10 Early Bold Predictions (Fantasy Football)
There’s nothing quite like bold predictions. Especially when they come true after a season that had quite a few surprises (that’s right Todd Gurley, you killed many fantasy teams). But perhaps the writing was on the wall all along. Just take a look from a year ago and see what Bob Harris, Dan Clasgens, and Walter Cherepinsky predicted for the 2016 season.
The fact is, nobody can predict the future, but that doesn’t mean our featured pundits below are crazy or wrong with their predictions. After all, we reached out to the top experts in accuracy from last season so these people are pretty tuned in to what’s happening around the league. Now let’s get bold!
* Editor’s Note: Experts Pat Fitzmaurice and Matthew Freedman disagree on Tyreek Hill’s outlook.
Q. Please give us one bold fantasy prediction for the upcoming season.
“Jamaal Williams, the 2017 fourth round selection out of BYU, will lead the Green Bay Packers in rushing by the end of the 2017 season. What fantasy owners will enjoy first and foremost about him is his imposing, physical running style, but he’s far from a one-dimensional power back. The tape shows great vision, balance, burst and while lacking top-end speed, Williams is a long strider with enough speed to eat up yardage at will. Don’t take this the wrong way! Ty Montgomery will get his touches for sure and Aaron Jones will also receive an opportunity to prove himself; however, Williams will crack the top 25 in fantasy scoring among running backs.”
– Matt De Lima (ScoutFantasy)
“Jamaal Williams is this year’s Jordan Howard and replaces Ty Montgomery as the starter by midseason. The fact is that Williams has Madden button-like moves and the ability to be a team’s workhorse. While Montgomery is too talented to lose all of the touches, Montgomery is also a better complement than workhorse himself. He’s not equipped to handle 20-plus touches or goal line work, but Williams is and will be a top-15 running back once he takes over… draft and stash!”
– Jake Ciely (RotoExperts)
“Marshawn Lynch will finish in the top 5 at RB! Where’s the love for Beast Mode? He’s the 50th player selected and the 17th RB according to MFL ADP Data for drafts after July 1st. The “playing in his hometown” narrative can only take you so far, so how about the fact he’s running behind arguably the best offensive line, on one of the league’s best offenses (7th in points in 2016). Even Latavius Murray managed to rush for 12 TDs in this role a year ago. Lock in Lynch for a top-5 finish with over 1,200 yards and double digit TDs.”
– Bill Enright (FFChamps)
“Tyreek Hill’s ADP is a helium balloon just waiting to be popped. He’s an undersized Smurf who had less than 550 receiving yards in each of his three college seasons, including a year at Garden City Community College and a year at West Alabama, where the competition was weak. His 73.5% catch rate and his rate of one TD per 9.4 touches are sure to drop. He’s going to draw top cornerbacks this year, and the AFC West is loaded with good ones. People expect Hill to prosper from Jeremy Maclin’s departure, but the likely result is that Travis Kelce leads the Chiefs in catches and receiving yardage by a mile, and several K.C. wideouts finish with 400-700 yards. Hill won’t be a top-40 receiver this year.”
– Pat Fitzmaurice (The Football Girl)
“Tyreek Hill will finish 2017 as a WR1. Before him, only five rookies in NFL history had scored touchdowns as a receiver, runner, and kick and punt returner. Three of them became Hall-of-Famers; the fourth became a Pro-Bowler; the fifth led the league in receiving two years later. As a senior in college, Hill had an 8.7 percent per-touch TD rate; as a rookie, he had the exact same TD rate. With his expected bump in targets, he will withstand his probable TD regression.”
– Matthew Freedman (FantasyLabs)
“Carson Wentz will finish as a top-12 fantasy quarterback. Wentz showed flashes of how great he can be last season. This was with a receiving corps that did him no favors (24 drops last season). Now he gets to add two playmakers in Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith who are a great one-two punch by themselves. This also allows Jordan Matthews to move back to the slot where he had a lot more success his first two seasons. Things are looking up for Wentz in his second NFL season.”
– Joe Bond (Fantasy Six Pack)
“Martavis Bryant (currently 5th round ADP ECR #27) will finish as a top-10 wide receiver. It’s been a while since we’ve seen him in action, but looking back to his 2015 sophomore season, this prediction surprisingly isn’t all that far-fetched. After coming off a 4-game suspension, Bryant finished his first game back with 6 catches 137 yards and 2 touchdowns, en route to a fantastic season. From weeks 6-15, which included a bye week, Bryant was the No. 10 wide receiver in all of football, while Antonio Brown simultaneously led the league at No.1, so the offense can support two superstar wideouts. For 2017, he needs about 82/1,200/10 to finish top 10. If this does in fact come true, Pittsburgh appears to finally have the firepower to contend with the Patriots.”
– Staff Rankings (ScoutFantasy)
“DeAndre Washington will outperform Marshawn Lynch. Even with the seemingly ideal situation for Lynch, there’s huge bust potential in Rounds 2/3 for a 31-year-old back who hasn’t produced fantasy value since 2014. Washington will need to fight off Jalen Richard for the non-Lynch carries, but he was the preferred option during the times that Latavius Murray was out in 2016. This prediction speaks to Washington’s late-round upside, and to ruling out Lynch as a fantasy option at his current draft position.”
– John Halpin (Fox Sports)
“In 2016, the Giants watched the corpse of Rashad Jennings take the life out of their rushing attack with his 3.3 yards per carry. Was the offensive line also partially to blame? Absolutely. But having a 31-year-old back lacking any explosiveness gave the Giants’ run game zero chance to succeed. Then Ben McAdoo had a revelation and over the final four games of the season, the Giants finally turned to rookie Paul Perkins, who kickstarted their ground game. Perkins averaged 4.4 yards per carry and posted the team’s only 100-yard rushing performance all year. While other backs on the roster are sure to contribute, Perkins has been named the starter and should face soft fronts as defenses focus on slowing down Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and the rest of the Giants’ passing attack. The fantasy running back landscape falls off a cliff after the top 15, but Perkins will sneak into that group with his first 1,000-yard campaign.”
– Justin Boone (theScore)
“Marcus Mariota will finish as a top 5 QB. In his first 27 NFL games, Mariota has averaged 17.7 fantasy points per game, which would have extrapolated to about what Dak Prescott scored last year as the league’s #6 fantasy quarterback. When his six-attempt game against the Patriots (from his rookie year) is removed, his average jumps to 18.3 FP. With the addition of Corey Davis, the #5 overall pick, and TD-machine Eric Decker, Mariota now has Davis, Decker, Rishard Matthews, and Delanie Walker to throw to. If he plays a full season, a top 5 season is well within reach.”
– John Paulsen (4for4.com)
Thank you to the experts for making their bold predictions. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter for more great advice and check out our latest podcast below.