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Preseason Schedule Analysis
2009 Year In Review – AFC & NFC South

Aggressiveness is a characteristic that tends to reward fantasy owners more times than not. In the NFL, an offensive line will sometimes hold up long enough to give the quarterback enough time to beat man coverage down the field and make the defense look foolish against a fierce pass rush. More often than not, though, when a defense brings the heat and forces the action, crisis management becomes the name of the game for the opposing team.

In that same vein, I hope to apply that same kind of pressure to the owners in all of my leagues by beating my opponents to the punch in regards to personnel moves. Sometimes, reaching a conclusion about a player too quickly is much like trying to blitz Peyton Manning – dangerous and painful. However, coming to a correct conclusion two weeks or two minutes quicker than your opponents is considered foresight. Fantasy owners can be a uneasy lot, knowing that one two-or-three-game losing streak can wreak irreparable damage to his/her team’s chances to make a visit to the fantasy postseason. But just as it is in the NFL and in life, it’s hard to land the big prize by playing scared. Thus, I will strive each week to help each of you become a smart blitzer, so to speak.

It’s never easy for a person to admit their mistakes. It’s even harder to do so in front of a national audience. But admitting – and learning from – one’s mistakes is a vital part to growing and becoming a better person and, for the purposes of this four-part series of articles, a better fantasy prognosticator.

There are many fantasy “experts” that would not dare do what I am about to do, which is look back at their projections from late August or early September of last season and revisit their triumphs as well as their regrets. (And yes, I was as shockingly off on some of my projections just about as often as I was right on the mark.) But I believe this is a useful exercise for all parties involved and perhaps will give even more credence to my belief in the PSAs. At the very least, it should allow each of us to see just how much faith I should have in my ability to “predict the schedule” and how much trust I deserve from each of you when I do so.

After much debate on how I should go about deciding whether or not I projected a player accurately, I finally settled on the system that I explain over the next few paragraphs. It didn’t make much sense to stack up my 15-game forecasts against the player’s actual 16-game numbers and with the number of teams that have essentially taken Week 17 off recently (if not most of December), it seemed prudent to measure each player on their points-per-game average. The next step was deciding how to measure accuracy. Again, a simple hit-miss system was too rigid, so I added two more categories to analyze the accuracy of my projections.

Hit: my projection was within +/- 1 FPPG (fantasy point per game)
On-Target: my projection was within +/- 1.1 and 3 FPPG
Off-Target: my projection was within +/- 3.1 and 5 FPPG
Miss: my projection missed by more than 5 FPPG

Before we dive into the heart of this walk down memory lane, I want to explain two more areas I decided to address: 1) the percentage listed next to the “hit”, “on-target”. “off-target” and “miss” and 2) the names listed after the percentage. The percentage is simply a reflection of how much each of those four standards fit into the accuracy “pie” while the names reflect the players who actually fell into that category. (For example, Atlanta ended up with seven greens out of a possible 14 – seven PPR and seven non-PPR projections – so I ended up “hitting” on 50% of my projections for the Falcons.) Finally, I will hand myself a grade at the end of each “team report”, with weight on that grade being given to the quality of player. For example, a miss on a player like Peyton Manning would send my grade down much more than a miss on Kenny Britt. Conversely, a hit on Manning would skyrocket my grade much more than a hit on Britt.

Explanations of column headers below:

PPR Margin – The difference (plus or minus) between a player’s actual FPPG and the FPPG I projected for him prior to the start of the 2009 season in PPR leagues.

NPPR Margin – The difference (plus or minus) between a player’s actual FPPG and the FPPG I projected for him prior to the start of the 2009 season in non-PPR leagues.

Actual PPR – The amount of FPPG a player scored during the 2009 season in PPR leagues.

Actual NPPR – The amount of FPPG a player scored during the 2009 season in non-PPR leagues.

PPR Avg – The FPPG average I projected for the player prior to the start of the 2009 season in PPR leagues.

NPPR Avg – The FPPG average I projected for the player prior to the start of the 2009 season in non-PPR leagues.

 Color Codes

AFC South

 Houston Texans
Pos Player PPR Margin NPPR Margin Actual PPR Actual NPPR PPR Avg NPPR Avg
QB Matt Schaub 3 3 21 21 18 18
RB Steve Slaton -3 -3.2 14.7 11.6 17.7 14.8
RB Chris Brown -1.3 -1.8 4.7 3.7 6 5.5
WR Andre Johnson 0 0.6 19.6 13.2 19.6 12.6
WR Kevin Walter -4.4 -3.5 9.2 5.2 13.6 8.7
WR Jacoby Jones 2.3 1.9 7.8 5.7 5.5 3.8
TE Owen Daniels 5 4 15.2 10.2 10.2 6.2

Hits – (14%) Johnson. If a person could choose who he is going to hit on a projection for any Texan player, it’d be Johnson. In the last three seasons he has played all 16 games, Johnson has seen at least 164 targets and caught 100 balls each season. Thus, the challenge becomes deciding how often he will score. Nevertheless, one of my proudest moments so far in doing these team reviews was seeing that I was right on the mark with Johnson’s PPR forecast.

On-Target – (50%) Schaub, Brown, Jones, Slaton (PPR). The perfect storm of events led Schaub to posting his best season yet. After being dogged for his inability to play an entire season, he fought valiantly through injuries in the preseason and regular season. Add to that the Texans’ wretched running attack and Schaub was forced to air it out more than most anyone could have predicted.

Off-Target – (29%) Walter, Slaton and Daniels (both non-PPR). Even though I’ll touch on Daniels, it’s appropriate to discuss him when mentioning Walter as he was the reason the Texans’ WR2 went from a smart WR3 fantasy selection to a ho-hum bench player. Slaton never did approach the level expected of him after a brilliant rookie season, but much of his poor production can be blamed on his weight gain, a below-average run-blocking line and the nerve problem that led to his fumbling issues and ultimately ended his season.

Misses – (7%) Daniels (PPR). In his first three seasons, Daniels proved he had all the necessary skills to be a top TE in the league, with his only drawback was his inability to score touchdowns. That problem came to an end in 2009 when he visited the end zone a career-high-tying five times in just eight games. His season came to an unfortunate end with an ACL injury, but not before making everybody who tried to project his numbers look like a fool.

Grade: B Nailing Johnson supersedes everything else here, although I was very close to being off-target with Schaub, Slaton AND Daniels. Obviously, I wish I could have foreseen Daniels’ emergence as a red-zone option, but I’m not going to penalize myself too much for that.

Indianapolis Colts
Pos Player PPR Margin NPPR Margin Actual PPR Actual NPPR PPR Avg NPPR Avg
QB Peyton Manning 1.7 1.7 21.5 21.5 19.8 19.8
RB Joseph Addai 3.3 2.6 16.2 13 12.9 10.4
RB Donald Brown -3.9 -3.1 6.7 5.7 10.6 8.8
WR Reggie Wayne 1.6 1 17.9 11.7 16.3 10.7
WR Anthony Gonzalez -14.8 -9.9 0 0 14.8 9.9
WR Pierre Garcon 3.6 2.8 9.9 6.7 6.3 3.9
TE Dallas Clark 3.5 2.2 16.9 10.7 13.4 8.5

Hits – (7%) Wayne (non-PPR). There was little doubt that Wayne would be option No. 1 in 2009. What was most surprising to me was the amazing elite consistency he showed through the first half of the season. While it is unclear why he tailed off so much in the second half, a likely explanation could be that roughly half of the games didn’t mean a great deal to the Colts. To his credit, he did step up when needed (New England, Jacksonville) in tight games to keep Indy’s long regular-season winning streak going until Week 16.

On-Target – (43%) Manning, Wayne (PPR), Addai, Garcon and Clark (the last three in non-PPR). At the end of last summer, the “consultant controversy” (in which longtime OC Tom Moore and OL coach Howard Mudd left only to take consultant roles with the team in much the same capacities they “retired” from) had been resolved. However, we really never got much clarification how much input each would be allowed until the games actually started. This played largely into my projection of Manning, who scored 20 FPPG for the third time in four years. Despite middling production per touch last season, Addai was wonderfully consistent in fantasy. For a player who was expected to split carries early (and possibly lose his starting job before the end of the season), Addai overcame the Colts’ run-blocking issues and thrived once Brown went down to injury in Week 7. Upon the rookie’s return in Week 10, Brown managed no more than six carries in a single game until Week 16.

Off-Target – (36%) Brown, Addai, Garcon and Clark (the last three in PPR). I’m proud to say that Garcon was on my radar early on last offseason (thanks to Colts’ team president Bill Polian), but there was no way I could have imagined Gonzalez going down so early in the season, opening the door for Garcon and Austin Collie. Clark is one of those projections I wish I could take back. While my 15-game projection of 73-800-8 of him wasn’t awful, it only makes sense that one of Manning’s most trusted options in Clark would receive more opportunities once Marvin Harrison was not invited back to the team

Misses – (14%) Gonzalez. If ever there was an excusable miss, it was Gonzalez. One of fantasy’s favorite WR2 candidates last season, he was lost for the season early in the first game of the season.

Omitted – Collie. To be fair, when I put out my projections, I had Collie and Garcon fighting for the WR3 job. Obviously, when Gonzalez went down in Week 1, the competition became moot because both players saw a great deal of time as the Colts go three-wide quite regularly. I can be proud of the fact that I projected 21.1 (PPR) and 13.8 (non-PPR) FPPG, respectively, for Gonzalez and Garcon. As it turned out, the combination of Garcon and Collie combined for 20.5 (PPR) and 13.6 (non-PPR), respectively.

Grade: B- As easy as it would be to downgrade myself for Gonzalez, I do not claim to be a fortune teller, thus I won’t be penalizing myself for his injury. The lack of red above (outside of Gonzalez) should result in a decent grade, but a lack of hits leaves me little choice but to give myself a rather ordinary grade.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Pos Player PPR Margin NPPR Margin Actual PPR Actual NPPR PPR Avg NPPR Avg
QB David Garrard 1.1 1.1 15.5 15.5 14.4 14.4
RB Maurice Jones-Drew -2 -1.3 20.2 17 22.2 18.3
RB Rashad Jennings -0.8 -1.5 3.5 2.4 4.3 3.9
WR Torry Holt -4.1 -3 8.1 4.8 12.2 7.8
WR Mike Sims-Walker 4.5 3.3 12.7 8.6 8.2 5.3
WR Mike Thomas 1 -0.3 7.6 3.7 6.6 4
TE Marcedes Lewis 0.8 1.1 6.4 4.3 5.6 3.2

Hits – (29%) Thomas, Jennings and Lewis (both PPR). Not a lot to feel good about here as each of these players likely went undrafted in most leagues. Thomas and Lewis both had their moments, but neither player was a consistent option in most leagues last season.

On-Target – (50%) Garrard, Jones-Drew, Jennings, Holt and Lewis (the last three in non-PPR). Garrard’s home-road split (90.9 QB rating at home; 75.1 on the road) tells the story about the rollercoaster ride that was his season. I feel very fortunate that he was almost a “hit” for me. Jones-Drew didn’t quite meet my lofty projection of him, but I have no regrets about it. For a player who was sometimes forgotten about in the gameplan (really Jags?), I have no complaints about a RB who goes for over 1,750 total yards and 16 TDs in his first full season as a starter. No one doubted Holt was on the downside of his career, but no scores for “Big Game”? Whatever fantasy WR3 potential he had entering the season was taken from him once Sims-Walker emerged as the top option.

Off-Target – (21%) Sims-Walker, Holt (PPR). While I am more upset about my forecast about another injury-prone WR entering the 2009 season (Sidney Rice), I was too slow to react to the emergence of Sims-Walker, who is another WR like Rice who always had the talent but was never on the field to show it. Much like Wayne, Sims-Walker faded badly in the second half, but his demise could at least be attributed – to some degree – to the inconsistent play of Garrard.

Misses – (0%)

Grade: B+ The lack of a big-time hit keeps this grade from being elite, but no red above also means that a good grade should be forthcoming. I believe consistency throughout allows me to feel pretty good about my predictions for the Jags.

Tennessee Titans
Pos Player PPR Margin NPPR Margin Actual PPR Actual NPPR PPR Avg NPPR Avg
QB Kerry Collins -2.9 -2.9 10.4 10.4 13.3 13.3
RB Chris Johnson 6.7 6.6 24.4 21.7 17.7 15.1
RB LenDale White -7.1 -6.7 2.6 2.5 9.7 9.2
WR Nate Washington -1.5 -1.1 8.8 5.8 10.3 6.9
WR Justin Gage -4 -1.9 7 4.7 11 6.6
WR Kenny Britt 2.6 1.9 8 5.5 5.4 3.6
TE Bo Scaife -2.8 -1.8 6.6 3.6 9.4 5.4
TE Alge Crumpler 1.2 0.4 3.3 1.8 2.1 1.4

Hits – (6%) Crumpler (non-PPR). If a “hit” on Crumpler is my only claim to fame when projecting a team, I’d say I did not enjoy my finest hour as a fantasy prognosticator.

On-Target – (63%) Collins, Washington, Britt, Scaife, Crumpler (PPR), Gage (non-PPR). I’m not sure what it says when almost the Titans’ entire receiving corps above is shaded in blue, other than this is the kind of influence a switch a QB can have, especially when the transition is from a strong-armed passing signal-caller to one who known more for his legs than a rocket arm.

Off-Target – (6%) Gage (PPR). The 2.1 FPPG variance is a wide difference between the PPR and non-PPR margins for a fantasy bench player like Gage, but it can be explained by the fact that Gage was a high TD-per-catch player in 2009 as opposed to the high-catch, low-TD player I projected him to be.

Misses – (25%) Johnson, White. This one hurts because I nearly nailed the FPPG coming out of the Titans’ backfield (27 PPR and 24.2 non-PPR compared to my projections of 27.4 and 24.3, respectively), but I was well off on just how much of the pie Johnson would account for in 2009.

Omissions – Vince Young. After being dogged by reports of his questionable work ethic and leadership skills, Young stepped into the starting lineup to relieve Collins after a 0-6 start. The offense became decidedly run-heavy initially to “hide” Young’s perceived accuracy issues, but as the season went on, it became clear that Young was rounding into more of a complete QB.

Grade: C- While it was certainly a good story in real life, Young’s insertion into the lineup wrecked the forecasts I had for two players: Collins (for obvious reasons) and Johnson. With the offense becoming more focused on running the football and short passing (Young’s trademarks) as opposed to the deep ball (Collins’ trademark), the need to find Johnson was paramount if the Titans wanted to create big plays. Regardless of whether or not anyone could have foreseen Young replacing Collins midway through the season, I can’t give myself a good grade for so few “hits” and a “miss” on Johnson. Only a high “on-target” percentage saves my grade here.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons
Pos Player PPR Margin NPPR Margin Actual PPR Actual NPPR PPR Avg NPPR Avg
QB Matt Ryan -0.9 -0.9 16.3 16.3 17.2 17.2
RB Michael Turner -1.1 -0.8 13.8 13.7 14.9 14.5
RB Jerious Norwood -2.4 -1.2 6.7 5 9.1 6.2
WR Roddy White -0.6 -0.4 16.7 11.3 17.3 11.7
WR Michael Jenkins -3.1 -2.3 8 4.6 11.1 6.9
WR Brian Finneran -2.7 -1.8 2.2 1.1 4.9 2.9
TE Tony Gonzalez -0.6 -0.8 12.9 7.7 13.5 8.5

Hits – (50%) Ryan, White, Gonzalez, Turner (non-PPR). Finally, a four-name hit-pack worth getting exciting about! While predicting another stellar season for White or forecasting a hiccup in the development of Ryan wasn’t unthinkable, nailing Turner and Gonzalez was a bit trickier. Turner was a popular top-five selection in both PPR and non-PPR, but anyone who believes in the possibility of the “Curse of 370” knows that backs who hit that benchmark one year seem to be awfully prone to struggles and/or injuries the following season (if not beyond). However, my biggest tipoff on his upcoming 2009 season was the schedule, which was substantially tougher than it was during his breakout 2008 season. Gonzalez’s forecast was even tougher, made that way the heightened expectations of coming to playoff-contending Atlanta from Kansas City and joining forces with Matt Ryan. Of course, OC Mike Mularkey’s made it more difficult to predict Gonzalez after suggesting the Falcons would remain a run-based offense and so, with Mularkey’s history of capping his TE’s ability to produce worthwhile fantasy numbers, I’m quite thrilled with getting green on Gonzo.

On-Target – (43%) Norwood, Finneran, Turner (PPR) and Jenkins (non-PPR). Since I discussed Turner above, I’ll focus a bit on Norwood here. My projection for Norwood last summer was based on the decline of production Turner was going to experience. Naturally, Jason Snelling stepped up when Norwood once again could not stay healthy. For what it is worth, Snelling’s 10.4 FPPG in PPR and 8.4 in non-PPR would have looked better than Norwood’s final per-game averages did above.

Off-Target – (7%) Jenkins (PPR). Jenkins is a hard player for me to understand for fantasy purposes. What is safe to say is that he is probably no more than a 50-650-4 kind of WR going forward.

Misses – (0%)

Grade: A Atlanta is undoubtedly the team I forecasted the best so far. Scoring “hits” on seven of the eight categories for the Falcons’ top four fantasy players leaves me feeling pretty good about the work I did here.

Carolina Panthers
Pos Player PPR Margin NPPR Margin Actual PPR Actual NPPR PPR Avg NPPR Avg
QB Jake Delhomme -6.1 -6.1 8.4 8.4 14.5 14.5
RB DeAngelo Williams 0 -0.1 15.5 13.8 15.5 13.9
RB Jonathan Stewart 2.4 2.8 13 12.1 10.6 9.3
WR Steve Smith -5 -3.4 13.9 9.3 18.9 12.7
WR Muhsin Muhammad -2.3 -2.1 8.4 4.6 10.7 6.7
WR Dwayne Jarrett -5.1 -3.1 3.3 2 8.4 5.1
TE Jeff King 1.4 0.9 3.9 2.4 2.5 1.5

Hits – (21%) Williams, King (non-PPR). Besides my Turner projection above, perhaps my crowning achievement last season was going against the grain in my prediction of Williams. To me, it was painfully obvious that the deck was stacked against Williams repeating his 20-TD season of 2008. However, I found myself swayed a bit by the sheer talent of Williams. In the end, though, three of the areas I was concerned about –the continued usage of Stewart (seemingly at the most inappropriate times for Williams’ owners), a porous defense that made running the ball again much harder than it was in 2008 and the turnover machine that Delhomme became – that usurped the final numbers of D-Will.

On-Target – (36%) Stewart, Muhammad and King (PPR). After two seasons in the league, it is already becoming clear that Stewart is going to be a difficult projection due to his injury history. However, he has yet to miss a game, so we know he can play with pain. Amazingly, before his three-game explosion to end the season, Stewart was on pace to score 10.2 FPPG in PPR and 9.4 in non-PPR, numbers that would have resulted in two more “hits” for me.

Off-Target – (14%) Smith and Jarrett (both non-PPR). Perhaps the fantasy player who suffered the most from factors outside of his controls last season was Smith. The only saving grace his owners had last season was after Matt Moore made his way into the starting lineup. Beginning with Moore’s first start in Week 13, Smith averaged 18.7 FPPG in PPR and 14 in non-PPR in their four games together, numbers in stark contrast with the 12.1 FPPG (PPR) and 7.6 (non-PPR) with Delhomme as the starter.

Misses – (29%) Delhomme, Smith and Jarrett (both PPR). Whether it was the elbow or his playoff nightmare vs. Arizona in the 2008 postseason or the fact he forgot to have fun (as he suggested recently), Delhomme always appeared rattled in 2009, with no idea how to turn things around. It remains to be seen if Cleveland is getting the Delhomme we used to know or just another season of misery…but we’ll cover that at another time.

Grade: B+ This grade essentially comes down to Williams and Stewart vs. Smith. Hitting on D-Will when most of the fantasy community was predicting a repeat of 2008 has to score points for me while being in the ballpark with Stewart has to reinforce that grade. Smith’s season dings my grade a bit, but his finish with Matt Moore suggests that he not only still had his game all along, but also contributed nicely to many fantasy owners’ championship runs.

New Orleans Saints
Pos Player PPR Margin NPPR Margin Actual PPR Actual NPPR PPR Avg NPPR Avg
QB Drew Brees 0.9 0.9 24.1 24.1 23.2 23.2
RB Reggie Bush -1.1 -0.2 11.7 8.6 12.8 8.8
RB Pierre Thomas 0.2 -0.4 13.9 11.3 13.7 11.7
RB Mike Bell 3.1 3.8 7.4 7.4 4.3 3.6
WR Marques Colston -4 -2.4 14.3 10.1 18.3 12.5
WR Lance Moore -8.4 -5.2 5.9 3.9 14.3 9.1
WR Devery Henderson 3.7 1.9 9 5.8 5.3 3.9
WR Robert Meachem 4.7 3.6 11.1 7.9 6.4 4.3
TE Jeremy Shockey -0.5 -0.5 8.8 5.4 9.3 5.9

Hits – (39%) Brees, Thomas, Shockey, Bush (non-PPR). Although it wasn’t a big stretch for me to predict that Brees would have another huge season, I am proud of the fact that he came within a point of hitting his average production. Thomas, on the other hand, was a tricky player to get a handle on. As you may recall, speculation on Thomas was rampant last summer – with the undrafted back being everything from a committee back to the Saints’ feature back and just about everything else in between. HC Sean Payton seems resigned to make Thomas a 15-touch-per-game type of RB, so as long as the coach has Brees’ arm to fall back on, expect Thomas to serve as the lead back of a two- or three-headed committee and nothing more. Thomas has enough explosiveness to be a very productive back with that kind of touch average, but he’s is highly unlikely to be a fantasy RB1 anytime soon, meaning he’s not going to be the consistent force every week that a handful of the top backs are.

On-Target – (17%) Bush (PPR), Colston and Henderson (both non-PPR). Just as Thomas is being deemed as a 15-touch-per-game RB, Bush appears to have settled in as a 10-12 touch-per-game player (excluding punt returns). While one could argue that Thomas could handle more, Bush has seemingly proved season after season that he is not built to take the punishment of a feature back. Considering he hasn’t surpassed 500 rushing yards in either of the past two seasons, it’s unlikely his role will change anytime soon. Even though I was within range of Colston’s non-PPR value, it’s likely he let a number of his owners down in the second half of 2009. After making tough catch after tough catch (which usually ended up as touchdowns) through the first eight games, Brees looked in the direction of Meachem more often as the season wore on. Colston is still the fantasy WR to own with New Orleans because Brees trusts him the most, but just bear in mind that Brees’ favorite receiver is the first open receiver (which is the way it should be, but not the way fantasy owners want it to be).

Off-Target – (33%) Bell, Meachem, Colston and Henderson (both PPR). Say what you want, but I’m pretty surprised Meachem wasn’t a complete miss. Entering the 2009 season with a total of 12 catches, Meachem really started picking up steam in the second half of the season, performing at the same level Miles Austin and Sidney Rice were during Weeks 9-16 while outproducing the likes of both Steve Smiths, Reggie Wayne and Roddy White on a FPPG basis. Henderson, like many other Saints, has already shown us what he is – a one-dimensional deep threat who will have 2-3 huge games throughout the season but provide little else.

Misses – (11%) Moore. The receiver that Brees called “my Marvin Harrison” during the 2009 preseason made me look pretty bad last season. In fact, the 2009 version of Moore played a lot like Harrison the last time we saw the former Colt on the field, which is to say that he was a virtual non-factor.

Grade: B+ If I had not been so far off the mark with Moore and – to a certain extent – Colston, I believe I could have made the case for an “A”. I wrestled with an “A-“ based on the quality of my “hits”, but the margin of error on Colston was too much to use this team review for my application to the fantasy projector honor roll.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pos Player PPR Margin NPPR Margin Actual PPR Actual NPPR PPR Avg NPPR Avg
QB Byron Leftwich 1.8 1.8 14.1 14.1 12.3 12.3
RB Cadillac Williams 3.7 3 10.9 9.1 7.2 6.1
RB Derrick Ward -5.7 -3.9 6.7 5.3 12.4 9.2
RB Earnest Graham -4.7 -4.8 2.4 1.3 7.1 6.1
WR Antonio Bryant -2.1 -0.9 9.5 6.5 11.6 7.4
WR Michael Clayton -2.7 -1.4 3.5 2.2 6.2 3.6
WR Sammie Stroughter -2.2 -1.5 5.4 3 7.6 4.5
TE Kellen Winslow -1.4 -1 12.3 7.4 13.7 8.4

Hits – (13%) Bryant and Winslow (both non-PPR). Had Tampa Bay held on to its OC (Jeff Jagodzinski) and not canned him prior to the start of the season, it’s possible I could have enjoyed more green. Regardless, I won’t take too much credit for the two I did nail last summer. While most of the fantasy community felt Bryant was due for a repeat of 2008, I felt as though his knee issues and QB situation would drive his stock down. As a result, it wasn’t a huge leap to predict that Winslow would see a great deal of work with no other receiver capable of scaring defenses.

On-Target – (56%) Leftwich, Clayton, Stroughter, Bryant and Winslow (both PPR), Williams (non-PPR). Once again, the release of my last Big Board was too early to reflect my final evaluation of Williams, but I’m happy to see I was able to get him in the on-target category anyway. The fact of the matter is that even the most optimistic forecast likely would not have predicted that Williams: a) was going to stay healthy for a full season for the first time in his pro career or b) make Ward a near afterthought after the Bucs signed the ex-Giant to a pretty sizable contract in the 2009 offseason.

Off-Target – (25%) Graham, Williams (PPR), Ward (non-PPR). Nothing much went according to plan in Tampa last season and Graham was just another of those players who suffered because of it. Initially thought to be the “1” in the 2-2-1 split HC Raheem Morris planned in the preseason, Graham was left out in the cold after just one game when Williams started showing he was running a lot like the Cadillac we used to know. If I had known Graham was only going to receive 28 touches all season long, suffice it to say I would not have included him in my projections.

Misses – (6%) Ward (PPR). Certainly, no one expected Caddy to steal so much of the workload from Ward, whose contract almost guaranteed he would end up with a bigger piece of the rushing pie than he did. It’d be a fairly big upset if Williams sees 105 more touches (rushing and receiving) than Ward again in 2010, be it because of injury to Williams or because of the gameplan.

Grade: B- Not a lot to love here – the lack of red is negated by a lack of green, which means a whole lot of predictions missed by a fair amount. Since 81% of my forecasts for the Bucs were in the “middle ground”, it’s hard to be too kind to my report card on this one. The only thing that saves this grade is that I had twice as many “on-targets” as “off-targets”.

Suggestions, comments, musings about the article or fantasy football in general? E-mail me.