Critiquing My ’16 Bold Predictions

Fantasy football has been a part of my life for 17 years. By no means am I a pioneer but I have seen it change and grow in popularity throughout the years. I also have changed and grown as a fantasy player. When I decided to become a part of the fantasy football subculture in the Twitter-sphere, I thought my experience made me superior to everyone else on Twitter. However, once I changed my mentality and viewed Twitter as a tool, rather than a means to say, “I told you so!”, I began to appreciate most of the experts I’ve come across.

I share this with you so that you know the intent of my blogs. They are meant for me to have fun. Also, I hope that I can work as another soundboard for you as you gather your information.

I’ll resume this blog after taking a football season-long hiatus with critiquing my “Bold 2016 Fantasy Football Predictions” article.

[the link for that article: https://medium.com/@RealFantasyX/bold-2016-fantasy-football-predictions-492efb3774c8#.ovnf05tti ]

Bold Prediction #1: Michael Thomas would be the best rookie besides Ezekiel Elliott.

(Disclaimer: I should’ve specified that this was limited to a skill position. I do predict Dak Prescott’s success later in this article.)

Right or Wrong: RIGHT

The common narrative at the time was that Corey Coleman, Sterling Shepard, Laquon Treadwell, and Josh Doctson should all be drafted before Thomas.

What I saw was the right player for the right situation. The play style and physicality of Thomas seemed it should fit like a glove in New Orleans, and it did.

He was ranked as WR9 for 2016 total points. No other rookie WR even made the top 25.

Bold Prediction #2: Kevin White, Devin Funchess, and Sammie Coates, and Melvin Gordon would be busts.

Right or Wrong on Kevin White: RIGHT

White only played 4 games before his season-ending injury against Detroit and it’s not right to claim a “bust” prediction because of injury. So I won’t. Yet, he was a bust because even in those 4 games, he had a total of 187 receiving yards and zero TDs.

Right or Wrong on Devin Funchess: RIGHT

Funchess was supposed to be a break-out candidate. I never believed it. Though he converted to WR in college, he played TE first. Since his Michigan days, I’ve always questioned his ability to catch and his physicality to put himself in a good position to make the play. He still seems like he hasn’t developed in those areas.

Last season he had 371 yards and 4 TDs.

He serves has a week-to-week flyer in desperate situations because of his size and being a red-zone target, but he shouldn’t be thought of as an upcoming fantasy star at this point.

Right or Wrong on Sammie Coates: RIGHT

Outside of week 5, Coates was either injured or very unimpressive. Again, an injury is not the reason to be right.

Many were expecting a breakout season because of Martavis Bryant’s suspension and Coates’ divisional playoff performance in ‘15. However, what fantasy buyers got was one disappointment after another.

In week 5 he exploded against the Jets for 139 yards and 2 TDs. Though he didn’t give much indication for that breakout game. In the other 6 games he played, he had a total of 93 yards and zero TDs. Coates was nothing more than a flash-in-the-pan for fantasy owners.

Right or Wrong on Melvin Gordon: WRONG, really, really WRONG!

One the ground, he rushed for almost 1,00 yards and find the endzone 10 times! He also caught just over 400 yards and snagged 2 more TDs as a receiver. In almost leagues, he would’ve been a top 8 RB.

In 2015, he scored zero TDs and ran for 641 yards. He struggled. My prediction assumed the Charger’s O-line would remain a liability and Danny Woodhead would continue to be a safety net for Philip Rivers. Neither of these became reality in ‘16. Woodhead’s season-ending injury in Week 2 allowed Gordon to do his thing. Even if Woodhead stayed healthy, Gordon would’ve had similar success with the way the Chargers were able to fix their problems in the trenches.

He not only proved me wrong but he showed himself to be capable of fantasy relevancy for years to come.

Prediction #3: Markus Wheaton and Dak Prescott would have breakout seasons.

Right or Wrong on Markus Wheaton: WRONG.

Wheaton was really, really bad. For the same reasons that people thought Coates would breakout, I thought for Wheaton. At least Coates had one-and-a-half good games (in Week 2 he had 97 yards). Wheaton played 3 games with a total of 51 yards and 1 TD.

That makes me sad. Let’s move on...

Right or Wrong on Dak Prescott: RIGHT.

To be fair, I made these predictions after week 2 of the preseason. At the time, Dak was tearing up those backup defenders! I went and spent 25% of my FAAB money on this unknown rookie in a 2QB league. Though I wasn’t able to fully appreciate the “I-told-you-so” because I was too busy trading him for Antonio Brown! (Not actually a straight-up trade, Dak was part of a package for me to get AB).

Prescott’s ability to run, along with his precise passing, stuck out to me, even in preseason. Along with a great O-line and a predicted workhorse that he could hand the ball off to, I knew he was set up for success — As long as Tony Romo stayed out of it all; fortunately for me, Jerry Jones was thinking the same thing.

Bold Prediction #3: Kelvin Benjamin and TY Hilton would have bounce back seasons.

Right or Wrong on Kelvin Benjamin: Wrong.

Benjamin is the fantasy football version of Nickelback, he’s a popular player to hate. He didn’t have the breakout season I anticipated, but he didn’t lay an egg either. He came out hot the first two games, disappeared, and then picked up momentum in the final two games again.

In those four games, he scored 5 of his 7 TDs and averaged almost 89 yards per game. In his other 11 games, he scored twice and averaged only 53 yards.

This was still good enough to place him WR20 (according to NFL.com) by the end of 2016. However, that’s still short of a breakout season, especially, when put in a context, wide receivers collectively underwhelmed.

2016 is either a result of Benjamin not being very good or a product of the inconsistent woes of Carolina’s offense last season. I tend to lean towards the latter but the decision is yours to make.

Right or Wrong on TY Hilton: Right.

Hilton was WR5 (according to NFL.com). Hilton has the ability to keep plays alive. He very good at what he does and is playing with a potentially HOFer QB, in Andrew Luck.

He led all receivers in yards and was able to score six times.

Personally, Hilton continues to be a rising star for me — especially if the Colts can ever find O-line help to give Luck time.

Final Bold Prediction: Darius Jackson was a deep sleeper.

Right or Wrong on Darius Jackson: WRONG!

This was my boldest of bold predictions.

And it backfired.

You may think this prediction couldn’t get any worse, you’d be wrong! Jackson was waived by the Cowboys and is now in Cleveland. To top it off, he scored 0 fantasy points in ’16 — I’m not even sure if he got onto the field…

You win some, you lose some.

Conclusion

It’s easy to make predictions, it’s difficult to critique them a year later. Looking back, 2016 was a year of growth for me as a fantasy football analyst and player.

Bold Prediction Calculator: 60% Right.

In a market of over-consumed materials, I hope my blogs will be an entertaining, yet a beneficial read for you.

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