Bold Twitter Predictions
With every football season comes pleasant surprises and colossal disappointments. The 2016 NFL season was no different. For some unlucky fantasy owners, they watched their seasons crumble at the feet of a slumping Todd Gurley, who finished as RB20 in standard scoring. For others, they watched their championship hopes blossom as late-round fantasy pick LaGarrette Blount crashed into the tune of 18 touchdowns and finished as RB7 in standard leagues.
As we look forward to the 2017 season, these are the kinds of scenarios a fantasy owner would love to anticipate. While it is impossible to predict injuries, roster moves, and system changes, there are certain scenarios that are far more probable than others. It is pretty easy to say “Ezekiel Elliott is going to be a top-5 running back in 2017.”, because he already took that title last season and is in a perfect situation to thrive. If you are going to make a claim it should be both bold and original. The bolder the claim, the more it makes your mind race in an attempt to rationalize the prediction.
This week, I posed a question to my followers on Twitter asking for bold predictions for the upcoming 2017 season. Today, I will break down five of my favorite responses and give my two cents on why they will or will not come to fruition. In order to do so, I will play a little game I call “run or pass”. If I “run” with a prediction I will give my reason for supporting it. If I “pass” on a prediction I will provide insight for my skepticism. Finally, I will provide a short list of expert bold predictions from our very own Gridiron Experts staff. Alright, here we go.
— BeerFueledFantasy (@BeerFueledFF) May 14, 2017
Run with it!
In 2016, Isaiah Crowell worked his way up to high-end RB2 status as he racked up 1,271 offensive yards and seven touchdowns. Three more trips to end zone and he would, in fact, have finished in the top-12 in standard scoring. He did this on a team that trailed often and went 1-15. In an effort to win in the trenches more often in 2017, Cleveland utilized free agency to bolster their offensive line. This, coupled with the fact that a young quarterback will be under center, tells me that the Browns will continue to lean heavily upon their feature back in 2017. The competition for touches will be minimal as he is joined in the backfield by an oft-injured Duke Johnson and 2017 seventh-round draft pick Matt Dayes. He’s also 24 years old and in a contract year. I believe he does, in fact, surpass 1,200 rushing yards and 10 total touchdowns. He is my RB13 in my latest rankings.
— Kyle Holden (@KyleHolden25) May 14, 2017
Pass on it.
I will be the first to point out the fact that each year, one of the top running backs seems to flop. Matter of fact, whether it be due to injury or performance regression, recent history will prove that statement to be true. Fellow Gridiron Experts writer Mitchell Renz recently tweeted this stat. “At least 1 RB ranked in the top 3 has finished outside the top 10 every year since 2003.” However, this is the year that streak ends. I cannot remember a year in recent history where the top-3 running backs were so clearly defined. None of these three backs will have a single threat of competition for touches, meaning an injury is the only thing that holds them back from finishing in the top-10. One of these three will, in fact, finish as RB1 in 2017. I have David Johnson, Ezekiel Elliott, and Le’Veon Bell as my top-3 RB’s respectively in my current rankings.
@PaulMalandNFL Paul Perkins 1000+ yards rushing, 8 TDs, 45 receptions
— L_George (@swoldier24) May 14, 2017
Run with it!
The New York Giants have not had a 1,000-yard rusher since Ahmad Bradshaw in 2012. Whether you want to blame that on a lack of talent at running back or a porous offensive line is up to you. Fortunately for the G-men, they have an ascending talent in 2016 fifth-round draft pick Paul Perkins. With Rashad Jennings no longer on the roster, the only thing that stands in the way of Perkins seizing a full workload is himself. The Giants have a well-respected quarterback and a loaded group of pass-catchers to keep defenses from loading the box. Eclipsing the century mark in rushing and tacking on 6-8 touchdowns is well within reach for the second-year back. He is currently ranked as my RB21.
@PaulMalandNFL Cooks top 5 PPR WR.
— $ (@maulers86) May 14, 2017
Pass on it.
I am one of the biggest Brandin Cooks advocates you will find. However, this one is hard for me to rationalize. By no means am I saying this couldn’t happen, but I would be shocked if it did? Let’s put it this way. In the last five years, no wide receiver has finished in the top-5 in PPR scoring with less than 87 receptions. The only way to make it happen with less than 90 catches is to be like Dez Bryant in 2014 with 16 touchdowns or Josh Gordon in 2013 with 1,600 yards. I don’t see either of those things happening for Cooks in 2017. In his first three seasons as a pro, Cooks has finished with 53, 84, and 78 receptions. Now, factor in the mouths to feed in New England including Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell, Dwayne Allen, James White, and Dion Lewis. I would venture to say that only one of that group will finish with more than 90 receptions. I have Cooks listed as WR14 in my latest rankings.
— Craig Talley (@cbtalley) May 16, 2017
Run with it!
There may not be a more potent pair of offensive playmakers on a single team in the NFL than Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. With so much defensive attention being placed on those two, it will leave the Steelers’ vertical threat wide open for opportunity. After being recently reinstated, Martavis Bryant has an opportunity to make a huge impact in 2017 and could very well end up as a high-end WR2 in fantasy terms. As evidenced in his 92 targets in just 11 games played back in 2015, Ben Roethlisberger is not afraid to target him early and often. Bryant has scored 14 career touchdowns on just 76 total receptions and is a highlight reel waiting to happen. I currently have him pegged as my WR34 and possesses tremendous upside.
Early Bold Predictions from our Gridiron Experts Staff
- The guy I’m most excited about in 2017 is Marquise Lee. Many considered him a forgotten soul. However, 2016 was the first season he was truly healthy. He showed his potential by reeling in 5+ catches in six games this year. I expect Lee to burst into the spotlight with a minimum of 80 receptions 1,100 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2017. – Tanner Bollers @TannerBollers
- Tyreek Hill finishes as a top 15 WR- possibly top 10. Why? Coach Andy Reid want to double his snaps and unlike most WR’s he gets sneaky points from rushing yardage. – Mark Bonadonna @MarkBonadonna on Twitter
- Rookie running back Samaje Perine wins a starting gig with the Washington Redskins and rushes for 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns in 2017. – Mike Rigz @MikeRigz
- Christian McCaffrey will finish in the top-10 at running Back in PPR formats in 2017. He will be a plug-and-play option in Carolina and will be used as both a running back and pass-catcher. He finishes with 1,400 offensive yards and seven trips to the end zone. – Paul Maland @PaulMalandNFL
- Matt Ryan will be fantasy football’s most disappointing quarterback in 2017. He had a prolific fantasy season in 2016 and finished second behind Aaron Rodgers in overall fantasy scoring with a 21.7 FPPG average. Although he has passed for at least 4,177 yards in six consecutive seasons, he’s only notched at least 32 touchdowns twice in that span. Ryan’s outstanding 2016 season could be attributed to the presence of then offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who is now the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. With Steve Sarkisian, who has never been anything more than a quarterbacks coach (Raiders 2014) at the NFL level running the offense, Ryan’s statistical production could take a hit. Since entering the league in 2008, he’s finished in the top 10 in fantasy scoring amongst QBs in 5-of- 9 seasons. Don’t be blinded by Ryan’s 2016 campaign. That was an anomaly. – Anthony Cervino @therealNFLguru
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Let us know which predictions you like or dislike the most.