Tuesday, January 08, 2013

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume V, Issue XLVIII

Welcome to our 211th edition of the FDH Fantasy Newsletter, as we continue to bring you weekly fantasy sports updates in addition to our usual content on FantasyDrafthelp.com. Our archive of past editions is available right here on The FantasyDrafthelp.com Blog and specific links to past editions are available at FantasyDrafthelp.com.
This week we bring you our 2012 fantasy football prediction review.
2012 Fantasy Football Prediction Review

NOTE: Our FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER web show will still appear from time to time in the newsletter, but sometimes we will opt for the written word instead.

From FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFTOLOGY 2012, we’re going to look back at our overview for the 2012 season, see where we were right and where we were wrong and what can be learned.

PREDICTION #1: 2011 was a year of unprecedented aerial magnitude in the NFL, which begs the question of how 2012, the first season since 2010 to be undisturbed the shadow of the lockout, will proceed. Offenses were far ahead of defenses in 2011 and with the league’s cycle of invention and readjustment, it is fair to believe that the league’s passing numbers will recede a bit this season. There were 10 QBs over 4,000 yards last year and our guess would be that there will be no more than 5-6 of them this year. Of those who made it in 2011, Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton just made it over 4,000 yards, so
they wouldn’t have to recede much to miss it. And while Drew Brees led the
league in passing last year, he returns to complete chaos and a weakened offensive line this year, so he is another prime target to fall short of 4,000.

VERDICT: Mostly wrong.

DETAILS: Roethlisberger and Newton did fall short, but there were 11 QBs over 4,000 yards, including the returning Peyton Manning and the next-generation Manning in Indy, Andrew Luck.  Granted, eight of the ten QBs over 4,000 yards in 2011 fell back in their 2012 numbers, but the lesson is that the high-octane era of NFL offense is here to stay, at least through 2013, even when the inevitable adjustments do come.
PREDICTION #2: The combination of our Experts’ Draft Board and Overvalued/Undervalued lists for 2012 reveals a horrific overreaction among our peers in the fantasy industry this year. RGIII is hugely overvalued (quite embarrassingly, one leading magazine has him as high as 8th), while Andrew Luck is somewhat as well. The success of Cam Newton in 2011 (and to a lesser fantasy extent, that of Andy Dalton) should not be considered any kind of precedent for fantasy quarterbacks, who are notoriously mediocre fantasy performers (even those who go on to have great careers) in their rookie years.

VERDICT: Flat-out wrong.

DETAILS: RG III was 21st on our draft board and 12th on the Experts’ Draft Board, while Luck was #22 with us and #18 with the Experts.  Our conservatism about rookie QBs, while rooted in the entirety of NFL history from a statistical standpoint, clearly is no longer applicable across-the-board with the continued blurring of NFL and college offenses and more quarterbacks coming out and looking pro-ready from Day One.  The 2013 NFL Draft doesn’t look to have any QBs who can produce like RG III, Luck and Russell Wilson did right off the bat, but if a passer looks to be broadly-developed at the NCAA level, they can come right in the NFL and produce in this climate.

PREDICTION #3: Both the RB and WR positions are a bit deeper in terms of starters than in 2011 and with equal depth at QB, that means that you have to secure a top performer in one more round than last year if you want to make a deep run in your league.

VERDICT: Broadly right.

DETAILS: Injuries, as always are the great equalizer, but with a strong rookie class in terms of fantasy performers and the continued development of players like James Jones who were not fantasy starters before 2012, the pool was a bit deeper this year.

PREDICTION #4: TE is marginally deeper than in 2011, but the major difference is in the top-heavy nature of the position, where Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham lord over the other top performers. Aside from Megatron, you can’t name a top WR that significantly outproduced them in 2011, which is just about unprecedented for one TE, let alone two. The gap between them and the other top performers at the position should narrow, but the baseline from which they all start reveals a difference so vast that they should still be regarded as much more valuable this year. And while this next statement will be controversial in this industry, the two do have first-round value in standard 12-team drafts this year.

VERDICT: Broadly true.

DETAILS: Gronk was hurt at the end and useless to his owners down the stretch, but he was All-World again prior to that.  Graham fell off a bit in the chaos of the New Orleans situation, but aside from (maybe) Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten, there was nobody at their statistical level again – at a position that has gotten deeper each of the last few years.


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