15 Bold Predictions for Week 1 Fantasy Football
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Last year in Week 1, Travis Kelce went for 1.1 fantasy points. Will Dissly was TE2 at 16.5 and everyone was scrambling to pick him up. Calvin Ridley put up a goose egg despite playing most of the game. Kenny Stills went for 24.6 fantasy points. Isaiah Crowell truthers were doing victory laps thanks to his 22.2 points. Kareem Hunt owners were in panic as he scored just 4.9. Tyrod Taylor compiled 23.6 while everyone was worried Matt Ryan‘s career was over when he put up just 8.8.
The point is that while everything you are about to read may seem crazy, this is a league where crazy things happen every week. I am merely trying to forecast which scenarios are possible in advance. And what better time to post something everyone considers absurd and impossible than right on the back of Antonio Brown getting released?
I’ll be posting this article every Saturday, and while these are all players I feel strongly about for the week, these are not my projections by any means. Rather, a bold prediction is something that most people would say has less than 10% chance of happening, but I’ll give it a 30% chance or higher. So perhaps use one of these guys in a DFS GPP or if you need help breaking a tie on a start/sit decision. By the way, here is my new weekly article called Quick Grades. It has all my start/sit recommendations in a quick-hitting format.
#1 Justice Hill will see 15 touches in Week 1
“But, but…but Mark Ingram is the starter!” Right. And Baltimore ran the ball 45.0 times per game after Lamar Jackson took over as the starter in Baltimore. That isn’t an exaggeration. They want to cut down on Jackson’s carries, but don’t expect that to mean he will throw even 30 passes per game this year. Even if Ingram gets 16 carries, that could leave a dozen for Hill and 5 for Gus Edwards. Plus, Baltimore has publically stated that they’ll feed the hot hand, and my money is on Hill being the hot hand more often than not, as he is the most dynamic runner in their backfield.
Final Prediction: 12 carries, 67 yards, 4 receptions, 38 yards, 1 TD
#2 Adam Thielen will end the week as the top fantasy receiver
We’ve seen this narrative before and it is just too easy. Stefon Diggs is on the injury report and will probably play, but every time Diggs has played while dealing with an injury, it’s been the Thielen show. Some people can perform like Michael Jordan with a flu and some just aren’t the same unless they are close to 100%. Atlanta gave up 25 fantasy points per game to wide receivers last year which was among the highest totals in the league. With Thielen getting the lion’s share of targets, he stands a chance of taking over this game.
Final Prediction:13 targets, 11 receptions, 148 yards, 2 TD
#3 Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny will both rush for 100+ yards
No, I’m not saying this is a split backfield. In fact, I’ve got Carson as my #1 fantasy back this week over even Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey. What I’m saying is that Seattle is going to pass the ball fewer than 20 times because they are 10-point home favorites and that’s what Pete Carroll does with a big lead. Not only that, but Cincinnati was the second easiest opponent for fantasy running backs last year. Don’t be surprised if Penny gets most of the second half work with the game already in hand.
Final Prediction: Carson (20 car, 130 yds, 2 TD), Penny (14 car, 106 yds, 1 TD)
#4 Robby Anderson won’t finish as a top 60 receiver this week
Buffalo was the single most difficult team for fantasy receivers last year and a large part of that was Tre’Davious White who is quietly a superstar shadow corner. He’ll be sticking on Anderson all day and while Anderson is clearly the Jets’ #1 receiver, we’ve seen him disappear from games time and time again. We saw him post fewer than 30 yards in five games last season.
Final Prediction: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 15 yards
#5 Jamison Crowder will end up a top 20 receiver in Week 1
The Jets are going to have to pass whether they want to or not. Anderson won’t be open and Chris Herndon is suspended so the targets have to go somewhere. Bet on Crowder who has the easiest matchup of the afternoon out of the slot. Bonus points his new QB, Sam Darnold targeting slot receivers much more often than the average NFL QB.
Final Prediction: 10 targets, 7 receptions, 58 yards, 2 TDs
#6 Chase Edmonds will be given more Week 1 touches than Derrick Henry
I said this in our bold predictions episode a month ago and both Mike Tagliere and the guest gasped. The fact of the matter is that Henry is the most game script dependent back in football. When the Titans are down, Dion Lewis comes on to catch passes. When they are up, they use him like crazy. Tennessee are big underdogs versus the Browns and last year, Henry had 12 or fewer touches in 9 of 16 games. Edmonds, meanwhile, plays for a team that might run 75 plays this weekend. Unless you are expecting 40 pass attempts from the run-first rookie QB or 30 touches from David Johnson, it’s safe to bet on double-digit touches from Edmonds and perhaps more.
Final Prediction: Edmonds (9 car, 31 yds, 5 rec, 47 yds), Henry (10 car, 35 yds, 1 TD, 1 rec, 2 yds)
#7 Will Dissly will lead the Seahawks in Week 1 targets
You can say that Tyler Lockett is going to become Doug Baldwin now that Baldwin is gone, but then why was Lockett still the second option with Baldwin out last year? Brandon Marshall led the team in targets the first three weeks then later in the season when Baldwin was out, it was David Moore over Lockett. In fact, Lockett only had 7 targets once last season. D.K. Metcalf is three weeks removed from knee surgery, Moore is out with a shoulder issue and then there is Dissly who goes up against the 31st best team versus fantasy tight ends last year.
Final Prediction: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 57 yards, 1 TD
#8 Marquise Goodwin will total 100+ receiving yards
Remember when Jimmy Garoppolo took over for San Francisco in Week 13 and proceeded to light the world on fire with 1,542 yards over 5 games? His number one target was Goodwin, who happened to be a top 10 wideout in that time. With Dante Pettis banged up and questions about their depth chart in general, Goodwin looks terrific this week against an awful Bucs secondary.
Final Prediction: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 114 yards, 1 TD
#9 Latavius Murray will finish Week 1 as a top 10 fantasy back
Friends, this may sound crazy, but this game has the highest over/under of the week at 53.5 points. Not only that, but the Saints are 7-point favorites which means they are implied for 30.25 points and that we can expect a lot of running, which is always the case with New Orleans. In each of the last eight years, they have finished first or second in team RB fantasy points. Murray is the direct replacement for Ingram who was the RB #6 in 2017, and while Murray isn’t as good in the passing game, he makes up for the difference by being the best goal-line back in football over the past three seasons.
Final Prediction: 12 carries, 47 yards, 2 TD, 3 receptions, 24 yards
#10 Tyler Boyd will lead the NFL in Week 1 targets
Ok, this one is pretty hot, you are right, but hear me out. A.J. Green is out. The Bengals are 10-point underdogs. Cincy has the worst offensive line in the league thanks to one season-ending injury and two preseason retirements from what was already a bad line. The Seahawks have a stellar pass-rush. Andy Dalton is going to be under pressure all day and probably attempting 40-45 passes. When a play breaks down, Boyd is as good as anyone not named Keenan Allen or Julian Edelman at finding a seam to get open for a quick dump off. Expect plenty of that Sunday.
Final Prediction: 15 targets, 9 receptions, 82 yards
The Last Five
#11 Geoff Swaim finishes as a top 10 tight end this week
Final Prediction: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 78 yards, 1 TD
#12 Marvin Jones is a top 10 fantasy wideout in Week 1
Final Prediction: 8 targets, 6 receptions, 126 yards, 1 TD
#13 Patrick Mahomes won’t be a top 12 fantasy QB this week
Final Prediction: 24 for 39, 318 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 2 carries, 13 yards
#14 Phillip Dorsett leads the Patriots in receiving yards
Final Prediction: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 96 yards, 1 TD
#15 The Chiefs D/ST finishes top 5 in Week 1
Final Prediction: 13 points allowed, 3 sacks, 2 INT, 1 FR, 1 TD
**Bonus Super Duper Bold Prediction**
Ryan Fitzpatrick leads Week 1 in passing yards against Baltimore
Final Prediction: 34 for 49, 389 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT
Thanks for reading and happy football season!