Pre-article note: I still have a couple spots left in an ESPN fantasy league (10-team, standard scoring, two flex); if you would like to join, send me an email (my email address is in my profile) so that I can send you an invite. The first who respond will get in. Draft is currently set for Monday evening (Sept. 5).
EDIT: The league has filled. Thanks for the interest.
Normally I call this "Roster Projection Awards," but spoiler alert: nobody really stood out in this year's prognostication attempts. When the Patriots' initial 53-man roster was set, every guess I'd collected had between 46 and 49 correct, which is fairly standard. (The best I've seen: ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss had 51 correct in 2014.) I collected 27 roster projections from fans (21 from PatsFootballFans, 6 from PatsPulpit) and 16 from the media, and every group had people throughout that short range of correct answers. So this year, I'm dispensing with individual awards and recapping overall trends.
In my pre-cutdown summary, I posted the average projection, found by taking the most common projections at each position (and omitting Aaron Dobson because the average projection had 54 players, and of those players, Dobson was on the fewest projections):
- QB: Garoppolo, Brissett (on all 43 projections)
- RB: Blount, White, Bolden, Foster, Develin (22)
- WR: Edelman, Hogan, Mitchell, Martin,
- TE: Gronkowski, Bennett, Derby (34)
- OL: Solder, Thuney, Andrews, Mason, Cannon, Kline, Cooper, Waddle, Karras, Fleming (14)
- DE: Sheard, Long, Flowers, Grissom (16)
- DT: Brown, Branch, Valentine, Johnson (27)
- LB: Hightower, Collins, McClellin, Mingo, Freeny, Grugier-Hill (27)
- CB: Butler, Ryan, C. Jones, Coleman, LeBlanc (26)
- S: McCourty, Chung, Harmon, Richards, Ebner, King (30)
- ST: Gostkowski, Allen, Cardona (43)
This projection had 49 correct, fitting nicely at the top of the range of correct answers. The incorrect selections (not counting the struck Dobson) were Martin, Grissom, Grugier-Hill, and LeBlanc, and its omissions were Amendola (who many thought would end up on PUP), Harbor, Elandon Roberts, and Jonathan Jones.
Here are a few other trends that can be seen looking at the cumulative projections:
- As has continued to be the case, no player on every roster projection was cut.
- Players on at least 20 projections who did not make the initial 53-man roster: Kamu Grugier-Hill (37), Keshawn Martin (35), Cre'Von LeBlanc (30), Geneo Grissom (26), Aaron Dobson (21). (Rob Ninkovich was also on 21 projections, which were made before the announcement of his suspension and were unable to be edited after. Also, I can finally stop grumbling whenever someone misspells Keshawn Martin's first name as Keyshawn or KeShawn, or whenever someone forgets to capitalize the V in LeBlanc's.)
- Another unbroken streak: no player on zero projections made the initial roster.
- The following players were on less than 10 projections but did make the 53: Clay Harbor (9), Elandon Roberts (9), Jonathan Jones (5).
This was a generally unsurprising year for projections, so unfortunately there isn't too much to say. I'll conclude with the full list of cumulative projections, showing who was on how many individual rosters, from most to least. Players in bold made the initial 53-man roster; those in italics did not:
- QB: Garoppolo 43, Brissett 43, Brady 0 (suspended).
- RB: Blount 43, Develin 42, White 40, Bolden 40, Foster 31, Gaffney 15, Iosefa 0.
- WR: Edelman 43, Hogan 43, Mitchell 43, Slater 43, Martin 35, Dobson 21, Amendola 16, Lucien 1, Carter 0, Harper 0.
- TE: Gronkowski 43, Bennett 43, Derby 39, Harbor 9, Williams 0.
- OL: Solder 43, Thuney 43, Andrews 43, Mason 43, Cannon 43, Kline 42, Cooper 41, Waddle 41, Fleming 29, Karras 27, Barker 4, Halapio 0.
- DE: Sheard 43, Long 43, Flowers 43, Grissom 26, Ninkovich 21 (suspended), R. Johnson 2.
- DT: Brown 43, Valentine 43, Branch 42, A. Johnson 35, Kuhn 16, Hamilton 0, Vellano 0.
- LB: Hightower 43, Collins 43, Mingo 43, Freeny 42, McClellin 39, Grugier-Hill 37, E. Roberts 9, Snyder 0.
- CB: Butler 43, Ryan 43, C. Jones 43, Coleman 42, LeBlanc 30, D. Roberts 8, J. Jones 5.
- S: McCourty 43, Chung 43, Harmon 43, Ebner 42, Richards 41, King 32, Sunseri 0.
- ST: Gostkowski 43, Allen 43, Cardona 43.
The roster will still undergo lots of shuffling before it reaches anything close to a final form. For now, just enjoy the last week leading up to Patriots football.