3 Bold Predictions for 2017
“If you would have told me two months ago, I’d have called you insane.”
We’ll be hearing those words this season, no doubt. That’s why we tune in and why we play fantasy, because we know the wild and unexpected is always around the corner.
Here’s my best attempt at predicting the unpredictable. If you’re keeping score at home, I’d consider it a win to get one of these three right.
Jamaal Charles Regains RB1 status
Charles’ fall from fantasy royalty was quick and brutal, but he wouldn’t be the first injured and aging superstar to make a surprising return to relevance.
Capped at the quarterback position, Denver will be desperate for play makers as they attempt to keep pace in a stout AFC West. Charles gave us a few goosebumps when he finally made his Mile High debut in the preseason, totaling 42 yards on six touches. The best back of his generation is healthy for the first time in years:
“What Jamaal brings, it’s a speed element that we haven’t had in a long time. Third downs, catching the ball out of the backfield. He’s an explosive receiver, I mean he’s a guy that can make a big play at any moment. – Head Coach Vance Joseph.
The Broncos have C.J. Anderson atop the depth chart, but it’s easy to imagine a number of scenarios where, through injury or impotence, Charles gets his chance. If that time comes, I predict we’ll see Charles in the RB1 conversation in 2017.
HALF OF THE TOP-10 RBs ARE BUSTS
Drafting an RB early will come back to bite you in 2017, with at least five of the top-10 backs finishing outside the top 20 in scoring.
We know that 2016 was an anomaly when it comes to the low rate of RB injuries.
Or, put this way by RotoDoc:
… 95.1 percent of the time there will be a higher serious injury rate for RBs (than there was in 2016).
It’s almost certain that we will see more RBs hurt this seasons than last, and the top RBs are not immune to injury.
Outside of Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson, most of the other top-10 RB candidates have at least some question marks:
- Much of the Chargers already-thin offensive line has been injured or suspended. That won’t hurt Melvin Gordon’s workload but it won’t help his efficiency.
- Devonta Freeman goes from the RB-friendly scheme of Kyle Shanahan to whatever scheme Steve Sarkisian brings when he calls his first NFL game this Sunday.
- DeMarco Murray will have to fight off Derrick Henry all year long.
- Meanwhile, top-10 RB Ezekiel Elliott may miss about half of the fantasy regular season.
Be waiver ready in 2017, because it’s going to be ugly at the top of the RB heap.
MARCUS MARIOTA – TOP 5 QB
Last year, with Rishard Matthews and Tajae Sharpe as his top targets, Marcus Mariota finished as the QB12. That, despite a brutal few outings in Weeks 14 and 15 (vs. Denver & Kansas City) and then fracturing his fibula in Week 17.
Before hitting the bye in Week 12, Mariota was on a torrid pace. Through the first dozen weeks of the season, he was the QB4, just behind Matt Ryan.
If Mariota can put up that pace with Matthews and Sharpe as his top receiving options, what can he do now that:
- The Titans have added Corey Davis, the top WR in the NFL draft.
- The team also added one the game’s best red-zone weapons in Eric Decker.
- He has another year of development under his belt – remember he is just 23-years old.
Mariota has put up some huge fantasy games with very little around him. With his supporting cast bolstered, Mariota will be the breakout QB of 2017.