The 2013 NFL and Fantasy Football seasons are in full swing. Hard to believe we are almost 1/3rd of the way through the NFL season already - and more than 1/3rd of the way through most fantasy regular seasons that run 13 or 14 weeks. I figured now was a good time to check back in on my pre-season "Bold Predictions" column and see how I'm doing.
I forgot to mention in that Bold Predictions column that the scoring system I was basing the predictions on is standard, non-PPR scoring. This is the most common scoring system for fantasy leagues and also the scoring system that my longest running league uses. 20 yards per point for QBs, 4pts per QB passing TD. 10 yards per point for rushing and receiving. 6pts for all rushing/receiving TDs.
Now, let's see how good or bad my predictions are looking on a PASS/FAIL basis:
Arizona Cardinals: I said that Larry Fitzgerald would end up as a top-3 fantasy WR this year now that the Cardinals had a semi-legit QB in Carson Palmer. It's early, but this is looking like a poor prediction. Fitz's numbers are about the same as they have been the last couple seasons - as he currently ranks as the 25th highest scoring fantasy WR. Unless something major changes, I don't see him cracking the top 10. FAIL
Atlanta Falcons: I predicted that Steven Jackson would get hurt and finish outside the top 20 RBs. Welp, the sun came up and Steven Jackson got hurt. In the first quarter of week 2. And hasn't played since. Baring a crazy fantasy explosion in the 2nd half, I think I'll chalk this one up as a PASS.
Baltimore Ravens: I predicted that Torrey Smith would end up as a top 15 WR. Right now he is ranked 8th in WR fantasy points with 556 yards and 1TD through 5 games. That yardage total ranks him 2nd at the WR position. This prediction is looking very strong, as Smith no longer is super boom or bust, but has been surprisingly consistent. Again, it's early, but we are going with a PASS.
Buffalo Bills: The Bills offensive production has not gone as expected. RB CJ Spiller has been mostly a disappointment and WR Stevie Johnson is barely rosterable. Instead, it is the rookies who have impressed. WR Robert Woods is off to a strong start with 265 yards, 2TDs and a 2pt conversion. And rookie QB EJ Manuel was well on his way to making my prediction come true - that he would finish as a top 20 QB. Unfortunately, Manuel suffered a sprained knee this past weekend and is expected to be out 6-8 weeks. Thus, FAIL. What a shame, what a shame.
Carolina Panthers: I said that rookie RB Kenjon Barner would eventually take over as the starting RB and emerge as a flex-worthy fantasy player. DeAngelo Williams has been fine, so unless he gets hurt or really starts to struggle, I don't see this prediction coming true. However, I can't give myself a fail after only 4 games, and truth be told, Barner was hurt until last week. So this one is a WAIT and SEE.
Chicago Bears: I predicted that Matt Forte, who was being drafted in the 11-15 range, would finish as a top 7 fantasy RB and should be drafted at the end of the 1st round. Right now, Forte is 4th in fantasy points at the RB position. So that would be a PASS. As a side note, how about Alshon Jeffrey emerging? We had a good laugh at our draft when someone kept Jeffrey as their only keeper in the 8th round. Jeffrey is ranked 7th, yes 7th, in WR fantasy points thus far. Wow.
Cincinnati Bengals: I said to draft Giovanni Bernard early as he would eventually emerge as the go-to RB in Cincy. Well, that pretty much has already happened. While Green-Ellis leads Bernard in carries, they are actually tied in rushing yards (209), Bernard has over 100 more receiving yards and they both have 3 total TDs. Trade FOR Bernard now, as his value will only increase, especially in keeper leagues. PASS.
Cleveland Browns: This is a hard one to grade. I did hype up Josh Gordon, who since his suspension ended has performed like a top 10 WR. But I also said that RB Trent Richardson would finish as a top 3 RB. Now, Richardson has been fine, but he was also traded to the Colts after week 2. And since the trade, he has been very average. Because it has only been 5 games, I will go with a WAIT and SEE, but I'm guessing this will be a fail by the end of the season.
Dallas Cowboys: FAIL. Get that out of the way early. I said Dez Bryant would not live up to the hype, and he has returned the favor by performing as the TOP fantasy WR to date. The only good thing is that I drafted him in a couple leagues, figuring he'd prove me wrong.
Denver Broncos: Let's start by saying WOW to Peyton Manning's performance. 20 TD passes, 1 INT and 1900 yards in 5 games?!? He is crazy good. I also think my prediction here should get a WOW as well. I said that Knowshon Moreno would be the highest scoring Broncos RB. At the time, Montee Ball was hyped as the next great rookie RB and Ronnie Hillman was labeled the "starter." Well, Moreno is the 7th highest scoring fantasy RB right now with 69.8 points. Ball and Hillman have combined for 40. PASS.
Detroit Lions: Nothing to see here, folks. Other than maybe my worst prediction thus far. I said Broyles would break out, to the tune of 80-1000-8 and finish as a top 20 WR. Well, after starting the season hurt, he is finally healthy and NOT taking advantage of opportunities. With Calvin Johnson sidelined last week, Broyles caught 2 passes for 27 yards. He has 6 fantasy points this YEAR. FAIL.
Green Bay Packers: I went out on a limb here and said that Jonathan Franklin, not Eddie Lacy, would lead the team in RB fantasy points. Now, this seems like an easy fail. However, Lacy got banged up a few weeks back and when he did, Franklin stepped up with a big fantasy day. Lacy has 21.9 fantasy points to Franklin's 16.7. I'm gonna go with a WAIT and SEE here, thinking that if Lacy gets hurt again, Franklin could run with it. Wishful thinking.
Houston Texans: I predicted that Andre Johnson would have another healthy, studly season in 2013 and finish as a top 5 fantasy WR. Currently, he has scored the 32nd most fantasy points at the WR position. Not good. However, he is 7th in receiving yards at the WR position. He just hasn't scored a TD. Unfortunately, I don't see this improving much, as Matt Schaub has seemingly turned into Mark Sanchez. I'm going with a FAIL - but not giving up entirely.
Indianapolis Colts: Another tough one to grade here, as Trent Richardson has screwed up my prediction that Ahmad Bradshaw would finish as an underrated top 20-25 fantasy RB. I am going to give myself a FAIL, mostly because Bradshaw is hurt and the injury has nothing to do with Richardson. But as a side note, I did say that Andrew Luck would repeat his good rookie season and finish as a top 10 fantasy QB and Reggie Wayne would finish as a top 15 WR. After 5 weeks, Luck is 7th and Wayne is 17th. Not bad.
Jacksonville Jaguars: YUCK. FAIL. Maybe the worst team in the history of the NFL here. I did say I liked Blackmon after he returns from suspension (he returned last week and caught 5 balls for 136 yards and a TD). But I also predicted RB Maurice Jones-Drew to have a top 10 fantasy season. Let's just say he's not exactly on his way.
Kansas City Chiefs: Maybe my worst 2 predictions in a row here. I was right about liking the new Chiefs offense with Andy Reid as HC and Alex Smith at QB. The Chiefs are 5-0 (a year after finishing 2-14) and Jamaal Charles may be the NPM (non-Peyton Manning) fantasy MVP thus far. Unfortunately I also said that Dwayne Bowe was the Chiefs player I was most excited about and that he would finish as a top 10 WR. FAIL. He is barely startable in fantasy right now.
Miami Dolphins: Yikes, not picking up anytime soon here. I said RB Lamar Miller would finish as a top 15 RB. I thought the "splitting carries" talk with RB Daniel Thomas was a smoke screen. After 5 games, the Dolphins continue to give Thomas carries despite his 2.6 yards per carry average. This has limited Miller, who has looked like the MUCH better RB thus far. I still have faith here, but I'm forced to give myself a FAIL, since Miller has only scored the 29th most points at the RB position. Buy low.
Minnesota Vikings: I had no faith in any Vikings fantasy players other than RB Adrian Peterson, so I "boldly" predicted that Peterson would be the top fantasy RB and also break the NFL rushing record. Well, he's only played 4 games (Vikings had a BYE last week), but Peterson ranks 3rd in fantasy RB points. So that #1 prediction is looking good. However, he "only" has 421 rushing yards, an average of 105 per game. Thus, he's not really on pace to break the rushing record and I have to give myself a FAIL here.
New England Patriots: FAIL. I said Tom Brady would still finish as a top 3 fantasy QB despite his lack of weapons. After 5 games, he's 19th in QB fantasy points and the lack of weapons is clearly the reason. In the first couple games, Patriots WRs were dropping passes at an alarming rate. They have recovered, slightly, but it hasn't been enough. It would take a Peyton Manning-like run for Brady to prove me right. Hey, if anyone can do it....
New Orleans Saints: If you are keeping track at home, that is 7 straight fails for me! Well, it won't be 8, and that is thanks to superhuman TE Jimmy Graham. I said Graham should be drafted in the 2nd round and would produce like a top WR. Well, through 5 games, the highest scoring WR (Dez Bryant) has scored 76.3 fantasy points. Jimmy Graham? 95.3! That would be a PASS.
New York Giants: I predicted that WR Rueben Randle would step up and finish as a top 30 WR despite being the 3rd WR on his own team. The prediction wasn't looking great until last week when Randle caught 2 TD passes. But points are points, and right now, Randle has the 34th most WR fantasy points. I see the trend continuing and that would be a PASS.
New York Jets: What a win last night! Maybe I underestimated the Jets when I said they wouldn't have a single player finish as a "starter" in a standard fantasy league - meaning no top 10 QB, top 25 RB or top 30 WR. Right now, QB Geno Smith ranks 14th in QB scoring, RB Bilal Powell ranks 14th in RB scoring and WR Santonio Holmes ranks 50th in WR scoring. I guess that is a FAIL for me right now. However, I'll double down on this bet. No way Geno climbs into the top 10 or that a guy named BILAL stays in the top 25. Book it.
Oakland Raiders: This is a nice win here. I said that QB Terrelle Pryor would win the starting QB job by week 6 (he won it in the preseason) and that he would put up Cam Newton-like numbers, be a regular bye-week fill-in QB the 2nd half of the season, and drafted as a top 15 guy next year. Pryor currently has the 20th most QB fantasy points and I can only see that improving. Pass.
Philadelphia Eagles: Another nice win, as I said RB Lesean McCoy would thrive under Chip Kelly and finish as a top-3 fantasy RB. McCoy is currently the 2nd highest scoring RB, just behind Jamaal Charles. I don't see that changing much, if at all. PASS.
Pittsburgh Steelers: 0-4. That's a win in my book any day of the week! Oh, yeah, we are talking about the predictions. I said Emmanuel Sanders would finish as the Steelers top WR over Antonio Brown. Wrong now, and likely wrong by the end of the year too. FAIL.
San Diego Chargers: He got me again! Damn you, Ryan Mathews! I said he'd finally stay healthy and make me look dumb for dropping him in a keeper league. Well, he was just dropped again in that keeper league, this time in mid-season! You know that cannot be good. FAIL.
San Francisco 49ers: I have never been more angry about being right in my life! I said QB Colin Kaepernick would be drafted as a top 8 QB but finish outside the top 15. Unfortunately, I decided to hedge my bet here and draft him in my longest running fantasy league as my starter. Predictably, he ranks outside the top 20 right now and looks every bit the game manager that Alex Smith was in San Fran. PASS (but I'm not happy about it).
Seattle Seahawks: I predicated that Golden Tate would step up for the injured Percy Harvin and put up top 20 fantasy numbers for the 1st half of the season. Tate currently is the 38th highest scoring fantasy WR. So this is a FAIL...but not necessarily by much. A couple good weeks in a row for Tate (who looked great last week), and he becomes a fantasy starter.
St. Louis Rams: FAIL. I really, really liked RB Daryl Richardson to emerge as a fantasy star, predicting that he'd hang onto the starting RB gig and finish as a top 20 option. However, he seems to have lost that gig, and the Rams backfield is a complete mess. They are now starting Zach Stacy at RB, and Richardson will only continue to lose carries.
Tampa Bay Bucs: I predicted that Vincent Jackson would continue to fly under the radar as a top 5 fantasy WR. That hasn't happened. He has been extremely average so far and now has an unproven rookie QB at the helm. I'm hoping he ends up proving me right, since I drafted him in a few leagues, but right now this is a FAIL.
Tennessee Titans: Chris Johnson, I just cannot quit you! I said he's finally underrated and would finish as a top 10 fantasy RB. Johnson still ranks 18th in fantasy points at the RB position, but he looks really awful running the ball. He would rank much worse, but he caught a shuffle pass from QB Ryan Fitzpatrick Sunday and took it 49 yards to the house. If he can't run the ball, he can't finish top 10. FAIL.
Washington Redskins: I predicted that QB Robert Griffin III would have an Adrian Peterson-like bounce back from ACL surgery and finish as a top 5 fantasy QB. As of now, I have to give this a FAIL. RGIII looked timid and average the first 2 games of the season, and with a BYE last week, he ranks nowhere near the top 5. I did draft him in a bunch of leagues though, so here's to hoping he breaks out!
Lots of FAILS, some PASSES and a few WAIT and SEES. I'll check back most likely at the end of the season to give myself a final grade.
P.S. Mike McCarthy is 0-1 on his predictions.