Somewhat Bold Predictions for 2019
ESPN Fantasy Football analyst Matthew Berry writes a love/hate article every season. I won’t steal his title, but these are players I probably like more than the average fantasy football player or analyst. Fantasy Football is a weekly game, so you won’t hear about any year end predictions from me. I will give you an analysis of guys that out perform in the two important statistical tools. Best 10 is a look at a player’s ability to produce a big week on a regular basis. Consistency Rating shows how often a player reaches an appealing weekly floor for a player on any given week. Small sample sizes of data leave more potential for error in future predictions, but these often give us a guide about young players in new roles. Let’s take a look at a few somewhat bold predictions for 2019.
Looking Back First
My best bold prediction for the 2018 season was that Patrick Mahomes would be a top 3 value quarterback in 2019. That was pretty bold for a guy going QB15 in drafts. This was the easiest of my predictions, because his skill set was better than Alex Smith who was able to hit that level. The other gem from last year was that Greg Kittle would be a top 5 tight end in 2018. That was based on a small sample size showing his potential consistency. Being drafted as the 13th tight end off the board in PPR formats, he was another steal. Not all of my predictions were great. Trey Burton based on Best 10 was forecast to be a top 5 tight end in 2018. His results fell far below that level, at 9th in Consistency Rating and 14th in Best 10. Alex Collins was a mixed bag because he projected strong in Best 10 but was lacking in Consistency Rating. His ADP of 17th running back off the board was tempting, and I got burned in a few drafts grabbing him when he fell to the 4th round or later. While I had more hits than misses, I showed the best two and worst two as examples of how short sample sizes can boom or bust.
Mitch Trubisky- His Best 10 Rating is 4th best when you look at his data as if he was a rookie last year. I do this because his first season was in a lousy offense. But his Consistency Rating overall for the last two seasons was 22% worse than league average. If you look at his data only from last year before his injury, his Consistency Rating and Best 10 Rating show that he could hit the top 10 at quarterback this season so his ADP of 19th is a gift.
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Nick Foles- Over the years when he has come off the bench for a good offense, his Consistency Rating has been very good. While he has had a few very strong games in Best 10, he just hasn’t played enough over the last 2 seasons to get a good read on his current ability. Foles is a free pick this year, but has the possibility to produce at a top 10 value on a weekly basis.
Jacoby Brissett- The death of the Indianapolis Colts with the surprise retirement of Andrew Luck has been greatly exaggerated. Brissett is worth a late round pick because this offense produces a great Best 10 and Consistency Ratings. Remember how weak Luck’s arm seemed in the beginning of the 2018 season? He still put up adequate fantasy football statistics. Don’t sleep on Brissett because this isn’t the 2017 Colts!
David Montgomery- Obviously with no NFL track record, this is a total comparison forecast similar to my prediction of Mahomes from last year. Jordan Howard was awful last year and was still reasonably productive, from a consistency point of view. Assuming Montgomery will be more effective with his touches and have more of his touches as receptions, makes Monty a great pick in PPR at his ADP.
Devonta Freeman- Injury issues are always a concern with Freeman more than other running backs, but this is purely a look at his weekly value when he plays. His Consistency Rating and Best 10 Ratings have been strong while sharing the backfield with another almost, equally talented running back. His current ADP as the 16th running back off the board in PPR drafts is a gift.
Leonard Fournette- There is nothing this guy can’t do on the field as long as the distractions off the field can be kept away this season. His Consistency Rating is above league average and his Best 10 Rating shows his potential to have the breakout season everyone expected the last two years.
Devin Singletary- This is another comparison projection since he also has no real games in the NFL yet. Last season, a declining Shady McCoy posted an impressive Consistency Rating in the full games he played. Shady’s Best 10 Rating in this offense, while on the decline, was about 15th best and Singletary had more talent to beat out McCoy.
Tevin Coleman/Matt Breida- Last year whoever carried the ball in that San Francisco offense put up a great Consistency Rating. Coleman is a bargain at his ADP of the 28th running back in PPR drafts and Breida is a great handcuff a few rounds later. Both guys posted excellent Consistency Ratings on their own over the last 2 seasons. In 2019, they are with a better offense.
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Curtis Samuel- Both Samuel and his young teammate, DJ Moore have excellent Consistency Ratings to start their careers. Moore has a better Best 10 Rating than Samuel. Samuel was slower getting situated in the Panthers offense, behind Devin Funchess. Now with the departure of Funchess, Samuel should have a better defined role in the offense. He is a bargain at an ADP of 35th in the middle of the 8th round.
Emmanuel Sanders- The cagey veteran on the Broncos is coming off a serious injury that appeared might end his career. It looked like he might hand over his role to one of the two young receivers on the roster. But in preseason Sanders looked great, and his Consistency Rating and Best 10 Rating are much higher than his current ADP of 34th around the start of the 8th round.
Tre’Quan Smith- It is always a guessing game with young wide receivers. When they will put it all together and have that breakout season? Sometimes it never comes. Smith’s Best 10 Rating projects in the top 20 at his position, which makes him a huge bargain at an ADP of 63rd in the 14th round.
Golden Tate- Yes, Tate is suspended for the first four games which will cut into his yearly point total. Remember that Fantasy Football is a weekly game. Once he returns, he will be the most reliable wide receiver on the roster. He has a higher Best 10 and Consistency rating than Sterling Shepard.
Anthony Miller- The Nagy offense should be able to support more than one big play maker. Anthony Miller showed an ability to find the end zone better than any other wide receiver on the Bears’ roster. His Best 10 and Consistency Ratings were low, but he was a rookie. He is a good bet to improve if he can stay healthy in year two. His current ADP of 53rd in the 11th round has room for upside.
Darren Waller- His small sample result for his Consistency Rating remind me a lot of Greg Kittle before the 2017 season. Oakland picked up a solid number one receiver this year, in Antonio Brown. But Waller is with a quarterback who likes to throw to the tight end. He is a late round lottery pick with nothing but upside.
Mark Andrews- Lamar Jackson threw to the tight end over 6% more than Joe Flacco did with the Ravens last season. Andrews had a perfect Consistency Rating in a very small sample size. He could be the favorite target of an athletic young quarterback in year two. His ADP of 14th at the start of the 13th round, is an easy level to outperform this season if he can stay healthy.
Trey Burton- Quite often when a highly touted player is considered a bust the previous season, he gets forgotten the next season. Burton’s Consistency Rating was 9th best last season in his first year. He was also getting used to a brand new role. This year, his ADP of 18th in the 14th round gives him more upside.
The players listed above are not my best picks of the year overall. They are some of my most likely players to out perform their ADP by 5 or more spots at their position. Each player has either shown a small sample size of performance in the past, or their offense should be able to produce a top performer at their position. I didn’t take these players as the first player at their position in my drafts. My point is, I have a high percentage of shares in all of these players going into 2019. Fantasy Football is a weekly game, and these players will have a solid weekly value all season. Next year at this time, we can grade my somewhat bold predictions together.