The madness that is fantasy football is upon us. Embrace it, love it, let it wash over you. But as the offseason comes to a close, what fun would it be if I didn't immortalize my idiocy in a column making bold predictions that can live forever on the interwebz? Again, embrace it, love it, let my knowledge wash over you.
Luck will leap into the top 2:Andrew Luck, who's essentially in his own quarterback tier (tier 1: Big 3, tier 2: Luck, tier 3: everyone else), is almost universally being drafted as the game's fourth-best quarterback but this year I see "The Neck Beard" terrorizing defenses and becoming the game's second-best fantasy quarterback.
Speaking of third-year quarterbacks ...
Russell Wilson will be a top 5 fantasy quarterback: I don't know why drafters are so low on Danger Russ. He's the 12th QB off the board and currently being taken in the ninth round of standard leagues, but the guy's upside is absolutely tantalizing.
Nearly all of his offensive numbers are trending upwards and so too is his involvement in the offense. Look for Wilson to throw more, run more, and overall just do more. All of that means he will score more.
As a rookie in 2012, Wilson was the actually the 10th-highest scoring quarterback. In 2013, he was the eighth-highest scoring signal caller. In 2014, Wilson will be the fifth-highest scoring passer. Lock it up.
Skittles stock will hit an all-time low and Marshawn Lynch won't finish as a top 15 fantasy back: Beast Mode's heavy workload has been well documented. But I also believe the team from a strategic and financial perspective will be motivated to limit Lynch's carries.
That doesn't leave a lot of cap space for anyone else, including Lynch. And basing this off of nothing other than common sense and a hunch, the team will likely make it at least somewhat of a priority to keep Lynch beyond this season. Having a guy like Marshawn on your roster is better than not having him, regardless of age and wear-and-tear, right? But the only way they can do that from a financial standpoint is to make sure his stats are somewhat deflated when the negotiating begins. Thus limit his touches, limit his stats, limit his market value.
I will say this though: this is the one prediction I hope I'm 1 million percent wrong about and that my absolute favorite player in the league gets all the action he can handle and more, churns out 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns. I just don't think it'll happen.
Draft with extreme caution folks.
Marshawn out of the top 5, making room for ...
Doug Martin will be a top 5 fantasy running back and finally embrace the nickname "Muscle Hamster": Actually I'm not sure about the latter part of that prediction.
I've already written one or two or 7,000 words regarding Martin's role and potential playing for a coach (Lovie Smith) and offensive coordinator (Jeff Tedford) that love running the rock. So enough already. He's going to be sick. I'm totally comfortable and confident in saying that Martin, barring a health issue, will once again be a top-5 back.
What I'm not sure about is him embracing the "Muscle Hamster" moniker. Actually, I'm pretty sure he won't budge on that. So that prediction is a fail. He's going by Doug-gernaut or A-Doug-alypse or Doug-neto or some X-Men-archnemesis-related nickname now. Whatever.
Total sidebar here but I hate that Martin hates "Muscle Hamster." We live in a world of re-hashes and ill-fitting nicknames. I mean really, how many guys can be "The Truth????????" And then from the muck, rose a nickname that was actually unique and apropos and then Martin goes and poo-poohs it. Channeling my "South Park" Johnnie Cochran voice, IT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE.
The 49ers defense won't be a top 12 fantasy unit and the team won't make the playoffs: That's right, I said it. San Francisco will NOT make the playoffs. I can hear Niner nation taking up pitchforks and torches now. It's ok though. Use your aggressive feelings ... let the hate flow through you and accept the fact that your team has too many distractions and too many losses on the defensive side of the ball to return to the postseason.
It's clear this unit is being drafted this highly based purely off of past glories because the current starting roster bears little resemblance to last year's unit that was a top-6 scoring defense in 2013, a top-7 in 2012 and the No. 1 scoring defense in 2011.
Don't be that guy and take the Niners in the seventh round. If you don't get the Seahawks, draft a defense super late and play the matchups.
No. 2 > No. 1: While always mathematically true, fantasy wise, No. 2 wide receivers are obviously expected to perform not as well as their No. 1 counterparts. This year though, I see both Michael Floyd outscoring future yellow-jacket-wearer Larry Fitzgerald and for Alshon Jeffery to break-up the long-standing bromance of Jay Marsh-ler.
I'm also seeing another clear No. 2 wideout outperforming the lead dog but one that deserves its own line item ...
To prevent this atrocity to women's shoes from happening, D-Hop needs to collect 1,100 yards. It's a big number but I'm extraordinarily confident in saying the second-year receiver from Clemson will help me out here.
Bill O'Brien is a coach that at every stop has focused a lot on improving the passing game. The quarterback situation is clearly in flux but having added Ryan Mallett and his big arm absolutely helps. Remember Mallett did spend an entire year with O'Brien when B.O.B was the offensive coordinator in New England so the transition to Houston for Mallett won't be as difficult despite missing the team's entire training camp.
In terms of yards and scores, 1,100 and seven are well within reach ... I hope.