Tag Archives: projections

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Initial 2015 Fantasy Football Projections Commentary, AFC North

Bengals, Browns, Ravens and Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger was better than you probably thought two seasons ago, and last year way better than you probably thought. He finished 5th in fantasy scoring.

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger was better than you probably thought two seasons ago, and last year way better than you probably thought. He finished 5th in fantasy scoring.

Our initial 2015 fantasy football projections were released June 1. Even better, Draft Buddy is now available!

To accompany the initial projections, as we continue to review, research, analyze the projections, and create cheatsheet rankings, we provide the following commentary by division to give some insight into why we have players projected the way we do at this time.

Baltimore Ravens

  • “Quarterback Whisperer” Marc Trestman is the Ravens new OC, which one would assume means an uptick for QB Joe Flacco and RB Justin Forsett in the passing game. The problem with boosting Flacco is he’s already thrown pass attempts in excess of former Trestman protégé Jay Cutler in recent years, and his supporting cast consists of two rookies and a very late bloomer or journeyman RB amongst his top four pass catchers. You can be bullish about Flacco, but he’s still considered just a fringe starter or reliable backup.
  • We’ve currently got Forsett in line with his catches last season, which should arguably go up. Matt Forte caught 74 and 102 receptions in his two seasons under Trestman. However, Forsett is not Forte. Forsett bounced around playing for four different teams through six seasons before finally breaking out last year. That’s a red flag, or at least a caution. Lorenzo Taliaferro wasn’t particularly impressive as a rookie, so the team added Javorius Allen via the NFL Draft. How effective these guys are is the main threat to Forsett’s workload.
  • Steve Smith started off hot last season with four touchdowns, four 100-yard games in the first six weeks. Then there was a noticeable fade. Does he have another 1,000-yard season in him? Possible given the opportunity, but not great odds.
  • The Ravens need at least one of rookies Breshad Perriman and Maxx Williams (preferably both) to make an immediate impact. The team is optimistic Dennis Pitta will play this season but it looks 50-50 at best right now.

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Fantasy players don’t like Andy Dalton. He failed to crack 3,400 yards or 20 TD passing last season, but I still had to double check why (at the time) his 12-team ADP was n/a on our initial online cheatsheets. It’s a running team. The Bengals would be quite content to keep him under 500 pass attempts.
  • Giovani Bernard looked like he might be the next Jamaal Charles-esque all-purpose back after his rookie season in 2013. Then Jeremy Hill came to town and all bets are off. Hill overtook Bernard producing over 1,300 yards on 222 carries and 27 receptions. Bernard missed a few games, still chipped in over 1,000 yards on over 200 touches, but the coaching staff showed a lot more confidence in Hill. Hills’ yards-per-carry is half a yard better. He’s the guy to own. Bernard only if he drops too far to present good value.
  • One of the best receivers in the game is A.J. Green, but the run heavy philosophy begets a slight downgrade from Green’s 3-year weighted average. Mohamed Sanu filled in pretty well when Green was out and Marvin Jones was lost for the season. Now Sanu and Jones will challenge each other for snaps. Jones wins, if healthy.
  • Veteran Jermaine Gresham is a free agent still on the market, leaving Tyler Eifert who has done little in his NFL career, and rookie Tyler Kroft. Eifert is an end-game flier if you need a second TE, but more than likely this position on the Bengals is a fantasy wasteland. Surprising, since the knock on Dalton is his deep ball.

Cleveland Browns

  • Our projections need some adjustment here. Since initially prepping these, media reports Josh McCown is the clear cut starter and Johnny Manziel is not really in the discussion. Makes sense. Neither are worth drafting.
  • The running back position was tough to figure out last season. It isn’t any clearer this season, and potentially worse, since last year we could write-off Ben Tate pretty early on. This year, Terrance West, Isaiah Crowell and rookie Duke Johnson are all in the picture for carries. We’ve got it Crow-West-Johnson, but none with enough carries to get to 1,000 yards. Losing OC Kyle Shanahan does not help matters.
  • Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline arrive to take over the top two receiver spots. Bowe’s 1,000 yard seasons are a distant memory. Can you believe he caught 15 TD in 2010? This is a dismal depth chart. Robert Housler is interesting to the extent if he does perform for fantasy, we get to see how many pundits put their hand up and say, “see, called it” [three years ago].

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Ben Roethlisberger was better than you probably thought two seasons ago, and last year way better than you probably thought. He finished 5th in scoring, within 10 points of 3rd. No significant losses and his receivers are more than likely better. Note he’s getting drafted 8th to 9th QB off the board.
  • Le’Veon Bell is currently suspended the first three games of the season, and that is a bummer. He blew past 350 touches last season. The forced time off scales him back to around 300. Discount accordingly but not too much because it is his points-per-game that matter. Hopefully rust is short lived once he’s back in late September. DeAngelo Williams backs up Bell and has some value knowing he will start three games.
  • Big Ben and Antonio Brown are in a zone. I’ve seen Brown go first WR off the board in some early drafts, and I can’t knock it. Best bet to top 100 receptions this season. Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton are a young, exciting pair, particularly Bryant, but not ready to cut into Brown’s production. Bryant might be a tough decision to start each week on your fantasy team, but he didn’t play the first six weeks last season and then proceeded to score in 7 of 11 games played. Impressive.
  • Some pegged the Steelers to draft a TE replacement for Heath Miller. Not yet. A blah pick but provides an acceptable return if you are last to draft the position.

Initial 2015 Projections Release and Commentary Series

Projections | AFC East | AFC North | AFC South | AFC West
NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West

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Initial 2015 Fantasy Football Projections Commentary, AFC West

Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs and Raiders

Are the Denver Broncos going more conservative on us? More rushing? Fewer offensive plays? This is one fantasy owners are going to debate and question all summer.

Are the Denver Broncos going more conservative on us? More rushing? Fewer offensive plays? This is one fantasy owners are going to debate and question all summer.

Our initial 2015 fantasy football projections were released June 1 (Draft Buddy coming soon!). To accompany the initial projections, as we continue to review, research, analyze the projections, and create cheatsheet rankings, we provide the following commentary by division to give some insight into why we have players projected the way we do at this time.

Denver Broncos

  • Since we put together our initial projections, two potentially key news items out of Denver. One, LT Ryan Clady tore his ACL and is out for the season. Two, Emmanuel Sanders claims, “my goal is really to try to get a 1,000 yards,” describing the new, more balanced offense under HC Gary Kubiak. Both indicate we should temper our expectations with Denver, starting with Peyton Manning. We have a 20% decline in touchdowns from his 3-year average, but perhaps not enough in the yardage, current projections 410-600-4,900.
  • C.J. Anderson vs. Montee Ball, who do you like? We think Anderson did more than enough (and Ball has done little) to give him the benefit of the doubt he will lead the team in carries, even under a new coaching staff. That said, he has the lowest projected carries at 225 (tied with Frank Gore) of our Top 15 running backs. It is the receptions that push him up the rankings, at 45 on almost 60 targets, which makes some sense with the departure of and lack of decent replacement for Julius Thomas. Recognizing Ball can carve out a good role for himself, he is projected for 155 carries.
  • Regardless of Sanders’ comment above, with such a big gap between Demaryius Thomas and Sanders relative to the rest of the receivers, it is difficult to not project them each with similar targets, receptions and yards as last season. Keep in mind the Broncos did reel it in somewhat the second half of 2014 to compensate for Manning’s at the time unknown torn quad muscle injury.
  • On one hand, sure, lets lower expectations and adjust these projections down, either increasing the run to pass mix, reducing the total number of offensive plays, or both. On the other hand, wouldn’t you still rank Manning and company fairly high based on talent and their ability to put up points when they need to relative to other teams? We’re going to leave the projections as-is for now, but schedule further analysis and discussion soon.

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Holy conservative offense Batman. While the wide receivers were beyond awful last season, Alex Smith is still going to gravitate to keeping a high pass completion percentage and minimizing turnovers. This no-risk style makes him even a sketchy start in a great matchup. We don’t see the addition of Jeremy Maclin radically altering the expected output from Smith.
  • How amazing is Jamaal Charles to keep a 5.0+ yards per carry given the limitations of the passing game? That YPC on 250 carries, plus 50 receptions project him the top RB for fantasy football in 2015.
  • Maclin had an amazing year in 2014 coming off a completely missed 2013 season. He’s a good receiver, but is never going to feel like a WR1 on a team at only 6’0”, 198 lb. We’ve pegged him at closer to an 80-1,000-6 receiver in this offense than the near 1,400 yards, 10 TD he scored last season.
  • Seriously, Jason Avant is the Chiefs’ WR2? Not impressed.
  • If someone is going to challenge to be in the same top TE tier as Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham’s name will come up first, but why not Travis Kelce? Why didn’t the Chiefs use him more last season? We have 7-10% gains in targets, receptions and yardage, and there is potential there for more.

Oakland Raiders

  • We weren’t the only ones impressed with Derek Carr’s under the radar rookie season, were we? Thought he looked pretty good, especially considering what he was working with, and it’s the Raiders. Now they’ve added Michael Crabtree and rookie Amari Cooper. That’s got to help. Still a sub-4,000 yard passer but a lot of attempts gets him close plus 24 TD.
  • Having jettisoned Darren McFadden and failed reclamation project Maurice Jones-Drew, maybe the Raiders found a RB they can count on in Latavius Murray. It feels like we might be too bullish out of the gate here on Murray at over 1,100 yards, but one things the Raiders have done well in recent years is run the ball, and the depth chart isn’t nearly as crowded. Backup Roy Helu will primarily catch passes, making him a decent late round pick in PPR leagues.
  • Historically Dave has been pro-Crabtree and I’ve been anti-Crabtree. Things might be changing. Dave projected declines across the board for Crabs while I wonder if the change of scenery allows him to finally showcase some skills stifled under the 49ers conservative offense and sporadic play of Colin Kaepernick. Projecting rookies is never easy, even for a bona fide Day 1 starter like Cooper. How Cooper performs will be a major influence on Crabtree’s results.

San Diego Chargers

  • Philip Rivers is pretty darn consistent. Consistently good at that, and it doesn’t seem to matter too much what specific players are doing around him. If one guy falls off, then he utilizes someone else. Think Antonio Gates in 2013 only scoring 4 TD, and Malcom Floyd out most of the year… here comes Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead. Last season Allen slumped and the running game fell on hard times… Floyd returned and use Gates more in the red zone. Not expecting a drop-off based on age just yet, so pencil in another Rivers year with 30 TD.
  • Melvin Gordon. He’s the clear starter who should garner most of the rushing carries on the season, making him worthy of a relatively high draft pick even with the rookie risk factored in. Still, we don’t want to hand out 1,000 yard rushing seasons willy-nilly. How about 900 on 200 carries, 6 TD? Woodhead had a career year in 2013 so lets not target that. More like half.
  • Which Keenan Allen can we expect in 2015? The impressive 2013 rookie, or the middle of the road 2014 sophomore? We are thinking closer to 2013. A sophomore slump is very common. Allen’s catch rate dropped 5% in 2014 from 2013, but bump that up and he’s back at an 80-1,000-6 season with potential for more if the targets go up. Gates has indicated he shouldn’t be utilized between the 20s as much, and the other receivers – Floyd, Stevie Johnson – are not a threat to steal targets from Allen. If anything, they are on the downsides of their respective careers.
  • Gates may want less work to help him stay healthy, but will the Chargers coaching staff comply? It depends on Ladarius Green; it depends on the circumstances at the time. I’d feel more comfortable drafting Gates based on projections of about 80 targets, instead of closer to the 100 he’s averaged the last three years.

Initial 2015 Projections Release and Commentary Series

Projections | AFC East | AFC North | AFC South | AFC West
NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West

S h a r e :

Initial 2015 Fantasy Football Player Projections Released, NFC West Commentary

49ers, Cardinals, Rams and Seahawks

Our initial fantasy football player projections are released for the 2015 season! Is Arizona Cardinals Carson Palmer the odds on favourite for comeback player of the year?

Our initial fantasy football player projections are released for the 2015 season! Is Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer the odds on favourite for comeback player of the year?

Our Draft Buddy software, for fantasy football, is oh so very close to being released. In fact, while we already started off strong for the 2015 season with Dave’s early rankings series, and Tony’s top rookies series, this is the week we turn the page for our official kickoff of the new season.

Yes, Draft Buddy is on tap. However, lets get things rolling with our initial 2015 fantasy football player projections. The rankings and projections at DraftBuddy.com will be a joint effort by Dave Stringer and myself again this season. To get rolling, projections are uploaded, rankings are based purely on fantasy points generated from those projections, and our player pages are updated.

Over the next 2-3 weeks, we will continue to review, research and adjust the initial projections, plus alter the rankings to account for risk and upside, plus add all-important tiers to the cheatsheets. Then we will continue with regular updates all the way through the summer to the start of the NFL season. Team reports with fantasy outlook player commentary starts rolling out soon, too.

Draft Buddy, as in the past, will include default projections from FF Today (as it is also sold at that website), but all customers will be able to access and include the DraftBuddy.com projections as an extra set of projections in Draft Buddy. Any dynasty players in the house? I know there are. I can also show you how to import dynasty rankings into Draft Buddy.

Okay, with that introduction out of the way, lets get to some commentary on the initial projections. As part of my review of the projections, I thought a good way to go about it is to write some points about key players and why their projections are up or down from their historical averages. Plus, you’ll see some early insight into our thought process, and be able to identify some players that have some upside, or represent some risk, even at their current projected statistics.

I organized my notes by division, so lets get started with the NFC West.

Arizona Cardinals

  • Carson Palmer possible comeback player of the year? Projections are very much in line with 3-year average, but should he be trending down due to age and recovery from ACL tear (Week 10, 2014)? A shoulder injury caused Palmer to miss Weeks 2-5 last season.
  • Andre Ellington with a decrease in his prorated numbers across the board, but limiting his touches should make him more effective. Bruce Arians likes a big running back, and will utilize rookie David Johnson in this role that Rashard Mendenhall held last season for 217-687-8.
  • This offense spreads the ball around. Larry Fitzgerald says its, “not possible” for him to put up big numbers given his role. Much as we hate to admit it, seems his skill is also eroding. We have similar targets for each of Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and John Brown. Expected Floyd to be a breakout candidate last year, and he disappointed. Brown was a surprise. Both represent some upside if we were a year too early on Floyd, and Brown progresses.

San Francisco 49ers

  • Can Colin Kaepernick be a more effective quarterback after some offseason mentoring from Kurt Warner? It at least appears to be some commitment to staying the course – trying to develop into more of a pocket-passer – while utilizing his legs when necessary. Some improvement in his receiving options +Torrey Smith +Reggie Bush -Michael Crabtree -Frank Gore. Expecting a downturn in the defense which could result in more pass attempts, wide open play benefitting Kaep for fantasy.
  • Carlos Hyde’s time to step up. Should garner large bulk of the team carries. Bush is angling to return punts, Kendall Hunter is recovering from a torn ACL, and rookies Mike Davis and Jarryd Hayne round out the depth chart. Wouldn’t take much in terms of more carries, targets or rushing touchdowns (perhaps limited by Kaep) to bump up Hyde from where we conservatively have him out of the gate.
  • A career high yards in 2013, following by career high in touchdowns in 2014 for Torrey Smith. Able to put them together with a new team? Nah. Projecting a 50% catch rate on just over 100 targets, modest TDs. Boldin a slight reduction off his 3-year average. Vernon Davis should start the season where he finished last season in many leagues, on the waiver wire.

Seattle Seahawks

  • Projecting an uptick in Russell Wilson’s passing stats while a decline in rushing from last season back to 2012 and 2013 norms. Still a sub-500 attempt, sub-4,000 yard passer.
  • Marshawn Lynch is 29 years old, and has a lot of mileage including eight playoff games the last three seasons. Projecting modest declines in his 3-year average numbers. Still great numbers but better to be conservative.
  • A decline from his days with the Saints, sure, but Jimmy Graham should still dominate targets on this team over the likes of Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, et al. Why else pay a hefty price and bring him here? Projected for 9 TD.
  • Not expecting much from the wide receivers, each between 30-60 receptions.

St. Louis Rams

  • Nick Foles projected as the full season starter but clearly, not confident he will start 16 games. More the de facto starter, an indictment of the options behind him. A game manager role, 20 TD without too many costly turnovers are what the Rams will hope for; 60-65% probability they get that.
  • Todd Gurley is a great talent, but if the competitive window isn’t there for the Rams this year, why rush him into a heavy workload? Gurley tore his ACL in November, 2014. We are projecting a split in carries with Tre Mason. Gurley is an endgame pick. Assuming rehab goes well, he could be super the second half of the season. Jeff Fisher will commit to the run, and the strong defense supports this, but don’t overpay for Gurley on draft day. Mason might be an early season value.
  • Oi! These receivers are none too good. With a conservative passing game, none will get an opportunity to breakout if that is even still in them. Prefer Kenny Britt (entering 8th season) to Brian Quick (4th) if I had to choose one to take a shot on as my WR4 or WR5.

Initial 2015 Projections Release and Commentary Series

Projections | AFC East | AFC North | AFC South | AFC West
NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West