Fantasy football: where you spend more time researching a draft strategy than you did researching all four years of college. Where your starting lineup matters more than your starting family members. A joyous time of year.
With any luck, you will be drafting during the last week of preseason to avoid injury and trade issues. If you didn’t wait until the end, I feel bad for you, son — I got 99 problems, but a draft strategy ain’t one.
Here are the boldest of the bold fantasy football predictions for this season.
1. Melvin Gordon will be ROY
Gordon is a beast that’s built for the pro level. He’s explosive, smart and will make an immediate impact. The Chargers are on a mission for the division title while the Broncos and Chiefs are cooling off. The Broncos lost Julius Thomas to free agency, and Peyton Manning is approaching the end of this career.
Prediction: 1,150 yards and 10 touchdowns
2. Andrew Luck will finish as the fantasy points leader
Coming off his best year yet, Luck is poised for another huge season and potential Super Bowl run. With the addition of veterans Frank Gore and Andre Johnson to the Colts, you can bet that Luck will lead the team to no fewer than 12 wins this year and a likely MVP.
Prediction: 4,800 yards, 42/10 TD/INT
3. Ryan Tannehill will finish behind Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers as top QB fantasy leaders
With a slew of targets and a solid preseason, Tannehill is primed for his best season yet. Combine that with a friendly schedule and expect a strong Dolphins team as well as a Pro Bowl QB.
Prediction: 4,500 yards and 36/14 TD/INT
4. Adrian Peterson will again reign supreme
Teddy Bridgewater is on the verge of a breakout season and with WRs like Mike Wallace and Cordarrelle Patterson, the box won’t be stacked as often. That means Peterson will have more room to run while taking less of a beating. Remember, after coming back from his knee injury, he nearly broke the rushing record. Never count him out.
Prediction: 1,550 yards and 12 touchdowns
5. Unless you draft in the top five, avoid RBs
Yes, you heard me. Outside of Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Eddie Lacy, Marshawn Lynch or Matt Forte, you’re better off waiting until the second round. Running backs are deep this year, so don’t flip the table if you miss out on the top five RBs. A top QB or WR is much more valuable than an RB in picks six through 12.
6. Davante Adams and Odell Beckham Jr. will outperform Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green and Julio Jones
No question. In 12 games, OBJ had 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns. Imagine a full season. Insanity! Adams will start in place of Jordy Nelson. Aaron Rodgers makes receivers supernatural, and Adams will be no different. Megatron will continue to get no help and will see constant double-teams all season. Green is the only receiver for the Bengals, so he’ll also be double-teamed all season. Jones basically has the best chance, but I wouldn’t count on a big year from Matt Ryan. The lack of a run game will change everything.
Prediction: Adams has 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns
Prediction: OBJ has 1,250 yards and 12 touchdowns
7. Cam Newton will have his worst statistical year as a pro
With Kelvin Benjamin out with an injury, plus a lack of both a run game and receiving targets, Newton can expect to line up across from a stacked box all too often. Oh, and then there’s that whole $100 million contract he just signed. It’s a statistical fact that players often underperform after signing a large contract.
Prediction: 3,300 yards, 22/20 TD/INT
8. Don’t sleep on Brandin Cooks and Jeremy Hill
Cooks is replacing Kenny Stills as a starter in an offense that passes much more than it runs the ball, and Marques Colston is in his decline. Hill is a must-draft running back. Giovani Bernard may start the year, but he won’t finish as a starter.
Prediction: Cooks has 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns
Prediction: Hill has 1,150 yards and eight touchdowns