Matthew Berry does these “Bold Fantasy Football Predictions” every year and then I make fun of him for how inaccurate they are so it’s only fair that I give this a shot and see how it works out for good ‘ol Divac, yeah? (Note: All of these predictions pertain to half-PPR leagues because those are the only ones I do).
Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald does not finish as a Top 40 WR. Being drafted as the 27th overall WR and coming off a top ten finish last season, the future HOFer has alternated good and bad seasons every year since 2011.
Atlanta Falcons: Devonta Freeman finishes outside the Top 20 RBs (yes, same as Matthew Berry). Only three players last year got 260+ carries and averaged 4 yards or less per carry; Latavius Murray, Frank Gore, and … Devonta Freeman. He really did very little from Week 11 on last season.
Baltimore Ravens: There’s a couple I like here (including Steve Smith Sr. not being done at all), but I’ll go with Kenneth Dixon being the best rookie RB on a points per game basis. It will be tough for him to be the highest scoring rookie back considering he’s going to miss the beginning of the season with a knee injury, but I think he returns and revives a struggling Ravens run game as the best rookie back in the league when he’s on the field … even better than ‘Zeke Elliott.
Buffalo Bills: LeSean McCoy is a top 3 RB. He was really good last season and only got about 200 carries thanks to the presence of Karlos Williams. Since 2010, McCoy has had less than 270 carries twice (2010 and 2012). He followed up both of those seasons with the two best seasons of his career thus far.
Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton is not a Top 5 QB. The top QBs in 2014 were Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck who both finished outside the Top 5 in 2015. Newton has never thrown 20+ touchdowns in back-to-back seasons. He threw 35 last season.
Chicago Bears: Jeremy Langford is a Top 10 RB. I tend to avoid RBs on bad teams, but the Bears have been bad awhile and have always returned elite value on Matt Forte. Langford looked great with Forte on the sidelines last season and will step right into that pass-catching, do-it-all role Forte had.
Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Green leads the NFL in touchdown catches. Dude’s a beast. Him and Andy Dalton were hitting on all cylinders before Dalton went down last season.
Cleveland Browns: You highly regret not drafting Josh Gordon in the middle rounds by Week 5. I don’t think he misses a beat even with RG3 as his quarterback.
Dallas Cowboys: Dez Bryant also leads the NFL in touchdown catches. That’s right. He ties A.J. Green for the league lead with 15. It should be noted that I have an unhealthy obsession with Dez Bryant.
Denver Broncos: You consider dropping Emmanuel Sanders at some point in 12-team leagues (not due to injury). I suspect it will be hard for Trevor Siemian to even support Demaryius Thomas.
Detroit Lions: Anquan Boldin becomes fantasy relevant. Yes, Anquan Boldin is on the Lions and there’s nothing more Anquan Boldin than to come out of nowhere and be a guy that is actually in fantasy lineups during bye weeks.
Green Bay Packers: Jared Cook is a Top 10 TE. Aaron Rodgers made Richard Rodgers a Top 10 TE last season and while that was without Jordy, it’s still Richard Rodgers. Every year there are two or three tight ends who just randomly show up in the top 10 so why not Cook? He’s being drafted as the 18th overall TE.
Houston Texans: Lamar Miller is a bust. I don’t know if it’s due to injury or performance, but there’s just too much hype around this guy right now. Him and Matt Forte are the only two RBs that have finished within the Top 10 among RBs the last two seasons. Making it three straight will be a tall task.
Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck does not bounce-back. Everybody seems to expecting a return to glory for the No. 2 QB in 2014 as evidenced by his 4th overall average draft position among QBs. I think the Colts have a lot of the same issues as last season and their offensive line is bad. Also, their starting running back was like a veteran in the Revolutionary War. Frank Gore is that old. Not buying a Colts resurgence this season.
Jacksonville Jaguars: I don’t know how bold it is to predict a huge step back for the Jags offense from last season, but I’ll say Allen Robinson finishes outside the Top 15 WRs (ADP is 6.4). Extremely fluky touchdown total last season (14 TDs on only 80 catches). Expect a Mike Evans 2015-style regression. Also, no QB in Jaguars franchise history has EVER thrown for 20 TDs in back-to-back seasons. That’s the most pathetic thing I’ve ever written. Blake Bortles threw 35 last season.
Kansas City Chiefs: Really hard to find one here because predicting a nice season from Spencer Ware is becoming increasingly less bold. Um, I’ll say that Cairo Santos is a Top 5 kicker. Why the f*** not?
Los Angeles Rams: Todd Gurley is the biggest bust of 2016. I’m shocked how little I have heard about Gurley’s potential to be a complete bust. He had one 100+ yard game in his final eight games last season and has a limited receiving role. The Rams offense is atrocious and he will also get a quarter of his games against the Seahawks and Cardinals. Not touching him in the first round.
Miami Dolphins: Adam Gase works his magic with Ryan Tannehill and turns him into a QB1 in 12-team leagues. The breakout train was a year too early on Tannehill. Being drafted as the 20th overall QB, there will be tremendous value to be had with Tannehill.
Minnesota Vikings: Stefon Diggs is a Top 20 WR. After losing Bridgewater, Diggs draft value took a hit, but Sam Bradford — who by no means is good — will be able to keep Diggs afloat as he did with Jordan Matthews in Philly. Diggs ADP has fallen all the way to 42.
New England Patriots: Martellus Bennett finishes as a Top 6 TE. I believe in Patriots tight ends and I believe in Bill Belichick to feature a guy who you don’t expect all that much from. He’s being drafted as the 13th or 14th TE alongside the always injured Dwayne Allen.
New Orleans Saints: Coby Fleener leads all tight ends in touchdown catches. If Drew Brees can figure out a way to get Benjamin Watson six TDs then he can figure out a way to get Fleener double that.
New York Giants: Eli Manning has the best year of his career. Did you know Eli Manning threw 35 touchdowns last season? Bet you didn’t. Reuben Randle is finally gone, ODB is primed for an absolute monster season, and rookie Sterling Shepard has arrived. Let’s call it 4,700 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions for Eli Manning.
New York Jets: Matt Forte continues to be a Top 10 running back play. I think I said it was hard to be a Top 10 RB in three straight seasons. I definitely did. Well, all that goes out the window when the Bears let a player leave and join the Jets.
Oakland Raiders: Latavius Murray finishes outside the Top 25 RBs. His ADP is 15.6 right now and he’s just not very good. One of the least efficient runners last season.
Philadephia Eagles: Jordan Matthews catches 100+ passes. Carson Wentz is going to look early and often to the only WR worth looking at on the Eagles.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Jesse James (not the famous outlaw or country singer/wife of Eric Decker) is a top 10 TE. I don’t care if the guy has no arms, I’m drafting a TE that is 6 foot 7. Big Ben has always featured the TE position and Ladarius Green is currently on the PUP with … something.
San Diego Chargers: Melvin Gordon finishes the season as a RB1 in 12-team leagues. Post-hype sleeper. Danny Woodhead’s 2015 was a huge fluke and the Chargers are committed to getting Gordon going.
San Francisco 49ers: Oh boy. Um, let’s see. What to do with this one? How about new slot receiver Jeremy Kerley finishes as the best WR on the 49ers? You still don’t want him anywhere near your team.
Seattle Seahawks: Doug Baldwin doesn’t even manage to get to half of his 14 touchdown catches in 2015. Baldwin may have had the flukiest 2015 with nine touchdown catches in a four-game span. His ADP is currently around 25 among WRs. Wouldn’t touch him there.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vincent Jackson comes back to life with a 1,000 yard season and a top 25 WR finish. His current ADP sits at about 46.
Tennessee Titans: DeMarco Murray finishes the season as a Top 10 RB. He’s out to avenge his nightmare Philly campaign of 2015.
Washington Redskins: DeSean Jackson is a top 20 WR in a contract year. D-Jax is probably playing for the last contract of his career. Do I really need to say more? He’s being drafted as the 35th WR.