Bold Fantasy Football Predictions[the_ad id=”58837″]The NFL preseason is underway which can only mean that fantasy drafts are happening daily. Some folks are just cracking open a magazine for the first time this season, while others are tinkering with their rankings over a cup of coffee for the umpteenth time. During your brief or thorough research process, you really start to develop opinions on players and philosophies. It starts as cautious optimism, but can quickly turn into stubborn passion. These thoughts coming to fruition or failing miserably will represent the difference between hosting fantasy football gold at season’s end or becoming the basement dweller in your league of record. I’m no different and I have a couple of thoughts of my own on how this season will shake out, and with Gridiron Experts about to launch a serious of prediction articles in the coming weeks, I just couldn’t wait.
I don’t speak for everyone here at Gridiron Experts, so here are my personal bold Fantasy Football Predictions for 2016.
Russell Wilson will NOT Finish as a Top-3 QB
Do you hear that? It’s the sound of a social media riot headed in my direction. Russell Wilson has, and will continue to be, this year’s sexy top-5 pick at quarterback and the love is not completely unwarranted. If you pick up a magazine or listen to podcasts, chances are good you’ve heard someone mention the outside possibility of Russell Wilson becoming the number one fantasy quarterback in 2016. While I agree his intangibles are real and I do consider him elite, I do not believe that he will finish inside the top-3 at his position even with Tom Brady missing the first four games. The Seahawks have long been known as a run-first offense. Last season, however, Marshawn Lynch only managed to play in 7 games and a fractured ankle to Thomas Rawls created a unique opportunity for Wilson to take over the offense.
Wilson flourished with the offense relying on his arm upping his previous season’s effort with 14 more passing touchdowns and 500 more yards. Wilson only managed to surpass 300 yards in one game despite a career year while guys like Drew Brees (10) and Carson Palmer (9) had more. As good as Wilson was thru the air, his rushing stats dropping from 849 yards and 6 TDs in 2014 to 553 yards and one TD in 2015. While some folks would make the general assumption that he must have run less, he only had 15 less rushing attempts in 2015. Thomas Rawls should be healthy this year and fantasy football folks are fawning over Christine Michael. I’m predicting that with a healthy running game (albeit behind a lesser offensive line) Russell Wilson will not be called on to throw as often. When you factor that in with plenty of other QBs capable of putting up huge years, I’m going to predict that Wilson finishes outside fantasy’s top-3 QBs.
- See Where Gridiron Experts Ranks Russell Wilson in their QB Rankings
Frank Gore Will Rush for 1,000 Yards
There are certain players that I trust despite their age. I know these players will be on my team when Father Time finally catches up to them, but I’ll gladly take their fantasy production until then. A live by the sword and die by the sword sort of philosophy. One of those running backs is Adrian Peterson and the other is Frank Gore, which shouldn’t come as a complete and utter shock if you have read my piece on Frank Gore.
Other than fantasy enthusiasts fear of age, it is not crazy to say that Gore can hit a mark that he missed last year by only 33 yards. That’s right, Gore barely missed 1,000 yards rushing despite being 32 years old and part of a defunct offense. He is being overlooked based on birthday candles and not what he’s capable of doing. Gore hasn’t had less than 250 carries in 5 consecutive years, which is becoming exceedingly rare. He has a healthier offensive line and the return of Andrew Luck should shift the defensive focus away from him. Do not draft him as your RB1, but I have faith that Frank has a bit more left in the tank.
- See Where Gridiron Experts Ranks Frank Gore in their RB Rankings
Tom Brady can still Finish as a Top-15 QB
If you take away four games of Tom Brady’s average fantasy production, he would have still finished as a top-15 QB in four of the last six years. If you can afford the roster spot and you can draft a placeholder QB for the first four games of the season, I would tell you it might be a good idea to stash Brady after getting him for a song in fantasy drafts.-Thanks for the discount.
Tom Brady will be reignited with his old flames Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman in Week-5. Throw in elite two-TE sets with new addition Martellus Bennett and the Patriots offense will be cooking with gas! I boldly say that upon Tom Brady’s return he will rise up the ranks faster than a speeding bullet and give you QB1 numbers on a week-to-week basis. If the general belief was that Tom Brady was out for blood last season for almost serving a suspension than what should we expect this year after he does serve a four-game suspension. The answer is unrelenting vengeance with angry Tom Brady primed to give defensive coordinators fits upon his return!
Eddie Lacy Will Finish as a Top-10 RB
I’m all-in on a redemption year for the Packers offense this season, and that includes Eddie Lacy. It is hard to give an assessment of Lacy without including all of the issues with his weight. A lot of folks want to say simply that a slimmer Eddie Lacy, thanks to P90X, will be capable of bouncing back, but it goes beyond the weight issue. It takes a certain amount of focus, dedication, and work ethic to do what Lacy has done. The mental aspect of the weight loss is just as encouraging as the physical transformation for Lacy.
Work ethic means hitting the weights, watching film, and practicing hard. All signs out of Packers camp is that his is doing all the right things. Lacy even admitted after the Packers preseason game against the Browns that he felt “more explosive” while making cuts. Lacy’s skill set was never a question so if the dedication and work ethic is there then fantasy production is sure to follow with a Packers offense that should also bounce back. In the two seasons before 2015, Lacy never had less than 30 receptions, 1,200 total yards, and ten touchdowns. I think Starks will get some work, but I like Lacy’s chances to replicate his numbers from 2013/2014. If he can return to form, then he can slide himself right in there as a top-10 RB in standard and PPR formats close to where Gridiron Experts rank him. Let’s not forget that this is a contract year for Lacy so he will need an impressive showing to create leverage at the bargaining table.
Some fantasy footballers just want to have fun with friends while others want nothing more than to hoist fantasy football gold and bask in the glory that is their league mates heartache. Whichever of those best describes the type of fantasy player you are; you should know that things that seem unpopular or bold now will seem obvious in a few months. Don’t let groupthink prevent you from making the bold decisions that win championships.
Mike is a hardcore fantasy football fan. He has been doing serious writing for a couple of years now and loves finding the next big sleeper that no one is talking about. He also isn’t afraid to go against the grain and predict the next big bust. The fantasy community is as strong as ever and Mike is ready to help you win a title!