Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire
With the 2018 season less than two weeks away, fantasy drafts are in motion. I think it’s fair to say that most of us tend to “reach” on a certain player during selections, and even during the season through waiver adds. But that’s okay. It pays to be bold, and here are some predictions I believe will come to life for each skill position (except kicker because it’s such a crap-shoot) and team D/ST.
1. Patrick Mahomes goes from a streamer to permanently on your roster
He may not be grabbed on draft night by many, but when it comes time to start streaming a quarterback (due to BYE week or an injury), Mahomes will be your first choice. And he’ll play so well, that you’ll want to hold onto him the rest of the way. Think Deshaun Watson last season, before his year ended of course. Mahomes may have a bit of a turnover issue, but his dynamic arm will surely connect plenty with the likes of Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Sammy Watkins.
2. Christian McCaffrey will be a top-4 PPR running back
Aside from the obvious likes of Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell, and David Johnson, look for McCaffrey to join their ranks as a top-4 PPR running back this season. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner is surely going to incorporate CMC as often as possible, as he has shown plenty in the past; six RBs have lead the league in rushing under him. Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson is one of them, even providing his thoughts on McCaffrey’s potential:
“The thing I’m excited about seeing is how Norv is going to use him in the run game. Norv is going to get him on the perimeter. He’s going to call the things that Christian does well – getting him on the edge, getting him into space. So you’ll see a lot of those toss plays, you will see the misdirection plays…to me, Christian will be the guy, the premier player in that offense.“
My guess is anywhere from 15 to 20 touches a game, varying from draws to the edge, to quick dump offs and getting him the space he’s accustom to exploiting.
3. A. J. Green will bounce-back immensely from an up and down 2017
Now this may not be as bold as some other takes, but banking on Green to bounce-back in extreme fashion is the key. All things considered, he didn’t have an awful 2017; 1,078 yards on 75 catches, 8 of them going for touchdowns. But at his 6’4″ frame, you expect Green to be more of a red zone threat. Last year, he was only targeted 19 times, catching seven balls in the process. I would hope Andy Dalton recognizes Green is the focal point of that Bengals offense, and targets him when it counts the most.
Look for Green to end up with 90+ grabs, and double digit scores.
4. David Njoku will finish as a top-5 tight end
Targets and receptions will be plentiful for Njoku, who is poised for a breakout sophomore year with the Browns. You can expect Jarvis Landry and Josh Gordon to get a ton of looks, but Njoku has the size and tools to remain a viable fantasy option. His draft stock has definitely fluctuated since the start of training camp, and you can bet on him being drafted earlier than originally expected. Quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield both have a history of TE reliance in their game, and so if Njoku can do his part and create mismatches, he should solidify his standing as a top TE this season.
Throwing it out there: Njoku will lead the Browns in red zone targets and scores within this range.
5. The Seattle Seahawks D/ST has its worst season under Pete Carroll
It’s pretty clear that the Legion of Boom is a unit of the past over in Seattle. Notable departures heading into 2018:
- Richard Sherman is a 49er
- Michael Bennett is an Eagle
- Sheldon Richardson is a Viking
- Earl Thomas is exercising a holdout due to contract disagreements
- DeShawn Shead is a Lion
- Cliff Avril was released (and may not play again)
- Kam Chancellor retired due to a neck injury
- Jeremy Lane was released and is still a free agent
Quite the list for what once was such a dominant defense. This side of the football for Seattle is certainly set for a continued decline. It started to show the last two seasons, and I expect more of the same upcoming. Since 2016, this D/ST has barely reached top 10 value. Going into 2018, the team hasn’t really made necessary improvements. I’m willing to go as far as saying that they will be able available on your waiver wire more often than not, and won’t be held reliable as a steady play.