Fantasy Football Bold Predictions
Ray Rice nor Arian Foster finish as the #1 RB in fantasy. I really worry about RBs in seasons after they receive big contracts. Foster and Rice both got paid, and I wouldn't expect them to have bad seasons, but I'm not expecting them to duplicate last season's numbers either. Especially Foster, when you consider he has a great back up in Ben Tate running behind him. Houston could lighten Foster's workload. Ray Rice has had a heavy workload as well. 370 touches last year. That's a little too close to 400 for me. Don't be surprised if Harbaugh lightens his load a bit too. You also can't forget the division Ray Rice is in. Make no mistake about it, they will both be among the elites, but I don't think either take the #1 spot.
Who do I have in mind to take that spot? I have two words for you, Adrian Peterson. Unbelievably, Adrian Peterson is on schedule to return from a horrific ACL injury he suffered last December against the Redskins. I have no doubts AP will be AP. The guy is built like a thoroughbred. He will hit the ground running hard as usual. I have a feeling Ponder also improves this season, which could open things up for the offense and lanes for AP. With the addition of Matt Kalil(not to be confused with older brother, Ryan Kalil), who I think will be an absolute stud right away, the offensive line will be improved and that's good news for AP owners. Be weary of his workload to start the season. I wouldn't be surprised if AP's carries were monitored in the first few games, but after that, I think AP will be the elite force we are accustomed to.
Kevin Smith is a top 5 RB in fantasy in the first half of the season. You heard it here first. With news that Best will begin the season on the PUP list, the sky is the limit for KSmith. Let's take into consideration that Detroit's offense is now one of the best offenses in the league. Matt Stafford has emerged and had a healthy season, they have a talented WR core with Megatron, Titus Young, and Nate Burleson; and they have a great tight end in Brandon Pettigrew. With all those things considered, KSmith's value gets sexier by the day. He is entrenched as the starter, and should give you a healthy dose of numbers in rushing yards and receiving yards. What makes Kevin Smith so tantalizing is his ability to receive out of the backfield. Which makes him an even better asset in PPR leagues.
As long as Kevin Smith has been healthy, he's been a productive RB. Even on bad Detroit teams he was productive. Many forget KSmith nearly ran for 1000 yards and 8 TDs in only 12 games starting in the year Detroit went 0-16 in his rookie season. In the next season, he rushed for 747 yards and 4 TDs with 41 receptions and 445 yards(1 TD) in 13 starts on a 2-14 team. Now on a team with the potential to have an elite offense, KSmith can put up elite numbers for at least the first half of the season, and great numbers all year if Best can't get back to himself. This is all assuming that Kevin Smith can stay healthy. He is not without risk, but as it stands, he's a high risk/high reward pick, but that's not bad considering you can get him in the later rounds.
Calvin Johnson isn't the #1 WR in fantasy. With more and more weapons emerging in the Lions' offense, don't be surprised to see Megatron's numbers take a small dip. He should still get the lion's share of targets in the receiving core, but I have a feeling Titus Young becomes a nice #2 WR(hint). Brandon Pettigrew should also get more looks in the redzone, because he's a big target and has great hands. Also, don't forget the guy I just talked about, Kevin Smith.
Who will take the top spot from Lord Megatron? Sir Larry Fitzgerald. By the process of elimination. If John Skelton is the starter, I like this prediction even more. He's proven to be the better QB for Fitz. Fitz had his biggest games with Skelton in the line up. 53% of Fitzgerald's yardage came at the hands of Skeleton. If Skelton can start 16 games, that can improve Fitz's odds of landing the top spot at WR. He certainly has the talent.
Do you agree that Megatron isn't the #1 WR this season?
Tony Romo vaults himself into the fantasy elite. If Matt Stafford can do it, why can't Romo? Romo has flirted with elite numbers for years and years. Some injuries, suspect offensive line play, and no running game, have brought some of those potentially elite seasons to a halt. This season I say he gets there for these reasons:
- Tyron Smith gives Romo the left tackle that he never had. A legitimate stud--who doesn't false start--and will make Romo feel comfortable with his blindside. The rest of the offensive line is a huge question mark, but Romo's blindside is not. Romo should throw it more often down the field this season.
- A valuable running game. The Cowboys sorry running game last year rushed for a total of 5 TDs, and one of those was Romo. So basically, if it wasn't Romo throwing a TD pass, the Cowboys weren't putting up six points. Add a valuable running game, and the Cowboys aren't as predictable in the redzone, which could lead to obviously more rushing TDs, but more successful attempts in the redzone, and more TDs for Romo.
- Dez Bryant seems to be finally grasping the offense, and he's more motivated than ever. He could become one of the elite WRs in fantasy this season(hint), especially if Austin can't stay healthy. The recent injury to Witten could scare owners away, but I'd put my money on Witten suiting up in Week 1. He quite often plays through a number of injuries and rarely misses games. Don't worry about Witten.
Julio Jones ends up as a major bust. Chalk this up to injuries and unrealistic expectations. I'll just say this, I'm going more with my gut on this prediction rather than substance. It's hard to believe that the 2nd best WR on his own team is getting this much hype. But it's true. Julio Jones is actually ranked as the 2nd best WR option on multiple lists, and even higher on others.
Julio being a bust doesn't mean he can't have a great season. Just don't expect him to live up to those ridiculous expectations of #2. I mean really? This guy is gonna be better than every WR but Megatron? Oh, I don't think so. He's not even the best WR on his own team. That title belongs to Roddy White.
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Cam Newton is not a top 20 fantasy QB. The book is out on Newton. I'm afraid he will be the victim of the sophomore slump. Frankly, 14 rushing TDs is just not sustainable for any QB. Newton would have to amass over 10 rushing TDs just to justify his ranking. And typically, running QBs get hurt more often than most. I would not bet on Cam Newton living up to that #23 ranking.
Darren Sproles will once again be a top 10 RB. The Micheal Bourn of fantasy football. He just consistently puts up big numbers despite how much he's overlooked. No reason to think he can't be a top 10 RB again, especially in PPR leagues. He is a monster and will get more than enough touches in the Saints' offense.
Matt Stafford isn't a top 5 fantasy QB. The book is out on him much like Cam. No way he duplicates last season, and because of last season, he'll be overrated in many leagues.
Andre Johnson disappoints yet again. Injuries, injuries, and more injuries. Why should you expect this year to be any different?
Maurice Jones-Drew not only won't be a top 5 RB, but he won't be a top 10 one. Let's pretend that he isn't holding out for more money at this very moment. 386 touches last year, 333 touches in 2010, and 365 touches in 2009. That's a lot of touches in a three year span for a 5'7 RB. Now think about that, and the fact that he's holding out...
Dez Bryant will become a top 5 WR. It's simple. His QB will be better, he will be better, and the offense will be better. And Austin's hamstrings might not hold up.
Peyton Manning is back. Draft with confidence. He will start out slow because they will ease him back in and try to establish a running game, but once they start losing games early, Fox will have no choice but to give complete control of the offense to Peyton. He will be a top 5 fantasy QB.
Titus Young is this year's Victor Cruz. Just a gut feeling.
Matt Flynn puts up top 15 QB numbers. Love his arm. Love the system. Love the weapons.
Jacob Tamme is a top 10 TE. Peyton Manning loves him some TEs.
Expect a Steve Smith-like resurgence from Reggie Wayne. Luck can make all the throws, and Wayne will be back to fantasy relevance in a big way.
Brandon Lloyd gets 10 TDs or more. Look at the QB he's now playing with, and he's a legitimate deep threat. He would be Brady's best deep threat since Randy Moss.
Darren McFadden gets hurt again. Is this prediction even really bold?
Trent Richardson will be a bust. Injuries? Check. No aerial assault for defenses to respect? Check. Tough division? Check. Cleveland Browns? Check.
Percy Harvin is an elite option once again. The rare breed of WR that can get a good number of rushing attempts. Ponder loves him, and the offense is built around him and AP. You gotta love a WR who can also give you rushing TDs. He should get plenty of touches, and solidify himself as one of the elite options at WR. And just maybe, if he gets enough rushing attempts, he can qualify at RB too. Gotta love his versatility.
Rob Gronkowski not only won't be the best TE in fantasy, he won't be the best TE on his own team. Teams will key in on stopping Gronk, and Aaron Hernandez will emerge. Not to mention you add Lloyd into the mix, so that will take some of his redzone looks away. Gronk's redzone looks are what make him such a valuable option. AHern is just a more athletic specimen with elite speed for a TE. He could easily surpass Gronk given his talent.