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.
This was a frustrating season for Bengals fans. The team was pretty poor all year and seemed absolutely checked out for several games. But really the issue was the coaching staff. There was optimism about Marvin Lewis finally leaving town, but that was dashed when he suddenly signed a new contract. The Bengals remain one of the most strange teams in the NFL.
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The Bengals interior starts and ends with one player: Geno Atkins. He hasn’t been the amazing player he briefly was before J.J. Watt and Aaron Donald came into the league, but he’s perennially a top-tier tackle. Thankfully I didn’t mess it up and got pretty close to his numbers. I was out by just three solo tackles, five assists and two sacks.
I was a bit less accurate for Pat Sims and Andrew Billings who underdelivered but I’m okay with that. Outside of certain teams’ positional group’s clear starters, there’s just a melange of average. This group is a good example. You shouldn’t be relying on any of those in IDP.
Again, this is a unit that revolves around a single player; Carlos Dunlap. I was close to all stats bar one – including playing time. I predicted 38 solos (he managed 35), 22 assists (just 11), nine sacks (eight) and seven PDs (bang on). Aside from the assists, I’m very happy with that performance. If you know anyone else that accurately predicted passes batted down by a DE, I’d love to meet them!
I was fairly close with Chris Smith but he’s another player you shouldn’t be relying on so it’s scorch comfort.
Hmmm. Even if I squint pretty hard I can’t quite make a good case here. Yes, there were injuries and suspensions but the bottom line is that I didn’t provide accurate numbers.
Vontaze Burfict had a (ridiculous) suspension and injury issues that meant he played just 586 snaps for the season. As a result, I was pretty low on solos (down 22), assists (down 27) and PDs (down four).
I was pretty close with playing time for Nick Vigil but way down with solo tackles (25 short). He was just inefficient. I was very close to all other stats for him so it’s not a terrible result, but that solos number isn’t good.
Bizarrely, Vincent Rey ended up leading the unit in solo tackles with 52 – far above the paltry 13 I had him down for. He also managed 20 more assists than I predicted and Rey goes down as a big miss for me.
This was a frustrating unit. It goes down as not a good batch of predictions for two main reasons. Firstly, I was flat out wrong on the hierarchy. I had Adam Jones as the top guy when he played just 298 snaps and seemed old. I had William Jackson down as the third man, and he turned out to be by far the best player in NFL terms. Secondly, I underestimated how much the Bengals would rotate in fresh legs. They were one of the few NFL teams that gave significant playing time to five separate corners in most games. I didn’t see that coming.
With the ranking issue, I was flat out wrong, but if you swap Adam Jones and Dre Kirkpatrick the situation seems much clearer. The numbers for the role were fairly close but I appreciate that doesn’t help anyone identify the right corner for their fantasy team.
I did a decent job in predicting Josh Shaw, but he was another player you should not have been relying on. It’s really tough to generate impressive individual statistics with just 553 snaps over a season.
I spent the off-season arguing against Shawn Williams and George Iloka as IDP assets because of their interchangeable usage. In the end, Williams was a bust because of injuries. He was restricted to just 579 snaps (I was out by a whopping 482!) and therefore managed very pedestrian numbers. Iloka, on the other hand, was asked to do a bit more and beat my numbers by ten solos and five assists. He had two fewer PDs than I expected but one more interception.
The position goes down as one miss and one hit for me.
This was a tough team to project. I was really happy with Atkins and Dunlap, but pretty annoyed with Kirkpatrick and Burfict.
We also might see a significant changing of the guard for 2018 here. Paul Guenther is out and has gone to join Jon Gruden with the Raiders. Teryl Austin moves across from the Lions to take over as defensive coordinator.
It’s the Bengals, so don’t expect an enormous amount of change given the stability that runs through the organization, but Austin will bring his own wrinkles. He likes to rotate his DEs far more than the Bengals have recently. How that affects Carlos Dunlap will be a big concern. He also used a more traditional strong/free safety split during his time running the Lions defense. Given Iloka and Williams’ presence, it’ll be interesting to see how much his scheme or the players’ alignment adjusts next season. One of them will have to.
Thanks for reading.