It’s always a bit of a let-down to realize just how quickly the NFL season passes. Months and months of buildup are followed by a short-lived whirlwind of actual football.
The calendar has turned to a New Year, your favorite team’s playoff dreams are being dashed left and right, and the fantasy playoffs are a fading memory. This year, we thought we’d go ahead and take a hard look at our annual predictions series. We’ll see who was very right, who was very wrong, and try to pick a true winner for each category. Here are the categories we tackled:
- Fantasy MVP
- Fantasy Rookie of the Year
- Sleeper Rookie of the Year (outside our top 24)
- Bust of the Year
- Fantasy Sleeper
- Best Dynasty Buy
- Best Dynasty Sell
- Fantasy Comeback Player of the Year
We’ll start our retrospective by taking a look at our picks for Fantasy Comeback Player of the Year.
Mike Evans, WR TB
Not long ago, Mike Evans versus Odell Beckham Jr as the top overall dynasty asset was a heated debate. Flash forward one year and neither had the season many were expecting. Beckham suffered a season-ending injury and Evans disappointed. Choosing Beckham would be too easy here, so I am going to go with Evans. As disappointing as his season felt last year, he still caught 71 passes for 1,001 yards and scored five touchdowns. Although his quarterback is suspended for the first three games, Evans had some decent stat lines with backup Ryan Fitzpatrick last year. Once Winston returns, I expect Evans’ production to take off. He only scored five touchdowns last year, but touchdowns are fickle and I project Evans to have around eight to ten this year. – Kyle Holden
Kyle made a strong pick here with Mike Evans. It’s hard to remember that Evans was in fact considered a disappointment in 2017. After all, he ‘only’ managed 1,000 yards and five touchdowns. But when you remember the price you might have had to pay to acquire Evans, it does ring true as a disappointing ROI. Well, he added another 500 yards and three touchdowns for 2018, averaging over 95 yards a game. It was a career year for Evans in yardage – if he had converted a few more TDs it would have looked even better.
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Andrew Luck, QB IND
If you didn’t try to buy Luck over the last year and a half, I think you’re going to be sorry. He’s returned to playing football and while he certainly looks a little rusty in the preseason, I fully expect him to return to form a few weeks into the regular season. When he does, he immediately jumps back into the conversation as a top-three quarterback in the league. While there are several new additions to the offense since Luck last took the field for a regular season game, trusted weapons T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle are still around and Luck will find ways to get them the ball. Not only will 2018 be the year of Luck’s return, but we can only hope it will also be the return of his epic beard… that thing was awesome. – Brian Harr
Brian knocked this one out of the park. 14 writers handed in predictions and only Brian had the guts to go with Luck. That’s impressive, considering the massive question marks last year and into the off-season, which would have made him a great target for this category. But only Brian had the faith in the Colts’ quarterback. Brian’s boldness was rewarded when luck posted over 4,500 yards and 39 touchdowns. If you were one of the savvy owners out there who got Luck at a discount, congratulations. Your ship came in.
Devonta Freeman, RB ATL
I don’t think Freeman’s 2017 was the next data point in a downward trend, I just think Atlanta just struggled last year all around. Freeman finished as the RB1 in 2015 and the RB6 in 2016 before finishing 13th last year, playing 14 games. So, a top five running back was hurt, suffered from reduced team production and has now dropped out of favor – I’ll take that shot. None of his efficiency metrics dropped off in 2017. His performance was still that of a top-five running back, even with the presence of another top 24 running back sucking up touches. Freeman’s 26 years old and he is coming back to the top 12 in 2018. – Peter Howard
Peter believed that Freeman would return to form in 2018, and I believe his process was good. I was also a big Freeman believer, as he’s been a strong all-around back for the Falcons and his “bad” year prior landed him at RB13. It’s hard to fault Peter for a guy who ended up on the IR, but we have to reap what we sow, and Peter’s Devonta seed just didn’t pan out in 2018.
Allen Robinson, WR CHI
This one seems too obvious, which gives me pause. However, I still think all the pieces are in place for A-Rob to return to form. The Chicago offense has a lot of positive momentum and I, for one, can’t wait to see how it plays out during the regular season. I expect Robinson to move back into the top 12 wide receivers this year in Chi-town and be the beneficiary of many touchdown passes from Mitchell Trubisky. I know it’s been long time since he was really relevant and that will make his comeback this year all the sweeter. – Ryan Finley
Yeah, that’s me. I could have used my power here to hide my shame, but this was not a great pick. Sure, Arob wasn’t terrible or anything, but I was looking for a lot more than 700+ yards and four touchdowns. Perhaps I was drinking a bit too much of the Bear Kool-Aid (and it was good Kool-Aid this year, until the double doink) but I really believed we would see 1,000+ from Arob.
The true Comeback Player of the Year was Andrew Luck, and Brian Harr nailed it. Quite a few thought we’d never see the same HOF version of Luck again, and more thought maybe we’d get the 75% Luck, but we got something close to 100% on a resurgent team. Luck very nearly charted his very best year as a pro, coming up just a tad short in both yardage and touchdowns. But I’ll take 4,593 and 39 anytime. Other guys had strong comeback years, like David Johnson, Mike Evans and others, but Luck put up one of his best seasons, and that’s saying a lot. Andrew Luck put this shoulder concerns to rest and has re-taken his rightful place among the upper echelon of quarterbacks in dynasty.