Updated: Jul 16, 2019
Every year we watch well respected fantasy "gurus" make outlandish predictions and we view it as insider knowledge like we're the only ones that have ever heard of Matthew Berry.
Most of these bold predictions end up being wildly inaccurate, causing us to curse the fantasy gods and Matthew Berry alike. And even more often, we go against our own gut and pass on a guy we feel high on, just because we aren't the "experts", or we watch our diamond in the rough get drafted one pick before us. Sigh.
Last season, i knew guys like Aaron Jones and Marlon Mack were going to outplay their ADP. Without having it in writing for that perfect I-told-you-so moment, every time I brought it up I was met by a room full of eye rolls. Granted, I also thought Allen Robinson would prove to be a top 10 Wide Receiver again, Marshawn Lynch would be worth a 5th round pick, and Mahomes would struggle trying to run a college system against NFL defenses...but I prefer to remember the victories.
On the flip side, there is an equal if not larger collection of players that greatly underwhelm and don't come close to their ADP. Typically, this happens due to injuries, but for the purposes of this article, I won't factor in something as unpredictable as potential injuries.
Therefore, this article is dedicated to players I believe will greatly outplay, or underplay, their ADP. Players that will leave you the joke of the league for reaching until the pads go on and they realize you got this years fantasy breakout stud in the mid rounds. Or, you've drafted the Le'Veon Bell of the ball only to end your fantasy season with nothing more to show for your efforts outside of a virtual participation trophy.
Darren Waller, TE, Oakland
Waller is somewhat of an unknown in most circles, but I believe he is in line to be this years George Kittle. He might not put up the insane numbers Kittle tallied in last year's campaign, but with Jared Cook off the depth chart, Waller is the number 1 tight end option for Derek Carr.
Reports around the Raider organization, mainly from teammates, state that Waller is a physical freak. A former collegiate WR, Waller is 6'6", just under 240 lbs, and runs a sub 4.5 40 yard dash. With a new look offense featuring Antonio Brown, defensive backfields have no choice but to shift coverage his way. This should leave Waller in a lot of 1-on-1 scenarios against safeties and linebackers, either of which is a mismatch in most cases. I'm predicting Waller to finish just inside the top 5 fantasy tight ends this season, only behind Zach Ertz, George Kittle, and Travis Kelce.
Geronimo Allison, WR, Green Bay
A lot of people had Allison as a breakout candidate entering last season, and all went according to plan until a groin injury sidelined him for the season after just 5 games. Before the injury, Allison was on track to have a pretty solid fantasy season.
Coming into this year, Allison isn't being mentioned as much more than a possible #3 WR. The emergence of Valdes-Scantling last season leaves Allison entering training camp possibly as the #3 option for Aaron Rodgers.
Although Valdes-Scantling put up some pretty promising numbers as a rookie, a lot of receivers could do that with one of the best quarterbacks the game has ever seen, and a laundry list of injuries to the guys ahead of him on the depth chart.
The thought here is that Allison wins the #2 job behind Adams in training camp, and there is a ton of targets in store for him as Randall Cobb is no longer with the team. If Allison can stay healthy, I see him having a breakout season to the tune of 70+ catches, 1000 yards, and a real push for double digit touchdowns. Don't let this guy fall in your upcoming draft.
Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay
Draft this guy. Last season, Godwin racked up 59 receptions, 842 yards, and 7 touchdowns. This season he is the clear #2 wide receiver on the team now that DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries have parted ways with the team. That is an enormous number of targets that need to be redistributed. I expect this will also help the likes of O.J. Howard, but were talking about 179 targets up for grabs for a team that is expected to need to throw the ball playing catch up this season.
I'm predicting a monster breakout for Godwin this season. This guy is only getting better, and he's in a perfect storm scenario heading into 2019. This article is titled "Bold Predictions," so here goes. 95 receptions, 1,150 yards, 12 Touchdowns.
Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati
Joe Mixon is currently going in the mid-early second round in most fantasy drafts. After a very successful season, including almost 1,500 yards from scrimmage and 9 total touchdowns, most people are expecting the same or more from the young back.
This is the first of my bold predictions not in favor of the player listed. Cincinnati played Mixon in a lot of situations outside of his comfort zone last year, mostly due to the unavailability of Giovanni Bernard. Truth is, Mixon isn't up to par in pass protection like Bernard is. That alone should take a good chunk of touches away from Mixon.
The Bengals also drafted not one, but two running backs in this years draft. Granted, both were taken in round 6, but in this era running backs worthy of 5-10 touches per game can be found deep in drafts. All it takes is for one of those two backs to earn their way onto the field to poach a few more of Mixon's carries.
I'm not predicting a fall off a cliff type season for Mixon, because he's still a decisive, effective runner who will command his share of the offense, but I'm definitely not expecting the meteoric rise everybody seems to think is a given. I'm thinking somewhere along the lines of 1,100 yards from scrimmage and 7 total touchdowns for Mixon this year. He's a bottom 3rd round draft pick in standard scoring leagues for me this year. At best.
Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston
Deshaun Watson is one of the most exciting players in the league right now. A proven winner, ice in his veins, all the intangibles and measurables to be successful in this league. Last year Watson managed over 4,000 yards passing and 26 Touchdowns through the air, along with some solid fantasy production on the ground as well.
All those numbers are absolutely fine for your starting quarterback going into the season... but right now Watson is being drafted as the 4th quarterback overall, and being taken in the late 4th/early 5th round. That's too early to take almost any quarterback, let alone a quarterback heading into the season with one of the worst offensive lines in football, if not the absolute worst. Watson is constantly under siege, which leads to a handful of games you can expect minimal fantasy value.
Watson is also playing in one of the most competitive divisions in the league in the AFC south, which has a real chance to produce 3 of the top 10 defenses this season, none of which I expect to be Houston.
Again, Watson is a fine option as your QB1 going into 2019, but the 4th round?! The 4th quarterback overall?! That's just silly. I predict more of the same from Watson this season, if not a bit worse due to a tough defensive schedule. Let's say 3,900 yards passing, 25 touchdowns, 12 INTs. He will still find a way to get some bonus points on the ground of course because well, he has no other choice behind that offensive line.