Fantasy Football Definition of "Projection"

A projection is an educated guess about the future performance of a particular player. There, I said it -- no matter how much work goes into a fantasy expert's projections, they can never be anything more than (well) informed opinion.

Generally, a projection will take the form of an article on the Internet or in a fantasy magazine. Fantasy football strategy is a big business. The guys who write for these fantasy info sources (buncha jerks) want you to believe that their particular projections are based on a hefty session of number crunching and statistical insight. Thankfully, there are plenty of sources for valid information, cheat sheets, projections and other pieces of fantasy wisdom. You just have to look for them.

When a fantasy writer advises his readers to 'sit or start' a particular player, what he's really saying is "This player is up against a defense that will be good / bad for that player's stats." It is easy to lose sight of what a projection really is -- a guess about a player's future performance. I'll give you an example from my most recent projection "find" -- and how and why it didn't go so well for me.

My favorite free fantasy source advised me to start RB Ahmad Bradshaw -- a piece of my fairly bleak backup roster that I didn't think I'd have a chance at using for fantasy points. Excited to see the guy's name, I plunked him right into the starting lineup without really digging into the how and why of the situation. Bradshaw, as RB for the Giants, was facing a Cowboys defense not known for their stopping power. After what the Bucs running game did to the Cowboys defense earlier this season (running 142 yards straight up the gut) I was led to believe that Bradshaw could earn me some serious fantasy points. I'm weak at RB. Let's give it a shot.

After Bradshaw turned in a grand total of 3 fantasy points, I realized my mistake. Not looking deeper into the projection cost me a mark in the W column in my league. My other option for RB this week was Correll Buckhalter who would have earned me almost 16 points more than Bradshaw.

The point of this lengthy story is -- understand why a player is "projected" to perform well. Use your head. And don't start Ahmad Bradshaw.

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