’t a huge factor for many fantasy teams.
I knew at the time that I was being too optimistic here when I put the two rookies in as the clear starters. But I just couldn’t bring myself to put Tahir Whitehead in seeing as how he clearly proved himself as a bad player in 2016. Apparently, the Lions disagreed and thought Whitehead was okay. And what’s more, they thought he was better than Davis too. Whitehead was the top inside man for most of the second half of the season after it was clear Davis needed more time to develop.
Having said all that, I was close with my predictions on Jarrad Davis. He finished 23 solos under my number (darn that late-season demotion) but just one assist out, one sack over, two PDs under and one INT over.
Beyond that, Whitehead tripled my prediction on tackles, and Jalen Reeves-Maybin underdelivered significantly. The IDP community seems to love JRM but I’m not sure he’s ever going to be an every-down starter.
The Lions also gave Paul Worrilow 276 snaps. I have no words for this.
All five players look a bit out here but really there’s just one error – I loved Teez Tabor coming out and I let that influence me into thinking he’d be the number two corner with the associated numbers. That didn’t happen and Tabor really only played later in the season. I was over 600 snaps out in terms of volume. The playing time I thought he would win was actually spread out amongst Nevin Lawson, D.J. Hayden, and Quandre Diggs. All those players played a lot more than I thought and had the solos to go with that.
I was fairly happy with my volume for Darius “Big Play” Slay but woefully under on productivity. He managed nine more solos than I thought and a staggering 11 more PDs to finish with 26 – which led all corners by four. Slay also led all corners in interceptions with eight (no one else had more than six) to cap an excellent season in cover plays.
I’m going to claim three wins here. I think I was good against all three major players involved. I was on #TeamTavon all off-season because I’ve never believed in Miles Killebrew as a fully-rounded starter. He’s clearly got a fascinating skillset but he also has huge weaknesses too. Three or four hundred snaps of him are really fun but I can’t see him playing much more until he fixes those issues.
The one big error was Tavon Wilson’s solos. He finished 19 under my total which is entirely attributable to his health issues. It’s still a miss of course, but I was close enough on all other stats for me to be satisfied.
Glover Quin was the free safety and although he got off to a red-hot start, I ended up really close across the board.
I made three very specific errors here. Haloti Ngata over A’Shawn Robinson, underestimating Tahir Whitehead and overestimating Teez Tabor. I’ll learn from all of these but ultimately we need to see the new coaching staff in place. At the time of writing, it seems a good bet that Matt Patricia will take over as head coach which will be fun to watch from a defensive point of view.
Thanks for reading.