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NFL fantasy football: Five predictions for 2013

1. Wes Welker is not going to have a career year or anything close to it with Peyton Manning. There seems to be this idea out there that Welker is going to tear it up this year. You're talking about a dude who has caught 672 passes over the last six seasons. That's more than any receiver over any six-year span. You telling me this guy is going to do better in Denver?

To review, Peyton Manning has Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Jacob Tamme, Joel Dreessen and a host of other ancillary parts. Going a step further, when the Broncos started pounding the run in Week 14, they became a far better club. Welker catches 80-95 balls, not 115.

2. Megatron will not touch 2,000 yards. A lot of fans speculated whether or not Calvin Johnson would go where no man had gone before last year, and it didn't happen. Some speculated that if he had a threat on the other side of the field, he would have. I'm going the other way with that. BecauseNate Burleson got hurt, Ryan Broyles got hurt, and Detroit only ran the football 33.7 percent of the time (yes, the lowest in the NFL), Johnson was the focal point of the offense every series. Not this year.

He should average about 100 yards a game, or close to it, but I think Detroit's coaching staff realizes it must use its running backs more. Remember, they did sign Reggie Bush.

3. There will be some unusual suspects in the top 10 of fantasy defenses. My sense is there will be some newbies nearing the top ten or inside of it this year. I like the Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings, St. Louis Rams, and even the Dallas Cowboys defensive units this year.

The Bengals were solid in fantasy last season (fifth). I think they could finish even higher. If the Vikings, Rams, or Cowboys don't quite make it to 10th, I feel they will be just on the outside and excellent waiver additions. So, if they're going up ...

4. The Bears defense is due for a letdown. Chicago's defense was absolutely redonkulous last season in fantasy, scoring 222 points. Denver was second at 182. That's a heckuva margin. The Bears should fall to at least the five to seven range if not the outskirts of the top ten.

They lost defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli as well as their coach-on-the-field in Brian Urlacher. Julius Peppers and Lance Briggs are still the best defensive players on the roster, yet they are entering their 12th and 11th seasons, respectively.

5. Philip Rivers is due for a comeback. I get it. Philip Rivers was pretty awful last year. But do you realize how high we set the bar for this guy? People talk about the fact he was "awful" the year before because the Chargers struggled. Rivers threw for 4,624 yards and 27 touchdowns in 2011. The 20 interceptions hurt, but the dude wasn't awful. In 2010, Rivers threw for 4,710 yards and 30 touchdowns. Trust me, the San Diego quarterback is definitely moved into the underrated category.

New head coach Mike McCoy comes to Rivers with a young offensive mind, fresh perspective, and having worked with Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning in consecutive seasons. With Vincent Brown healthy, and Danario Alexander not walking out of Chotchkie's and straight onto the football field, Rivers' help should make a noticeable difference.

Follow Elliot on Twitter _@HarrisonNFL_.

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