25 Early Bold Predictions for the 2014 Fantasy Football Season
25 Bold Predictions
The NFL is the biggest business in sports. It's popularity may never be touched. It made a reported $9 billion in 2012. That is a number that cannot be fathomed by most people. The rise in popularity has some to do with the inception and rise of fantasy football.
Fantasy football has become something that everybody gets into. Wives do it with their husbands, fathers pass their keeper team to their sons, co-workers get into it when their teams are playing each other, it goes beyond the actual sport of football. That is why it is never too early to look ahead and make predictions for the 2014 season of fantasy football.
A lot happened in fantasy this year. Peyton Manning had possibly the greatest year in fantasy football history. Nine quarterbacks threw for over 4,000 yards, with two other less than 100 yards away. 17 QBs threw for over 20 touchdowns. Players like Darren McFadden, Maurice Jones-Drew and Ray Rice were the ultimate disappointments to their owners. People who took a chance on Josh Gordon may be carrying the league trophy right now. Serious injuries to Rob Gronkowski, Reggie Wayne and Arian Foster could have swung other leagues as well.
The various amounts of money on these leagues is crazy. A buy in could be as little as five dollars and as much as thousands. People don't mess around when it comes to this. hat is why it is never too early to look into fantasy football. Just remember, these predictions are meant to be bold. It may get spicy in here.
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also adds to the site's NBA, NFL and MLB content. You can follow him on Twitter here.
Russell Wilson Will NOT Be A Top 15 QB
Let's just get this out of the way in the beginning. I think Russell Wilson is perfect for the Seattle Seahawks. He doesn't need to do much and he hands the ball off to Marshawn Lynch often. Unfortunately, that doesn't help fantasy owners. Look somewhere else for a backup QB.
Brandon Lafell Will Finally Have A Very Good Season
It has been since Muhsin Muhammad paired with Steve Smith on his second term with the Carolina Panthers that they have had a legit second receiver. Greg Olsen has been great, but this could be an elite offense if they can get Brandon Lafell over the hump. He has been very close for years and this is the season he finally does it.
Someone Will Overpay For Hakeem Nicks Again
This has to do with teams and fantasy football owners. A one dollar risk is worth it for someone in an auction league for Hakeem Nicks. He might go for between 15 and 20.
Ray Rice Will Once Again Be A Top Back
Ray Rice had the worst season of his career in football. He went from four seasons straight of over a thousand yards to not even getting close. That is after only missing one game due to injury. Rice only had one game all season over 100 yards. He could have been the biggest fantasy disappointment. A hip injury was the main reason for his terrible season. His full recovery will bring back the old Rice.
Geno Smith Will Start For Someone Multiple Games (Maybe You)
Geno Smith will get some receiver help this year that will cause his numbers to look much better in 2014. He has a hold on the offense now and will not be the turnover machine that he was. Will you be the one contemplating picking him up on your QB's bye week?
Aaron Rodgers Will Get Hurt Again
The Swiss cheese that the Green Bay Packers call their offensive line is going to give Aaron Rodgers another injury. There is no way they can fix it in one offseason.
Rob Gronkowski Will Play All 16 Games
This is a bold statement seeing how Rob Gronkowski has not been able to stay completely healthy in three years (one year it was just the Super Bowl, but still). He will stay on the field for every single game this season and it could be one of Tom Brady's best.
Matt Schaub Will Get A Starting Job
Hopefully Matt Schaub has learned from the hellacious season he had this year. He had four straight games where he had a pick returned for touchdown. There will be a team that uses him this season while a young QB develops. There will be weeks where he seems like the best option on the waiver wire.
Adrian Peterson Will Not End the Year A Viking
Adrian Peterson's career is already seven seasons in. I would not say that he is towards the end of his career because nobody knows how he feels, but he has spent a good amount of time on bad teams. His team still does not have a QB in place and every single defense puts eight guys in the box. This will boil over and he will ask to go to a legitimate team.
Mark Ingram Will Be A Draftable Player
People have been waiting for Mark Ingram to be the guy he was when he was winning Heisman Trophies at Alabama, but it never seemed to work out. He finally gave the New Orleans Saints what they were hoping to see in their playoff game against Seattle, averaging close to five yards against their vaunted defense. He should get a shot to be the guy for the Saints.
Robert Griffin III Is Going To Look Like 2012 Again
Look at how Brady's season went after his torn ACL. He went from 50 TDs and eight INTs to 28 TDs and 13 INTs the year after his injury. They say that it is truly a two year injury. The year after he threw for 36 and four. I am not going to say that RGIII is Brady, but he has the extra adage of having running being such a big part of his game. He is going to be great once again this season.
Nick Foles Will Not Repeat His Pro Bowl Season
Nick Foles came out of nowhere this season to be one of the most must start quarterbacks of the season. He was great on the deep ball and single-handedly brought DeSean Jackson back from the dead. Unfortunately, it will be a flash in the pan. His numbers will not be duplicated as the NFC East bolsters up on defense.
The Titans' Running Back Will Be the Worst In the League
All signs point to the Tennessee Titans giving up on Chris Johnson. That will look even worse with Shonn Greene, as the big money backup only rushed for 295 yards on the season. The team will most likely draft someone, but none of this looks good for them.
There Will Be No Good Rookie Quarterbacks Playing This Season
People are going crazy for players like Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater, but none of them will even be worth drafting this season. They could be good one day, but this isn't their year.
The Detroit Lions Will Find A Second Receiver
The Detroit Lions have had Calvin Johnson for the past few years, so a second receiver never seemed necessary. Now it looks like they could use one to help with red zone opportunities. After Nate Burleson broke his leg it was obvious 2013 would not be the year. This year they will find someone legit to stand next to Megatron.
DeMarco Murray Will Be A Top 5 Back
DeMarco Murray was quietly good last season. He had 5.2 yards per carry. Tony Romo took the headlines, good and bad, but Murray could be a franchise RB for years to come.
There Will Be 30 1,000 Yard Receivers
Last season, 24 players went over the 1,000 yard receiving mark. That is with injuries stopping players like Wayne, Victor Cruz, Marques Colston and many more from hitting the mark. With passing numbers continuing to climb at an all time high, it will show a huge number in terms of receiving yards this season.
There Will Only Be 10 1,000 Yard Rushers
Rushing yards will go down next season. Having a 1,000 yard rusher could be the key to winning your league. With less than a dozen players hitting this mark, it will be crucial to get your hands on one, or maybe even two, to win your league.
Peyton Manning Will Not Be the Top QB
With Drew Brees and Tom Brady both upset with the fact that Manning has taken their records, expect both their teams to retool their receiving corps. Somebody is going to usurp him as the top fantasy QB one year after him breaking records. That is also if Manning decides to come back.
Ben Tate Will Be A Flop
Ben Tate is one of the best running backs of the class. Always called the best backup in the league, this could finally be his chance to seize a starting job in free agency. He is going to flop harder than Lamont Jordon did. He had a chance to show what he could do this season and it wasn't overly impressive.
Jordan Cameron Will Be the Top Scoring Tight End
This may be the most bold prediction in this article. Jordan Cameron showed great play making ability during his third season with the Cleveland Browns. With 80 receptions, he showed he was a must start every week. This was even with a different starting quarterback every week, one being Brandon Weeden. This season, he will lead all tight ends.
Eddie Lacy Will Be the NFL's Leading Rusher
Eddie Lacy looks like the best pick in the 2013 NFL draft as of right now. He has the ability to carry the Packers offense, as he showed when Rodgers got hurt. He is going to do it again, and better, in his sophomore season.
Arizona Cardinals Will Be the No. 1 Defense In Fantasy
Everyone talks about the Seahawks and 49ers, but the Arizona Cardinals are going to be the best team to have in fantasy football this season. They have Patrick Peterson, who could be in the argument for best cornerback in football. They were fifth this season, expect them to be first next season.
The Falcons Receivers Will Go Back To Top 15 Players
Julio Jones and Roddy White both dealt with injury problems all season. It was a fluke and they will get back to being top 15 receivers, which can only mean good things for Matt Ryan.
Le'Veon Bell Will Rush For At Least 1,200 Yards
Le'Veon Bell has many Pittsburgh Steelers fans excited for next season. Now that they seem to have a legit running threat, the pressure can come off of Ben Roethlisberger. This offense will turn itself around, with or without Todd Haley at the helm.