Bold prediction columns can be overdone, entirely too bold, and pointless. They can also be informative and interesting. Last year, I called Doug Martin a top 10 RB and Vick Ballard a top 25 RB. Sure, there were some misses as was the case with Antonio Gates and Brandon LaFell, but the logic was there for all of them. So here I am, back with three more bold predictions for the upcoming football season.
(Note: I planned the entire preseason to include Eddie Lacy in this piece, but frankly his ADP has risen too much recently to rationally make a prediction that is still bold about him)
Cam Newton DOES NOT finish amongst the Top 10 QBs:
The preseason vibes from Newton haven’t been particularly good in my opinion. For starters, it seems like his new coaching staff wants to try him as more of a traditional pocket passer. While that may be worth trying for the Panthers future, it won’t do any favors for his fantasy prospects. Through week 10 of the regular season last year, Newton was only averaging 16 points a game. Fleshed out over a full season, that would have made Newton the 12th ranked quarterback. Given the depth of quarterback this year and the fact that the Panthers haven’t added any valuable weapons for Newton (and yes, Steve Smith is a year older), Newton’s floor is a lot lower than most think. Considering the other top QBs, Newton is too risky in the third round this year.
Daryl Richardson finished a Top 15 RB:
Currently being drafted 32nd amongst halfbacks (behind BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Rashard Mendenhall is atrociously bad fantasy community!), Richardson will start the season as the undisputed workhorse in the Rams backfield and his main competition Isahiah Pead is suspended for the first game of the season. Richardson is extremely useful in the passing game and there’s a decent chance he gets the goal-line carries although Zac Stacy may factor there (but he’s a rookie). Richardson’s draft-stock didn’t take the leap it should have when he ran away with this job in the preseason. He’s a running back with a higher floor and ceiling than most realize.
Josh Gordon is a Top 10 WR after he returns from suspension:
Josh Gordon is poised for a monster season in Norv Turner’s offense and don’t let his two game suspension blind you. While you can draft Gordon as a WR3 or even WR4 right now, it wouldn’t be terrible to draft him as a low-end WR2 and find someone to replace him for the first two weeks of the season. Brandon Weeden seems, dare I say it, to be much improved this season and Norv Turner’s deep-ball offense is the perfect system for Gordon to thrive. It’s an offense where there are other weapons in Jordan Cameron and Trent Richardson so that Gordon won’t get too much defensive attention, but he’ll be able to get all of the targets he needs from Brandon Weeden. I’m buying all the stock I can in the second-year wideout.