03 Jul Fantasy Football: Bold Predictions for all 32 teams
A year without fantasy football bold predictions would be like a year without Halloween, Valentine’s Day, or the NFL if we want to live in the present. Not every prediction is going to happen, but the fact that the following could happen is why you are here.
Let’s get spicy!
Las Vegas Raiders
Josh Jacobs will lead the league in carries this season
Jon Gruden is getting all he can out of Derek Carr but he realizes even as efficient as he was last year, this team ride or dies by way of Josh Jacobs. Ball control and turnover-free football is the “Raider Way,” and what better way to execute that philosophy than to feed your best player when the game is on the line. I wouldn’t be surprised one bit to see 300+ carries for Jacobs this season and even 50+ targets in the pass game as well.
Courtland Sutton will lead the league in TD receptions
The second Drew Lock took over last season, the chemistry between him and Courtland Sutton was apparent. The additions of rookie WRs Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler will eliminate any possible double coverage or shadow coverage on Sutton. Picture all the 50/50 balls on go routes Sutton will haul in. I’m salivating thinking about all the possibilities this Denver offense can bring. If you sleep on Sutton, you will pay the price.
Los Angeles Chargers
Austin Ekeler will be even better than last season
The fantasy darling of 2019 Austin Ekeler is finally out of the shadow of now Denver RB Melvin Gordon. He was rewarded with a nice new contract for his excellent play and steps in as the lead back for L.A. Ekeler is a target magnet in the passing game and I expect more volume in the run game as well. He received 50% of the snaps when Gordon returned from his four week holdout. He can easily achieve a 70% snap share this season and I’m not worried about any other Charger RBs pilfering TD’s from Ekeler this season.
Kansas City Chiefs
Clyde Edwards-Helaire will end up being a Top 5 Fantasy RB
The 2020 1st round pick out of LSU steps into possibly the best fantasy situation that any RB can have. Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes, and the Chiefs offense is going to be pushing the ball vertically week in and week out and with Clyde Edward-Helaire’s incredible foot work and ability to run after the catch, he‘s looking at a 200+ touch season as a rookie. I see a 2017 Alvin Kamara-like rookie season for the Chiefs new star running back. Volume is there and with Damien Williams’ roller coaster production last season, opportunities for success will come in bunches for CEH.
Leonard Fournette will finish a Top 10 RB once again this season
Leonard Fournette finished as RB7 last season while having to overcome absolutely atrocious play calling, especially when in the red zone (only 8 rushes inside the 5 yard line). The result was horrible TD luck (3) for the LSU product. I don’t expect 100 targets this season in the passing game, however new Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden brings a more run-heavy approach to Jacksonville, giving Fournette a great chance to have more red zone and touchdown success. Those 3 TDs from last year will be closer to 10 this year. Sign me up for Leonard Fournette and that ADP discount.
T.Y. Hilton is gonna have a MONSTER season
T.Y. Hilton was a huge winner this off-season when the team signed former Chargers QB Philip Rivers. Rivers is notorious for getting the ball out quick and into his play-makers’ hands. With Hilton as the clear number one WR for Indy, his route running and excellent run-after-catch ability, I expect Rivers to take advantage every week of the match-up nightmare that is T.Y. Hilton. If healthy, Hilton is primed for an 80+ catch and 1,100+ yard season. Throw in a few TDs and that’s flirting with Top 10 WR production. If T.Y. Hilton is somehow still available as early as the 3rd round, you’re already stealing in your drafts with that kind of value.
Derrick Henry will take a step back this year
Derrick Henry is an absolute specimen of a man. His ability to shed arm tackles and break loose is almost unmatched. For me, it’s just is he really going to be able to produce 18 touchdowns like he had last season? I don’t think so. With very little production in the passing game, Henry’s effectiveness comes from touchdowns, and I simply have Tennessee in a lot more games playing from behind than from ahead this year. That means more Ryan Tannehill throws and less Henry runs. Less opportunity for Henry is why I’m fading him this season.
Brandin Cooks returns to fantasy WR stardom
Deshaun Watson may have lost All-Pro WR DeAndre Hopkins this off-season but he gained former fantasy stud WR Brandin Cooks from the L.A. Rams. Amazingly for a guy with already four different seasons as a Top 15 WR, Houston will be the fourth team that’s wanted his services. Cooks inherits a great opportunity to succeed early. He’s a big play threat waiting to happen and Deshaun Watson loves making big time plays. We are only a year removed from a 1,200-yard season from Cooks so the talent is still very much there. It’s not hard for me to see a bounce back season and another 1,000 yard campaign for Cooks. Houston is my spicy Super Bowl pick out of the AFC this season and the Watson-to-Cooks connection will help get them there.
New England Patriots
Even without Tom Brady, Julian Edelman will still be a solid fantasy WR
Losing Tom Brady isn’t as big of blow to Julian Edelman as one would think. The volume will take a hit (150+ targets last season) but plenty of opportunities to produce will still be there, and Edelman has the chance to prove he doesn’t need Brady to be successful. With that chip on his shoulder and my expectations that New England will be playing from behind quite a bit more this year, expect Edelman to continue to be the Patriots top fantasy option this season. Edelman shouldn’t be slept on, so take him in the middle rounds of drafts and watch as his production will continue to be efficient.
New York Jets
Jamison Crowder is going to ball out this year
The shifty slot WR for New York had an outstanding finish in the last few weeks of the 2019 season as he and Sam Darnold finally got on the same page. The Jets have added some much needed offensive line help this off-season, which should help Darnold be more comfortable in the pocket. Jamison Crowder is severely underrated as a route runner and his ability to create space between himself and the defender shouldn’t be overlooked. He finished averaging nine targets a game the last six weeks of the season. Crowder produced very well when given those targets and with that mind, I’ll take Crowder with confidence in the as my WR2 or Flex option.
Stefon Diggs will finish as a WR1 this season
“DIGGS… SIDELINE… TOUCHDOWN… UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!” You won’t find a bigger Stefon Diggs fan than myself. He’s the best route runner in the league and now every fly pattern will be must-see TV with Josh Allen launching passes to him. The big concern is Allen’s accuracy but if he is able to just get the ball to Diggs just a couple of times a game in space, Diggs is electrifying after the catch. Diggs led the league last year in catches over 30 yards and now with a new team in Buffalo, expect the Bills to show off their new superstar wideout’s big play ability. Diggs is that one player I’m targeting in every league I’m in. He’s going to be a league winner, just watch.
Tua Tagovailoa is going to win Rookie of the Year
Miami’s new QB has so much to overcome in year one. Miami struggled mightily last season with the worst offensive line in football. Now with several investments on both sides of the ball, Miami looks like a team quickly on the rise for this season. Tua Tagovailoa is a very accurate passer. Possessing weapons like Devante Parker, Preston Williams, and Mike Gesicki, he’s going to flourish right away with all that talent at his disposal. Miami has finally found their QB and I see Tua turning some heads quickly and giving the Dolphins a chance to win the AFC East in year one.
Mark Andrews will finish as TE1 this season
Lamar Jackson’s go-to guy was Mark Andrews, who led the team in targets. Andrews finished as the TE5 last season and immediately got a boost in my projections when former position mate Hayden Hurst was traded to Atlanta. Andrews is poised for more snaps, more routes and with that volume increase, we could see some monster numbers from the Ravens TE. I expect Andrews to give the likes of George Kittle and Travis Kelce a run for their money as the number one tight end in the league.
Tyler Boyd is going to have 100+ catches this season
Tyler Boyd has always been a solid fantasy option but now with Joe Burrow under center, he has the chance to really feast this season. Boyd primarily runs out of the slot and his combination of size and route running makes him a really tough cover. Combine that with Burrow’s affection for throwing the ball to slot receivers while he was at LSU, and we are looking at fantasy superstardom. I honestly feel there isn’t a better value pick out there than Tyler Boyd.
Eric Ebron will finish as a Top 10 TE this season
New Steeler TE Eric Ebron has been a red zone machine these last couple of years. Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t had a tight end with this kind of athleticism his entire career. Ebron is every defensive backs nightmare, especially in the red zone. Pittsburgh has a nice receiving core but not a true red zone threat. That’s where Ebron will step in and quickly grow as Big Ben’s go-to guy. Ebron will find the end zone often as the season goes on and give the Steelers another weapon that must be accounted for week in and week out. The connection of Big Ben to Ebron will get Pittsburgh back to the playoffs this season.
Nick Chubb will lead the league in rushing touchdowns this season
Nick Chubb is a huge winner this off-season with new head coach and former OC of the Minnesota Vikings Kevin Stefanski. Stefanski’s play calling is straight forward: run, run, and run again. He has led the league in rush attempts per game since he became a coordinator half way through the 2018 season. Chubb is one of the best running backs in the league and I expect top quality production this season. Grab him in every league you can folks, he’s going to be in the conversation for the number one overall player this fantasy this season.
Los Angeles Rams
Jared Goff will lead the league in passing with over 5,000 yards
You read that right. 5,000 yards passing. Sean McVay hasn’t asked Jared Goff to be superman quite yet but he just may have to in order to keep the Rams in games this season. Goff has had at his disposal touchdown machine Todd Gurley these last few years but now he’s in Atlanta. With no proven running back on the current roster, I see Goff shouldering the load, and he’ll be slinging the ball around all season long to keep up. Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Tyler Higbee are big winners in this scenario but the Rams as a team may be in trouble. Goff will put up big numbers but will it turn in to victories? We’ll soon find out.
San Francisco 49ers
George Kittle will have 100+ catches this season
The last two seasons George Kittle has been one of the most electrifying tight ends the league has seen in quite some time. His combination of size, speed, and strength makes him almost unstoppable when he gets going. With the possibility of WR Deebo Samuel to miss the start of the season due to injury, an even bigger receiving load is expected for Kittle. Kittle is as efficient as they come so with a possible uptick in volume the sky is the limit for him. I am projecting 100+ catches for 1,200+ yards and 8 TDs this season. He’s as safe a pick as they come especially at the tight end position, so if he’s available anywhere after the top 12 picks, go snag Kittle.
D.K. Metcalf will finish the season as a Top 10 WR
Coming into the league last year D.K. Metcalf was seen as a physical freak with his towering size and speed, but also very raw in his route running. Metcalf had an up and down season but had a great finish to the year with over 200 yards in two playoff games. Seattle to date has yet to add any noteworthy pass catching options to compete for targets. Give Russell Wilson another season of 500+ pass attempts and I’ll bet good money that Metcalf will see at least a quarter of them. If Metcalf gets the volume, he’ll produce superstar-like numbers this fantasy season.
Christian Kirk will finish with 1,000+ yards this season
Arizona added superstar WR Deandre Hopkins this off-season so naturally all the media attention was focused on him. Don’t sleep on Christian Kirk, who quietly had a 100+ target season last year in only 13 games played. Arizona’s spread passing attack will continue to give Kirk plenty of opportunities to produce each week even with the newly added Hopkins added to the mix. Hopkins and Kirk will be an amazing one-two punch for Arizona, and that’s without mentioning that Larry Fitzgerald still has plenty left in the tank for another season. Christian Kirk can be last year’s Michael Gallup, an under the radar wideout who will silently produce a top 25 WR season.
D’Andre Swift will run for 1,000+ yards this season
Lions rookie running back D’Andre Swift has all the makings to be a star in this league. The only problem with that is he has to overcome the abysmal rushing attack that has been the Detroit Lions. The Lions are a pass-first-run-whenever team, but that’s not entirely their fault. Matthew Stafford is a gunslinger to say the least and they’ve always had a great passing game throughout his career. The Lions invested high draft capital on Swift who has a huge opportunity to finally solidify the running back position for Detroit. The past couple years it’s been Kerryon Johnson carrying the load, but he’s been riddled with injuries so far in his career. I expect Swift to win the job as Detroit’s lead back, shouldering 200+ carries and becoming the first 1,000 yard rusher for Detroit since Reggie Bush in 2013.
Irv Smith Jr. takes the reigns at TE
Irv Smith Jr. came into the league out of Alabama with all the traits you covet in a tight end with his size, speed, and athleticism. He was the missing piece to Minnesota’s passing game. He’s been in the shadow of fellow TE Kyle Rudolph despite being the more athletic option. Now with Minnesota planning on more two TE sets this upcoming year, Kirk Cousins will see what Smith Jr. can bring to the Vikings offense. He’ll stretch the field and give him a much needed weapon with no more Stefon Diggs. Irv Smith Jr. has great dynasty appeal but overall for this season he’s on my potential breakout radar for TE.
Green Bay Packers
Allen Lazard is going to ball out this season
Allen Lazard might not be a name that most are familiar with, but he grew as one Aaron Rodgers’ favorite targets as the season progressed. Lazard was also the biggest winner after the draft because Green Bay managed to not supply Rodgers with more offensive weapons. Outside of Davante Adams, someone will need to make plays for this Green Bay receiving core and I expect Lazard to be the guy. I’m all over him in best ball and dynasty leagues. As for this season, he’s got some really good late round flex appeal.
David Montgomery will run for 10 touchdowns this season
As a rookie last season David Montgomery rushed for almost 900 yards. His yards per carry weren’t great, but you could credit that to the Chicago Bears’ poor offensive line and to some inconsistent play calling. With the addition of Nick Foles at quarterback I expect a more balanced offense from the Bears this season. When given the opportunities Montgomery can and will produce in this league. He has great vision, great instincts, and a nose for the end zone. Montgomery will be a great fantasy option this season. 300+ touches can be attainable with this new look Bears offense.
Todd Gurley returns to being a top 5 fantasy running back this season
Todd Gurley may be with a new team this season but that won’t stop him from producing like he always has. When Devonta Freeman went down last season with an injury, the running game was nonexistent for the Falcons. Matt Ryan is one of football’s best quarterbacks, but he’s at his peak when having a great running game. I expect Gurley to feast especially in the red zone for Atlanta. If Gurley can solidify the run game, that will open up endless possibilities for the Falcons passing game. The Falcons paid Gurley to be the workhorse so volume shouldn’t be an issue.
New Orleans Saints
Alvin Kamara will go 1,000/1,000 rushing and receiving
When healthy, Alvin Kamara is one of the NFL’s best running backs. He’s been a fantasy star since he came into the league back in 2017. This season is a make or break year for the Saints, and I expect Kamara to produce his best season yet. He’s so efficient as a receiver out of the backfield that he’s a lock for 80 catches, and if New Orleans wants to get over the hump, they need to feed Kamara just a bit more. Kamara is my RB2 this season just behind Christian McCaffery. If somehow Kamara can flirt with 100 catches, he may be pushing to be the top back at season’s end. In a contract year, what better time for Alvin Kamara to ball out than this season.
Teddy Bridgewater will be a top 12 quarterback
New Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has a plethora of weapons at his disposal: Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel. Those players will reap the benefits of much improved quarterback play. Bridgewater is known for playing mistake-free football, and with new head coach Matt Rhule he will maximize Teddy’s talents by getting the ball to his playmakers early and as often as possible. I’m buying a lot of stock in the Panthers this year because I believe with Teddy Bridgewater, their skill players’ fantasy potential will be even greater than last season. Don’t sleep on Teddy and the Panthers this season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady returns to fantasy greatness
If you haven’t heard, Tom Brady is now a Buccaneer. Brady inherits two of best wide receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and he gets to team up again with TE Rob Gronkowski. Brady is hungry to prove the doubters wrong, to show that he can win without Belichick. In Bruce Arians passing system he’s poised to put up big numbers this season. I believe Chris Godwin has 100+ catches and Mike Evans will have 10+ touchdowns. Tampa Bay is going to put up a ton of points this season and I won’t be surprised if Brady is back in the MVP discussion. Brady is a preseason top 7 QB for me and he could even finish as top 3 QB by season’s end.
Terry McLaurin will go for 80+ catches and 1100+ yards this season
Washington second your receiver Terry McLaurin took the league by storm as a rookie last year. Coming into this season his longstanding rapport with QB Dwayne Haskins will be the biggest key in his production. When ‘Scary Terry’ gets going he’s one of the most electrifying wideouts we have in the game. I expect an increase in volume, and new head coach Ron Rivera will find a way to get his best playmaker the ball. I have McLaurin significantly out producing his current ADP as he will finish as a top 15 fantasy wide receiver and become one of the next great talents we have in the NFL.
New York Giants
Daniel Jones is already a top 10 fantasy quarterback
‘Danny Dimes’ was a big winner this off-season when it comes to fantasy production. New Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett has always produced top level fantasy production from not just the quarterback position but the other skill positions as well. Daniel Jones showed major growth as a rookie and had a great finish to the end of the last season with back-to-back 300 yard passing games. Jones will also benefit from having his receiving corps fully healthy to start the 2020 season. This is the Evan Engram breakout season we’ve all been waiting for, and Darius Slayton, Golden Tate, and Sterling Shepard will also benefit from more consistent quarterback play. Don’t be surprised to see Jones take the next step this season.
The Eagles will produce two top 10 fantasy options at tight end
Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert will both feast with a healthy Carson Wentz this season. Ertz has always been the safety blanket, and for most of the past few seasons the number one receiving threat for the Eagles. Goedert has come on as the perfect complement to Ertz with his size and ability to box out safeties running up and down the seam. Wentz has always loved taking shots down field, but the Eagles offense is at its best when gashing it’s opponents with hard play action fakes and hitting their wide open tight ends over the middle. Both are mismatches each week, red zone threats, and both are touchdown creators. They are the two best receiving options on the team and you can count on both finishing as Top 10 fantasy TEs.
The beginning of Blake Jarwin’s stardom finally begins
Blake Jarwin has been the Cowboys back up tight end the last couple seasons but his chance to be the guy has arrived. Although it’s been a small sample size, Jarwin has flashed an impressive ability to create separation and make big plays. Jarwin is the prototypical field stretching tight end that every NFL team covets for today’s game. New Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy will get him the ball, and you can count on that. I may show some hometown bias but Blake Jarwin can and will be the real deal. Just when you think you’ve slowed down Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys’ high-powered receiving core, you’ll get burned by Jarwin. He’s a high end TE2 for me with a chance to be a TE1 by the end of the year.