IDP Projection Marking: AFC South

Tom Kislingbury

All through the off-season, we work to give DLF readers an edge in their dynasty leagues. That’s useless unless we can prove we’re OK at actually making decent predictions. This series looks back through our final preseason projections to see how good or bad they were.

Houston Texans

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Nobody did anything noteworthy at nose tackle for the Texans. D.J. Reader and Brandon Dunn both managed the sort of production expected but it just doesn’t register on our IDP radar.

At end, J.J. Watt had a brilliant season that reminded everyone what we’d been missing. He was the number two DE in this model before the season and paid that faith back. He even delivered ten more solos and seven more sacks. Christian Covington and Angelo Blackson both delivered in spurts but they’re just part-time players.

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At inside linebacker, Benardrick McKinney was as disappointing as he was predicted to be. He gets a ton of hype (and even got voted to the Pro Bowl!) based on his one good year and cool name. A far better player is Zach Cunningham who smashed his projections. Sometimes it’s great to be wrong.

On the edge, Jadeveon Clowney was just two solos and two sacks out. He’s never going to be the IDP people want him to be. Whitney Mercilus also had a return to remember. Exactly as predicted above.

Cornerback Kevin Johnson missed almost the whole season again. In his absence, Kareem Jackson moved back to corner and had a fine season. He has no value going forward. Johnathan Joseph also performed well after he was pressed into heavy action.

Tyrann Mathieu and Justin Reid had excellent seasons in the Texan’s two-deep scheme. They’re both replaceable IDPs but they cleared their solo targets considerably.

Indianapolis Colts

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The Colts’ defense was hyped up heavily preseason by DLF IDP writers. Hopefully, you paid attention!

On the inside, Margus Hunt and Denico Autry emerged from the mess to have good seasons. Both played a lot on the edge too but mainly the Colts used an unorthodox front which left both of them shooting gaps. Autry was arguably predicted well but Hunt was a surprise.

At DE, Jabaal Sheard did as well as he did the season before. He creates a lot of pressure but doesn’t score many sacks. Rookie Kemoko Turay was a particular favorite. He’s a pure speed/bend rusher and although he created pressure did struggle against the run. Fellow rookie Tyquan Lewis is the opposite. He’s a stout run defender but not much threat as a rusher.

Darius Leonard is, of course, the story at LB. His 111 solos were astonishing, but he was good across the board. It’s worth noting again that his seven sacks came from just 11 pressures. He is not a good pass rusher. Behind Leonard, the depth chart was all wrong. Anthony Walker was the number two ‘backer over Najee Goode and Skai Moore.

Corner was a problem for the team, but Pierre Desir and Kenny Moore emerged to have good seasons. Both outperformed expectations with Quincy Wilson a big disappointment.

At safety, Clayton Geathers beat out Matthias Farley but both are injury prone. It’s a natural hazard of the role they play. Both failed to get that close to their solos targets. At free safety, Malik Hooker played over 900 snaps but failed to get close even to the moderate tackle projections here. He has no IDP value. Given how badly he was over-drafted he was as a rookie in IDP leagues, you can mock your friends over picking him.

Jacksonville Jaguars

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Somehow the Jaguars were nearly as healthy as they were in 2017 but they were nowhere near as good. It’s just not really feasible to perform as an elite defense two years straight.

Malik Jackson and Marcell Dareus came in very close to what was predicted here. That’s gratifying. Rookie Taven Bryan played more on the edge than inside but also finished about on the money.

Calais Campbell wasn’t as good as he was in 2017 but was still a terror. What a career he’s had. He easily beat the tackle targets here. Yannick Ngakoue was much closer there (he’s awful in the run game) but managed an excellent ten sacks. Dante Fowler was traded away mid-season after the infamous London night in the cells.

The linebacker duo was much-hyped only for Myles Jack to be complained about. Fortunately, they were both pretty close here so you would have been prepared for what he produced.

A.J. Bouye came in very close to expectations but Jalen Ramsey did well to beat his solos prediction by 18. D.J. Hayden missed plenty of time but still also racked up tackles.

At safety, Barry Church was an enormous let-down. He got nowhere near predictions and won’t be back with the team in 2019. Ronnie Harrison stepped up to take his job late in the season and carries much promise. Deep safety Tashaun Gipson came in very close to expectations.

Tennessee Titans

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The Titans defense was back to being a bit dull this year under Mike Vrabel. Weird.

Auston Johnson played limited snaps at nose and had limited production as a result. Bennie Logan played even less. Jurrell Casey had another excellent season (before making it onto IR) and came in very close to targets. Daquan Jones did as well but no one noticed.

Wesley Woodyard had a fine season as the top linebacker on the team. He was about right for tackles but did manage three extra sacks whilst underdelivering on coverage plays. Rashaan Evans was hurt and found the step-up tough. He failed to hit his targets whilst Jayon Brown surprisingly played plenty and did really well. Evans and Brown will be the favorites to start in 2019.

At outside LB, Brian Orakpo really showed his age this year and is retiring. He failed to hit his targets through inefficiency. Derrick Morgan was predictably uninspiring too, but Harold Landry really came on. He’s going to be a fine player and should be the Titans best outside edge rusher next year. He managed production very close to what we expected but will look to move on considerably.

The Titan’s three big-name corners all played poorly for much of the year but also managed far more tackles than predicted. Adoree’ Jackson remains a target machine. Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan are both physical, hard-working players.

At safety, Kevin Byard predictably failed to get anywhere near his 2017 season that was built on interceptions. He was fine but clearly not worth anything like the prices he was commanding last off-season. Kenny Vaccaro was also a huge let-down. It took him so long to get a job because he’s not that good. Remember – big names do not necessarily mean IDP production. Scheme comes first.

Thanks for reading.


tom kislingbury