NFL Draft

Post-Mortem: Grading Our Fantasy Predictions - Rookies

Any truly worthwhile fantasy writer will always give you a chance to see how accurate they are. If an "expert" continuously hides their previous projections or looks for ways to rationalize their misses, you should be skeptical. Fantasy sports are about recognizing that it's your best-educated guesses, but at the end of the day the real games are played by the guys on the field and the results are out of our hands.

I'll be reviewing my own predictions from the preseason and we're going to start with my rapid reaction to the first round of the NFL Draft. There were 11 offensive players drafted in the first round and here is a synopsis of my prediction and a grade of my prediction for each:

Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns - At the time I said Tyrod Taylor would likely start most of the season, which was wrong. I also said Mayfield could be great or awful if/when he gets a shot which is a no position and therefore also wrong. GRADE: F

Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants - Direct quote from my reaction: "Conservatively, I put him at 1200 yards, 10 TD rushing, with 40 catches for 500 yards and a few scores through the air. He’s instantly a Top 10 fantasy running back to target." GRADE: A+

Sam Darnold, QB, Jets - My prediction was that he would take over early in the season, he did. Is said his rookie campaign would be similar to that of Carson Wentz with 15-20 TD and 10-15 INT with a lot of ups and downs. He had 17 TD, 15 INT (Wentz had 16 TD and 14 INT his rookie year) with some highs and some lows. GRADE: A+

Josh Allen, QB, Bills - After stating that Allen would beat out AJ McCarron, here is a direct quote from my reaction: "The Bills offense is not good, so it will be a testing rookie season for Allen. He’s likely not going to be a fantasy relevant option in 1 QB leagues early on, but Allen has the foot speed to expand his game on the ground as well as through the air." I did put his passing TD total at around 18-20 TD and he only had 10, I did correctly outline his running ability which he used brilliantly which made him a fantasy asset down the stretch even though I said he likely wouldn't be a QB1 option. GRADE: B-

Josh Rosen, QB, Cardinals - I correctly predicted that Rosen would take over as the starter at some point mid-season but I also said he would provide the most weekly upside of all the rookie QB's given the weapons he had on offense, this was wrong. I called him a solid QB2 option or a reasonable QB1 flier if he's starting, also wrong. GRADE: D

DJ Moore, WR, Panthers - Direct quote: "Put Moore at 35-50 catches, 500-700 yards, 3-6 TD with some rushing yards. A much higher second-half value than first half value." He had 55 catches for 788 and 2 TD with 172 rushing yards, the vast majority of it was from Week 8 or later. GRADE: A+

Hayden Hurst, TE, Ravens - My comparison for Hurst was a Heath Miller, chain-moving type of tight end. I noted that touches might be difficult to come by with Joe Flacco's struggles but I did not note the threat of Mark Andrews. My prediction was around 35 catches, 450 yards. He had 13/163. GRADE: D+

Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons - Direct quote: "I have Ridley at 65-75 catches, 800-900 yards, 5 TD and that could be low. Put him on your sleeper boards folks." The actual stat line was 64/821/10. GRADE: A+

Rashaad Penny, RB, Seahawks - At the time, I had Chris Carson out of the picture due to injury recovery, which was wrong. Direct quote: "Give him 1100-1200 yards, 8 TD, 30 receptions, 350 receiving yards, 3 receiving TD. He’s going to be similar to Jordan Howard’s rookie campaign which won people some fantasy football leagues in 2016." His actual line was 419/2 and 9/75 and even when Carson was hurt, Mike Davis got touches and not just Penny. GRADE: C-

Sony Michel, RB, Patriots - My take on this pick was that Bill Belichick was impossible to predict with RB's but that Michel would likely earn the early down work, that was correct. I made the point that Belichick follows the hot hand, which he did, and estimated Michel's production at 650 yards, 5 TD and minimal passing game presence. He had 931 yards, 6 TD and only 7 catches. GRADE: B

Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens - Direct quote: "Barring a meltdown by Flacco, we’ll likely only see Jackson in sub-packages in his rookie campaign making him fairly fantasy irrelevant for 2018, but if Flacco gets hurt or flounders, Jackson’s running ability makes him a high floor fantasy sleeper at QB." #NailedIt. GRADE: A+ 

OVERALL GRADE: B - I had some massive hits and massive busts but overall more hits than busts. Jackson, Ridley, Darnold, and Moore were my crowning calls while Penny, Rosen and Mayfield left something to be desired. From here you can make up your own mind on whether you can trust my analysis. I'll be posting more reviews of my other projections over the coming weeks - it's accountability time. 

Ben Stecker

ProFootball Free Lance Writer at
Writer, sports connoisseur, Pacific Northwesterner. Rarely met a sport or a bourbon I couldn't be great friends with. Follow me on twitter @Softball_Guy

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