Bold NFL Predictions
The following is a list of Gridiron Experts staff 2017 bold predictions for fantasy football and for the upcoming NFL season.
Prediction Group A
Prediction Group B
Prediction Group C
Bold Predictions Explained
Jason Willan: Evan Engram is a Top-10 Fantasy TE Rookie tight ends are notoriously difficult to depend on in the NFL, but the uber-athletic Engram is likely to be utilized all over the field in a pass-happy Giants offense. The coaching staff has talked about working their first-round draft pick into different formations as a receiver, and he’s already lined up in the backfield during the preseason, opening the door for more opportunities. He’s fighting for targets behind Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard, but I expect the Giants to utilize Engram as a major weapon in 2017.
Bob Talbot: DeVante Parker is a top-10 fantasy WR Cutler has a tendency to latch on to one of his receivers and pepper him with targets night and day. Jarvis Landry, a short and intermediate route specialist, doesn’t strike me as the guy an aggressive gunslinger like Cutler will gravitate towards. DeVante Parker, on the other hand, has the skill set and athletic profile to fit the Cutler go-to receiver mold. Jay recently called DeVante Parker a “faster Alshon Jeffery” after finding him a few times downfield in his preseason debut. The tandem followed that up with a 72-yard connection in their second preseason game together against the Eagles. Parker was a human highlight reel in college and possesses the speed, size and ball skills to be the featured role in that offense. As long as Smokin’ Jay is under center, expect big things from Parker.
Adam Strangis: Christian McCaffrey is the next Bell or Johnson I’m not only going to buy the hype, I’ll double down. McCaffrey has excellent receiving skills, vision in the run game, and will take over the Panthers offense along with QB Cam Newton. The NFL is moving towards the versatile RB and McCaffrey fits the bill in every way. Unlike Bell and Johnson, McCaffrey has a QB that adds a running threat. WR Kelvin Benjamin will be a threat on the outside while TE Greg Olsen handles the middle of the field. McCaffrey is a total mismatch for the full season and records 300+ touches en route to a top 10 RB season.
Michael Hauff: 4 Rookie RB will each finish with 1,100 and five touchdowns I have often been referred to as the fantasy cougar due to my high hopes on rookies. That being said though, I believe that I’m thinking more with my head than my heart on this one. The incoming rookie running back class has enough promise to be revered just as much as the wide receiver class of 2014. Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey, and Joe Mixon will each finish the season with 1,100 total yards of offense and five touchdowns. I say this with complete knowledge that with the exception of Fournette, the other three rookies are playing alongside potential touchdown vultures. These are hard predictions to make as rookies don’t have the statistical body of work that a veteran may have but, this is a bold prediction that will become a reality.
Hunter Gibbon: Todd Gurley is a top-3 RB In 2016, fantasy gamers were drafting Todd Gurley in the Top-5 overall. Unfortunately, Gurley gave them a thoroughly mediocre RB17 season long finish in return. While much of the blame should be placed on Gurley, Jeff Fisher’s laughable offensive scheme, a bad OL, and a lack any credible receiving threats were difficult obstacles for him to overcome. Enter Sean McVay, the youngest coach in the NFL with an innovative and successful offensive system. Enter Andrew Whitworth and John Sullivan, two significant upgrades at the tackle and center positions. Enter Sammy Watkins, a talented downfield threat who will keep safeties honest. If Goff can begin to show some of the tools that made him the No. 1 overall pick in last years draft, the Rams offense will take a large step forward. Gurley is an unbelievable talent, and one poor season under the worst possible circumstances should not change our opinion on him. He will maintain an elite opportunity share, especially with Lance Dunbar out indefinitely, and he has demonstrated incredible big play ability. With his situation looking considerably less bleak in 2017, I am willing to bet on Todd Gurley’s talent placing him back among the position’s elite.
Joe Hulbert: Adam Thielen outplays Stefon Diggs As you can see in our above predictions, Stefon Diggs is a wideout who is being predicted to make a huge jump in 2017 as he is a player who has flashed potential in what has been a very limited Vikings passing offence that has been hampered by a historically tragic offensive line. Diggs is seen by most to be the de-facto WR1 on this Vikings offence, but I do not buy into his production at his current ADP, and am predicting another Vikings receiver to be the leader in fantasy points. Adam Thielen was quietly one of the breakout players of 2016 as he reached around 1000 yards and scored five touchdowns. Thielen is currently going in the 11th round which is strange, because he will in theory get the volume, and his redzone potential is higher than that of Stefon Diggs. Thielen will be moved into the slot this year per Vikings beat writers, and at 6’2, he will provide a mismatch problem which should help the Vikings move the chains in a regular basis. Thielen should in theory finish as a top 25 wideout, and the fact he is being used in the slot on a team with a below par offensive line means he should get volume, and plenty of check downs. His potential prowess in the redzone also means that in addition to volume and a consistent amount of yards, he should have the ability to get around seven or eight touchdowns, which gives him the potential to be a top 25 wideout in both fantasy formats. Diggs will get more work on the outside this year, but Thielen’s versatility means he will in my opinion, outperform the former Maryland prospect.
Andrew Erickson: Terrelle Pryor leads NFL in receiving yards Terrelle Pryor is going from one of the worst passing offenses to one of the best in 2017. When I projected out the statistics for the Washington Redskins offense, it showed that Pryor would finish the year with the most receiving yards in the NFL. Part of this is because of Pryor himself, and another part is the other receivers that also have a chance to lead the NFL in receiving. Looking at the top five guys from last year in terms of receiving yards there is reason to believe they could all regress in that aspect. But first we will start with Pryor. Like I previously stated he is going from a subpar offense to a prolific passing attack. I believe that he will assume the number one wide receiver role. Aside from him being extremely talented, the only competition for targets are Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed. Unfortunately, both these players have already been dealing with injuries. Meanwhile Pryor has been 100 percent healthy and developing great chemistry with Kirk Cousins. Right now, I have Pryor slotted to receive 25 percent of the Redskins target share for a total of 146 targets, two more than last year. And that is still with Reed getting 122 targets and Crowder getting 93 targets. This is a pass-first offense and I truly believe Pryor will flourish as the number one option. Now going back to the other receivers. The top five wide receivers in terms of receiving yards a year ago were T.Y. Hilton, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, and Antonio Brown. In terms of Beckham, Evans, and Brown those teams have all added extra weapons that will potentially take away total yards from these number ones. For Hilton, Andrew Luck may be missing time, so I am sure that he will not be back as the NFL’s leading wide receiver. For Julio, I believe Matt Ryan is due for regression, which will result in less yards for Julio. With these wide receivers looking like they may have less receiving yards it means somebody will have be bumped up into the top five. I believe that player will be Terrelle Pryor and he will end up as number one.
Brad Castronovo: Joe Mixon will be the Bengals’ 3rd best fantasy RB The Mixon hype train is in full gear right now, with people insisting that talent will always prevail. However, Jeremy Hill is currently sitting at the top of the depth chart and based on recent media reports, might have the starting job locked up for good. Not to mention, even if Mixon were to beat out Hill, Giovani Bernard is still another mouth to feed. Hill should, at the very least, get the Red Zone carries at the beginning of the season, which provides strong TD potential, boosting his appeal. Remember, people are currently drafting Mixon in the 3rd round of fantasy league drafts. I find that it’s entirely possible for Hill to handle the early down work, Bernard to get the receiving snaps, and that Mixon takes the year to learn the offense and develop under the two veterans ahead of him on the depth chart. Combine his 3rd string status with his 3rd round ADP and I wouldn’t be shocked if Mixon turns out to be the biggest bust of the fantasy season. Not to mention, the demons of past behavioral issues will forever loom in the back of fantasy owners’ minds.
Matt Foreman Martavis Bryant is a top-15 WR If he stays on the field, which is far from certain, I think Bryant’s a lock to be a top-20 receiver, and likely elevates to the top 15 or beyond (Bryant was WR15 in fantasy PPG in 2015). He’s been a nearly touchdown-per-game player during his brief career, and seems to have a newfound commitment to his craft. If he was “very good” in his second season, imagine how good he can be if he’s fully invested.
Anthony Cervino: Jamaal Charles is fantasy relevant again (Top 20 RB) “I’ve been intrigued by Jamaal Charles’ move to the Denver Broncos since he signed his one-year, $1 million deal that includes another $2.75 million in incentives back in early-May. It is a minimal, “”show-me”” deal in which would do minimal damage to Denver’s salary cap if they were to release the oft-injured rusher before the start of the 2017 season — reports have suggested that Charles was not a lock to make the final roster. However. Charles made his team and his preseason debut over the weekend, and per head coach Vance Joseph, he solidified his roster spot. Totaling 42 yards on six touches and showcasing his talents in pass-protection against the Green Bay Packers, Charles was not only effective, but he also proved that his surgically repaired knee could hold up when making sharp cuts to extend a play and evade the opposing defenders.