Monday, October 24, 2016

WVUPros Preseason Predictions, A Look Back

St. Louis Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin (11) celebrates his touchdown with teammate Stedman Bailey (12) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals , Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

We compare our preseason stat projection for WVUPros with their ending numbers. Some of our predictions hit very close to the mark.

Back in early September we gave you our preseason fantasy predictions for the upcoming 2015 NFL season. With the final game of the 2015-16 season just a few days away we thought we would look back and see how well, or more accurately how bad, our predictions for the WVUPros this year were.

Geno Smith,  QB – New York Jets

At the time of our prediction article Smith was well into his liquid diet courtesy of a broken jaw as a result of a locker room sucker punch in training camp. There was a serious chance Smith would ultimately lose his starting job to journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Well that is exactly what ending up playing out. Smith assumed a back-up role when he returned and only saw action in one game, a loss to the Raiders.

We did not make a prediction for Smith due his questionable status (other than a 275 milkshakes consumed prediction, we are still trying to pin an actual number)  but he did perform well against the Raiders where Smith went 27 of 42 for 265 yards with two touchdowns and one pick.  Smith’s off-season is shaping up to be just as up in the air as his 2015 regular season.

Jets’ ownership has already openly questioned Smith’s desire heading into the last year of his rookie contract.

Stedman Bailey, WR – L.A. Rams

Continuing the theme of unpredictable events we have Stedman Bailey’s 2015 season. Bailey was poised to have a break-out year with the then St. Louis Rams but a suspension and tragic events derailed Bailey’s season and possibly career. On November 9th Bailey was suspended for a second time for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.  Then came Tuesday November 24th. Bailey was in Miami visiting with family when an unknown gunman opened fire on the car Bailey was sitting in with his cousin and two small children. Bailey was shot multiple times, with the most serious wound being to his head.  Bailey does seem to be recovering quickly but his NFL career is certainly in jeopardy.

Preseason Prediction: 52 receptions, 624 yards 4TDS/ 4 carries 25 yards 1 TD.  Final 2015 Stats: 12 receptions, 182 yards 1TD

Obviously Bailey fell well short of our prediction due to extenuating circumstances.

Tavon Austin, WR – L.A. Rams

In 2015 Austin showed flashes of why he was a first round draft pick but at other times he was hampered by poor quarterback play. We predicted Austin would have a bounce back year and that is exactly what Austin accomplished. Even with the emergence of star rookie running back Todd Gurley, Austin saw his touches increase dramatically compared to 2014. If Austin had even average production from his quarterback he might have been Pro Bowl bound this year.

Preseason Prediction:60 receptions, 655 yards 6 TDS/ 55 carries, 580 yards, 3 TDS. Final 2015 Stats: 52 catches 473 yards 5 TDS/52 carries 434 yards 4TD

Overall a pretty accurate prediction for Austin. While he fell short of the 655 receiving yards we did predict Austin would accumulate 9 rushing and receiving touchdowns combined.

Dreamius Smith, RB – San Diego Chargers

Smith made the Chargers final roster but was inactive for most of the year. Smith did appear in two games at the end of the season but did not register any stats. Our projected statistics for Smith reflected the fact we felt he would not see much playing time in his rookie year.

Preseason Prediction: 10 carries 45 yards/1 reception 15 yards.

Will Johnson, RB – Pittsburgh Steelers

There was some chatter heading into the season that Johnson’s role with the Steelers could expand this year. However, even with a rash of injuries to their running backs Johnson was still utilized mainly as a blocker.

Preseason Prediction: 5 carries 15 yards/12 receptions 80 yards 1 TD. Final 2015 Stats: 4 carries 7 yards 1TD/ 2 receptions 15 yards

This projection was only a few blocks or broken tackles away from being nailed rushing wise however Johnson’s role in the passing game never materialized this year.

Mario Alford, WR – Cincinnati Bengals

Alford showed off his speed in the preseason and it looked as though he might see some playing time at some point in 2015.  As it turned out Alford was inactive for all 16 games. The Bengals did not assign Alford to the practice squad because they feared another team would sign him away, indicating Alford should be part of their plans going forward.

Preseason Prediction: 20 receptions 225 yards/ 4 carries 60 yards 1 TD.

We missed the mark completely on Alford. This preseason prediction might turn out to be a copy and paste prediction for 2016.

Charles Sims, RB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sims turned in a great effort in 2015 and proved to be one of the NFL’s best all purpose backs. Sims complemented Doug Martin perfectly and looked like a different player compared to his rookie season in ’14. Sims played faster and with more confidence which directly led to some impressive statistics for the second year back. Sims saw his carries almost double and he more than doubled his receptions in 2015 as compared to his rookie year. Sims will likely continue his change of pace roll in 2016 but can easily improve further as he enters his third year in the league.

Preseason Prediction: 170 carries 595 yards 4 TDS/ 45 receptions 456 yards 2 TDs. Final 2015 Stats: 107 carries 529 yards/51 catches 561 yards 4 TDs

Overall Sims’ season mirrored our projections for him pretty closely. Sims carries were reduced as a result of Doug Martin’s outstanding season but Sims made the most of the carries he did get by averaging 4.9 YPC.  Sims ended up exceeding our preseason prediction in the passing game by more than 100 yards.

Kevin White, WR – Chicago Bears

As we predicted White’s rookie year was wiped out by injury. The Bears took a cautious approach and held White out the entire year with the hope he can heal completely for 2016.



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