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Grading My Bold Predictions
1. Saquon Barkley (RB 5) will be a top-three PPR fantasy back.
Verdict: False. This wasn’t a bad prediction — Barkley finished at the No. 5 PPR back, but given that was his eventually ADP, I had to go bigger and say top-3. (0-1)
2. The Buccaneers will not win the NFC South
I don’t think it’ll be the Falcons, so that leaves the Panthers and the Saints, both of which have a decent shot. I actually bet on the Panthers at +1200. The Bucs are prohibitive favorites, but Tom Brady is 45, lost two offensive linemen to injuries and Rob Gronkowski to retirement.
Verdict: False. Again, this wasn’t terrible, either as the Panthers were live as of Week 17, and the Bucs had a disappointing year. But in the end the Bucs did in fact win the NFC South, and I have to take the L. (0-2)
3. Baker Mayfield (ADP 275) will have a better fantasy year than Dak Prescott (ADP 121)
I don’t like Prescott without Tyron Smith, and Amari Cooper is gone, while Mayfield has better weather than he did in Cleveland, D.J. Moore and Christian McCaffrey.
Verdict: LOL. Mayfield lost his job, and Prescott crushed him despite missing four games with an injury. (0-3)
4. Christian Kirk (55) will have a better fantasy year than Courtland Sutton (28)
Kirk is the only game in town, while Sutton has competition in Jerry Jeudy and deep threat K.J. Hamler.
Verdict: True. This one was spot on. It turned out Kirk was not the only game in town, and I didn’t think the Broncos passing game would collapse entirely, but Kirk destroyed Sutton despite his much lower ADP (1-3)
5. DJ Moore (32) will outproduce Deebo Samuel (22)
Moore has a real QB for the first time in his career, while Samuel has an untested running QB and won’t score so many rushing TDs this year.
Verdict: True. While neither had a good season, Moore was the WR24 in PPR, while Samuel was the WR33. That said, Samuel missed a few games and on a per-game basis outscored Moore 13.83 to 12.82, but part of the reason I faded Samuel was due to his rugged style and propensity to get hurt. And Samuel had only two rushing TDs in 2022 after scoring six in 2021. So I’ll take the W where I can get it. (2-3)
6. Javonte Williams (RB11) will be a top-five PPR back this year.
Melvin Gordon will get a few touches, but Williams in Year 2 will be the clear 70/30 starter in a good offense and do more work in the passing game.
Verdict: False. Obviously, Williams got hurt, so we’ll never know for sure, but given the state of the Denver offense, there’s virtually no way he would have been a top-five PPR back this year. (2-4)
7. Kyle Pitts will break the record for TE receiving yards (1.416) set by Travis Kelce two years ago.
He’ll take a leap in Year 2, the Falcons will be trailing most of the time and Pitts is too big and fast to guard.
Verdict: ROTFLMFAO. The only worse bold prediction I’ve ever made — and it’s debatable if it’s even worse — was that “Van Jefferson would outproduce Justin Jefferson” during their rookie seasons two years ago. (2-5)
8. Mitch Trubisky will have a better fantasy year than Tua Tagovailoa
Trubisky is more mobile and has some of the best weapons in the NFL with Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, George Pickens, Pat Freiermuth and Najee Harris. I expect Mike Tomlin to get more out of him than Matt Nagy did, and Pittsburgh isn’t as bad a home field for quarterbacks as Soldier Field. I’m fading Tua despite his weapons — I don’t think he has the arm or the instincts.
Verdict: LOL. (2-6)
9. Pat Freiermuth (TE12) will be a top-seven TE
Rookie TEs almost never do anything, and Freiermuth went (79-60-479-7) with the carcass of Ben Roethlisberger under center. There are a lot of mouths to feed in Pittsburgh, but Freiermuth should get his.
Verdict: True. Freiermuth through 17 weeks is TE6. (3-6)
10. Travis Etienne (RB 14) will outperform Austin Ekeler (RB3)
Always bet on youth at the running back spot, and Ekeler himself said that Justin Herbert isn’t Captain Checkdown like Philip Rivers, limiting his catch upside. Moreover, Ekeler is coming off too heavy a workload for him, and I’d expect his rushing TDs to regress significantly.
Verdict: LOL. Etienne was okay at his ADP, but Ekeler was the RB1, one of fantasy’s MVPs and caught 103 passes from Herbert. (3-7)
I hit “publish” too soon, leaving out one important prediction:
11. Some of these predictions will be wrong.
Verdict: True! (4-7)