Originally this was just going to be a very normal “10 fantasy football predictions” article. I wasn’t going to take any ridiculous leaps of faith nor was I going to make any bold outlandish claims. So I started that article. Spoiler alert: it was boring.
Tom Brady will throw for 4,000 yards.
Julio Jones will catch double digit touchdowns.
Leonard Fournette will lead rookies in rushing touchdowns.
Your basic boring predictions that are not fun or excited (though I did learn that Julio has only had double digit touchdowns once in his career. WHAT’S WITH THAT?!).
Instead, I’m going full Josh Baskin and going big. I figure it’s still early enough in the football season—read: still months before it’s even started—that I can make these ridiculous claims and they’ll hopefully get lost in the internet shuffle by football season so no one will be calling me out when they don’t come true. And if any of them do come true, well then I look like a genius. And it’s just more fun to write bold, risky predictions than to pick easy ones. It’s a rare win-win-win.
Now these aren’t predictions that I’m just throwing out there willy nilly. I’m not here to make you read an article of predictions like “Aaron Rodgers will throw for 7,000 yards”. That’s stupid and useful to no one. These are all predictions that I honestly could see coming true, but maybe the likelihood of that is small. Very small. At times, even microscopic. But it’s still there nonetheless!
Adrian Peterson will remind everyone that he doesn’t age like us mortal humans
Remember the last time everyone in the football world counted AP out? After he had torn his ACL and we stupidly asked if Peterson will ever be the same? Yea, he ran for over 2,000 yards that year.
Welp, looks like the collective football world is doing it again. Yes Peterson is 32 years old and playing with a new team for the first time in his NFL career. Yes he’s coming off major surgery that thankfully ended a pitiful season last year. I know all that. But we’re all looking at Peterson as if he’s your normal average running back. He’s not. He’s an alien. He, Julio and LeBron all shared a spaceship from Moron Mountain and have been systematically destroying their respective sports for the last decade. I’m not so bold as to predict another 2,000 yard season for Peterson, but can’t you see him coming into the season motivated—playing with an elite quarterback and much better offensive line mind you—and hungry to prove that last year was a fluke? I’m writing him down for 1,200 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Keenan Allen won’t miss a game this season & finish a top-10 fantasy WR
I was all aboard the Allen train last year and was thrilled with myself for getting him in the 3rd round. Then of course he went on to tear his ACL and miss the entire season. Sad trombone.
Injuries have been Allen’s biggest downfall. He missed 15 games last year and missed eight games the year before. He has shown us that he has all the makings of a top-10 fantasy receiver and even with the added weapons in
San Diego Los Angeles, he’s still Philip Rivers’ favorite target. I think with pressure taken off of him thanks to rookie Mike Williams and the emergence of Hunter Henry and Melvin Gordon, Allen will survive the full year AND put together a fantastic fantasy season.
Michael Thomas and Terrelle Pryor will finish with more combined fantasy points than Jordy Nelson and Odell Beckham Jr
Look, I said I was going to be bold, so I could’ve picked two middle-tier receivers to compare Thomas and Pryor to but that is not the point of this article. For reference—before I get into the defense of this mildly absurd claim—OBJ and Jordy scored a total of 403.3 fantasy points this past year. Thomas and Pryor scored 300.1.
I’m relying on three things for this to come true:
- Odell doesn’t see the same number of targets in this Giants’ offense thanks to Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram and a suddenly fantasy viable Paul Perkins.
- Jordy Nelson does not catch double digit touchdowns this year, which is entirely possible given Davante Adams’ rapid rise, the addition of Martellus Bennett and addition of goalline back Jamaal Williams (I’m hyped on him).
- Thomas and Pryor to shine in their new circumstances. Thomas already was a top-10 fantasy WR last year sharing an offense with Brandin Cooks. Welp, he’s gone and Thomas has a year under his belt. I could easily see him taking a big step forward in the Saints’ pass happy attack and finishing above the 163 total points he scored this year. We all know by now how I feel about Terrelle Pryor. I think he has the room for the biggest growth as he put together a strong fantasy season in Cleveland and now has a chance to be the number one guy in Washington’s offense.
You know that if this comes true I’m tweeting this prediction every hour on the hour for the entire offseason. Can’t wait to lose hundreds of followers.
2015 Blake Bortles will return
It’s easy to forget that 2015 Blake Bortles was a fantasy monster. He threw for 4428 yards, 35 touchdowns and was the 4th best quarterback in fantasy football, scoring 324 total points. Then last year happened, everything fell apart and the Blake Bortles you thought you were drafting turned out to be a total and complete dud.
But not this year! This year, the Blake we all know and love will make his grand return, riding to fantasy success on the wheels of his chariot pulled by Leonard Fournette. This is kinda a two for one so lucky you guys. The reason Bortles will return to a fantasy monster is because Fournette will be a fantasy monster. The Jaguars offense will no longer live and die—mostly die—by the arm of Bortles giving him less stress and more opportunities to rip the ball downfield to Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns (remember those guys?).
Fournette is going to be really, really good.
Rob Gronkowski isn’t worth drafting
To be honest, my prediction isn’t this bold but it is pretty bold. Gronk is the best tight end in football, hands down. He’ll probably retire as the best tight end to ever play football. So how could any sane person say that you shouldn’t draft him in your fantasy league?
I’m paranoid about his injury history. I’m certain, both as a fantasy football fan but mainly as a New England Patriots fan, that Gronk’s injuries one day will catch up with him and his body will just fall apart in the middle of the game. Now, I do understand that this would give scientists the opportunity to turn Gronk completely into a humanoid robot and program him to repeat “Dead or alive, I’m scoring a touchdown!” as he races up and down the field, however, it wouldn’t be the best thing to see your starting tight end who you spent a 3rd round pick on go down three games into the season. Let me tell you from experience. I guess if you needed to digest this long winded RoboCop analogy into a prediction, it’s that Gronk isn’t going to be worth his 2.10 ADP this year.
20 QBs will score more total points than Cam Newton
After making some very, very bold predictions, I’ve decided to fall back to Earth a little bit. Think of it as my rocket boosters have fallen off and in that brief second of no thrust I take a small step back to Earth. Don’t worry, my boosters will fire off again soon.
Newton finished 17th among quarterbacks last year with only 254.3 total points so dropping to 20 isn’t crazy out of the question. What it means is that Cam’s not having a bounce back year. And there’s a fair amount to back that claim up. (Most of which can be found in the above article, hence why I put it there.) Head coach Ron Rivera has already mentioned that he wants Cam running less, which removes arguably the most unique and fantasy relevant aspect of his game. He’s never been a good enough quarterback to have high fantasy upside purely based on passing alone—as evidenced by his completion rate of 52.9% last year which, among QBs with at least 500 pass attempts in a season, was the sixth worst in NFL history. Yea, not great. With young quarterbacks set to take big steps forward this year—* cough * CarsonWentzDakPrescottMarcusMariotaJameisWinston * cough*—I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cam left behind.
The best fantasy player of 2017 will be a battle between David Johnson and Ezekiel Elliott
Sorry Le’Veon Bell, I just don’t trust your injury history. Johnson already put together a massive fantasy season last year scoring 327.8 total points (20.5 FPPG) and single-handedly carrying a guy in my fantasy league out of the loser’s bracket. That might have been Johnson’s single greatest accomplishment last year. Elliott took the league—and my fantasy team (#humblebrag)—by storm last year and all signs point to him building off what was already a stunning rookie campaign.
And I don’t mean “best fantasy player” as in like the best skill position. I mean BEST PLAYER ALL AROUND. I’m saying the top two total point scorers next year will be Zeke and Johnson. Not a quarterback. Get outta here Aaron Rodgers.
I think for as much as the NFL likes to feed us that running back is a dying breed, the do everything back is very much in vogue and Zeke and Johnson are the two best at it (along with Bell obviously). Both the Cardinals and Cowboys offenses will be built around these two guys and they will have monstrous fantasy seasons because of it. If you’re lucky enough to draft one of these guys, don’t even bother drafting a team around them. Them by themselves will lead you to glory.
Marcus Mariota will lead the NFL in TDs
I know I’ve been aboard Mariota’s archnemesis’ hype train all offseason (Jameis Winston for those who don’t regularly tune into my writings), but Mariota has a season of excellence up his sleeve and he’s about to pull it out. The Titans did exactly what they needed to do this offseason getting Mariota all of the weapons he needs to have a deadly passing attack around him. They got arguably the best rookie pass catcher in the draft in Corey Davis (LOVE HIM). They signed touchdown machine Eric Decker when he became a free agent (LOVE IT). Seriously though, from 2012 to 2015, Decker was 3rd in the NFL in red zone receptions and 2nd in red zone touchdowns. Dude scores points.
What also makes Mariota special is his ability to run. That and that he’s thrown 33 red zone touchdowns and has yet to throw a pick. But the running adds another dynamic to Mariota’s offense that could help push his touchdown total over the edge. I don’t think he’ll throw for the most yardage, but I could see him casually tossing 40+ TDs given the weapons that surround him and his elite proficiency in the red zone.
Joe Mixon won’t live up to the hype
- Mixon joins an already crowded backfield with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard
- The Bengals offensive line got PILLAGED during the offseason
- Andy Dalton has new toys in the passing game to play with (looking right at you John Ross)
- We kinda forget that Jeremy Hill is a good fantasy back. He’s proven to be the Bengals goalline back and while his stats haven’t jumped off the page, he’s finished top-20 RB every season he’s been in the league due in large part to touchdowns.
- If Mixon doesn’t separate himself early from the other two backs, I could see him getting lost in the reeds
This will be the last year Ben Roethlisberger has fantasy relevance
Finishing on the highest of highs right here. Roethlisberger I feel like recently has become victim of name recognition syndrome, meaning that people assume he has fantasy value simply because he is a quarterback everyone has heard of. That is a lie. Big Ben has been quickly falling out of fantasy favor due in large part to injury and really really poor road performances.
In his career, Roethlisberger has managed to play all 16 games just three times. Not great. In the past three years, Big Ben has averaged 13.7 FPPG on the road and has had just ONE 25+ point performance in that time. Here are a few quarterbacks who have had more recent 25+ point performances on the road: Geno Smith. Blaine Gabbert. Brock Osweiler. That seems bad. Since 2010, here’s where Roethlisberger finished in terms of total points among QBs: 17th, 13th, 19th, 12th, 5th (good for him), 20th, 13th. Again, there is a whole generation of quarterbacks just chomping at the bit to have fantasy relevance and they will soon pass Ben and push him down down down to the bottom of every ranking. It’ll happen. Just you wait and see.
Let me know what insanely bold predictions you have for this fantasy football season and which of my farout ideas you think could come true. I’ve got my money on Adrian Peterson. You never count out AP.