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Bigger Fantasy Football Projection Miss: Le'Veon Bell 2018 or David Johnson 2017 (1 Viewer)

What was the bigger fantasy football projection miss: Le'Veon Bell in 2018 or David Johnson in 2017?

  • Le'Veon Bell 2018 was a way bigger miss

    Votes: 57 67.1%
  • Le'Veon Bell 2018 was a slightly bigger miss

    Votes: 8 9.4%
  • Both misses were about equal

    Votes: 12 14.1%
  • David Johnson 2017 was a slightly bigger miss

    Votes: 2 2.4%
  • David Johnson 2017 was a way bigger miss

    Votes: 6 7.1%

  • Total voters
    85

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
I've been thinking a lot about Le'Veon Bell lately. Specifically about how badly I missed on his projection. We had him as a top 10 overall pick and he never saw the field.

It's been interesting talking to other people. Some have suggested our miss on Bell was no different than how we missed on David Johnson in 2017 where he was projected as a top pick and as you know was injured in the first game and didn't play for the rest of the year.

So I thought I'd ask you folks. 

What was the bigger fantasy football projection miss - Le'Veon Bell in 2018 or David Johnson in 2017?

 

Jedi Knight

Footballguy
We drafted on Sept 1st.  If I remember correctly, it was widely accepted that Bell would be in that Monday morning to sign.  I don't remember anyone even remotely hinting at Bell sitting out for the season.  No way to realistically predict the unknown, but I voted slightly bigger miss based on the fact that he wasn't signed- so there were red flags.

 

wakelawyer

Footballguy
I don't think that you can call either a miss.  You can't predict injuries so I wouldn't call Johnson a miss.  And it was tough to think that Bell would sit out the entire year, especially with all the talk about him coming back just before week 1.  At worse I thought that it would be similar to the year when Emmitt sat out for the first two games.  The lesson to be taken from this is to highlight the potential risks a bit more and give honest assessments as to what that could mean.  A lot of the fantasy community thought that they were smarter than everyone and were going to get Bell cheap because the "guppies" were too scared.  Well, the "guppies" were correct.

The bigger miss, in my opinion, was not focusing on Conner's upside a bit more.  And really discussing how his value could go through the roof if Bell missed one or more games -- even referring how Williams performed in that offense in the past.

 

FreeBaGeL

Footballguy
Yea neither of these situations are really what I would qualify as a "miss".  A miss is more like Amari Cooper or Derrick Henry where they just don't play up to their rankings.

 

Vanilla Guerrilla

Footballguy
I said Bell was much bigger just because you can't predict a season ending injury will happen in week 1.  This year is Fournette a huge miss because he's played 3 games and 2 of them he was injured during the games?

I downgraded Bell from where he was ranked, but probably would have rolled the dice a round or 2 later if he had been around.  But I was 90% sure someone would have taken him before I was willing to take him.

 
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Arodin

Footballguy
Every projection already has, in a sense, the possibility of a season-ending injury baked into its variance.  

It is understood that that risk always exists, but the projections serve to compare the expected value of those who don’t lose that lottery.  Calling David Johnson a “miss” is implying you should be able to predict which players are going to hurt themselves badly and adjust expectations predictively.  That’s unreasonable.

Bell could be considered a miss in that his circumstances and outcome were non-random, but even then the best that could have been done was acknowledge the much higher variance in his projection than others, which was done,  Everyone knew there was more risk with Bell than, say Gurley.  So I’m not sure that Bell was a “miss” either honestly.

 

kutta

Footballguy
Not even close, IMO.

There were signs with Bell, and some people actually did drop him in the rankings. We had SOME information about his situation.

With DJ, that’s totally uncontrollable. What are you supposed to do - predict he’s going to injure his wrist in the first game? That’s silly.

 

Steeler

Footballguy
I don't see how the situations are remotely similar.  Were you supposed to predict a season ending injury to DJ half way through game 1 last year?

 

Dinsy Ejotuz

Footballguy
Same to me.

Who's ever done what Bell is doing?  It would have been wrong to project it IMO.  Certainly a lower chance of that happening (from a pre-season POV) than a season-ending injury.

And season-ending injuries aren't a miss at all for me.  They happen, especially to RBs.

 
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matuski

Footballguy
You can't fault yourself for screwing up a palm reading.

I'm a broken record on this stuff... but if you can point me to the person that has EVER been even remotely sorta kind of accurate on fantasy football projections (fortune telling) on a consistent basis, they would be the first.

I realize the business/site is built around the mystique of "experts" - but y'all are just making the best guess with the information you have like the rest of us.  Most of us understand that and use your projections as another data point to make our own decisions.

 

[scooter]

Footballguy
David Johnson was not a miss because his injury could not be predicted.

(If he had a history of similar injuries, or if he was known to be out of shape, then you could be blamed for failing to incorporate that info into his projection. But neither was the case for Johnson.)

As for Bell, it does seem like many fantasy sites were glossing over the details of his holdout. It seems like everyone just assumed that he would eventually come back. I don't recall reading much detail about the fine print regarding the CBA and his contract.

 

Dizzy

Footballguy
Le'Veon Bell after last season said that he WOULD NOT SIGN ANOTHER FRANCHISE TAG. Simple fact is that nobody believed him. Is that a miss? Maybe, but everyone was more nervous about him this year than in 2017.

David Johnson a miss? Season's not over yet and he's looked real good since the OC got the boot.

Sorry, just saw this was about "2017 DJ"... injury is random... should not count as a miss/bust IMO.

 
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shadyridr

Footballguy
You can't predict injuries. Comparing the two is almost laughable. However, there should have been a bigger probability of him holding out factored into your (and everyone's) projections. I bet you it will be for all hold outs going forward.

DJ's "miss" won't change projections going forward. Bell's will.

 

Gally

Footballguy
Bell is a bigger miss because there were flags that he could miss games and as a prognosticator you are paid to factor in those type of red flags into your rankings. As an industry expert part of your job is to evaluate the red flags and base your projections on how those flags will play out.  Is there a way to know he was going to miss the whole season? Probably not, but taking the flags and incorporating them into the projection is your job and you were way off.  I am not blaming you as everyone else didn't see this coming either.  These things happen and its a guessing game for the most part anyway but it is a miss.

The DJ injury is part of the game.  I treat those fluke like injuries as voided bets.  No way to account for them and it is a known risk with all players.  That projection isn't a miss.  It's a non-entity. 

 

Dark Matter

Footballguy
Not really a question IMO. Footballguys could have been more fore warning about the possibility of Bell not signing and to grab Connor JIC. Maybe FBG's did and I just missed the warnings leading up to the draft. Johnson getting hurt was impossible to predict and if anyone is busting FBG's chops for that, they should quit FF and find a new hobby.

 

Ignoratio Elenchi

Footballguy
The problem with the suggestions that Bell's hold-out risk should've been factored into his projections somehow is that you end up with the wrong number no matter what happens.  Projections should always reflect something like "if this guy plays, this is how much production we expect."  Assessing the risk of whether or not a guy will play is a separate matter.  I think Bell's projection as a top-3 RB was fine.  That's what he likely would've been if he played this year.  I ended up avoiding him in drafts because of the holdout risk, but I wouldn't want his projections to be adjusted for that.  

 

menobrown

Footballguy
Everyone seems to be debating if they qualify as a "miss".  They did not work out so drafting them turned out to be a mistake, a bad pick. I'm not ooking at this question in terms of which one should you have had hindsight to identify as a potential issue, just the results of how the pick turned out.

So which one was worse to commit a top 2-3 pick to draft? Depends, but it's clear either way.

If picking Bell led you to drafting Conner when you otherwise would not have then drafting DJ is easily the worst of the two picks. On the other hand if you did not draft Conner with Bell then picking Bell was easily the worst pick of the two because he clogged up a roster spot most of the season and in general made planning around his changing plans a bit more challenging.

 
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Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
Thanks a ton for all the responses, Folks. Great discussion.

To the folks who say Bell wasn't a "miss", I see it like this. We had Bell projected for around 200 fantasy points. He'll of course score 0 points this year. That's a big miss. 

Whether we could have seen it coming or not or what we could / should have done differently are all legit discussions. But they are different from the fact we missed his projected points by a mile. 

 

TheWinz

Footballguy
Certain injuries can have a predictive factor, but I hardly think a first time hand injury qualifies.

 

Vanilla Guerrilla

Footballguy
Thanks a ton for all the responses, Folks. Great discussion.

To the folks who say Bell wasn't a "miss", I see it like this. We had Bell projected for around 200 fantasy points. He'll of course score 0 points this year. That's a big miss. 

Whether we could have seen it coming or not or what we could / should have done differently are all legit discussions. But they are different from the fact we missed his projected points by a mile. 
The problem with Bell is he was a really low floor guy (maybe downplayed that the floor was actually zero) and maybe the highest ceiling guy.  If he showed up week 1, he may be the #1 RB this year.  If he holds out a few weeks similar to his suspension year, he still might be top RB given his production in the past.  His variance was huge, even assuming you had factored in that he'd play zero games.  If you took a true average based on probability of sitting 0-16 games, and put in a more reasonable probability of not signing later, people would be mad that you had him ranked lower than Lamar Miller.  Same issue people have with Josh Gordon every year.  If he plays, he is spectacular, but who knows if he will, or for how many games, except Bell's history suggests that he'd eventually show up.

In hindsight you can quote him as saying he will never sign another franchise tag.  But when your option is sign or sit out, not many people have the stones to say "no thank you" to the entire dump truck full of cash.  Yeah, maybe sit a couple weeks on principle, but most cave at some point.  I saw zero predictions that he'd be out all 16, and I even entertained a trade offer to get him a couple of weeks ago.

 

tjnc09

Footballguy
If someone is being projected at the very top of any draft (fantasy or real life), there should be no question marks.  There was too much uncertainty surrounding Bell this year imo.  Even if he only held out 2-3 games, that's a huge reduction in fantasy production for a top pick.  Also, his averages were down last year.  I wouldn't want to project/draft a top 1/2 guy where his cardio/training is in question in addition to him not playing 16 games.

Johnson got injured.  Absolutely nothing anyone can do about that.

I will add that Johnson's high projections for this year were really bad.  OC McCoy has a history of being bad (the guy was fired midseason last year from Denver), rookie QB, serious decline in defense/OL from his peak 2016 season.  Too many variables that allowed him to succeed in 2016 were changed/concerning for this year.  Most people only look at the name of the player, not the situation of the team they play on.  His overall standing might be salvaged by them firing McCoy and hiring Leftwich - a product of Arians who was there in 2016.

 
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davearm

Footballguy
If someone is being projected at the very top of any draft (fantasy or real life), there should be no question marks.  There was too much uncertainty surrounding Bell this year imo.  Even if he only held out 2-3 games, that's a huge reduction in fantasy production for a top pick.  Also, his averages were down last year.  I wouldn't want to project/draft a top 1/2 guy where his cardio/training is in question in addition to him not playing 16 games.

Johnson got injured.  Absolutely nothing anyone can do about that.

I will add that Johnson's high projections for this year were really bad.  OC McCoy has a history of being bad (the guy was fired midseason last year from Denver), rookie QB, serious decline in defense/OL from his peak 2016 season.  Too many variables that allowed him to succeed in 2016 were changed/concerning for this year.  Most people only look at the name of the player, not the situation of the team they play on.  His overall standing might be salvaged by them firing McCoy and hiring Leftwich - a product of Arians who was there in 2016.
This is where I am too. 

There's the old adage about how you can't win your league with your first pick, but you can certainly lose it.  Bell was the perfect example of this.  Draft lists should have reflected it.

 

formerfourdigit

Footballguy
Sure. We obviously were too low on Mahomes. We'll have to see how it plays out to see if we missed Mahomes by as much as we missed Bell. 
Joe so we are clear I didn't mean it as a dig, just that it's more useful to look at players that hit the estimated number of games.  There was a little bit of noise about a prolonged holdout but back in draft season, no one was really thinking that Bell was going to forego $14mm and be the first holdout in years (JaMarcus Russell?) to miss games.  The "couple games to get back up to speed" was baked in.  You guys are the bastion of VBD so I expect detailed projections with the analysis to help support.  Not your fault on Fournette for example even though he's been objectively less valuable then Bell prior to last week.  

 

Flying Elvis

Footballguy
My $0.02 says this is silly. Season ending injury vs. wacky holdout.... neither are situations that read "projections failure" to me. I'd say there's more to be gained by discussing actual failures (like the aforementioned Conner/Henry and Smith/Mahomes discrepancies) than there is in the unpredictable nature of these 2 scenarios. 

 

menobrown

Footballguy
tjnc09 said:
If someone is being projected at the very top of any draft (fantasy or real life), there should be no question marks. 
Before training camp, and even a few weeks into it, there was a consensus top 4 and depending on your league each one of them had a question mark to some degree.

David Johnson had a new HC/OC/QB.

Elliot was dealing with OL issues and threat of stacked boxes.

In some national contest with 11 week regular seasons and playoffs that start in week 12 you had issue of Gurley not being available for week one of your playoffs.

With about a 1-2 weeks before the season I started to see Kamara crack top 4. He had regression concerns and reason he rose a few spots up rankings was absence of Ingram and if you made playoffs Ingram would have been projected to return.

Obviously in hindsight Bell's question mark was the biggest, but that's hindsight. I mean Bell did say 2018 was going to be his best season, not his rest season. Logic would not have dictated he'd miss the whole season.

 

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
formerfourdigit said:
Joe so we are clear I didn't mean it as a dig, just that it's more useful to look at players that hit the estimated number of games.  There was a little bit of noise about a prolonged holdout but back in draft season, no one was really thinking that Bell was going to forego $14mm and be the first holdout in years (JaMarcus Russell?) to miss games.  The "couple games to get back up to speed" was baked in.  You guys are the bastion of VBD so I expect detailed projections with the analysis to help support.  Not your fault on Fournette for example even though he's been objectively less valuable then Bell prior to last week.  
For sure. Totally understand. No worries. 

 
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Pigskin Fanatic

Footballguy
from a projection perspective it is the same imo. i get the explanations here that we could have had some knowledge or guesses into the Bell situation, but the projections are basically if a player plays 16 games this season, here is their rankings for the year. i guess Bell could have been projected down after week 1, which never happened in the in-season stuff for several weeks (that, if anything, is a miss), but as far as the preseason rankings go, results are the same.

several years ago i think someone suggested at least baking in a factor of x player will miss y number of games into the equation, but maybe with the exception of Fred Taylor in the history of the nfl, can't project injuries. death, taxes, fred taylor injuries.

 

tricky92

Footballguy
from a projection perspective it is the same imo. i get the explanations here that we could have had some knowledge or guesses into the Bell situation, but the projections are basically if a player plays 16 games this season, here is their rankings for the year. i guess Bell could have been projected down after week 1, which never happened in the in-season stuff for several weeks (that, if anything, is a miss), but as far as the preseason rankings go, results are the same.

several years ago i think someone suggested at least baking in a factor of x player will miss y number of games into the equation, but maybe with the exception of Fred Taylor in the history of the nfl, can't project injuries. death, taxes, fred taylor injuries.
To be honest, the chance of injury was the tie-breaker for me selecting Melvin Gordon over Fournette with the 10th pick this year. That, and an improved offensive line. 

 

DropKick

Footballguy
Given the second franchise tag and the threat of a prolonged hold-out, one could anticipate Bell having issues.  Injury is a very different animal.

 

huthut

Footballguy
David Johnson was the unanimous #1 pick in 2017 in most leagues, Bell was typically 2-3. Just for that I would rank Johnson slightly worse. 

 

habsfan

Footballguy
To me the "industry" missed on Bell. When I think of all the NFL and fantasy people (TV, radio and online) who collectively "chewed the meat off this bone" (story wise) for two and a half months, I am shocked that when all the waxing, parroting and prognosticating were finally done, looking back it seems no one (or almost no one) did any basic journalistic research or fact checking. The Lev Bell thread here is the "industry" in a microcosm - hundreds of pages of rumour, speculation and opinion. Some of it was more reasoned than others but essentially none of us knew anything.

 

Lionsfan011

Footballguy
Agree with most that neither of these guys are misses. No one could predict DJ going down in the first game of 2017. No one thought Bell would continue his holdout the way it played out.  Gronk would be someone considered a projections miss, not CJ or Bell.

When I think of projection misses I view it as guys like Trent Richardson and Michael Clayton's sophomore years, Braylon Edwards the year after his breakout season and David Boston's last year in Arizona.

 

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
FreeBaGeL said:
Yea neither of these situations are really what I would qualify as a "miss".  
Depending on the scoring system, we had Bell projected to score about 180 fantasy points. He'll score zero. That's what I'm calling a miss. 

Don't get me wrong, my life would be easier if nobody saw that as a miss. But I don't see how it's anything but a miss. 

 
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PhantomJB

Footballguy
Depending on the scoring system, we had Bell projected to score about 180 fantasy points. He'll score zero. That's what I'm calling a miss. 

Don't get me wrong, my life would be easier if nobody saw that as a miss. But I don't see how it's anything but a miss. 
This is about semantics.

All projections are based on an underlying set of assumptions. If those assumptions generally hold true and the actual result is substantially different, then most reasonable people would call that a "miss."

For example, if you had David Johnson as a Top 3 RB or Patrick Mahomes as QB15, those would be big misses since the preseason assumptions used to predict/project their performance really haven't changed much.

However, if the underlying assumption is wrong, your projection didn't "miss." You made an incorrect assumption. In Le'veon Bell's case the faulty assumption was that he wouldn't hold out. In the 2017 David Johnson case the faulty assumption was that he would play 16 games.

 

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
This is about semantics.

All projections are based on an underlying set of assumptions. If those assumptions generally hold true and the actual result is substantially different, then most reasonable people would call that a "miss."

For example, if you had David Johnson as a Top 3 RB or Patrick Mahomes as QB15, those would be big misses since the preseason assumptions used to predict/project their performance really haven't changed much.

However, if the underlying assumption is wrong, your projection didn't "miss." You made an incorrect assumption. In Le'veon Bell's case the faulty assumption was that he wouldn't hold out. In the 2017 David Johnson case the faulty assumption was that he would play 16 games.
Yes. I'm calling being incorrect "missing". To me, calling it anything but that feels like weaseling out. 

 
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leftcoastheel

Footballguy
I feel compelled to respond to this, as for me the answer is so obvious that the question need not be asked.  Bell is by far the bigger miss.

I am relatively new to high stakes FF, and I've learned a lot this year... one of the biggest lessons is: avoid injury risk players, especially in the first 1 - 3 rounds.  I've had many soft tissue injuries, and they lead to tons of ancillary problems.  We've seen that play out this year all over the place.  I will never draft injury risk in the early rounds again.  That said DJ absolutely did not fall into this category.  There was no way to foresee his circumstance last year.

With all that said, I drafted 15 FFPC teams and 2 other teams with friends/colleagues for serious money.  I do not have Bell on one . single . team.  Why?  The simple risk of him sitting for 11 games was enough to keep me away...  and my gut said there was a chance he'd sit the whole season.  For that reason, I avoided him even in the 2nd round... and I have James Conner on 8 of my 15 FFPC teams. There were just too many other options in the 1st/2nd rounds that were of meaningfully less risk.  If your first round pick fails, it is terrible for your season.  Bell just had way too many red flags for me.  I am somewhat surprised he did not play at all this season, but I definitely did not rule out the potential of this outcome when I was drafting.  It scared the #$^% out of me.

You guys should have caught this one and highlighted the risk.

I love your site for information and as another poster said, I pay to use you guys as a data point.  So at the outset of the season, I strongly disagreed with drafting Bell, despite your views... and even on co-managed teams, I would not let my co-manager take him.  Anyhow, mistakes happen, but I believe this is one of the bigger misses I've seen in my short FF career.

 

Arodin

Footballguy
Yes. I'm calling being incorrect "missing". To me, calling it anything but that feels like weaseling out. 
You are only weaseling out if you are going to claim the ability to predict NFL injuries, in which case you guys need to be a lot more up front touting that ability.

Otherwise, it's just built into the very concept of rankings that they are made assuming a certain default level of health.

(Bell is more interesting because it wasn't an injury.  But still seems to be about as much of an issue as the fact that nobody predicted Josh Gordon's first drug suspension.  Some things are just never going to be predictable.)

 

PhantomJB

Footballguy
Yes. I'm calling being incorrect "missing". To me, calling it anything but that feels like weaseling out. 
It's admirable to be accountable for your projections.

But to me the culpability would have been not accompanying the Bell projection with a) quantifying the risk of holding out and b) implications of holding out (i.e. the need to also draft J. Conner).

 
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habsfan

Footballguy
Yes. I'm calling being incorrect "missing". To me, calling it anything but that feels like weaseling out. 
I took Bell at 1.05 in a redraft league without blinking and thought I was smarter than at least two or three of the people drafting ahead of me. Regardless of whether or not what happened with Bell was specifically foreseeable, I still consider the pick my hubris and a valuable lesson. Not sure if that's the same as "missing" or not.

We all "point at the shirt" but given you monetize your projections, you could have gone really conservative with him (even missing the 10 games) through the period in which most fantasy drafts are done. Any of your customers who were more bullish on him could decide for themselves how confident they were and how much earlier they wanted to draft him. 

 

rockaction

Footballguy
Still think Bell's holdout was foreseeable and was stunned people wasted a first-rounder on him. The lea leaves were there, and Le'Veon is a pretty unpredictable dude. But that said, there are certain things within prognostication's control, and a broken wrist and holding out aren't really two of them.  

I wouldn't call it weaseling out if you said "manage your team," even.  I manage mine with my own risk aversion/risk-reward calculus intact.  

 

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