“Its like when I’m right I’m right, when I’m wrong I coulda been right, so I’m still right cause I coulda been wrong.”

Let me repeat that.

“Its like when I’m right I’m right, when I’m wrong I coulda been right, so I’m still right cause I coulda been wrong.”

This quote, as confusing as it may be, has stuck with me for some reason. Ever since the first time I watched the film “Get Rich or Die Tryin’.”

Translated to fantasy; Be confident in your own projections and stand by them.

That being said, here are my bold predictions going into this season:

Mike Williams will finish the year with 10+ touchdown receptions:

This one took a bit of a hit with the recent signing of veteran tight end Antonio Gates, but I think he ends up playing a much more complimentary role this year and won’t vulture more than a couple of touchdowns this season. The Chargers drafted Williams 7th overall in last years draft. While he missed much of his rookie season due to various injuries, teams don’t take a player that high in the draft not to make them a focal point of their offense. Teammate Keenan Allen is a target monster when healthy, but at 6’4” and 218 lbs, Mike Williams should be a perfect red zone compliment to Allen. Quarterback Philip Rivers has averaged over 28 touchdowns per year since taking over as the full-time starter in 2006, and while no player on the Chargers had more touchdown receptions than Allen with 6 last year, 2016 saw Gates and Hunter Henry combine for 15 touchdowns and 5 of the last 7 touchdown leaders for the Chargers have been 6’4” or taller. Rivers will share the touchdown love, but look for the taller Williams to see plenty of attention when this team is down near the end zone. Especially if he keeps making plays like this one:

 

Corey Clement will outscore Jay Ajayi:

62.2 vs. 70.9. That’s the fantasy totals from Clement vs. Ajayi after Ajayi was traded to the Eagles mid-season last year. Head coach Doug Peterson has shown that he likes to use multiple backs, so it’s hard to imagine any of their running backs being used as a bell cow, but given his 4 catches for 100 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl last year, I think it’s safe to assume Clement has earned the respect of this coaching staff. Couple that with the fact Ajayi has never caught more than 27 passes in a season and only scores a touchdown about once every four games for his career, and Clement has a legitimate chance to be the highest scoring PPR back from this offense.

 

Dalvin Cook won’t finish as a top 10 running back. Neither will Christian McCaffery:

These are two running backs who I feel have all the talent but just aren’t in the right situation to succeed this season. At least not to the elite level you expect from a first or second-round pick. Both are playing behind what may very well be bottom five offensive lines this year. Cook is coming off of an injury and is experiencing a lot of change for a team that made it to the NFC Championship game last year. A new quarterback and a new offensive coordinator could take some getting use to. McCaffery is being hyped as a guy that could get 20+ touches a game, but his team signed fellow running back CJ Anderson this offseason after the departure of long time Panther Jonathan Stewart. Which could mean this staff still plans to use McCaffery in more of a pass catching/change of pace role with Anderson serving as the first and second down thumper. Again, both backs have all the talent to succeed at the NFL level, but the running back position is deep this year, and they could both find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to being an RB1 this year.

 

Trey Burton will finish as a top-5 tight end. Jake Butt will finish top-15:

The Bears made Burton a priority this offseason. Considering his new Head Coach was the offensive coordinator that helped Travis Kelce average 15.72 PPR points per game over the last two years, its safe to say they have the same role in mind for Burton. Last years TE5 averaged 10.9 PPR points per game, so similar expectations should be in place for Burton. As for Jake Butt, this one is a bit more of a hunch, but after watching him play at Michigan, the talent is there. With no other real competition at his position on the team, Butt is in a position to earn a starting role sooner than later. His quarterback Case Keenum also supported multiple top wide receivers for the Vikings last year, as well as a top 8 tight end in Kyle Rudolph. At a price tag of essentially free right now, he is worth a late-round flier in a deep league or a weekly look as a streaming option should you choose to stream tight ends.

 

Kenny Golladay will have more receptions than teammate Golden Tate:

Whew! This one’s a doozie. During one of my drafts this year, I went out on a limb saying Kenny Golladay will catch more balls this year than Golden Tate. Bold. Stupid. Drunk. Whatever you want to call it, this is now the hill I am choosing to die on this year. I am all in baby! Even if Tate has not caught less than 90 balls each of the last four years with the Lions. Or that Golladay finished with just 28 receptions last year. The more I’ve looked into it though; it’s not as crazy as it sounds. In 2017, Tate saw his lowest target total as a Lion, and his 76.7% catch rate was by far a career high. His previous three years he averaged a 68.83% catch rate. On 120 targets, that’s only 83 receptions. Golladay also saw just 48 targets his rookie year but was forced to miss time due to injury and only played in 11 games. Stretch that average over the course of the regular season, and that equates to 70 targets. You also have to factor in the loss of Eric Ebron to this offense and the 86 targets he takes with him. The Lions failed to find any sort of reasonable replacement at tight end, so it’s fair to say that a good chunk of those 86 targets will head towards “Babytron” this year. It’s not crazy to think Golladay could receive close to 90 targets this season. While that alone won’t put him close to Tate’s standard of 90+ receptions each year, the Lions drafted Golladay last year knowing Tate is approaching the end of his contract. Golladay is the future here at wide receiver, and he may, in fact, be the present as well.

 

 

All stats courtesy https://www.pro-football-reference.com/

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Ben Condeelis

Ben Condeelis

Husband. Father of 2 little boys ages 5 and 2. Been playing Fantasy Football since the mid-2000's. Love the Lions and NFL. Also really enjoy the team management side of sports. Draft, trade, and free agency.

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