Sunday, September 2, 2012

32 Bold Predictions for 2012

A lot of places make a bunch of "bold predictions" that are either not very bold, overly specific, or internally contradictory. I strive to make my predictions as realistic as possible without any of these issues, because they really take away from the point of similar articles. I could predict that every wide receiver was going to be the #1 WR in fantasy this season, and each one of those individually would be bold, but I would only get one correct and the rest would be wrong. This is how you do bold predictions; one for each NFL team. These predictions might not be the most bold, but they are part of my fantasy creed and are generally contrary to other people's opinions.

Arizona Cardinals : I hate to start on a negative bold prediction, but Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams will each finish outside of the top-25 fantasy running backs this season. In fact, the only player on the whole team who will be startable is Larry Fitzgerald, and he won't finish in the top-5 at WR (despite being listed there in my final rankings -- consistency counts when drafting). Everyone else will finish 20th or worse at their respective positions. Sorry Cards fans, the offensive line is too bad to generate offense.

Atlanta Falcons : I won't bother talking about Matt Ryan, Roddy White, or Julio Jones, except to say that I expect both Roddy and Julio to have at least 9 touchdown receptions. I think that Michael Turner will finish as a strong RB2 this season, finishing the season around 13th amongst running backs. Injuries will help this cause, but I believe he will outscore other big names like DeMarco Murray and Jamaal Charles.

Baltimore Ravens : Torrey Smith will have a great year with over 1,300 receiving yards but 7 or fewer touchdowns.

Buffalo Bills : The only surprising thing about the Bills this season will be their defense, which will finish in the top-5 overall and ahead of the 49ers defense.

Carolina Panthers : For one reason or another, Cam Newton will finish outside of the top-5 quarterbacks in the NFL. Steve Smith will not be a top-15 wide receiver in fantasy, but Greg Olsen will crack the top-10.

Chicago Bears : Michael Bush will be owned in less than 30% of leagues by the end of the season, after failing to produce in any of the first 8 games (less than 10 points across the board). The Brandon Marshall -- Jay Cutler connection will be underwhelming, but the duo will still finish in the top-10 at their respective positions.

Cincinnati Bengals : Andy Dalton will be started as often as possible in every BQBL (Bad Quarterback League), and A.J. Green will fail to make the top-15 WRs this season. 

Cleveland Browns : Trent Richardson will be shut down for the season before Week 13 (just to protect his knee), and Greg Little will have fewer than 500 receiving yards.

Dallas Cowboys : Dez Bryant will be a top-6 WR, while DeMarco Murray will fall well outside of the top-10 running backs this year. Look from him around the 16th RB.

Denver Broncos : While Peyton Manning will not have a stellar season, he will still crack the top-10 QBs. This will lead Eric Decker into the top-10 WRs, while Willis McGahee will fall outside of the top-25 running backs for various reasons.

Detroit Lions : Titus Young will not be a top-30 receiver this season.

Green Bay Packers : Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings will each have over 10 touchdowns this season, but Jennings will have over 200 more receiving yards.

Houston Texans : Both Arian Foster and Ben Tate will finish in the top-20 running backs.

Indianapolis Colts : Coby Fleener will have fewer than 500 yards and 5 touchdowns this season, and Andrew Luck will outscore Andy Dalton without passing for 4,000 yards or over 22 touchdowns.

Jacksonville Jaguars : Justin Blackmon will surpass A.J. Green in both yards and receptions this season, but will not be a top-10 fantasy receiver. Laurent Robinson will not be a top-40 WR.

Kansas City Chiefs : Jamaal Charles will finish with under 1,300 total yards and 6 touchdowns, and will finish around the 18th RB.

Miami Dolphins : What to say about the Dolphins...? Davone Bess will be respectable, but not worth rostering in most leagues. 

Minnesota Vikings : Adrian Peterson will come back strong from injury and will score over 10 points in Week 1. He will average over 10 points per game this season.

New England Patriots : Brandon Lloyd will not be a top-25 receiver this season and will be one of the biggest busts overall.

New Orleans Saints : Marques Colston will be a top-10 receiver and Mark Ingram will fail once again to live up to fantasy expectations. Travaris  Cadet will start at least one game for the Saints this season (maybe the most bold prediction yet).

New York Giants : Eli Manning will not be a top-10 QB, and neither Victor Cruz nor Hakeem Nicks will be a top-10 receiver this season.

New York Jets : Apart from Shonn Green and Dustin Keller, Tim Tebow will be the most valuable fantasy player on this team in terms of rankings (I admit this is pretty far fetched).

Oakland Raiders : Rod Streater will be a household name and will outscore Denarius Moore in fantasy points this season.

Philadelphia Eagles : LeSean McCoy will barely be a top-10 fantasy RB, Michael Vick will barely be a top-15 fantasy QB, and Jeremy Maclin will not be a top-25 fantasy receiver. The only stipulation here is that Nick Foles does not become a weekly starter in fantasy. These are the only two options; either Foles kicks ass or the entire Eagles offense suffers.

Pittsburgh Steelers : This offense will not be good. No top-14 receivers. No top-14 running backs. No top-14 quarterback. No top-14 tight end. (This is much more bold than you might think)

San Diego Chargers : Ryan Mathews will have over 1,800 scrimmage yards and 10 or more touchdowns this season.

San Francisco 49ers : No 49ers receiver will crack 900 receiving yards, including Vernon Davis.

Seattle Seahawks : The Seattle Quarterback will be worth starting in a 12-team league basically every week this season. Zach Miller will be the biggest surprise, as he will be a top-10 TE this season.

St. Louis Rams : Steven Jackson: Top-10 RB.

Tampa Bay BuccaneersDoug Martin and LeGarrett Blount will both be valuable starters this season, but neither will be a top-17 RB due to injuries.

Tennessee Titans : Kenny Britt will start at least 12 games, but still won't crack 750 receiving yards. He will be dropped in  most leagues before the end of the season.

Washington Redskins : A running back on this team will be valuable with consistency...I just don't know which one yet. My bets are on Alfred Morris (I think that is his name).

Hope you enjoyed; tell me if I missed a team or you want more details about a prediction.


  1. Hi Aaron, I like your blog and it's helped me a lot in my drafts. A few questions:

    1) I have Michael Turner. Should I drop Willis McGahee from my bench to add Jacquizz Rodgers?

    2) Do you think Peyton Hillis steals enough TDs from Jamaal Charles to make him worth a shot?

    3) Why are you down on the Giants and Steelers?


    1. All excellent questions.

      1) I really don't think that you should ever drop a starter for a backup RB, unless the backup is looking at serious playing time. I am not sold on Jacquizz, just because he doesn't fit the running style of the Falcons. Even if Turner got hurt, my gut tells me that they would add someone like Ryan Grant to suplement their backfield (if they don't feel like they have the strength they need).

      2) I think Peyton Hillis is worth owning and worth starting against teams with poor run defenses as a flex player. I think Charles will still be the more productive back on games where the defense falters.

      3) I am down on the Steelers because Ben Roethlisberger has had too many lower body injuries and because Mike Wallace missed all of training camp. Wallace has a big attitude, and so if he is not personally up to speed, he is going to blame the rest of the team for him not getting the ball. The Steelers also have serious issues at running back right now (even though Mendenhall looks to be getting healthy). The Steelers offensive line has been bad for a while, and I don't think they can pass or run block effectively enough for the AFC North. All three teams in that division have strong defensive lines and linebackers.

      As for the Giants, I just think the situation is much different than it was last season. People often underestimate how much change affects an offense, and when you talk about losing Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs; it doesn't look like much on paper, but it could have a huge impact. Offensive diversity was an asset for the Giants over the last few seasons, but now they have limited themselves to one veteran runningback and two relatives green receivers. Bradshaw and Nicks each have injury issues, and the Giants have been leaning on Jacobs over the last few years to keep Bradshaw relatively healthy. I still like Ahmad, but teams only have to gameplan for him right now. I'm sure the Giants want to use Wilson, but it doesn't look like they trust him. Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks are going to be asked to carry the offense, but Eli Manning throws far too many interceptions to sustain that offense. He turns the ball over all the time (with interceptions and fumbles), and teams will be able to key on Nicks and Cruz in a way they couldn't last season. Teams also have a full year of game-tape on Cruz, so they know what kinds of patterns he will be running in the offense. The receivers are a great pair, but that doesn't necessarily lead to fantasy or statistical production. I just think the Giants will struggle a bit, and are asking a few key pieces to do too much of the work. As much as he likes to pretend, Eli Manning is not Aaron Rodgers or Peyton Manning.

      Hope this helps, and as always, this is just a place to find second opinions. What I write will never be perfect.