Things to remember for next year

As the season has come to it’s conclusion I wanted to get some thoughts down on a few things, from a few teams which may well be worth keeping an eye on for next season, might not be too helpful for anyone, but it’s there for me to refer to when doing previews over the summer. A quick look at the divisions with a bit of concentration on one team.

Firstly though, a quick update of the plan going forward as obviously it will be pretty quiet on here for a month or two. The draft takes place on the 26th of April this year, I’ll have a draft preview, and some bets on that event, I have done well on it in recent years so I’ll be looking to do better – After the draft and everything settles down I’ll get on the divisional previews for each and get looking through the antepost betting. If anything pops up in the mean time I’ll put it on twitter and telegram –

It looks like I’ll be writing for in the new season as well as trying to keep this relevant and the OLBG experts blog. It gets my work out to more readers which I what I want, so hopefully I’ll fit everything in.

Early Superbowl odds are out in most places, Superbowl Odds on Oddschecker – For me, the early value is in the Saints at 10/1 (was 12/1 yesterday so already money for them by the look of it): Colts 20/1, Falcons 33/1. – But realistically we should just all bet on the Patriots and sit here for another 360-odd days until it pays out.

I’m surprised to see the Eagles installed at 6th favourites to be honest, 2 days after the Superbowl I think they’re the strangest price, for me anyway.

NFC West – San Francisco 49ers.

The 49ers were decimated by injuries, Jerrick McKinnon before the season, Jimmy Garoppolo early on and many others, this definitely affected their season, but they also had an unprecedented lack of turnovers. 7 Takeaways in 16 games is dreadful, they finished on -25 differential because of it. Now turnovers are considered generally a show of luck. So the theory goes that it will regress to the mean given time. That’s a good thing for them, obviously. Welcoming back their “top” RB and QB will be a boost for them too, they’ve got the #2 pick and a lot of cap space as well. HOWEVER they are in a division with the Superbowl runners-up, the Seahawks who actually led the league in turnover differential (mainly due to running 60% of the time) – And the Cardinals who have brought in a young offensively minded coach, they have the #1 overall pick and a ton of cap space. The division is not easy.

NFC South – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

By bringing in Bruce Arians (who basically chose this team to manage) I think the Buccs are instantly a better team, they have a solid roster, good players on defense (although they need to improve the secondary and ditch Brent (Grimey) Grimes, a top 10 WR in Mike Evans, one of the best young TEs in the league, IF they can figure out what to do at RB AND If Arians can help Jameis control his turnovers (most turnovers in the league as a team) then they could well be in the mix this season. The division is tough though, the Saints will be pissed off with the way this season ended and have youth in key areas assuming that Brees returns they’ll rightly be the favs again. The Falcons were also decimated by injury this year especially on defense, Matt Ryan was the 2nd ranked QB in fantasy and that was with an offense which didn’t really do that well converting chances. They have a new OC, if they can get more TDs and their guys return on defense then who knows with them. The Panthers could be the bottom team in the division especially if Cam takes his time returning from a shoulder injury, they also lost Julius Peppers who was still performing at a high level and Luuuuuuuuuke isn’t getting any younger, or less concussed.

NFC North – Chicago Bears.

The Bears had a record setting year in terms of interceptions and as a whole on defense. As above it’s something which usually returns to the mean, so I’d expect them to be worse on defense. The Packers have a new HC who I’d imagine will do what he’s told by Rodgers, so expect the Pack to be better, the Vikings should be better too especially if Cook can get a full summer in, and the Lions. Well, they can’t be much worse.

NFC LEast – Washington Redskins

This division confuddles me. The Redskins didn’t start the season too badly, Adrian Peterson was running well, Smith was doing what he needed, then, once again injuries blew it all up. The offensive line was hit hard, that partially led to Alex Smith breaking his leg, and they’ve said he may well miss the entire year. So next season is massively up in the air for them. As things stand you’ve got to have them bottom of the division – They do however welcome back Derrius Guice who looked like the 2nd or 3rd best RB in the class last season. The Giants are hamstrung by their QB (at the moment) and also lost OBJ for the last 2 months or so, they do have the OROY though. The Cowboys. Fuck knows, they were great on D and Amari Cooper came in and did pretty well but ended up looking like Oakland Cooper with massive and awful games mixed together. The Eagles have to be up there again, you’ve got to imagine Wentz will be back fitter and better than last year, and hopefully he’ll be a decent QB again.

AFC North – Cincinnati Bengals.

Obviously they’re my team so I’m always going to be a bit bullish on them, they also had their season ruined by injury, Green, Dalton, Eifert, Kroft, Carl Lawson (Who I think was a huge loss), all missed the second half of the season where they fell apart. They also have a new Head coach for the first time in 16 years, which should be an improvement, but the fact is, we just don’t know. I believe they’ll be better than last year, but so will the Browns. The Ravens were stronger with Lamar Jackson, although with film out there on him now he’ll find it harder, and the Steelers actually look weaker than they have done in recent years, and the constant turmoil from their diva players is not a good look for them. I actually think the Browns will mount a proper challenge for the division next year, and at 40/1 probably aren’t the worst team to bet on, a full season of a pissed off Mayfield (he missed out on OROY) could be entertaining for supporters of any team outside the North. I still think he’s a prick but I will admit he’s talented.

AFC South – Indianapolis Colts

This is their division to lose. After the first 5 weeks where Luck was clearly feeling his way back into the job, they were brilliant. The offensive line was a masterclass in coaching, and while I think they’ll regress slightly, I can’t imagine they’ll be as successful as they were this year, they have more than enough talent to give it a serious challenge next year, Luck, Hilton and Marlon Mack give a good spine on offense, and they’ve got a shit-ton of cap space if they want to bring someone in. The Texans (+13 differential) were hit with WR injuries at key times, I doubt DT will return: Achilles injuries are a bitch for all players, especially skill players, they’ll need Keke and Fuller to be fit, if that happens they’ve got a dangerous offense. The Jags won’t be AS bad, and will have a new QB, their defense still has the players although they’ve shown they won’t bother if things get difficult. The Titans are average and seem to remain average, they struggled this year because of Mariota’s nerve injury. They’ll have to hope he’s back fully fit and work around the issue. The problem is they don’t really have much on offense. They need to run Henry 30 times a game and wear the opposition down as they did towards the end of the season.

AFC West – Oakland Raiders

They continue their rebuild, 3 first round picks in the draft although it could have gone better for them as the Cowboys and Bears both made the playoffs. Picks 4, 24 and 27 for them. They need a lot. They’re frankly lacking in pretty much all areas and they’ve just announced they’ll be playing at the home of the SF Giants for next season. Which will be fun, they love a baseball stadium apparently. The move to Vegas should be after this year and they’ll need to at least look like they’re improving by then. The rest of the division. I think will finish as it did this year, Chiefs, Chargers, Broncos in that order. The Broncos have a new HC, Vic Fangio who, you’d expect will restore the defense to their former glory. The Chiefs obviously have the pieces there on offense, need to improve their secondary. The Chargers will look similar to this year but with Rivers another year older.

AFC East – Buffalo Bills

I said it many times during the season, Josh Allen makes them fun to watch. It will be very interesting to see how he comes on in his second season in the league, his running ability is a big asset and they sent a letter out to their fans this week making them aware of the plan going forward and that they know what they need to do which was quite refreshing. They’re another team with a lot of cap space and a lot of needs, but the future is looking vaguely up for them. The Jets and the Dolphins have new HCs in place. I actually like Adam Gase and think he’ll do a decent job in NY, and should bring on Darnold nicely, and the Dolphins brought in Superbowl winning DC Brian Flores as their new top man, they seem to be releasing Ryan Tannehill so it looks like they’re starting a soft rebuild there, and it’s needed they’re currently out alone at the bottom of the odds at 200/1. Brady is on the decline so every team has a chance of winning this division next year…. If only. The Pats are still by far the team to beat next season and should have Isaiah Wynn back on the offensive line, he looked brilliant in college and can only help.

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