The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

2010 Bold Fantasy Football Predictions Revisited

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Jonathan Bales

While I generally consider myself a somewhat humble person, I truly believe with everything I have that I am the greatest fantasy football owner who has ever walked the face of the planet.  I use a combination of statistics, game theory, and mother’s intuition to beat the competition.

Every year, I post a list of rather bold fantasy football predictions.  These aren’t generic “Peyton Manning will do well” predictions, but genuinely bold forecasts.  In 2009, I predicted the following:

  • Aaron Rodgers would lead the NFL in fantasy points.
  • Michael Turner, Clinton Portis, and Brian Westbrook would not be top 15 running backs.
  • Ray Rice would score more points than Brandon Jacobs, who wouldn’t be a top 20 running back.
  • Laurent Robinson, Sammie Stroughter, and Louis Murphy would be super-sleepers at wide receiver.
  • Jason Witten would approach 100 receptions.
  • Vernon Davis would have a breakout season with 70+ receptions.

My projections tend to seem like “common sense” after the fact, but all of them clash with popular opinion at the time, and often to a large degree.  Here is my list from this year (in case you need proof of my genius).  Each prediction is also pasted below, with commentary.

*Note: These predictions are for point-per-reception leagues.

QB

1.  Aaron Rodgers will lead all quarterbacks in fantasy points by a wide margin–50 or so.

Result: False

I wasn’t too far off on this one, but Rodgers’ late-season concussion allowed Michael Vick to surpass him by five points in my league.  You’ll see Vick’s name again in just a bit.

2.  Matt Schaub, Tony Romo, and Jay Cutler will all score more fantasy points than Peyton Manning.

Result: False

Eh, shut up.

3.  David Garrard will score more fantasy points than Kevin Kolb, Brett Favre, Carson Palmer, and Donovan McNabb.  Yes, Brett James Favre.  And no, I don’t know if his middle name is ‘James,’ but it could be.

Result: True

Despite an injury late in the year, Garrard did beat out all of the aforementioned quarterbacks in fantasy.  Also, it turns out Favre’s middle name isn’t ‘James.’

4.  So will Jason Campbell.

Result:  False

This was still actually close because Kolb, Favre, Palmer, and McNabb were all so poor.

5. Despite impressive rookie seasons, neither Mark Sanchez nor Matthew Stafford will crack the top 20 in fantasy points.  Yes, I mean among quarterbacks only.

Result:  True

It was close, but Sanchez landed just outside the top-20 in my league.  The Stafford injury helped me, but I don’t think anyone else foresaw this.

Super Sleeper: Michael Vick

Result:  BAM!  No. 1 QB in the league

RB

1. Rashard Mendenhall and Knowshon Moreno will outscore DeAngelo Williams by 40+ points.

Result:  True

An injury may have aided me here, but I still feel confident in saying this would have been true even if Williams had not gone down.

2. Despite being labeled a ‘bust,’ Reggie Bush will be a top 15 running back.  He’s got top 10 potential.

Result:  False

I’ll probably make this prediction again next year.  I love the guy.

3.  Matt Forte, Ryan Grant, and Michael Turner won’t crack the top 15, but Grant and Turner will both be in the top 10 in rushing yards.

Result:  Mostly false

Forte was ninth, Grant got injured, and Turner was 14th.  Grant was obviously nowhere near the top 10 in rushing, but Turner did indeed come in as the league’s No. 3 overall rusher in terms of yards.  Turner is a perfect example of a player I despise in PPR leagues.

4.  Cedric Benson, Joseph Addai, Jonathan Stewart, and Brandon Jacobs won’t crack the top 25.  Amazingly, Benson will still be in the top six in the NFL in rushing yards.  Holy crap that is a specific prediction.

Result:  Mostly true

Benson finished 17th among running backs, Addai 45th, Stewart 43rd, and Jacobs 28th.  Benson finished 13th in rushing yards with 1,111.  This prediction was so bold and specific that I’m counting it as a win.

5.  Shonn Greene won’t crack the top 30.  You heard it here.

Note:  Prediction not valid if Shonn Greene scores in the top 30 in fantasy points among running backs.

Result:  True

Despite the little joke at the end of that prediction, I definitely wanted nothing to do with Greene this season.  He was going in the first round of some leagues, so claiming he wouldn’t finish in the top 30 among running backs was pretty gutsy.  He finished 42nd.

6.  Felix Jones has high expectations in Dallas, but he still won’t be a top 20 fantasy running back.

Result:  True

I love Felix’s skill set and what he can bring to Dallas, but he finished 23rd among running backs.

7.  There will be 11 running backs with 50+ receptions.

Result:  False (barely)

I made this prediction due to the way in which the running back position is evolving in the NFL, but only eight running backs finished with over 50 receptions.  11 finished with 47 or more, however, so I was extremely close.

Super Sleepers: Tashard Choice, Rashad Jennings, Dexter McCluster, Montario Hardesty (in dynasty leagues)

Result:  Woops!  Jennings and McCluster had their moments, but this was a poor list.

WR

1. Andre Johnson will finish 30+ points ahead of any other receiver.

Result:  False

Looking back on it, this was a really poor prediction.  Johnson is the best receiver in the league, but I should have known better than this.  AJ’s numbers were likely to regress back toward the mean, particularly with defenses focusing on him.

2.  Steve Smith (NYG) will be a top six receiver.  The “other” Steve Smith (CAR) won’t be in the top 20.

Result:  Half True/Half horribly false

Injuries killed the potential for the Giants’ Steve Smith, and he finished 60th among receivers (maybe I meant top 60 instead of top 6).  The “other” Smith finished 68th.

3.  Buy into the hype on Mike Wallace.  He’s going to have over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns.

Result:  True

I regret not targeting Wallace earlier in my primary league and I missed out on him.  He finished ninth among receivers, even in PPR, and tallied 1,257 yards and 10 touchdowns.

4.  Wes Welker is fine.  Expect a top 10 season.

Result:  False

Welker did turn out to be fine, but he finished 18th in points.

5.  He might be the most talented receiver in the league (or at least second), but Larry Fitzgerald won’t be in the top 10 in fantasy points.

Result:  True

Fitzgerald finished 11th among receivers.  I’m awesome.

Super Sleepers: Emmanuel Sanders, Jason Avant, Jacoby Jones, Brian Robiskie, Laurent Robinson (again)

Result:  Not good.  Not good at all.

TE

1.  Brent Celek will be a top three tight end and score more points than Dallas Clark.

Result:  False

Celek scored more points than Clark, but only because Clark got injured.  Vick’s presence killed Celek’s numbers, as Vick is far less likely to check down than Kolb.

2. Call me crazy, but I think Zach Miller will score more fantasy points than Jason Witten (assuming your league doesn’t award points for being a kickass blocker).

Result:  False

Let’s just move on here.

3.  Tony Gonzalez can’t keep it up much longer. . .he’ll be lucky to crack the top 10 in points among tight ends.

Result:  False

Technically this isn’t false since I only said he’d be lucky to finish in the top 10, not that he wouldn’t do it.  Gonzalez finished sixth among tight ends, but was only 13 points from being outside the top 10.

4.  Visanthe Shiancoe will score less points than Heath Miller.

Result:  False

Shiancoe scored four more points than Miller.  What the hell?  Still, Shiancoe was only 22nd among tight ends.

Super Sleepers: Tony Moeaki, Aaron Hernandez

Result:  Awesome.  This was one of my better predictions, as the two late-round rookies finished 17th and 14th, respectively, among tight ends.

Overall Results

Last season, I hit on 10 of my 18 bold predictions (see them here).  That’s 55.5 percent.  This season, I did a bit worse, hitting on 10 of 25 predictions (including the sleeper picks), which works out to be 40 percent.  Not bad considering the boldness of the projections.

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