22 Jun AFC South Projections
This year I decided to get into the projections game, and today the focus is on AFC South Projections. My process is still evolving, but based off comparisons I have seen to other projection models, feel like these are in the ball park. The formula is a blend of play calling tendencies from recent seasons by those in charge of the offense (Head Coach and/or Offensive Coordinator) + individual player performances + my assumptions on how much of a role each player will have within the offense. These assume healthy seasons, a 17 game schedule, and there is a 5% margin for error – meaning the totals add up to 95% of what I project overall for each team. For rookies and second year players I was able to utilize the XTB College Statistics Database to get more detailed individual results. These will continue to update as more is learned over the summer during training camps. I am happy to show and share all of my work upon request, pictured is a glimpse at the process. Hoping these will help paint a better picture for you.
AFC South Projections
The elephant in the room is the status of Deshaun Watson. In this edition I have projected the Texans without his services, as the likelihood of him playing another down in Houston is quickly evaporating. That being said, the team is a gluttony of retread veterans, and I think full tank mode for a new franchise QB will be underway. I do believe rookie Tight End Brevin Jordan is a forgotten man who will thrive in the professional ranks. Get him cheap if/where you still can. A renaissance season for Wentz in Indy, coupled with the emergence of Jonathan Taylor getting a full season of lead work, has the Colts on the fringe of the playoffs. Jacksonville will excite many, as Trevor Lawrence proves to be the real deal.
Speaking of the Jaguars, Travis Etienne is the rookie I want to target most in this division. There should be enough work for both he and James Robinson, but it is the passing game and PPR leagues where Etienne will really separate himself. The comfort level he and Lawrence have already developed will lead to a healthy addition of dump-offs, leading to the additional work.
Fantasy Targets (PPR ADP): Ryan Tannehill (QB 15), Derrick Henry (RB 4), A.J. Brown (WR 7), Julio Jones (WR 13)
Fantasy Targets (PPR ADP): Jonathan Taylor (RB 7), Michael Pittman (WR 41)
Fantasy Targets (PPR ADP): Travis Etienne (RB 31), D.J. Chark (WR 28), Laviska Shenault (WR 44)
Fantasy Targets (PPR ADP): David Johnson (RB 33), Brandin Cooks (WR 39), Brevin Jordan (TE <25)
I am completely baffled as to what the Texans are doing with the construction of their roster. It seems to be more of a practice squad for middling veterans, than anything else. While everyone assumes they are in full tank mode, they have players capable of winning more than what a team shooting for the first overall pick should be able to produce. Not significantly, but enough to make you squeamish. Anthony Miller is a household name in fantasy football circles because of his draft capital as the 51st overall player selected in his class. He was a sleeper darling of many, and while it hasn’t all panned out yet, there have been some signs of life that some production can be expected. The cost of a late round pick swap was entirely worth it for Houston. What this means to me is someone is getting moved from this squad. I would tend to believe the odds on favorite would be to get something of value to move Brandin Cooks – which would dramatically change these projections. Everyone wants to see Randall Cobb cut, but his contract is an albatross for the 2021 season, and doesn’t seem the likeliest of options. Miller will play, and theoretically could end up leading this team in targets, making him a viable late round fantasy dart throw. Unfortunately, I do think this impacts the immediate potential for rookie Nico Collins, who I wasn’t too favorable in projecting. A good portion of that has to do with his bizarre production in college, where 61.2% of his work came in the Red Zone, and he didn’t see a single play from his own 40 yard line or closer. I still like the potential, but think Brevin Jordan is the better option. In the short term, I’ve removed Keke Coutee from the rotation as the odd man out (contract most favorable to cut), however this is a fluid situation that I expect to change a lot more in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
- Andy is a jack of all trades in the Fantasy Sports industry, covering football, baseball, and the NFL Draft. He has written, edited, podcasted, and produced over 1,000 videos for his various series, in addition to dozens of guest appearances and collaborative pieces.
- A top ranker on Fantasy Pros for both Football (25th in 2018, 30th in 2019) & Baseball (7th in 2018 & 2019, 9th in 2020), avid fan of mining for MLB prospects, and former D1 College hoops player, Andy is a native New Yorker, who has served as a firefighter in the FDNY for the past 20 years and counting.