You probably remember my Way Too Early Fantasy Rankings from a couple of weeks ago. Well, I’ve changed my mind on what I said in that post; My 2018 fantasy football analysis is no longer going in alphabetical order–it’s all over the place. It’s in complete chaos. The good news is that NFL.com has opened their mock drafts, so I have a more updated list of players to work with, including the rookies. That also means I can base my rankings more on where players should be drafted, rather than how many points they will score this season (ex: QBs will score the most points, but the gap between the best and the worst QBs is significantly less than the gap between the best and the worst RBs and WRs). Anyway, I’m trying to get my poop in a group (s*** together, if you prefer). Here is my first official Top 25 2018 Fantasy Fooball Ranking, in the order in which you should draft them:
You may have noticed that my Fantasy Football page reappeared a couple of days ago. I’m working on my complete fantasy football analysis over there. I’m working in alphabetical order by last name, so it my take a while. The good news is, fantasy football drafts on nfl.com don’t start for more than a month, by which time you should have sufficient information to crush it in your fantasy football leagues this season. In the meantime, I took the liberty of creating this short Top 25 ranking for the upcoming fantasy football season. Please note: Don’t take these rankings super seriously. I simply took the Top 25 fantasy point scorers from last season and re-ranked them based upon how I think they’ll perform this season. I have yet to do thorough analysis on most of these guys, so these rankings should change a lot over the next month+. Undoubtedly, this season’s actual Top 25 will not contain the exact same 25 players from last year (for example, I would be SHOCKED if Tyrod Taylor ended up in the Top 25 again this season. I would be SHOCKED if he ended up in the Top 25 QBs.); This is just a starting point to give you guys a taste of where I’m going. Here we go…
I previously promised a more in-depth look at my plus-minus system; Here it is in my ranking of the draft classes from the 2018 NFL Draft. The plus-minus system reflects the overall value of each teams’ collective drafts. The greater the plus is, the greater a value a team got. The minuses are reaches-players who were drafted earlier than they should have been. The the greater a minus is, the more consistently and/or greatly a team reached throughout the draft.
1. Minnesota Vikings: +207
Best Value Pick: Colby Gossett, OG, Appalachian State (+89)
Worst Value Pick: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF (+4)
Brian O’Neill, OT, Pittsburgh (+10)
Jalyn Holmes, DE, Ohio State (+19)
Tyler Conklin, TE, Central Michigan (+15)
Daniel Carlson, K, Auburn (+70)
Ade Aruna, EDGE, Tulane (N/A)
Devante Downs, LB, California (N/A)
2. Dallas Cowboys: +165
Best Value Pick: Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama (+90)
Worst Value Pick: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State (-5)
Connor Williams, OT, Texas (+19)
Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State (-3)
Dorance Armstrong, EDGE, Kansas (+28)
Dalton Schultz, TE, Stanford (+27)
Mike White, QB, Western Kentucky (+9)
Chris Covington, OLB, Indiana (N/A)
Cedrick Wilson, WR, Boise State (N/A)
3. Green Bay Packers: +126
Best Value Pick: Equanimeous St Brown, WR, Notre Dame (+128)
Worst Value Pick: Cole Madison, OG, Washington State (-35)
Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville (-20)
Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa (+26)
Oren Burks, LB, Vanderbilt (-23)
J’Mon Moore, WR, Missouri (+51)
JK Scott, P, Alabama (-1)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, USF (N/A)
James Looney, DE, California (N/A)
Hunter Bradley, LS, Mississippi State (N/A)
Kendall Donnerson, EDGE, Southeast Missouri (N/A)
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: +100
Best Value Pick: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama (+49)
Worst Value Pick: DJ Chark, WR, LSU (+10)
Taven Bryan, DT, Florida (+11)
Will Richardson, OT, North Carolina State (+30)
Tanner Lee, QB, Nebraska (N/A)
Leon Jacobs, EDGE, Wisconsin (N/A)
Logan Cooke, P, Mississippi State (N/A)
5. Seattle Seahawks: +75
Best Value Pick: Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State (+77)
Worst Value Pick: Will Dissly, TE, Washington (-53)
Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State (-27)
Rasheem Greene, DE, USC (+33)
Shaquem Griffin, LB, UCF (+37)
Tre Flowers, S, Oklahoma State (-27)
Michael Dickson, P, Texas (+35)
Jake Martin, EDGE, Temple (N/A)
Alex Mcgough, QB, Florida International (N/A)
6. New York Jets: +71
Best Value Pick: Parry Nickerson, CB, Tulane (+64)
Worst Value Pick: Chris Herndon, TE, Miami (-60)
Sam Darnold, QB, USC (+1)
Nathan Shepherd, DT, Fort Hays State (+9)
Foley Fatukasi, DT, Connecticut (+57)
Trenton Cannon, RB, Virginia State (N/A)
7. New York Giants: +38
Best Value Pick: RJ McIntosh, DT, Miami (+17)
Worst Value Pick: BJ Hill, DT, North Carolina State (-17)
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State (+1)
Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP (+13)
Lorenzo Carter, LB, Georgia (+16)
Kyle Lauletta, QB, Richmond (+8)
8. Tennessee Titans: +37
Best Value Pick: Luke Falk, QB, Washington State (+34)
Worst Value Pick: Dane Cruikshank, S, Arizona (-21)
Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama (0)
Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College (+24)
9. Baltimore Ravens: +31
Best Value Pick: Deshon Elliott, S, Texas (+53)
Worst Value Pick: Kenny Young, LB, UCLA (-51)
Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina (-9)
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville (+5)
Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma (+46)
Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma (+10)
Anthony Averett, CB, Alabama (+29)
Jaleel Scott, WR, New Mexico State (-41)
Jordan Lasley, WR, UCLA (-11)
Greg Senat, OT, Wagner (N/A)
Bradley Bozeman, C, Alabama (N/A)
Zach Sieler, DE, Ferris State (N/A)
10. Philadelphia Eagles: +25
Best Value Pick: Josh Sweat, EDGE, Florida State (+66)
Worst Value Pick: Avonte Maddox, CB, Pittsburgh (-48)
Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State (+7)
Matt Pryor, OT, TCU (N/A)
Jordan Mailata, OT, Australia (N/A)
11. Carolina Panthers: +16
Best Value Pick: Kendrick Norton, DT, Miami (+71)
Worst Value Pick: Rashaan Gaulden, CB, Tennessee (-53)
DJ Moore, WR, Maryland (-5)
Donte Jackson, CB, LSU (+8)
Ian Thomas, TE, Indiana (+30)
Marquis Haynes, DE, Ole Miss (-23)
Jermaine Carter Jr, LB, Maryland (-12)
Andre Smith, ILB, North Carolina (N/A)
12. Buffalo Bills: +1
Best Value Pick: Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford (+47)
Worst Value Pick: Taron Johnson, CB, Weber State (-52)
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming (-4)
Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech (+10)
Siran Neal, S, Jacksonville State (-19)
Wyatt Teller, OG, Virginia Tech (+19)
Ray-Ray McCloud, WR, Clemson (N/A)
Austin Proehl, WR, North Carolina (N/A)
13. Indianapolis Colts: -5
Best Value Pick: Deon Cain, WR, Clemson (+118)
Worst Value Pick: Braden Smith, OG, Auburn (-44)
Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame (+2)
Darius Leonard, OLB, South Carolina State (-25)
Kemoko Turay, EDGE, Rutgers (-42)
Tyquan Lewis, DE, Ohio State (-26)
Nyheim Hines, RB, North Carolina State (-30)
Daurice Fountain, WR, Northern Iowa (+46)
Jordan Wilkins, RB, Ole Miss (-4)
Matthew Adams, LB, Houston (N/A)
Zaire Franklin, LB, Syracuse (N/A)
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: -9
Best Value Pick: Jack Cichy, ILB, Wisconsin (+77)
Worst Value Pick: Jordan Whitehead, S, Pittsburgh (-56)
Vita Vea, DT, Washington (+2)
Ronald Jones II, RB, USC (+6)
MJ Stewart, CB, North Carolina (-54)
Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn (+22)
Alex Cappa, OT, Humboldt State (-15)
Justin Watson, WR, Pennsylvania (+9)
15. Cincinnati Bengals: -14
Best Value Pick: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State (+24)
Worst Value Pick: Mark Walton, RB, Miami (-27)
Billy Price, C, Ohio State (-15)
Jessie Bates III, S Wake Forest (+6)
Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas (-9)
Davontae Harris, CB, Illinois State (+3)
Andrew Brown, DE, Virginia (+7)
Darius Phillips, CB, Western Michigan (-3)
Logan Woodside, QB, Toledo (N/A)
Rod Taylor, OG, Mississippi (N/A)
Auden Tate, WR, Florida State (N/A)
16. Houston Texans: -19
Best Value Pick: Justin Reid, S, Stanford (+40)
Worst Value Pick: Keke Coutee, WR, Texas Tech (-57)
Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State (+18)
Jordan Akins, TE, UCF (-42)
Duke Ejiofor, DE, Wake Forest (+22)
Jordan Thomas, TE, Mississippi State (N/A)
Peter Kalambayi, EDGE, Stanford (N/A)
Jermaine Kelly, DB, San Jose State (N/A)
17. Los Angeles Chargers: -23
Best Value Pick: Kyzir White, S, West Virginia (+49)
Worst Value Pick: Uchenna Nwosu, LB, USC (-44)
Derwin James, S, Florida State (+9)
Justin Jones, DT, North Carolina State (-19)
Scott Quessenberry, C, UCLA (-18)
Dylan Cantrell, WR, Texas Tech (N/A)
Justin Jackson, RB, Northwestern (N/A)
18. Detroit Lions: -25
Best Value Pick: Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon (+96)
Worst Value Pick: Tracy Walker, S, Louisiana (-91)
Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas (-45)
Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn (-25)
Da’Shawn Hand, DE, Alabama (+40)
Nick Bawden, RB, San Diego State (N/A)
19. Washington Redskins: -32
Best Value Pick: Tim Settle, DT, Virginia Tech (+78)
Worst Value Pick: Geron Christian, OT, Louisville (-87)
Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama (-2)
Derrius Guice, RB, LSU (+43)
Troy Apke, S, Penn State (-64)
Shaun dion Hamilton, ILB, Alabama (N/A)
Greg Stroman, CB, Virginia Tech (N/A)
20. Denver Broncos: -43
Best Value Pick: Troy Fumagalli, TE, Wisconsin (+40)
Worst Value Pick: Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon (-62)
Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State (+2)
Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU (-3)
Isaac Yiadom, CB, Boston College (-53)
Josey Jewell, LB, Iowa (-2)
DaeSean Hamilton, WR, Penn State (+1)
Sam Jones, C, Arizona State (+34)
Keishawn Bierria, ILB, Washington (N/A)
David Williams, RB, Arkansas (N/A)
21. Los Angeles Rams: -45
Best Value Pick: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, LB, Oklahoma (+34)
Worst Value Pick: Brian Allen, C, Michigan State (-62)
Joseph Noteboom, OT, TCU (+14)
John Franklin, DE, Stephen F Austin (-38)
Micah Kiser, LB, Virginia (+3)
John Kelly, RB, Tennessee (+4)
Jamil Demby, OG, Maine (N/A)
Sebastian Joseph, DT, Rutgers (N/A)
Trevon Young, EDGE, Louisville (N/A)
Travin Howard, LB, TCU (N/A)
Justin Lawler, DE, SMU (N/A)
22. Oakland Raiders: -49
Best Value Pick: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan (+117)
Worst Value Pick: Brandon Parker, OT, North Carolina A&T (-108)
Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA (-25)
PJ Hall, DT, Sam Houston State (-44)
Arden Key, LB, LSU (+32)
Nick Nelson, CB, Wisconsin (-21)
Johnny Townsend, P, Florida (N/A)
Azeem Victor, LB, Washington (N/A)
Marcell Ateman, WR, Oklahoma State (N/A)
23. Miami Dolphins: -54
Best Value Pick: Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State (+35)
Worst Value Pick: Durham Smythe, TE, Notre Dame (-40)
Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama (-1)
Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State (-16)
Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State (-32)
Cornell Armstrong, DB, Southern Mississippi (N/A)
Quentin Poling, LB, Ohio (N/A)
Jason Sanders, K, New Mexico (N/A)
24. Cleveland Browns: -54
Best Value Pick: Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida (+39)
Worst Value Pick: Chad Thomas, DE, Miami (-60)
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma (-12)
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State (-5)
Austin Corbett, OG, Nevada (-23)
Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia (-24)
Genard Avery, LB, Memphis (+31)
Damion Ratley, WR, Texas A&M (N/A)
Simeon Thomas, DB, Louisiana-Lafayette (N/A)
25. New England Patriots: -62
Best Value Pick: Sony Michel, RB, Georgia (-4)
Worst Value Pick: Ja’Whaun Bentley, LB, Purdue (-30)
Isaiah Wynn, OT, Georgia (-7)
Duke Dawson, CB, Florida (-21)
Christian Sam, ILB, Arizona State (N/A)
Braxton Berrios, WR, Miami (N/A)
Danny Etling, QB, LSU (N/A)
Keion Crossen, DB, Western Carolina (N/A)
Ryan Izzo, TE, Florida State (N/A)
26. Chicago Bears: -62
Best Value Pick: Bilal Nichols, DT, Delaware (+17)
Worst Value Pick: Joel Iyiebuniwe, LB, Western Kentucky (-58)
Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia (+1)
James Daniels, C, Iowa (0)
Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis (-22)
Kylie Fitts, EDGE, Utah (N/A)
Javon Wims, WR, Georgia (N/A)
27. Pittsburgh Steelers: -71
Best Value Pick: Marcus Allen, S, Penn State (+27)
Worst Value Pick: Terrell Edmunds, S, Virginia Tech (-65)
James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State (-9)
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State (-4)
Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan (-44)
Jaylen Samuels, RB, North Carolina State (+24)
Joshua Frazier, DT, Alabama (N/A)
28. Atlanta Falcons: -77
Best Value Pick: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado (+13)
Worst Value Pick: Deadrin Senat, DT, USF (-55)
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama (+12)
Ito Smith, RB, Southern Mississippi (-47)
Russell Gage, WR, LSU (N/A)
Foye Oluokun, LB, Yale (N/A)
Trey Quinn, WR, SMU
29. Arizona Cardinals: -91
Best Value Pick: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M (+14)
Worst Value Pick: Mason Cole, C, Michigan (-71)
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA (+5)
Chase Edmonds, RB, Fordham (-39)
Chris Campbell, CB, Penn State (N/A)
Korey Cunningham, OT, Cincinnati (N/A)
30. New Orleans Saints: -92
Best Value Pick: Natrell Jamerson, S, Wisconsin (-9)
Worst Value Pick: Rick Leonard, OT, Florida State (-46)
Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA (-11)
Tre’Quan Smith, WR, UCF (-26)
Kamrin Moore, CB, Boston College (N/A)
Boston Scott, RB, Louisiana Tech (N/A)
Will Clapp, C, LSU (N/A)
31. Kansas City Chiefs: -137
Best Value Pick: Armani Watts, S, Texas A&M (+26)
Worst Value Pick: Breeland Speaks, DE, Ole Miss (-123)
Derrick Nnadi, DT, Florida State (+3)
Dorian O’Daniel, LB, Clemson (-43)
Tremon Smith, CB, Central Arkansas (N/A)
Reginald McKenzie, OG, Tennessee (N/A)
32. San Francisco 49ers: -261
Best Value Pick: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame (-11)
Last time, I covered the best values in undrafted free agent signings. Today, I will be grading the draft classes from the 2018 NFL Draft. I have used a plus-minus system for each team to determine the overall value of each teams’ collective drafts (you will see this in greater depth in my next post, which should be published in the next day or two). For now, here are my letter grades in alphabetical order by team location:
For the next week-ish, I will be wrapping up my 2018 NFL Draft analysis. This post will feature a few undrafted free agent signings that occurred after the draft, drawing from the players on my prospect rankings list whose names did not get called because their names SHOULD HAVE been called and they are, in my opinion, the ones most likely to end up on a 53-man NFL roster next season. To see who was selected by whom over all 256 picks of the 2018 NFL Draft, you can head over to my NFL Draft Tracker page. You can also find the full list of undrafted free agent signings on SB Nation. Here are my top undrafted free agents:
78. JC JACKSON, CB, Maryland- This 3rd round talent signed with the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS after the draft. Leave it to Bill Belichick to pick up the best player who went undrafted this year.
95. QUENTON MEEKS, CB, Stanford- The top 2 guys on my board that didn’t hear their names called are both CBs, and are both 3rd round talents! I’m very surprised by that; It’s hard to have too many good CBs. The JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS know that, as they signed Meeks to learn under the best CB duo in the NFL: Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye.
102. DESMOND HARRISON, OT, West Georgia- Harrison was a highly-rated recruit coming out of high school who went to the University of Texas before off the field issues forced him to transfer to West Georgia. The off the field issues are likely what led to him going undrafted, but the CLEVELAND BROWNS decided to take a flier on his talent.
106. TARVARUS MCFADDEN, CB, Florida State- Another talented CB, this 4th round talent will be taking his talents to the Bay to play for the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS, who reportedly gave him a significant signing bonus for an undrafted free agent. It’s probably partially because the 49ers don’t have any talented CBs (outside of Richard Sherman), but that does still make a statement about McFadden’s talent.
118. TONY ADAMS, OG, North Carolina State- The JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS are the only team with two undrafted free agent signings in my top 5. Adams will have a tough time cracking the starting lineup, especially considering the Jags signed the top free agent offensive lineman this season in the form of OG Andrew Norwell, but Adams has the talent to pull it off.
130. HERCULES MATA’AFA, DE, Washington State- MINNESOTA VIKINGS; Hercules is probably my favorite player who went undrafted. My understanding is that teams aren’t really sure where to put him. He played DT in college, but is more OLB sized. He’s got skills to display at whatever position he ends up playing for Skol!
158. HOLTON HILL, CB, Texas- MINNESOTA VIKINGS; Hill was one of Mike Mayock’s favorites, too, but he fell out of the draft because of off the field issues. The Vikings took a chance on unbelievable talent. (Sidenote: What’s going on with off the field issues at Texas?) (Sidenote sidenote: Texas has too many ON field issues to be dealing with off field issues, too.)
Wildcard: JAKE ROH, TE, Boise State- ATLANTA FALCONS; I had to include a Boise State player, especially since he did NOT go to the Cowboys! Sadly, Roh is the only ex-Bronco to have signed an undrafted free agent deal so far.
College football fans can’t wait to see how many players will get drafted from their favorite university, who those players will be, when those players will get drafted, and where those players will go.
NFL fans can’t wait to see who’s got next for their favorite franchise. Fans of teams with the highest draft picks are hoping for a franchise QB that will lead their team to the playoffs and the Super Bowl for a decade and a half (or longer), and fans of teams with lower draft picks are hoping for that one perfect pick that fills the hole that would prevent them from continuing and building upon their success from the previous season.
New League Year’s Day is in March but in the football world, Christmas comes after that, in late April and early May, in the form of the NFL Draft.
It’s important to remember family during the holiday season, and in the case of Football Christmas, that family is your team: the players, the coaches, the owner(s), the trainers, the food vendors, and of course, your fellow fans.
Just like traditional Christmas, Football Christmas wouldn’t be complete without commercialization…I mean, uh…wonderful presents that embody the true meaning of Christmas 😉 Obviously, draft picks are the presents to which all of us football fans look forward to the most:
Most of them will turn out to be those crappy toys that break within five minutes of you taking them out of the box (draft busts). Bummer. But…
A small number of them will be worthwhile. Maybe you’ll get an average starter-level player that hangs around for 10 years; Those are the toys that aren’t our favorites. They weren’t THE item on our list, but they are last for long enough and are just enjoyable enough that we grow to appreciate them. Maybe they’ll even get a Pro Bowl nod or two?
Then an even smaller number of them are the quality players; These still weren’t THE gift on our list, but we definitely wanted them and are pleased the moment we open them. They are the toys we play with on a regular basis, but not every day. They’ll likely get several Pro Bowl nods and maybe even a spot on an All-Pro team.
Then, the most rare of all: THE gift. This isn’t just the top toy we wanted this year, it’s the top toy we’ve wanted the last FIVE years. Not only do we play with these toys everyday, but we can hardly go anywhere without them: The Hall of Famers. These are your franchise QBs like Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, and Tom Brady. These are your electrifying offensive players like Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders, and Shannon Sharpe. These are your game-altering defenders like Lawrence Taylor, Ray Lewis, and Rod Woodson. They’ll make the Pro Bowl almost every year (if not literally every year) and they’ll also make multiple All-Pro teams. Maybe they’ll even win a MVP award?
Yes, toys are awesome. But, sometimes you get stuck with clothes. Well, I’m here to tell you that in the case of Football Christmas, clothes can actually be a little exciting. I’m talking about the annual NFL Draft Caps brought to fans (and to draftees) by New Era. (For the record, I’m not sponsored by them or anything, I just happen to be a big fan of their quality. I don’t recall ever having gotten a New Era cap that I didn’t enjoy.) The 2018 NFL Draft Caps were just recently revealed and well, they deserve to be talked about.
This year’s theme: Team Mottos. Below are some of my favorites and least favorites. If you want to get one for yourself or check out ones that I do not mention, you can find all of them here.
New York Giants: “Big Blue”- Obviously, I had to mention my team’s hat. “Big Blue” is a nickname the Giants have had for ages and I think it looks great on a hat.
New York Jets: “J-E-T-S”- Not even leaving the same stadium from the last one on my list, I love the Jets hat. The motto is their team’s chant. It’s not exactly the most original chant, but it’s a classic.
Seattle Seahawks: “We are 12”- I like this one a lot because the hat features the 12 flag as part of the slogan. The Seahawks are the only team to use something besides words and their team logo in their Draft Cap’s design.
Cleveland Browns: “Dawg Pound”- Another classic slogan makes my list. Also, aside from their logo, this hat is devoid of that ugly orange team color.
Chicago Bears: “Monsters of the Midway”- Though the team has recently lacked the ability to incite fear that is usually associated with monsters, it’s another classic slogan.
Buffalo Bills: “Billieve”- The greatness of the play on the word believe is just the tip of the iceberg when you consider the fact that the “bill” is actually a physical part of the hat. This one actually made me laugh.
Pittsburgh Steelers: “Steel City”- Yes, Pittsburgh is the Steel City, but the Steelers are the Steel Curtain. C’mon New Era!
Miami Dolphins: “Go Phins”- The Jets hat lacks originality in a fun way. The Dolphins hat lacks originality in a boring way.
New England Patriots: “Do Your Job”- I can hear these words coming out of Coach Bill Belichick‘s mouth, but that doesn’t make them fun or interesting to put on a hat unless there is a likeness to Belichick right next to them, which (SPOILER ALERT!), there is not.
I love March in the NFL. I get chills and goosebumps reading about some of the trades and free agent signings that go down this time of year. In fact, you could make the argument that it’s the best time of the year for the NFL. How is it better than Thursday, Sunday, and Monday gamedays? It’s the one time of year that fans for all teams have hope. Browns fans get to rejoice over their team’s acquisition of a new QB and Patriots fans get to smile mischievously about Bill Belichick’s latest under-the-radar move that will inevitably lead them to another Super Bowl. Of course, with trades and free agency comes the sad truth of quality players leaving fan bases that had become accustomed to seeing them playing for their team, all in the name of salary cap space. While many cuts will come in the next few days before the free agency period begins on March 14, here’s a look at some veteran cuts that have happened so far in the last month…
They are finally here. After many hours of contemplation and frustration, I present these 2017 NFL Win Projections for you to laugh out loud at. A couple of notes:
There were few mid-level teams in my projections as most were either really good or really bad. This presented an interesting scenario come playoff time, where 6 teams with winning records did not secure playoff spots.
Nearly half of last season’s playoff teams failed to make it back in my projections, including last season’s NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons.
Both of the #1 seeded teams find themselves in highly unfamiliar territory, as the Detroit Lions last appeared as a #6 seed (2016 season) and the Tennessee Titans have not made a playoff appearance since their #1 seeding 9 years ago (2008 season). Neither franchise has ever won a Super Bowl.
Ultimately, I pitted the New England Patriots against the Detroit Lions in Super Bowl LII. I’m sure Lions fans would be excited to see their team make their first ever Super Bowl appearance (they haven’t won a playoff game since 1991), but I don’t see them being much of a match for the battle-hardened, QB Tom Brady-led Patriots. There are only two teams that have a realistic chance to stop Brady from getting another Super Bowl ring: the Oakland Raiders and the New York Giants. That said, the projected AFC Championship Game would be the most interesting game of the playoffs.
That’s all for TheHaysWay today, make sure to leave a comment with your thoughts on my win projections and/or on whatever is on your mind, along with a much-appreciated like. If you are not yet a follower, become a follower to help make my blog as dominant as the New England Patriots. (I don’t like the Patriots either which makes that last sentence absurd so I’ll just skip the smiley face here.) Have a pleasant tomorrow!
For those of you who are like me in that you are sick of seeing the New England Patriots win, you’ll be happy to hear that they are suffering a setback today (don’t worry Patriots fans, I’m sure HC Bill Belichick will find a way because he always does):
Pats LB Rob Ninkovich announced his retirement from the NFL today, smack in the middle of training camp. Ninkovich, by way of Purdue University, spent 11 seasons in the NFL (New England Patriots , Miami Dolphins [1.5], New Orleans Saints [1.5]) accruing 460 tackles, 46 sacks, 5 interceptions, 10 forced fumbles, and a defensive touchdown. Ninkovich was drafted by the Saints with the 135th overall pick (5th round) of the 2006 NFL Draft.
Ninkovich is expected to be replaced by sophomore LB Elandon Roberts, by way of the University of Houston, who accrued 45 tackles and a forced fumble in his rookie season. Roberts was drafted by the Patriots with the 214th overall pick (6th round) of the 2016 NFL Draft.
I realized that the NBA Awards are not the only interesting sports awards happening tonight because NFL Network‘s Top 100 Players of 2017 concludes tonight at 8 pm ET on (you guessed it!) NFL Network. Although the NBA Awards are a little more official and have flashier trophies that come with them, the NFL’s list of the Top 100 players is always interesting to see because it gives an inside look at what NFL players think of their peers. Today, the list of names in the Top 10 was released in alphabetical order, so let’s reorder them in order of greatness as a guess for how the ranking will shake out this evening:
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons (16 games: 69.9 completion % for 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns with 7 interceptions and 3 fumbles for a 117.1 passer rating)
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers (16 games: 65.7 completion % for 4,428 yards and 40 touchdowns with 7 interceptions and 4 fumbles for a 104.2 passer rating)
Von Miller, LB, Denver Broncos (16 games: 78 combined tackles, 13.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles with 0 fumble recoveries, 0 interceptions and 0 touchdowns)
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots (12 games: 67.4 completion % for 3,554 yards and 28 touchdowns with 2 interceptions and 4 fumbles for a 112.2 passer rating)
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (12 games: 261 carries for 1,268 yards and 7 touchdowns with 3 fumbles; 75 catches on 94 targets for 616 yards and 2 touchdowns with 1 fumble)
Khalil Mack, DE, Oakland Raiders (16 games: 73 combined tackles, 11 sacks, 5 forced fumbles with 3 fumble recoveries, 1 interception and 1 touchdown)
I have Khalil Mack ranked last because all the Derek Carr fans seem to think that Carr does everything by himself on CARR’S team. Apparently, despite statistics indicating the contrary, Carr outperformed Dak Prescott last year just because the Raiders have a lesser RB, O-line, and defense. If the Raiders have a lesser defense, so be it. So, I ranked Mack pretty much solely on resentment for all Oakland Derek Carrs (I mean, Oakland Raiders) fans, Derek Carr fans, Fresno State fans, and people from the city of Oakland.
You’ll notice that the other 9 players are first organized by number of games played. For those of you who read my NBA Awards post last night, you’ll remember that I said I value most the players that stay injury and suspension free to be there for their team when their team needs them. That rings true for the NFL, too.
Tom Brady is ranked above Le’Veon Bell in the “12 games” category because Brady once again led the New England Patriots to their most thrilling Super Bowl victory yet.
In the “15 games” category, I ranked Antonio Brown over Ezekiel Elliott because Brown didn’t have any turnovers. The two most important things for an offensive player are holding on to the ball and scoring. Brown was +5 in the holding on to the ball category and Zeke was +4 in the scoring category. 5>4, so Brown edges Zeke.
The “16 games” category was the trickiest because there were four players (not including Khalil Mack, of course) who fell into that category. Ultimately, I put the two QBs at the top because QBs are the most valuable players for a franchise. The two Super Bowl teams were both led by QBs on this Top 10 list (Matt Ryan for the Atlanta Falcons and Tom Brady for the New England Patriots), while the teams without definitive starting QBs include the Cleveland Browns, the New York Jets, the Los Angeles Rams, etc. The one anomaly was the Houston Texans, who got to the playoffs (and defeated the Oakland Raiders in the playoffs, by the way!) on the arms of Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage.
So, 3 and 4 were between Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. I chose Miller over Beckham because, although I love OBJ as a fan of Big Blue, a defensive player usually manages to crack the top 3. Also, OBJ’s stats dropped off this year from last year. Also-also (yes, I meant to put two “also”s there), 13.5 sacks in the NFL is very impressive, especially on a defense that almost carried the Denver Broncos to the playoffs despite Trevor Siemian (don’t get me started on Northwestern) starting at QB.
1 and 2 were easy from there. Matt Ryan a higher completion %, more yards, fewer fumbles, and a higher passer rating than Aaron Rodgers. Oh, Ryan also won the MVP award and led the Atlanta Falcons to the Super Bowl, so there’s that.
That’s all for TheHaysWay for now, please leave a comment with your thoughts on my Top 10 ranking and/or on your own Top 10 ranking and/or on whatever is on your mind, along with a much-appreciated like. CONSTRUCTIVE criticism is always welcome to help me improve my blog. If you are not yet a follower, become a follower to improve your greatness ranking (and mine, too) 🙂 Have a pleasant tomorrow!