2017 Fantasy Football: Bold-ish Predictions







By Chet Gresham - @Chet_G
Follow @walterfootball for updates.


I don't have a baseline for how to consider these predictions bold or not, but I'll probably have some that you'll completely disagree with and others you won't. So, let's call the ones you disagree with bold and the others bold-ish to the right buyer.

Sam Bradford will finish as a top-12 quarterback
Bradford ranked as the 13th-best fantasy quarterback after Norv Turner resigned and Pat Shurmur took over as the offensive coordinator. Add in a three-down back in Dalvin Cook, a healthy Stephon Diggs and one of the easiest passing schedules in the league, and I see Bradford playing steady enough to crack the top 12.

Rex Burkhead will lead New England's backfield in touches
Mike Gillislee could still be the goal-line back and James White the receiving back, but I see Burkhead as Belichick's man-about-town, who will get his agenda out there to the masses. Burkhead is strong in every aspect of the game, which should keep him on the field this season.





Kyle Juszczyk will catch 50-plus passes for San Francisco.
Juszczyk, like Burkhead, is a Swiss Army knife of talent, and now that he's landed in San Francisco, he should be able to show off his ability a bit more. Think of him as a fullback/running back/tight end, who should stay on the field as much as top targets like Pierre Garcon.

Russell Wilson finishes as the No. 1 fantasy quarterback
When Wilson is on, he is nearly unstoppable. Injuries last season kept him from being that guy, but this preseason, he looked perfect. His suspect offensive line could actually help him garner more fantasy points with his escapability intact. Of course, another injury isn't out of the question with that line, but I'm looking at upside here, and the Seahawks have a good passing schedule, a healthier Jimmy Graham and an up-and-coming Paul Richardson to help get Wilson over the top.

Dalvin Cook will win rookie of the year
Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey and Kareem Hunt also have a great opportunity this season, but I like Minnesota's schedule better, and Cook's ability as a three-down back on a team with a strong defense. What has won me over are his abilities in the passing game, both as a blocker and receiver. I don't see him being taken off the field often.



Bilal Powell will lead the New York Jets in receptions
The addition of Jeremy Kerley could be the only hitch in this prediction, but I still believe Powell will be the lead man on a team devoid of receivers. Powell almost led the team with 58 receptions last season, but Quincy Enunwa also had 58 and Brandon Marshall had a whopping 60. Now, those two won't be playing for the Jets this season. Robby Anderson is likely going to be the receiving-yardage leader, but Powell is likely to get peppered with short passes this season as the Jets try to make up ground.

Phillip Rivers and Keenan Allen are both top-5 fantasy players at their position
Will Allen be injured a third straight season? Maybe, but I believe the odds are against that outcome and the Chargers appear poised as a strong offensive unit, with Rivers, Melvin Gordon, Allen, Tyrell Williams, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates. All those weapons in the end should help Allen, as he'll still be the No. 1 target, but won't have as much attention focused his way. Rivers, of course, gets all of these weapons at his disposal and has the ability to put up big numbers when clicking.

Michael Crabtree will again outscore Amari Cooper in fantasy
Cooper is a better offensive threat than Crabtree, but Mr. Crabs has a hold on the red-zone targets like it's his last gold coin. Derek Carr loves finding Crabtree in the end zone and should again give him more touchdowns than Mr. Cooper.



Kendall Wright will lead the Bears in receptions
Kevin White is the No. 7-overall draft pick from 2015, but Wright looks like the best receiver on the field in Chicago at the moment. Wright should also find himself needed often in the slot, as teams will beat up on the Bears this season and start running away with big leads.

Marlon Mack overtakes Frank Gore this season
The Colts need a boost with Andrew Luck taking his own sweet time to return to action, and Mack looks like he's in a different gear than the other Colts running backs. Gore is no doubt the more well-rounded player and is needed for pass protection, but his ability isn't going to push the Colts to a new level, which Mack can do in the right circumstances.

Also, check out our Fantasy Football Rankings.






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