Every year while doing your fantasy football research, we all come across players that we feel very strongly about one way or the other. Whether you get a gut feeling that a player is going to completely tank or is going to break out in a big way, the point is strong feelings emerge. Here at FakePigskin, our staff has taken the time to give you their single boldest prediction that came from deep, dark inside our guts. We have gone out on a limb to enlighten you of the possibilities that may be in store for the following players this season:
Ricky Sanders (@RSanders85): Danny Amendola plays 16 games, finishes as a top 4 WR in PPR formats
Tom Brady has turned water into wine, when it comes to wide receivers, before. Deion Branch only played 11 games with Brady in 2010 (his first back with the Patriots) but Brady still posted his highest hard total in 5 years. Randy Moss of course had his legendary 1493 yards, 23 touchdown season in his first pairing with Brady. Wes Welker nearly doubled his catches from his last season in Miami to his first season to New England. In fact, Welker’s catch total for his first three seasons in the NFL: 86. In his first season with New England? 112. Now Danny Amendola gets a chance to go from an average NFL quarterback, and below average offense, to the Belichick machine. Although Amendola only played 11 games last year and some he played through injury, he was still on pace for 92 receptions, 969 yards and 4 TD. That put him on pace for WR21 and I included the games in which he left because of injury; for instance, week 5 where he took a big hit and left with one catch for 44 yards. For the most part in Amendola’s stint with the Rams, health was the main reason he never became an elite fantasy receiver. He registered 85 catches in a healthy 2010 and then played just one game in 2011. However, it already appears Amendola is comfortable in his transition to a Brady-led offense. In just his first pre-season game, he registered 6 receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown. In my opinion, Amendola is a similar player to Wes Welker and every bit as talented if not more. Here are Welker’s catch totals in his years with Brady and keep in mind many of them included a healthy Randy Moss, Rob Gronkowski, etc. that Amendola will not have to compete with this season: 112, 111, 123, 86, 122, 118, 114. I believe Brady’s accuracy keeps Danny Amendola healthy this season and Amendola posts monster reception numbers. Welker’s best season with Brady was 2011 (122 catches, 1569 yards and 9 TD) and I would not be surprised if Amendola mimics those kind of numbers in just his first season. I think Amendola stays healthy, plays 16 games and finishes as a top four wide receiver in PPR. Draft him with confidence.
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Matt Lane (@FFMattLane): Darren McFadden will be a top 10 Fantasy RB this year
In the absence of a quality/good/average/recognisable QB (delete as appropriate), the Raiders will lean on the running game to the benefit of Darren McFadden. DMC only rushed for 20+ times in a game 3 times last season, and those games accounted for 3 of his best 4 fantasy weeks. With Palmer gone, the Raiders will be forced to lean on the run a lot more, giving him more opportunities and points. Last year McFadden missed 4 full games due to injury – which is quite good for him, but if he can hang onto his health this year then I believe he is a sure fire top 10 RB. McFadden has risk attached to him for sure but the reward is definitely there. His talent is comfortably top 10 at RB, hopefully this year his injuries will decline and his opportunities will rise. Definition of a high risk/reward pick and one I will be taking at his current ADP.
Pat Donnelly (@legendonnelly): Matt Forte finishes inside the top 5 this year for running backs in PPR formats
Reasoning: There has been so much buzz around Marc Trestman coming in as the Head Coach of the Bears this year. Some people only know him as the former coach of the Montreal Aloutettes in the CFL, but he was a coach in the NFL as far back as 1985 with the Minnesota Vikings. Through his previous coaching experience in 13 seasons, his team’s running backs have averaged 95 receptions, with his RBs combining for 100+ catches in 6 seasons. In his two last seasons with Oakland in 2001/2002, his RBs caught an average of 111 balls, which can only mean good things for Matt Forte. We all know he is a talented running back who is also an awesome pass catches, topping 50 receptions in 4 of his 5 seasons, with 44 last year in 15 games. He already gets a ton of catches in the past offense and now with Trestman moving him around and spreading the field, it wouldn’t be crazy to see Forte catch over 80 balls this season and put up 1900 total yards. Remember kids, Forte hasn’t ever had a season under 1400 yards and this offense is a perfect fit for him. If he continues to get goal line carries like he did in the last pre-season game, he could easily catapult into that top 5!
Kenny Wang (@k_wang32): CJ Spiller will not finish as a top 12 RB in 2013
With the fantasy community scratching and clawing to get a chance to kiss the metaphorical rings on CJ Spiller’s hands, I advise caution. Spiller’s ADP via FFcalculator.com has vaulted the running back from Clemson into the top 2, and for fantasy owners in 2013, that’s a recipe for disaster. Owners are forgetting that Fred Jackson is still in Buffalo, and Doug Marrone has a tendency to use multiple backs in his offenses. With little threat of a passing game, defenders will stack the box against Spiller. His 2012 YPC was 6.01 with 6 TDs, but with 7 or more men in the box, it nosedives to under 3.7 YPC with just 3 TDs. In addition, in the 4th quarter when the Bills were up late and the defense knew that the run was coming, Spiller averaged a mere 2.6 YPC. Arian Foster was the only one in the top 10 RBs being drafted that had a lower YPC. Look, when you look up CJ Spiller highlights, no doubt will you come away impressed. If you draft him thinking he’s going to be the 2013 fantasy MVP though, or even to finish as an RB1 this year, you’re in for a big disappointment.
I realize how crazy that seems, but before you crucify me, take some time to think about it. The only reason this seems so crazy is that Cleveland has been such a fantasy wasteland for so long. Trent Richardson finished as the 7th RB last year, despite playing through multiple injuries. Josh Gordon caught 50 passes for 805 yds and 5 TD’s, with a rookie QB and in his first NFL season. Brandon Weeden finished as the QB 26, however it was his rookie year as well. He has look great so far this preseason, and the new offensive system will make use of his cannon of an arm. Lastly Jordan Cameron is set to thrive in Norv Turners system. Antonio Gates finished as the 13th TE on a very bad San Diego team last year. If you happened to see the most recent preseason game you may have noticed Cameron was heavily targeted and caught two TD’s. Cameron is young and ready to erupt onto the fantasy scene. So there it is. That’s my prediction. I feel that the fantasy gods have finally smiled upon the city of Cleveland. Rejoice Browns fans. 2013 shall be a year to remember!