Fantasy Football Predictions

Fantasy Football Predictions

The following is Gridiron Experts fantasy football predictions for the 2018 NFL season. 15 writers contributed their predictions and offered insight into at least one of their predictions for the upcoming season. Don’t forget to signup for our newsletter to stay in touch and get all our FREE fantasy football content in 2018.

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Mike Rigz

Twitter: @MikeRigz

Category Team Prediction
Undervalued Fantasy QB
Andrew Luck
Breakout Fantasy RB
Royce Freeman
Breakout Fantasy WR
Chris Godwin
Breakout Fantasy TE
David Njoku
Rookie RB of the Year
Saquon Barkley
Rookie WR of the Year
Michael Gallup
Bust QB of 2018
Jimmy Garoppolo
Bust RB of 2018
Sony Michel
Bust WR of 2018
Kelvin Benjamin
Bust TE of 2018
Trey Burton
Fantasy Prediction & Thoughts

I’m not sure how anyone could feel good about Sony Michel’s fantasy value in 2018. The Patriots have always been difficult to predict, especially when it comes to the team’s running back group. Some Fantasy owners feel that because the Patriots invested a first-round pick into Michel, that he will automatically emerge as the front-runner as the team’s primary running back. But Bill Belichick doesn’t answer to anyone, it’s his call and if a player like Michel misses the entire preseason due to injury, you can almost guarantee that he is at the bottom of the pecking order and will have to earn a larger role throughout the season. The Patriots are not the type of team that draft for need, they like to build for the future and ease players along slowly. If Michel does emerge this season, I don’t expect to see it happen any time soon. Overall, I just can’t see Sony Michel living up to his 7th round average draft position this season.

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Anthony Cervino

Twitter: @therealNFLguru

Category Team Prediction
Undervalued Fantasy QB
Dak Prescott
Breakout Fantasy RB
Rex Burkhead
Breakout Fantasy WR
Marquise Goodwin
Breakout Fantasy TE
Trey Burton
Rookie RB of the Year
Saquon Barkley
Rookie WR of the Year
Michael Gallup
Bust QB of 2018
Carson Wentz
Bust RB of 2018
Derrick Henry
Bust WR of 2018
Brandin Cooks
Bust TE of 2018
George Kittle
Fantasy Prediction & Thoughts

In a quarterback-rich 2018 class, I believe Carson Wentz is poised to disappoint. Not only is he coming off of a significant knee surgery, but as of this writing, he has yet to be cleared for contact. As a result, even if he doesn’t miss any early regular season time, I don’t believe Wentz’s knee will be good to go. And while he can play through any lingering effects, remember Joe Flacco, Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota from 2017. All three QBs played the year with their lingering injuries and all returned regressive statistical seasons. Looking beyond his injury, I don’t trust Wentz’s cast of weapons. Alshon Jeffery, who I view as more of a WR1b/ WR2 than a WR1, is dealing a shoulder injury — he is expected to miss at least the first two weeks of the year. Plus, Nelson Agholor is a question mark. While breaking out in 2017, he could be in line for a regression. Agholor was viewed a bust before his big year last season. With Zach Ertz Wentz’s most reliable weapon, it’s no wonder why Wentz has never passed for more than 3,782 yards, leaving him extremely touchdown dependent. If Wentz doesn’t throw for another 30 plus scores, it will be difficult for him to return fantasy football value at his 6.05 ADP. I can’t justify taking him over Kirk Cousins, Andrew Luck or Jimmy Garoppolo, who could all be had around Wentz’s ADP.

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Michael Hauff

Twitter: @TheFFRealist

Category Team Prediction
Undervalued Fantasy QB
Blake Bortles
Breakout Fantasy RB
Royce Freeman
Breakout Fantasy WR
John Ross
Breakout Fantasy TE
Trey Burton
Rookie RB of the Year
Saquon Barkley
Rookie WR of the Year
Anthony Miller
Bust QB of 2018
Alex Smith
Bust RB of 2018
Kenyan Drake
Bust WR of 2018
Brandin Cooks
Bust TE of 2018
Evan Engram
Fantasy Prediction & Thoughts

This summer, Jerick McKinnon has been at the forefront of some heated debates. I plan to fan the flames by calling him my breakout back in 2018. Critics will say that since McKinnon is too small and has yet to do it on the NFL level, he cannot handle a heavy workload. The rebuttal to that is Devonta Freeman, a back who averaged three hundred touches a season under Kyle Shanahan and is billed around the same height and weight as McKinnon. Then, you have an improved offensive line with the additions of Weston Richburg and Michael McGlinchey. Finally, we have head coach Kyle Shanahan. Some call it lazy analysis but if you turn a blind eye to what Shanahan has done for the position, you’re doing it at your own peril. If Steve Slaton’s 2008 success isn’t current enough, take a look at Carlos Hyde who had just 64 targets in his first three seasons. In 2017, his lone season under Shanahan, Hyde would receive 88 targets which helped him finish as the ninth-ranked back in half-point PPR formats. At its core, fantasy football is about volume and for Jerick McKinnon, the path to volume is paved with gold.

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Andrew Erickson

Twitter: @AndrewErickson_

Category Team Prediction
Undervalued Fantasy QB
Dak Prescott
Breakout Fantasy RB
Melvin Gordon
Breakout Fantasy WR
Keelan Cole
Breakout Fantasy TE
Blake Jarwin
Rookie RB of the Year
Royce Freeman
Rookie WR of the Year
DJ Moore
Bust QB of 2018
Carson Wentz
Bust RB of 2018
Kareem Hunt
Bust WR of 2018
Golden Tate
Bust TE of 2018
Greg Olsen
Fantasy Prediction & Thoughts

Keelan Cole will finish the season in the Top 15 at the WR position. I was already high on Cole even before the Marqise Lee injury. He finished the 2017 fantasy playoffs (Weeks 14-16) as the WR2 in PPR leagues just behind DeAndre Hopkins. Cole in 2017 averaged 2.16 fantasy points per touch last season, and 997 airyards…on just 83 targets. DeAndre Hopkins led the NFL in airyards last season with 2,243 total airyards on 174 targets. Hopkins Airyards/target: 12.89, Cole Airyards/target: 12.01. I love his big play ability, and with the WR room even more wide open for targets, Cole is my WR to emerge. The only thing I could see stopping Cole from a full-on breakout is a regression from quarterback Blake Bortles.

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Derek Brown

Twitter: @DBro_FFB

Category Team Prediction
Undervalued Fantasy QB
Andrew Luck
Breakout Fantasy RB
Dalvin Cook
Breakout Fantasy WR
Tyler Lockett
Breakout Fantasy TE
Trey Burton
Rookie RB of the Year
Saquon Barkley
Rookie WR of the Year
Michael Gallup
Bust QB of 2018
Deshaun Watson
Bust RB of 2018
LeSean McCoy
Bust WR of 2018
Josh Gordon
Bust TE of 2018
Jimmy Graham
Fantasy Prediction & Thoughts

The stars are quickly aligning for Tyler Lockett to skyrocket up the wide receiver ranks this season. Doug Baldwin hobbles into week one dealing with a knee injury and estimating himself between 80-85%. Should Baldwin succumb to his balky knee during the season, Lockett would assume the number one role in this offense. Over the last two seasons when Lockett has flashed week winning upside. From 2016-2017 Lockett has finished as a top 15 wide receiver in 18% of the games in which he has played 60% or more of the snaps. The Seahawks have 217 vacated targets from last season up for grabs this year. Seattle also leads the NFL in vacated red zone targets (44), receptions (26), and touchdowns (15). For all the mutterings from their offensive coordinator about force feeding the run game this season the fact remains that the defense will be significantly downgraded this year. The Seahawks will find themselves trailing during the second half in the majority of their games and thus will be forced to lean on the passing game. Tyler Lockett possesses both factors that continually fuel fantasy breakouts which are talent and opportunity.

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Paul Alan

Twitter: @PaulAlanNFL

Category Team Prediction
Undervalued Fantasy QB
Dak Prescott
Breakout Fantasy RB
Derrick Henry
Breakout Fantasy WR
Mike Williams
Breakout Fantasy TE
Ricky Seals-Jones
Rookie RB of the Year
Saquon Barkley
Rookie WR of the Year
DJ Moore
Bust QB of 2018
Carson Wentz
Bust RB of 2018
Jay Ajayi
Bust WR of 2018
JuJu Smith-Schuster
Bust TE of 2018
Greg Olsen
Fantasy Prediction & Thoughts

In 2016, Dak Prescott shined as a Rookie and blazed his way to a top-6 fantasy QB finish. He showed versatility as a pocket-passer and consistently made plays with his legs. Through eight games in 2017, he again was producing as the sixth best fantasy QB. However, he hit a rut in the second half of the season and seemed to lack any chemistry with his premier pass-catcher, Dez Bryant. But even in his slump, he still finished as QB10 through all 16 games. He also tied Cam Newton for most rushing TD’s by a quarterback after racking six scores on the ground in 2017. Yes, the team parted ways with their number one WR in 2018 and saw their Hall of Fame caliber tight end retire. However, they reloaded the pass-catching group decently by signing former Jaguar Allen Hurns and drafting Michael Gallup in the third round. When you combine the lack of a true red-zone receiver with his rushing ability, you are presented with a fantasy QB that could use his legs in the red zone more frequently than we have seen him do in prior years. He is currently being drafted as QB20 and I believe he will finish as a top-8 fantasy QB in 2018.

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Zach Greubel

Twitter: @ZachGreubel

Category Team Prediction
Undervalued Fantasy QB
Philip Rivers
Breakout Fantasy RB
Joe Mixon
Breakout Fantasy WR
Chris Hogan
Breakout Fantasy TE
David Njoku
Rookie RB of the Year
Saquon Barkley
Rookie WR of the Year
Michael Gallup
Bust QB of 2018
Patrick Mahomes
Bust RB of 2018
Jay Ajayi
Bust WR of 2018
Sammy Watkins
Bust TE of 2018
Evan Engram
Fantasy Prediction & Thoughts

Picking a player to break out the year after he missed seven games may be ill-advised, but Chris Hogan is a hot name that has risen up draft boards as Week 1 approaches. The former Buffalo Bill has a fantastic opportunity to show the Patriots he’s a capable No. 1 wide receiver with Julian Edelman suspended for the first quarter of the season. Tom Brady targeted Hogan plenty in 2017, this offseason and in the preseason. He’ll look Hogan’s way often with Edelman sidelined, including near the end zone. In just nine games, Hogan saw eight targets inside the 10-yard line. Had he played a full season he would have been in the top five in that category. When he was on the field, Hogan was consistent. He managed at least 60 yards and/or a touchdown in six of his nine games while seeing nearly seven targets per game. Hogan will be Tom Brady’s No. 1 wide receiver for at least four games on one of the most pass-happy and highest scoring offenses in the NFL. A WR2 status is completely attainable.

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Jason Willan

Twitter: @ConsultFantasy

Category Team Prediction
Undervalued Fantasy QB
Matthew Stafford
Breakout Fantasy RB
Dalvin Cook
Breakout Fantasy WR
Corey Davis
Breakout Fantasy TE
Trey Burton
Rookie RB of the Year
Saquon Barkley
Rookie WR of the Year
Michael Gallup
Bust QB of 2018
Carson Wentz
Bust RB of 2018
David Johnson
Bust WR of 2018
Tyreek Hill
Bust TE of 2018
Evan Engram
Fantasy Prediction & Thoughts

I think people are ignoring a lot of red flags when it comes to David Johnson this season. He was a fantasy stud on a Cardinals offense that ranked sixth in the NFL in scoring and ninth in total offense in 2016, but that unit took a major step back last season, ranking 25th and 22nd in those categories, respectively. The offensive line was among the worst in the league last year, didn’t seem to be much improved in the offseason, and then lost its starting center to a torn ACL in training camp. The potential drop off from Carson Palmer and offensive guru Bruce Arians in 2016 to a Sam Bradford/Josh Rosen amalgamation and defensive-minded Steve Wilks in 2018 also cannot be understated. His volume should keep him fantasy relevant, but I think Johnson will hugely disappoint relative to his ADP as one of the first 3-4 players off the board.

 

 

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Derek Wiley

Twitter: @dwiley1223

Category Team Prediction
Undervalued Fantasy QB
Philip Rivers
Breakout Fantasy RB
Joe Mixon
Breakout Fantasy WR
Marquise Goodwin
Breakout Fantasy TE
David Njoku
Rookie RB of the Year
Saquon Barkley
Rookie WR of the Year
DJ Moore
Bust QB of 2018
Ben Roethlisberger
Bust RB of 2018
Alvin Kamara
Bust WR of 2018
JuJu Smith-Schuster
Bust TE of 2018
Jimmy Graham
Fantasy Prediction & Thoughts

I seem to be one of the few that is not sold on Alvin Kamara returning 1st round value in 2018. He only handled 201 touches in 2017 and scored 14 total touchdowns. Although he will undoubtedly receive more touches in 2018, there is no way he remains so efficient. He scored a touchdown every 14.35 touches and averaged an astounding 6.1 yards per carry. I don’t think either of these numbers is obtainable in 2018. Combine that with better weapons in the passing game this season. The Saints added Cameron Meredith, Tre’Quan Smith, and Ben Watson. The Saints are already set up to have a better passing attack than in 2017. With the improvement in the wide receiver corps, it could mean fewer target for Kamara. The last thing being overlooked is strength of schedule. According to FantasyPros, the Saints face the 23rd toughest running back schedule. This includes games against the Giants, Ravens, Vikings, Rams, and Eagles. 8 of the Saints 16 games are against teams that made the playoffs in 2017. This could lead to more shootouts or games in which the Saints are trailing late in the game. For all of these reasons, I will be avoiding Kamara in round 1.

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Jesse Jones

Twitter: @majesstik1

Category Team Prediction
Undervalued Fantasy QB
Matt Ryan
Breakout Fantasy RB
Melvin Gordon
Breakout Fantasy WR
Chris Godwin
Breakout Fantasy TE
Kyle Rudolph
Rookie RB of the Year
Saquon Barkley
Rookie WR of the Year
James Washington
Bust QB of 2018
Pat Mahomes
Bust RB of 2018
Joe Mixon
Bust WR of 2018
Devin Funchess
Bust TE of 2018
Evan Engram
Fantasy Prediction & Thoughts

ATL faces a fairly daunting rushing schedule and a very light passing schedule. With a down year last year, I would expect Matt Ryan to bounce back with a top 12 QB season. Gordon is the forgotten bell cow in fantasy football. He saw 83 targets with Henry and Gates on the roster, now he’ll be forced to see more targets with both gone. Whisenhunt had a combined 25% target share to RBs in his previous tenure in SD. Gordon is also elite in Red Zone usage and success. Look for MG3 to produce a top 5 RB season. Godwin looks ready to eat all the other WRs lunch on TB’s roster. He should be on the field quite a bit this year. Kyle Rudolph is playing for an OC that made Gary Barnidge a household name, and was last in an offense that helped Zach Ertz finish as TE3. Rudolph should see 100+ targets and finish as a top 5 TE. It would take an injury to keep Barkley from being the top rookie RB. Washington plays in an air it out offense that has helped Martavis Bryant produce monster numbers in the past. Washington has already shown big-play ability in the preseason. Mahomes is all hype right now and I hope he does well. On a weekly basis, I think he’s going to be a roller coaster ride that will be hard to trust every week as a QB1. Mixon plays in one of the slowest offenses in the league and has not looked great running the ball yet this preseason. With the offense that Norv has designed for Cam Newton, and Norv’s prior history of having low target totals for his WR1, Funchess looks like he may be hard to start week to week. Engram is being drafted for what he did last year without OBJ and Shepard playing most of the year, and now has Barkley to compete with as well. He won’t return 5th round draft value.

 

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John Ferguson

Twitter: @FantasyFerguson

Category Team Prediction
Undervalued Fantasy QB
Eli Manning
Breakout Fantasy RB
Corey Clement
Breakout Fantasy WR
Taywan Taylor
Breakout Fantasy TE
Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Rookie RB of the Year
Saquon Barkley
Rookie WR of the Year
Anthony Miller
Bust QB of 2018
Jameis Winston
Bust RB of 2018
Chris Thompson
Bust WR of 2018
Josh Gordon
Bust TE of 2018
Trey Burton
Fantasy Prediction & Thoughts

Chris Thompson is a tough player for me to list as a bust, but at his current late 6th round ADP on fantasyfootballcalculator.com it is warranted. I genuinely like Thompson as a player. I think he is a talented receiving threat out of the backfield and I was actually really high on drafting him last season before his breakout. The biggest problems I have with Thompson this year is that there is no value at his current ADP and he is coming off a brutal injury. Thompson has scored an average of 9.8 fantasy points per game in PPR leagues over the last four years. He has been outscored during that time by Duke Johnson (10.9 PPG), Theo Riddick (10.9 PPG) and Gio Bernard (11.9 PPG). All players who are available after Thompson anywhere between rounds 8-13. If you wanted, you can dive even deeper and grab Javorious Allen who is essentially going undrafted despite finishing last season as the RB23 in PPR leagues with an average of 10.4 PPG. Thompson has also only played a full 16 game season once in his career in 2016 when he finished as the RB28 in PPR leagues with an average of 9.2 PPG. Pass catching backs are a dime a dozen these days. They’re generally inconsistent contributors dependent on game flow to carve out a solid role on a week-to-week basis. It’s a senseless strategy to reach for Thompson so early, especially coming off the injury, when you can get a carbon copy at the end of the draft.

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Matt Foreman

Twitter: @foremania

Category Team Prediction
Undervalued Fantasy QB
Andrew Luck
Breakout Fantasy RB
Joe Mixon
Breakout Fantasy WR
Marquise Goodwin
Breakout Fantasy TE
Vance McDonald
Rookie RB of the Year
Royce Freeman
Rookie WR of the Year
Michael Gallup
Bust QB of 2018
Carson Wentz
Bust RB of 2018
LeSean McCoy
Bust WR of 2018
Allen Robinson
Bust TE of 2018
Eric Ebron
Fantasy Prediction & Thoughts

I’m judging a player’s worth relative to where he is drafted. Hence, a “bust” may still be a valuable fantasy player in 2018, just not worth his current cost (ADP). If he’s being drafted too early, then he’s on my bust list. If he’s a bargain given how late he’s being drafted, then he’s a great value or a breakout candidate. My favorite breakout candidate this season is Steelers’ TE Vance McDonald. Like most fantasy sleepers, he comes with some risk, and for Vance, 2018 boils down to a very simple proposition: continue to rack up injuries and disappoint, or stay healthy and put up career numbers. Finally healthy and acclimated to the offense at the end of 2017, Vance put up 10 catches for 112 yards in the Divisional Round against the Jaguars’ #1 pass defense. If healthy in 2018, he is a top-10 fantasy TE, and he’s not even being drafted in most leagues.

 

 

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Brad Castronovo

Twitter: @bkc78

Category Team Prediction
Undervalued Fantasy QB
Drew Brees
Breakout Fantasy RB
Derrick Henry
Breakout Fantasy WR
Marquise Goodwin
Breakout Fantasy TE
David Njoku
Rookie RB of the Year
Saquon Barkley
Rookie WR of the Year
DJ Moore
Bust QB of 2018
Deshaun Watson
Bust RB of 2018
Jerick McKinnon
Bust WR of 2018
AJ Green
Bust TE of 2018
Greg Olsen
Fantasy Prediction & Thoughts

I think it’s entirely possible that David Njoku breaks out this year. When you look at the year-end-rankings at the position, a name always seems to pop out and surprise you… “Wow, that guy was Top 5?” Don’t be shocked if “that guy” is Njoku this year. My prediction is based on volume and opportunity. With the questions surrounding Josh Gordon, the departure of Corey Coleman, and the relative youth of the Browns’ receiving corps, they’re going to need a solid #2 behind Jarvis Landry. While the Browns will undoubtedly be improved over their 0-16 campaign last year, I still anticipate them playing “catch up” in many games, and having the opportunity to throw the ball a bunch. Njoku has the opportunity to build on his 32/386/4 line from last year, and I think he can double his production in every category… with the upside to do even more. Standing 6’4, the imposing figure should get the nod in the Red Zone over the much smaller Jarvis Landry, and I have no doubt that fantasy owners will prosper as a result.

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Chris Nalls

Twitter: @CNalls83

Category Team Prediction
Undervalued Fantasy QB
Dak Prescott
Breakout Fantasy RB
Derrick Henry
Breakout Fantasy WR
Will Fuller
Breakout Fantasy TE
Trey Burton
Rookie RB of the Year
Royce Freeman
Rookie WR of the Year
Michael Gallup
Bust QB of 2018
Jimmy Garoppolo
Bust RB of 2018
Royce Freeman
Bust WR of 2018
Sammy Watkins
Bust TE of 2018
Evan Engram
Fantasy Prediction & Thoughts

I think this will finally be the year that Will Fuller will break out. The Houston Texans selected Fuller who played his college ball at Notre Dame University in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft. Fuller is one of the quickest wide receivers in the league posting a 4.32 40 yard dash at the combine and not only is he quick, but Fuller and his speed can create excellent separation from whatever defensive back that is lined up against him. Now in year three, Fuller will have his health as well as a competent quarterback in his favor. Last season Fuller and Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson played in only four games together, but the duo connected for an insane seven touchdowns and 279 yards. Fuller’s four out of nine career touchdowns were from 20 plus yards out. If Watson and Fuller can play all 16 games this season and stay healthy, I think Fuller could potentially move up to a wide receiver two in most fantasy formats. When considering Fuller’s upside, speed, and a dynamic quarterback like Watson that can get Fuller the ball, there is no reason why you should not select him in all fantasy drafts.

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Daniel Lake

Twitter: @dlake631

Category Team Prediction
Undervalued Fantasy QB
Kirk Cousins
Breakout Fantasy RB
Joe Mixon
Breakout Fantasy WR
Cameron Meredith
Breakout Fantasy TE
Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Rookie RB of the Year
Saquon Barkley
Rookie WR of the Year
Michael Gallup
Bust QB of 2018
Deshaun Watson
Bust RB of 2018
Kenyan Drake
Bust WR of 2018
Doug Baldwin
Bust TE of 2018
O.J. Howard
Fantasy Prediction & Thoughts

I feel like Kirk Cousins is being criminally undervalued this season. For starters, Captain Kirk is currently being drafted as QB#9 despite not finishing lower than the 8th best fantasy QB since 2015, which came in the first year he took over the full-time starting duties from the perennially injured Robert Griffin III. Cousins then finished the 2016 season as QB5 and last year ranked QB6. During that 3-year span, Cousins has thrown over 4,000 yards per season on at least a 64% completion percentage, and with a minimum of 25 passing TD’s and 4 rushing TD’s per year. And he did it all as a member of the Washington Redskins whose top offensive firepower consisted of names like Crowder, Garçon, Jackson, Reed, Morris and Kelley. No disrespect to those guys (ahem), but they aren’t Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Kyle Rudolph and Dalvin Cook. Those guys actually managed to turn yearly backup Case Keenum into a viable fantasy starter during the 2017 season. The Minnesota Vikings have upgrades all over the field for Cousins to work with which I think will elevate him into QB3 territory.

 

 

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