In anticipation of this week’s projections and rankings update, Thursday I asked Dave for some bullet points suggesting necessary changes to ensure I didn’t miss anything. I was thinking recent news items when I asked him, while Dave took more of an overview approach.
A few of Dave’s points were, for example, “Tom Brady projected too low for his ranking,” or, “gap between Cordarrelle Patterson’s projection and his ranking is too much.” You see, we do have some differences between rankings and projections, and the reason for that is because, while the projections are a best approximation of what stats we think a player will produce, a ranking can sometimes better reflect risk and upside not easily captured in projections.
Take Bernard Pierce for example, prior to the Ray Rice news he is only suspended two games (we were expecting perhaps six to eight). While we had Pierce projected about 40th amongst RB with a 150-600, 3 TD rushing plus 25-190 receiving line, he was ranked a little higher – 32nd – to reflect the upside of him possibly stepping into the starter’s job for an extended time, and maybe even holding that role when Rice comes back. This will now change with recent news, but it provides a possible scenario where projections and rankings are justifiably not exactly in sync.
So, Dave’s comments got me to thinking about which players have the biggest difference between our cheatsheet rankings, and rankings based purely on the player projections. Perhaps each of these players requires a bit more investigation. Well, I plunked both our draftbuddy.com projections and rankings into Draft Buddy and figured out who these guys are at each position.
- Robert Griffin III (projected: 4th; ranked: 9th; difference: -5)
- Tom Brady (15th; 7th; 8)
- Ryan Tannehill (17th; 24th; 7)
We are bullish on Griffin to rebound from his injury slowed 2013 season and thanks to the addition of Jay Gruden, but he is ranked lower than the projections because of risk since he can take a beating with his rushing, and due to learning a new offense.
As noted above, Dave mentioned Brady is projected too low and that looks like an accurate statement to the point an adjustment is necessary.
Need to review Tannehill’s projections, but if they seem reasonable and we can draft him outside the top 24 QB, then that is a value pick.
- Arian Foster (6th; 10th; -4)
- Ben Tate (20th; 16th; 4)
- Rashad Jennings (22nd; 30th; -8)
- Stevan Ridley (25th; 35th; -10)
- Joique Bell (27th; 33rd; -6)
Similar to Griffin, Foster is a risk due to a lot of wear and tear, although he has a great opportunity to return to his former self if he can stay healthy. Hence the high projections, slightly more conservative ranking.
Ben Tate is slightly up from his projections given his upside in a new offense that appears committed to running the ball.
We are not true believers in Rashad Jennings as the Giants starter, so while he is projected high based on positive recent reports he’ll receive a high number of touches, we offer a more skeptical ranking of his prospects.
Stevan Ridley probably shouldn’t be this different, other than it is tough predicting what the Patriots will do with their running backs from week to week.
Joique Bell is not a player we are very interested in adding to our fantasy squads this year, although many other experts are keen on his prospects.
- Roddy White (16th; 22nd; -6)
- Torrey Smith (19th; 28th; -9)
- T.Y. Hilton (26th; 36th; -10)
- Cordarrelle Patterson (30th; 15th; 15)
- Tavon Austin (32nd; 49th; -17)
The lack of depth amongst Falcons receivers kind of forced our hand to put more targets, catches and yards on a now healthy Roddy White, but in terms of ranking we’re not ready to put him into the Top 20.
Similarly with Torrey Smith, he is the top receiver on the Ravens, but seems to get over-drafted each year. We’d rather avoid drafting Smith altogether, so we pushed him down the rankings.
It is difficult to get a read on the split of targets amongst Colts receivers right now, so Hilton is projected 26th, but risky to draft there.
Dave and I disagreed on where to rank Patterson (and Wes Welker, for that matter) from Day 1 creating our projections and rankings. Patterson represents one of the biggest boom-bust picks on the board this season. He probably should be moved down a tad given uncertainty about his targets and potential rushing stats.
Austin is another big question mark about how much the Rams will use him. The talent is there to support the projections and quite possibly exceed them. The high expectations, low production last year still stings, resulting in the low ranking.
Cook is someone we expect to churn out okay stats over the course of a season based on volume, but not one to help win us many weeks.
For Chandler, see Cook, the only difference being Chandler is so off the radar I’m inclined to add him extremely late in best-ball format leagues.
That gives some more insight into our combined projections and rankings process, and highlights some players for us to review prior to the update. And now, the team notes to accompany the changes:
- Andre Ellington‘s receptions appear low at 40 since he had 39 as a rookie and backup.
- Very surprised Ray Rice only received a 2-game suspension, but that is what happened, earning him a bump in his projections and rankings, while anticipated replacement starter Bernard Pierce gets knocked down.
- Hmm… it seems we were pretty low on the combined Ravens running game in the projections to begin with. Change is Rice up, and Pierce down but not by much.
- Are Cam Newton‘s receivers as bad as everyone is making them out to be, ourselves included, or are they really pretty similar to last season? We’ll keep Cam where he is ranked (as in, do not draft territory), but if we start to get wowed by rookie Kelvin Benjamin things could change.
- Not at all surprised Jonathan Stewart is injured. He pulled him hamstring. They are saying he’s out 1-2 weeks, for now.
- One of Dave’s notes to me says he’s worried we haven’t reeled in Andy Dalton‘s numbers enough from last season based on the team’s increased emphasis on the running game.
- Jermaine Gresham opens training camp on the PUP list, opening the door for Tyler Eifert to have a bigger impact.
- Update: Josh Gordon is planning to appeal his one-year suspension on August 1.
- Reviewing Tony Romo‘s projections he might be a little low since we haven’t heard a negative report on his back in some time.
- I mentioned above Dave and I disagree on Wes Welker. He thinks we have him too high; I think Welker is a relatively safe, high floor pick, as long as concussion issues to rear their ugly head again (admittedly, a sizeable concern). I passed on Welker at pick 4.09 as my WR2 in an ongoing best ball redraft in favor of Vincent Jackson, and would have loved Welker to come back to me as my WR3. Instead he got nabbed at 5.03 one pick before my next selection.
- Ace Sanders faces a four-game suspension to start the season, and is missing training camp due to personal issues. It seems he is dealing with substance-abuse problems. More opportunity for the rookie receivers. Sanders is off the projections board with more going to Marqise Lee and Mike Brown.
New England Patriots
- Rob Gronkowski not placed on PUP list to open training camp, which is great news. Although he is still limited in practice and this is no guarantee he is ready for Week 1, continued positive reports will motivate us to move him up into the top tier at TE from his current spot at start of Tier 2.
- Aaron Dobson was placed on the PUP list, and I’m mentioning that here because he is a player I’m intrigued by given the sketchy receiving options on the Patriots and his extremely low draft cost right now. Would like to see him healthy and fully participating.
New York Giants
- David Wilson is cleared to practice, which could put more pressure on Rashad Jennings as the projected starter.
- Odell Beckham Jr. is dealing with a pulled hamstring, so he’s not off to a good start, and this opens the door for Jerrell Jernigan.
New York Jets
- Taking a cue from Jonathan Stewart, Chris Ivory injured his hamstring and is limited.
- Darren McFadden or Maurice Jones-Drew, how are the Raiders going to split carries and which of these guys is going to do more with what carries they get?
- Marshawn Lynch is holding out of training camp desiring a pay increase. We aren’t suggesting a change to his projections and rankings right now, but definitely worth keeping an eye on. Good discussion about this during The Audible podcast last night.
— Sigmund Bloom (@SigmundBloom) July 25, 2014
- Sidney Rice retires, not that we had much in the way of projections for him, anyway.