By Aaron Charles @aaroncharleskc on June 3, 2014
Making bold predictions for fantasy football is always fun. In fact, every league should have a little time capsule that every member can put their bold predictions in at the beginning of the season to be opened at the end of the season. It would be a great way to add to the ridicule that already exists among the members of most leagues. Here are 25 of my own predictions that I will try to read without cringing at season's end.
Sproles will not only be 31 when the season begins, but he also left the ideal situation for him with the New Orleans Saints. I wouldn't expect him, or anyone else really, to take a lot of touches away from LeSean McCoy. He may get a few looks in the passing game but not enough to make him worth a start.
DeSean Jackson leaving town has Cooper a bit too high in the early rankings. Jackson may be gone, but Jeremy Maclin is healthy again. On top of that, rookie Jordan Matthews and Darren Sproles should steal a few targets too. After three years of nothing, a couple of big games from 2013 has Cooper overrated.
Jones is clearly the man in Atlanta now. Without Tony Gonzalez stealing his end zone targets, his ceiling will be huge. He just needs to stay healthy.
Very few who drafted Richardson last season will be targeting him again. He was flat-out terrible. The good news is, he should be much improved now that he knows the system. The Colts traded a first-round pick for Richardson in a talent-heavy draft. The front office will look very stupid if he doesn't succeed, so it's likely he will get every chance to do so.
Wayne was serviceable last season before he went out for the season, but age should finally catch up to the 35-year-old. One thing Wayne used to have going for him was a crazy amount of targets from Andrew Luck. The emergence of T.Y. Hilton and addition of Hakeem Nicks will cut into that in a major way.
The Detroit Lions love to throw as much as anybody, and they have a lot of weapons in the passing game now. Ebron is too talented to get lost in the mix of pass-catchers. I expect the rookie to emerge, while a couple others will lose their targets to him.
Tate went from being a big fish in a small pond of weapons in Seattle to the opposite in Detroit. Someone has to lose targets to Megatron and Ebron, and I think Tate (as well as Brandon Pettigrew) will be the biggest victims.
The Denver Broncos added Emmanuel Sanders and traded up to get Cody Latimer in the draft. Welker is now 33 years old and the best candidate to lose targets in a crowded arsenal, which also includes Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas.
Hilton finished very strong last season and has big breakout potential in his third season.
Jackson has been used and abused in his career, and it's catching up with him. Rookie Devonta Freeman will eventually take a significant amount of touches if injuries don't sideline him first.
Stafford's aforementioned arsenal is by far the most talented he's ever had.
The only aspect that makes this a bold prediction is that it assumes Murray won't get hurt. The injury-prone back is one of the best fantasy options in the game when healthy. In 14 games last season, he racked up the seventh highest point total among running backs.
Martin has reportedly recovered from last year's season-ending shoulder injury. At 100 percent, he is a stud. Moreover, Josh McCown and Lovie Smith being in town should increase his end zone opportunities.
Say what you will about him, but he's got skills. His instincts are incredible, and if given the chance to play, he'll definitely be good for some points on the ground.
Injuries may change this outlook, but right now, Sankey is the only rookie with a real chance to start. He was the first running back selected in a draft that was weak at the position. Chris Johnson has gone to the New York Jets, leaving Shonn Greene as Sankey's only competition for touches.
Johnson may not have reclaimed his monster status from early in his career, but he has never had less than 1,400 total yards in a season. At 28, he is far from done. He was the ninth highest scoring running back last season, and there's no reason to believe he is slowing down.
Brady's underwhelming fantasy production in 2013 was due mostly to a crazy lack of weapons. He had to scramble to find passable receiving options early on, and it took a while to get on the same page. Brady should be back now that he has some chemistry with the new guys, and he still wasn't too bad without it.
Tate will finally get his much-deserved shot as a featured back with the Cleveland Browns, and I think he'll flourish. He could be one of the biggest steals of the draft.
There's no doubt Kansas City will have a top-notch special teams crew with Dave Toub running things. And Bob Sutton's aggressive defense will definitely be good for some sacks and turnovers. If they can keep a lid on the points allowed, they'll easily top the fantasy rankings.
The battle is far from over, but Miller, not Knowshon Moreno, has been getting the reps with the Miami Dolphins' first team. I believe Miller to be the more talented back, and with an offensive line that isn't in shambles, he has breakout candidate written all over him.
Brandin Cooks landed in the perfect situation for a receiver with his skill set. The Saints traded up to get him at No. 20 in this year's draft, which means they probably have some plans to use him.
With DeSean Jackson gone, Maclin is the main man in a high-powered offense. He has major breakout potential if he can find a way to stay healthy.
Cameron broke out in 2013, and I expect him to keep it going in 2014. He was the fifth highest scoring tight end last season on a team that definitely wasn't lighting up the scoreboard. Some improvements and more consistency to the offense should help raise his end zone targets.
Considering the lack of receiving options on the Carolina Panthers' offense, it may be tempting to draft Benjamin. That would be a mistake. He may get a few targets and create some size mismatches, but the rookie is just too raw to succeed in the pros right away.
Only Peyton Manning and Drew Brees scored more points than Charles last season, and it wasn't a fluke. Charles has never averaged lower than 5.0 yards per carry in a season. In Andy Reid's offense, he is heavily involved in the passing game and gets the end zone carries. His talent is unquestionable, and the offense completely revolves around him. He should be the first player selected in all fantasy drafts.
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