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Kyle Richardson's Hits and Misses from 2018 - QB and RB


As a fantasy analyst, the most important thing I can do each season is sit back and review my work. As much as I would like to be perfect with my predictions, I must admit I am not. I am going to miss a lot of calls, but I will also get a lot of calls right. So, the question that presents itself right now is how I did during the 2018 season?

This year I decided to put this review in writing as sort of a yearly performance review conducted by myself. Complete transparency with several players I had strong opinions on during the off-season, the process I used to get my opinion and how it ended up.

Let’s jump into my hit and misses for the 2018 season at quarterback and running back.

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Quarterback Predictions

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

One of my boldest calls of the off-season was met with a lot of criticism. On a preseason Youtube episode of the RotoRevolution, I listed Dak Prescott as a must-have for the 2018 season. Prior to the season, Prescott was being drafted as the QB23 in most leagues but had back-to-back seasons as a QB1 since entering the NFL.

Prescott gave myself and his owners a scare to start the season as the Dallas Cowboys offense was inconsistent most weeks and needed a huge shot in the arm to get going. That shot in the arm came in the form of a mid-season trade for Amari Cooper. From the time Cooper made his debut in Week 9 until the end of the season, Prescott was the QB6 averaging 19.3 points per week. Even though this looked like a bad call for the first half of the season, Prescott made it up to me in the second half.

Verdict: Hit

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

Another quarterback that seems to be under the radar for fantasy owners each season is Matthew Stafford, unfortunately, he was under the radar and under virtually every other quarterback in 2018. Stafford was coming off a QB7 season in 2018 and spent the off-season fighting for Jim Bob Cooter to remain the offensive coordinator even after Matt Patricia was hired as the head coach. Another season with Cooter and the addition of Kerryon Johnson in the run game was sure to only boost Stafford higher.

The offense didn’t even come close to meeting expectations though as an inconsistent and a bland game plan was far too predictable by opposing defenses. Stafford’s interception percentage and completion percentages were in line with career norms but his yards per attempt were way down. Golden Tate was traded, Marvin Jones missed the latter half of the season with an injury and as soon as Kerryon Johnson started to see larger workload, he had a knee injury that sat him down for the rest of the season. The Lions offense just couldn’t get right, and Stafford was a part of that. Since I had Stafford pegged as a top-10 quarterback, this is an obvious miss.

Verdict: Miss

 

Running Back

David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals

Another take I caught some heat from early in the year was my stance on David Johnson not being worth a top-five pick for fantasy owners. Johnson missed almost the entire 2017 season after piecing together one of the best fantasy football seasons ever in 2016. That time off coupled with an offense that didn’t have much upside was a big enough worry that Johnson just wasn’t going to be the top fantasy option everyone wanted.

Even though he wasn’t the top-five pick most owners drafted him as and even though he was one of the more frustrating options to put in your lineup every week, Johnson was still the RB10 in PPR leagues, which seems incredible. If the Arizona Cardinals can make the correct hire and find a coach that can get the most out of the offense, then Johnson could be a candidate as a bounce-back player in 2019. However, the biggest factor is the growth of Josh Rosen. The better Rosen is in 2019, the better Johnson will be.

Verdict: Hit

Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Mixon had mixed reviews during his rookie season in 2017 and one of the most popular reasons for his subpar performance was an atrocious offensive line that could not block anything or anyone. Even after the Bengals made the offensive line a priority this season, not much changed as the Bengals only moved up one spot in Pro Football Focus’s offensive line ratings, going from 28 at the end of 2017 to 27 at the end of 2018. So even with the offensive line a mess again in 2018, an AJ Green injury and even dealing with a knee injury himself, Mixon was still able to finish as the RB10 in PPR leagues this season.

Mixon went from 3.5 yards per carry in 2017 to 4.9 yards per carry in 2018, allowing him to reach 1168 yards in only 14 games. Mixon did take a step back in the passing game though, only averaging 6.9 yards per reception this season, down almost three full yards from last season but averaging a full reception more per game than last season. There should be no doubting Mixon’s talent heading into 2019 unless the Bengals decide to hire Hue Jackson, then we should be worried.

Verdict: Hit

Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers

The only concern I had with Christian McCaffrey heading into 2018 was the workload the Carolina Panthers were promising for him. I still had him ranked within the top-12 at running back, but the Panthers didn’t bring in CJ Anderson just to sit and watch……did they?

Well, they didn’t bring Anderson in just to watch, but they did bring him in just to be cut midseason. The Panthers lived up to their promise, giving McCaffrey 326 touches this season, third-most in the league. The crowd that felt McCaffrey couldn’t hold up to the volume were proven wrong. If the Panthers would have just stayed away from Anderson and left it up to McCaffrey from the beginning, more would have bought into him. A classic case of not believing coach speak, which led me to take this L.

Verdict: Miss

Alex Collins, Baltimore Ravens

Probably my biggest, most disappointing prediction this off-season was Alex Collins. There was a ton of risk buying into Collins, but he looked way too good last season not to take the chance. Fumbling issues could not be overcome, and his coaching staff seemed to slowly lose confidence in him. By seasons end Collins had lost red zone touches to Buck Allen, been placed on IR and even if he hadn’t been, there was a chance Gus Edwards was going to take his job. One of my first RB2 picks off the board, Collins was only able to finish as RB42. I think the moral of the story is do not trust running backs in Baltimore. Unless that running back is named Lamar Jackson, but we all know he is actually a quarterback.

Verdict: Miss…….by a lot

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