With two weeks left before actual football starts, I figured now is as good a time as any to start making bold predictions about what could happen this NFL season. While I did give ten “way too bold” predictions back in June, I figure there can never be enough wild postulating on this beautiful thing we call the internet. Also, I thought Blake Bortles was going to have a bounce back season. Clearly got to redeem myself.
Time to speculate wildly!
Isaiah Crowell has a career year & finishes RB7
I’m certainly not the only person to think Crowell is in for a big season, so I figured I’d add to the drama by calling my shot. The Browns did a great job this offseason addressing the offensive line and are heading into the season with the second-best unit in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. Plus, Crowell has already shown the ability to be a reliable fantasy running back and produce at a high level even without a top-5 O-line blocking for him.
None of the quarterbacks in Cleveland are anything to write home about so you can expect that Hue Jackson will look to rely on a heavy dose of the running game to help move Cleveland’s offense. I’m thinking 220+ carries, 1,100+ yards and double digit touchdowns for Crowell, all of which would be career highs.
Donte Moncrief leads the NFL in touchdown receptions
Despite missing seven games last year, Moncrief still managed to lead the Colts in receiving touchdowns (7), was third on the team in terms of red zone targets (10) and had by far the team’s best catch percentage near the goalline (80%). He also put together an impressive streak of five games (Week 8-12) in which he recorded a touchdown in each game. Basically, Moncrief’s best ability is scoring touchdowns.
With a full year of work, I could easily see Moncrief pushing double digit touchdowns and finishing in the 12-15 touchdown range which would certainly put him in the running for league lead (Jordy Nelson led the league last year with 14). If you take the second half of Moncrief’s season last year and extrapolate it over 16 games, he hits 14 touchdowns on 53 receptions for 535 yards. Just something to think about.
Jay Cutler does not suck
Can Jay Cutler be utterly infuriating to watch play football? Of course. Does his laid back “I don’t even know if I want to be here” attitude annoy people? Obviously. Can he throw a better deep ball than Ryan Tannehill? You bet your darn butt he can.
Yes Jay Cutler is hard to watch at times but he has two things going for him. Firstly, he’s back with Adam Gase who was the offensive coordinator with the Bears back in 2015, a season which Cutler had his best quarterback rating (92.3) and his second best completion and interception percentage (64.4% and 2.3% respectively). He also is surrounded with possibly his most talented team since I guess the 2014 Bears. Jarvis Landry, Devante Parker, Kenny Stills and Jay Ajayi give Cutler plenty of weapons to have success with.
Cutler finishes a top-20 fantasy quarterback. Boom.
Dalvin Cook wins (fantasy) Rookie of the Year
I was thinking actual rookie of the year but I’m not sure that’ll happen. Sadly the rookie of the year scale is weighted so heavily in the quarterback’s favor that if any of the rookie QBs snag a starting role early and play well—which they’ve all flashed the ability to do—they’re basically shoe-ins for the award. So instead I’ve created a fantasy rookie of the year award so I can be bold, but not that bold.
Cook’s biggest competitors for the award are clearly his fellow rookie backs: Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey. You could sprinkle my man Corey Davis in there, but Davis has yet to play in the preseason and even if he puts together an amazing season, wide receivers tend to fall short of running backs in terms of total fantasy production.
Despite the game being slow and easy for Fournette, he’s currently injured and playing behind a bad offensive line in Jacksonville. Also it’s been proven time and time again that the Jaguars just can’t have nice things so don’t be surprised if somehow his rookie season goes into the tank (I don’t think it will, I really like him in fantasy). McCaffrey has looked stellar in the preseason but still is sharing a backfield with Jonathan Stewart. Cook has looked strong in the preseason and despite the team signing Latavius Murray in the offseason, has a shot at being the starting back in Minnesota from day one.
Allen Robinson gets traded out of Jacksonville in an attempt to get him a real quarterback
This is brought to you by the RB1 podcast in which it is our sole mission to #GetAllenRobinsonARealQB.
I decided to finish the article with a real fiery fireball of fire. The Jaguars still are employing Blake Bortles for whatever reason and you can tell Robinson is starting to get frustrated with his “quarterback”. Could the Jaguars make a move to get a quarterback to try and keep their wide receiver happy? Sure. They could also decide to tank the season away and try to land one of the highly coveted quarterbacks coming into this draft.
Something deep in my gut tells me the Jaguars could look to blow their offense up sooner or later and Robinson seems to me to be the likely piece to go. I could also just be hearing my gut rumble because it’s lunch time. Who’s to say.
What do you think will happen this season? Add your bold predictions in the comment section or hit me up on the twittersphere with them.