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.
It was a difficult season for the Falcons but they’re back in the playoffs and that’s not a bad result after their heart-breaking loss in the Super Bowl last season. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even get back there.
Just like the Cardinals I made an error here in terms of rotation. But it was the other way around. I thought the Falcons would use a committee approach at the position but actually they had a lot of faith in Grady Jarrett and Dontari Poe and gave them high snap volumes.
Having said that, I was pretty close with Poe. I predicted 20 solos (he got 23), 19 assists (16) and two sacks (three). I was bang on for passes defended (two) and interceptions (0).
For Jarrett I got heat in the summer for predicting just two sacks in the regular season. Everyone remembered his three in last year’s Super Bowl and thought he would continue in that vein. He managed four across the season. Double what I said, but I’m putting it down as a win.
I thought Jack Crawford would be a factor and he wasn’t at all. A miss there for me.
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Firstly there’s an error by omission here. I didn’t think Adrian Clayborn would be in the top four DEs on the team. Clearly, that was wrong as he managed nine and a half sacks (although six were in a single game).
I thought Courtney Upshaw would be the top man at the position which was patently wrong. He managed far less production than I thought.
On the other hand I was pretty accurate against Brooks Reed (where I had his solos bang on, his assists four out and sacks two out), Takk McKinley (solos bang on, assists three out, sacks two off) and Derrick Shelby (solos four off, assists four and a bit off, sacks one off).
I had two hits and two misses here.
Deion Jones played more than I thought he would as he solidified his reputation as a young star. He had 11 more solos than I predicted and six more assists. I thought he’d manage three more sacks than he did but he managed two more PDs and two more INTs.
Vic Beasley was another player I took flak over. I had him down for just four sacks a season after leading the league in the stat. He managed five. He also vastly underdelivered against solo and assisted tackles. He’ll continue to be overvalued by IDP owners as people think that high outlier season is his benchmark.
My two clear misses at this position were Duke Riley and De’Vondre Campbell. I bought into the narrative that Riley would come in and start. In reality, Campbell played 947 snaps and had an excellent season which I did not predict at all. He took a big step forward and seems pretty locked in at the spot.
I’m pretty happy with my performance across this whole unit. My predictions for Desmond Trufant, in particular, were uncannily accurate.
For Robert Alford and Brian Poole I was pretty good except for maybe the most important stat – solo tackles. I said Alford would have 40 (he managed 58) and Poole 31 (he managed 49). Those aren’t great but I was pretty close to all other stats.
Neal managed to play 228 more snaps than I predicted. The style of football he plays makes him an injury risk so I’m happy to be wrong here. The added volume meant that he managed 14 more solos than I predicted. As a direct result, Allen had 22 fewer solos. Neal simply hoovered up more of the tackle opportunities available because he managed to stay on the field. My predictions for assists, sacks and PDs were very accurate. I was low for them all against interceptions. I said the pair would manage five between them. They only had one each.
I also had Kemal Ishmael down as a significant player. As we know Neal stayed fit all season and Ishmael played just 114 snaps. So clearly I was high on all statistics for him.
I’m pretty happy with my performance against this team. I was pretty close on both tackles, Takk McKinley, Deion Jones, Vic Beasley and Desmond Trufant. There were a few others in the right area too.
I missed on Adrian Clayborn and De’Vondre Campbell whilst underestimating the tackle volumes of Keanu Neal, Robert Alford, and Brian Poole.
Looking ahead to next season I’ll be more aware of the rotational policy on the defensive line as well as the LB depth chart. I’ll likely again predict Keanu Neal to miss time. He’s just such a violent tackler I think it’s pretty inevitable. The scheme should remain fairly consistent though. After all, Dan Quinn is the driving force behind it and he’s going nowhere with a talented young unit being built here. If Takk kicks on a bit this could be a very good defense in 2018.
Thanks for reading.