Our 2018 NFL preseason projections are out and they are free. Subscriptions for our season-long and DFS weekly projections are available now (previous year subscribers will get a discount code in July). They will be updated throughout the preseason. See below for the links. You can also access via the Tools/Projections section in the main menu.

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Here is an explanation of how the projection sausage is made. This summary is heavily cribbed from our FAQ document which also goes over our tools:

We have invested significant time in building a data model that strives for excellence in each component of a great NFL projection. The below is a top-level explanation. Please feel free to ask in-depth questions in the comments. The projection models for each component have all been created through backtesting against games from previous seasons.

Our preseason projections sum up the results of our weekly model for all 17 weeks of the NFL season (the rest of season model works the same way). This is the same weekly model that finished 1st in four of the last 10 weeks last year on FantasyPros. There are some small playing time adjustments made for games 2+ weeks in advance to account for the possibility of injuries and role changes. Injured/suspended players are removed until they are expected to play again.

It starts with leveraging multiple data sources to determine player roles and estimate snap counts for both the offense and defense that reflect today’s NFL. Yes, there are still a few ‘bell cow’ every-down RBs but there are also RB job shares, 1st/2nd down backs, 3rd down backs, etc. There are every-down WRs, WR3s who play a majority of downs, WRs who come out in 4 WR sets. Our model aims to distinguish across all those types and making sure snap counts reflect a team’s offensive philosophy (e.g., some teams are heavy 3-4 WR, some are heavy 2 TE, etc.). Official injury status (particularly ‘Doubtful) is used to discount snap projections with backups typically receiving the allotted snaps. This same snap allotment process is used when ‘starters’ are Out. This allows us to dynamically handle last minute injury news.

Team total plays and rush/pass split are projected based on team and gameday variables (spread, home/away, is the starting QB playing, etc) while points are based on Vegas over/under and spread.

Player carries and targets are distributed based on player role, skill, projected snaps, and previous game rush/target distribution.

Player rate stats (completion rate, yards per carry, yards per target etc) are based on previous game stats (including aDOT for 2018), player scouting grades, and gameday variables (surface, weather, opposing defense, QB (for WRs)). Defensive player stats look at similar stats/grades/data and mirror the offensive stats (e.g., tackles are a percentage of the offense’s runs + completed passes).

Player TDs are based on past game red zone usage, projected rush/target volume, and height/weight and are adjusted to match the Vegas team point projection (e.g., projected TDs + FGs = Vegas line).

Hit me up in the comments or on Twitter (@rudygamble) with any questions/feedback on the projections. We have a few awesome tools/reports in the works so stay tuned!

  1. prey879 says:
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    Hey Rudy!

    Thanks for the projections, you are always one of my go-to sources. This was the first year I got a subscription for Fantasy Baseball and I’m coasting to a first round bye. So I definitely plan on signing up for Football – when do these projections become subscription only btw?

    Anyways qq, I am in a 12 team PPR keeper league and currently my keepers are McKinnon (Round 7) and Theilen (Round 10). I know you just bumped Mckinnon down to 20th RB in PPR but I think the value of getting him in the 7th is worth the risk especially when my only other potential keepers are Michael Thomas or McCoy in the 1st or Gronk in the 2nd. I have the turn picks at end of round 1 & 2 and I plan on picking Davante Adams with one of those 2 picks and then choose between Mixon and Howard for the second pick.

    I know you have MIxon ranked higher but my question ultimately boils down to this – With a base of Adams, Theilen, and McKinnon, do you play it safe by taking Jordan Howard or do you play for the upside (and more risk) by taking Mixon? I have been back and forth all offseason between these two guys and just cannot decide. I want to choose Mixon but pairing him with Mckinnon, who I view both as huge upside/huge risk, as my RB1 and RB2 scares the shit out of me.

    Just interested in your whole take on Mixon vs. Howard dilemma. Thanks for everything you do and keep crushing it!

    • @prey879: Thanks! Once Week 1 is complete, the then ‘rest of season’ projections will be available only to subscribers.

      mckinnon in the 7th is totally value. that’s an interesting point you bring up – mckinnon and mixon would be a pretty volatile RB1/RB2. but couldn’t you argue howard is also volatile since he is so dependent on positive game script (aka not trailing) and the Bears might not be very good? whereas mixon will at least split time w/ gio if /when things go south.

  2. prey879 says:
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    Thanks for the response! Great point about the game script with Jordan Howard. I completely forgot about that issue from last year and think I was just buying into the hype that the Bears will be a much better team this year.

    Wish the Bengals had finally cut the cord with Marvin Lewis this past offseason. I know it’s just preseason, but they’ve looked an awful lot like the same team from last year who couldn’t generate any offense.

  3. rudboy189 says:
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    hey rudy,

    I am a fellow Rudy and a huge fan of your baseball section. The baseball is so good, i decided to give the football a try. Question: I used your rankings from aug 15th, has it been updated much since? I’ve done so much work with that one that i am dreading going back and using a new file lol.

    Thanks a million. You guys help out so many people with your work

    • great name! i wouldn’t say MAJOR changes but there definitely have been notable changes. why don’t you just download the new one and then vlookup the rankings/projected points to your existing one and you can then review what you want to re-rank?

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