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 really disappointing season for the Cowboys. After being one of the top teams in the league in 2016 they simply lost too much talent in free agency (or to suspension in the case of Ezekiel Elliott). Dak Prescott fell back to earth too after a hot start which changed the dynamic of the team considerably. I always expected them to miss the playoffs but the team only just missed out in the end. It was a rollercoaster with an unhappy ending.
I also need to warn you here. This isn’t great reading. I made a bevy of mistakes here I’m afraid, with nowhere near enough hits to make up for them. Over the course of predicting around 700 players, sometimes the misses are going to come at once. The key is learning and improving in the future.
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It turns out David Irving was a bit better than the Cowboys fourth tackle. Who knew? The annoying thing here is that I was pretty close to his stats apart from the seven sacks which I didn’t see coming. I also didn’t see his batted passes, but I don’t beat myself up over those for linemen.
I had Maliek Collins as the top option which was optimistic. He underdelivered against my numbers by 17 solos, eight assists, and four sacks. That’s not great.
I was good on Cedric Thornton, but really that’s not much comfort.
I made another error here with depth. I had Taco Charlton above Demarcus Lawrence, which was plain wrong. If you swapped them over, I wasn’t too far out, but even so, I did not see Lawrence’s huge season coming. Of course, very few people saw it coming so it’s entirely understandable but it was still a big miss.
After those two, I was very accurate on Tyrone Crawford, but again, that’s not that helpful to anyone and it gives me very little cheer.
Woohoo! Some accuracy! I hit three of the four players here pretty well.
Sean Lee is always an injury risk and that was built into my projections. I had him down for 77 solos (he managed 70) and 40 assists (he managed 31). He underdelivered against sacks, PDs, and INTs but I’m really happy with the tackle numbers.
Jaylon Smith was a tough prediction in the off-season given his injury history. I felt I was being quite optimistic at the time but it turned out really well. I was out by just six solos, three assists, and one each of sacks, PDs, and INTs.
The player I didn’t really see coming was Anthony Hitchens. He was the Cowboys’ best LB for much of the season and managed to beat my predictions by a significant amount.
I was really close on Damien Wilson too but again – it’s not that helpful to anyone.
Ugh. A bit of a wasteland here I’m afraid. I had Nolan Carroll down as the top option. He was chased out of town early in the season. Anthony Brown led the team with 845 snaps and did not feature in my projections. I did have Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis both down for significant playing time as rookies but even with them I wasn’t that close I’m afraid. It was just a big bag of inaccuracy here I’m afraid.
This was a bit better as a unit and I’m pretty pleased with Byron Jones here. I was out by just six solos, eight assists, three PDs and an INT.
At the other spot, I stuck to my guns and had Xavier Woods as the top option with Jeff Heath playing second fiddle. I still say Woods is a far superior player to Heath, but the Cowboys staff do not appear to agree with me. As a result, I was way over with Woods and way under with Heath.
This was probably my worst team so far. I didn’t see the excellent seasons David Irving and DeMarcus Lawrence had on the line, I overestimated the impact of all the rookies, my cornerback depth chart was woeful and I did not understand the love for Jeff Heath. There were some rays of light but far too few of them I’m afraid.
Going forward I’ll be more conservative with this team. I made too many assumptions based on perceived player quality. I was also nowhere near accurate enough on the line or at corner. With those situations a lot more settled going into 2018 I hope to be much, much better next season. Of course, some of the “settled” spots could change in the off-season. Lawrence is a free agent, Sean Lee is aging and brittle and Byron Jones seemed to fall out of favor. I can’t wait for free agency and the draft to see what personnel changes happen.
Thanks for reading.