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20 shocking fantasy predictions for 2016


The Red Wedding episode of "Game of Thrones." The final scene in "The Sopranos." The ending to the movie "The Sixth Sense." The results of the 2016 NBA Finals after the Golden State Warriors took a 3-1 lead.

"What are things that were shocking, Alex!"

Correct! Crazy things always happen in the world of NFL statistics, so sometimes you have to think at least somewhat outside the box (and sometimes far out of it) when you're drafting your fantasy football team. With that said, here are 20 scenarios that would not shock me if they came to fruition.

It wouldn't shock me if ... Ezekiel Elliott rushes for 1,400 yards: Think about it. DeMarco Murray rushed for over 1,800 yards two seasons ago, and Darren McFadden broke the 1,000-yard mark despite carrying the ball just 37 times in his first five games of 2015. Elliott will be a stud.

It wouldn't shock me if ... Lamar Miller finishes as a top-five runner: Remember the numbers Arian Foster put up in his short time under coach Bill O'Brien? Those would look good in Miller's stat line, right? He's going to be quite the catch if you can land him in your fantasy draft.

It wouldn't shock me if ... Devonta Freeman isn't a top-10 running back: Freeman averaged 1.13 fantasy points per touch during his historic four-game stretch last season. In his other 11 games, he averaged a modest 0.52 FPPT. I would be shocked if he scored double-digit touchdowns again.

It wouldn't shock me if ... Doug Martin doesn't rush for 1,000 yards: Martin has rushed for better than 1,400 yards in two of his first four NFL seasons. In the other two campaigns, he rushed for a combined 950 yards. There's been talk of Charles Sims being utilized more in the backfield, too.

It wouldn't shock me if ... Sammy Watkins finishes as a top-10 wideout: Over his final six games of last season, Watkins averaged 5.8 receptions, 113 yards and one touchdown per contest. Barring a setback in his return from foot surgery, the Clemson product should put together a terrific campaign.

It wouldn't shock me if ... Keenan Allen leads all receivers in catches: Allen was on pace for 134 receptions last season before a lacerated kidney landed him on the sidelines. Now that he's back at 100 percent, the Cal product should again be a huge targets machine in San Diego.

It wouldn't shock me if ... Cam Newton's fantasy points decline: I'm not talking about a small decline either, as I can envision a scenario where he goes from 389.08 points (2015) down to around the 320-330 point range this season. Superman will still be awesome, but maybe not as awesome.

It wouldn't shock me if ... Carlos Hyde puts up over 1,000 rushing yards: Hyde is in a great position to succeed under new coach Chip Kelly, who loves to use his running backs as his offensive bell cows. The Ohio State product also has little competition for significant backfield touches.

It wouldn't shock me if ... Jeremy Langford ends up being a fantasy bust: Langford sure looked good in the fantasy stat sheets at times last season, but his yards-per-attempt average (3.6), skills as a receiver and blocker left much to be desired. Jordan Howard could be a sleeper here.

It wouldn't shock me if ... Golden Tate finishes with over 100 catches: This one isn't a bold prediction, as Tate has finished with 90 or more catches in each of his last two seasons. But fantasy fans need to realize just how productive he can be with Calvin Johnson out of the league.

It wouldn't shock me if ... Andrew Luck records 320-plus fantasy points: Luck was a disappointment last season, but he was on pace to score 299 fantasy points in limited time. He could be a very nice bargain, and he doesn't have to worry about a new long-term contract.

It wouldn't shock me if ... DeVante Parker finishes as a top-15 wideout: Sure, Jarvis Landry is the Miami wideout to pick in fantasy drafts. However, would it shock anyone if Parker ended up being the better of the two Dolphins receivers? He has a mountain of upside in South Florida.

It wouldn't shock me if ... Duke Johnson leads all runners in receptions: The addition of new coach Hue Jackson is great news for Johnson, who will be utilized much like Giovani Bernard was while Jackson was the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati. D.J. could be a serious PPR steal.

It wouldn't shock me if ... Coby Fleener finishes with 70-plus catches: Jimmy Graham averaged 89 catches (551 targets) over his final four seasons in New Orleans, and Ben Watson finished with 74 catches (110 targets) in 2015. Look for Fleener to thrive in New Orleans.

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It wouldn't shock me if ... Donte Moncrief has better than 1,000 yards: Moncrief finished just 267 yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark last season, and that was with Luck on the sidelines for nine games. With Luck back at the helm, I'm expecting the Ole Miss product to have a solid campaign.

It wouldn't shock me if ... Larry Fitzgerald fails to produce 1,000 yards: Fitzgerald is a future Hall of Famer, and he's been a great fantasy wideout for much of his career. However, there's a lot of mouths to feed in the Cardinals pass attack and Fitzgerald is entering his age-33 campaign.

It wouldn't shock me if ... Ladarius Green catches more than 70 passes: Over his last four seasons in which he played at least 15 games, Heath Miller averaged 65.6 catches for the Steelers. Now that the athletic Green will fill that role, he's going to have a chance to put up solid numbers.

It wouldn't shock me if ... Stephen Gostkowski outscores most tight ends: This sounds bold right? But in truth, Gostkowski has done it in each of the last five seasons! I'm not telling you to draft him in the middle rounds, but I will grab him in Round 10-11 ... and I'll be thrilled about it.

It wouldn't shock me if ... Tyrod Taylor is a top-10 fantasy quarterback: Last season, two quarterbacks scored more fantasy points per passes and rushes combined than Taylor. That was Newton and Russell Wilson. Entering a contract year, I can see Taylor making a real statistical climb.

It wouldn't shock me if ... Kenneth Dixon leads Ravens runners in points: I'm a fan of Justin Forsett, but he's 31 and could end up being pushed for backfield touches in training camp. The biggest threat will come from Dixon, who has a ton of upside (as long as he cures his fumbilitis).

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Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!