3 Bold Predictions for 2018 – by Tyler Belawske

The definition of bold is showing an ability to take risks; displaying confidence and courage. In the fantasy football community, we each have an opportunity to predict what will happen in the coming year and take a stand, particularly in cases where others believe our prediction to be unlikely. Most are simple, while others are over the top, in some cases just to stand out. With that being said – here are my 3 bold predictions for 2018.

Eli Manning will finish as a Quarterback 1

Eli has a top 5 wide receiver (Odell Beckham Jr.), a top 5 tight end (Evan Engram), a likely top 10 running back (Saquon Barkley), a new offensive line, and a new head coach. He is coming off a 2017 season with 3,468 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, a completion rate of 61.6%, and 13 interceptions. Some of these numbers are career lows, but with a new running game and offensive line, opposing defenses will have to stack the box more – opening up the passing game. How can a quarterback have such highly ranked players around him while not being drafted as a quarterback one? It doesn’t make sense to me – either he will be a top 12 QB or all of his highly ranked teammates will fail to return value on their draft prices. Manning’s current average draft position is 13.07 and he is the 21st QB being drafted: a low-end QB2.

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Photo Credit: Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports

Kareem Hunt will NOT finish as a Running Back 1

Last year as a rookie Hunt put up 1,327 rushing yards (league leader), 8 rushing touchdowns, 53 receptions, 455 yards, and 3 touchdowns through the air. I really don’t think he will be able to match those numbers this year. To start with, running back Spencer Ware is back and fully healthy after sustaining a torn ACL last year. He will cut into Hunt’s playing time as a change of pace back and as a pass catching third down back. Ware was on track to be the starter last year until his injury, and in the NFL you don’t usually lose your job to an injury. Secondly – big arm, hard-throwing, long bomb quarterback Patrick Mahomes is now leading this team. The running back by committee will allow Mahomes to throw more to keep defenses honest, heating up up the passing game and further taking away from Hunt’s totals. Hunt’s ADP is 1.10, making him he 9th RB drafted.

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Photo credit: Justin Olson/ChiefsDigest.com

 

The Pittsburgh Steelers will beat the Rams in Super Bowl LIII

This will most likely be running back Le’Veon Bell’s last season with the Steelers; Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been talking about retiring for the last few years and wide receiver Antonio Brown isn’t getting any younger. The three big names will come together one last time to leave on a high note.

 

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 Photo credit: Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

 

The Steelers have firepower on offense and a pretty solid defense to carry them to and through the playoffs. The New England Patriots are getting older now and aren’t really a threat in my opinion. The Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans are young and up and coming, but aren’t Super Bowl ready yet – leaving the Steelers a straight path to win the AFC. The Los Angeles Rams won’t change much from last year, bringing their high power, young and exciting offensive into this season. By letting wide receiver Sammy Watkins go and picking up Brandin Cooks, they upgraded quarterback Jared Goff’s receivers. On top of that, they improved their defense through the draft and free agency. The Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings are their only threats in the NFC, but I think they should be able to get over these obstacles, and to and through the playoffs.

My Super Bowl prediction: Steelers 34, Rams 28

by Tyler Belawske – @TylerBelawske

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